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Thread: I need help with a dressage trained horse!

  1. #1

    Default I need help with a dressage trained horse!

    Hi guys, my new loan is an ex dressage horse.. Knows all the moves and all the avoidance tactics! Unfortunately I am a happy hacker so I'm learning as I go along.. First snag is when he doesn't want to work he horribly overbends and ignores you, he is currently ridden in a mullen mouth Pelham and the owner doesn't want the bit changed.
    What exercises can we do to bring his head up? If I push him on he just goes faster, but with his head firmly attached to his chest!





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  2. #2

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    On both these photos I was trying to give him a contact in the hope that when I let it out he would follow with his head.. He didn't!

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    If the owner doesn't want the bit changed let go of the curb rein completely - tie it up if needed. Ride off the snaffle. Your curb rein should always be longer than your snaffle rein anyway no matter what horse you ride it should only come into effect when/if you need it. I'm not talking washing line loose just not as tight as you have it in the photos - I always keep mine about an inch longer than my snaffle rein but often I warm up with the curb rein just on the horses neck or super loose.

    With a horse like in the pictures I really would be looking at a bit change but as stated that isn't possible so I'd try to get the horse to stretch and work with a long neck. Completely forget about any form of outline. Loose reins, open up your hands and encourage the horse to stretch down encourage controlled forward movement forget about anything else.

    I'm trying to find some photos but struggling because they are mostly on the old laptop.
    Here's my OH having a ride on Ted, we thought giving him double reins & making him go sideways was too much (He does ride, can hold double reins but sitting sideways confused him hugely) Usually I would say tie a knot in the rein so it's not hanging so loose but it shows you what I mean by dropping the curb and letting the horse just stretch out. (Also please excuse no hat and wellies, he wasn't planning on riding but wanted to give side saddle a go after I had ridden Teddy)

  4. #4

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    I can't understand why an ex dressage horse would ever be ridden in a pelham! How odd!! I completely agree with what has been said above, do away with the curb rein completely or knot it out the way. I'd also remove the curb chain or have it as loose as possible. If I loaned this horse I'd be asking the owner why it needs a pelham as it really does not look that happy in one, and a as a dressage horse would never have been ridden in one. I'm not trying to get at you, but if as an owner I saw the pictures you have posted above, I'd be rather worried and be trying to help you, either by changing the bit or giving you some instruction on how to ride the horse.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    East Sussex
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    Might be worth investing in one or two lessons on this horse with a classical trainer? If the horse really is classically trained, then just a few tips will help you use that bit (although I echo the strangeness of the choice of bit for an allegedly schooled horse) more correctly + will help you find a better seat to ride this horse forwards and more uphill. If he is classically trained, he will breathe an enormous sigh of relief when classically ridden ... For now I would personally be aiming for long and low on a long contact, really focussing on riding the back of the horse until he stretches down into that contact and bends freely through his entire rib cage. He seems very rigid in his movement and has clearly been out of correct work for a long time (going by his body shape), so lots of stretching and flexing should give him some mobility back?



  6. #6
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    I would also let the curb go, another thing is to get him out of that position is to raise your hands to bring his head back up. Minstrel had a tendency to curl up and that was what my trainer told me to do and it really did work

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minstrel View Post
    I would also let the curb go, another thing is to get him out of that position is to raise your hands to bring his head back up. Minstrel had a tendency to curl up and that was what my trainer told me to do and it really did work
    Yes Bro has a habit of curling up and getting really tense. I just let the reins loose, push him forward and encourage him to stretch to get him to relax at home/warming up but if we are mid doing a test or something important and he gets stressy I lift hand my hands and encourage him up and away from that horrible tense position which seems to help him lots.

  8. #8
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    I can't really see in the photos, but have you only one set of reins, on the curb?

  9. #9

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    I'll be honest I've removed the curb rein completely, just dont tell the owner! I did try roundings in case I was ballsing up double reins but I didn't like them lol. He apparently needs a Pelham as without it he bombs off (he can't he's too unfit!) but at the moment I do feel like I'm stuck because of it.. I know he doesn't like it (or at least something!) I rode yesterday and pretty much rode without reins and he went round with either his chin on his chest or in canter.

    When he first came he was ridden in a double jointed copper roller and he done exactly the same (until the owner told me Pelham only)

    Yes Soot when he originally came I was told he had been out of work for a few months, this has now changed to 2 years!

    I am planning on lessons, I really cant ride one side of this horse! I wanted a hacker and he fell into my lap so to speak (and wont hack!)

    Thank you ladies! If I was to change the bit (and have no photo evidence of said changes) what would the suggestion be?

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  10. #10

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    No definitely not rips! Its double reins, which I changed to roundings (not these photos) and then just the snaffle rein.. Either way he is unhappy!

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