I just don't know anymore

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  ecd 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • Naimi95 Original Poster Naimi95
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 14

    I have a Norwegian Fjord mare who is sweet as can be until I start to ride, then she is very headstrong. I ride western and my saddle is a wee big but I have a correction pad and a new thick saddle pad that brings the saddle far enough off her withers that it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. I would get a new saddle except for I can’t find one small enough for her but big enough for me.

    I am currently using an O-ring dogbone snaffle bit and it doesn’t seem to do much. I am constantly fighting her. I am even scared to take her outside of the round pen but would like to as it gets boring very quickly. Should I use a different bit?

    Or, the round pen is located in the middle of the pasture and the other horses like to crowd around but it’s the only place I have to ride. could this be distracting her and making her nervous?

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Naimi95 Naimi95.
    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    1. I do not feel that correction pads really provide the relief a properly fitting saddle does. No idea how you can resolve that, unless you try for a custom saddle.

    2. If you are scared (and I am, at times, terrified of my own horses, so I am not being critical), she knows this. She doesn’t know why, so she is reacting to your fear – if you, her goddess are afraid, she will be as well. I find St. John’s Wort helpful.

    3. As to the bit, I am not familiar with that one and am too lazy to look it up. I ride both my Arabians in loose ring French link snaffles, and rely on my voice commands, legs and seat to bring them into a more appropriate state of mind. No matter how flighty they get (very – even “afraid” of the dirt), I can ride them with just a halter and lead, so long as we go no faster than a trot. I am struggling with the canter, because I think they are too fast.

    3. Yes, the presence of other horses can be a distraction, but company is also comforting. Is there anyone with whom you could ride? Even have her ponied at first?

    Mostly what you need to do is relax. She will then relax. It is much, much easier to say than do. If assistance is available, try riding her bareback on a longe line. Feel your body moving with hers and become part of her. A bareback pad might also be a good investment for trail riding. For no good reason I feel safer that way (or a saddle without using the irons), which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    I hope you can both resolve this, as there is nothing more frustrating. To keep her from being bored to tears in the round pen, work on lateral movements, serpentines, circles, etc. to keep her from thinking she knows what is going to happen and concentrate on what you are actually asking her to do.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    To Clarify, the St. John’s Wort is for me, since I am the one with the problem. NOT for the horses!

    It is never the horse's fault

    Naimi95 Original Poster Naimi95
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 14

    I can’t really afford a custom saddle at the moment due to school so I will look into a bareback pad. Any particular one you would recommend?

    I am relaxed in the round pen but still having to fight her. I’ve got no help.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    This is the one I got. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0062JMOSE?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00

    It is easy to keep clean, very comfortable, not expensive and will not slip. Just because you think you are relaxed doesn’t mean that she does. Not having anyone who could help you is difficult. Most of us can only make suggestions based on what has worked for us and our horses, since we don’t know you and yours.

    Can you work her in hand? Long lines, using side reins (unless she keeps her head where it belongs, which mine do not)? Or, perhaps, try a bitless bridle when you ride? Maybe you could find an endurance saddle that would fit you both? Once you know what size and style is best for you, you could check ebay for a used one, which would cut the cost considerably. If there is no saddle fitter near you, you could consult your vet.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Naimi95 Original Poster Naimi95
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 14

    I rode with a bitless bridle yesterday, I didn’t let her go faster than a trot for half hour and she did very well. But as soon as I let her canter that was all she wanted to do and there was no slowing her down.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    That would, to me, fall under manners. Maybe she needs a refresher course in those. A horse who doesn’t do what you asked is not much fun (I have two of them). Does she longe? Maybe you could do that for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes before riding? Another thing, if you have enough space to do it, would be to make her turn in spirals, or turn in a direction in which she doesn’t want to go? Just be careful there is sufficient space that you and she don’t fall down. How does she carry herself while having all this fun? Collected? Strung out all over the place? Mine get strung out, so we work a LOT on collection, and if they don’t behave well at the walk and trot, we do not canter. They have both learned that if I say “halt”, I mean it, so that has helped. I would suggest that you find someone (a really experienced someone) who is qualified to help you, even if you have to trailer her miles and miles for lessons. Somewhere in the multitude of pages of my post about explaining that a show ring is not a racetrack, G&S gave a very good description of how to stop a horse, using all your muscles. Perhaps that would help you as well. It worked for me.

    It is never the horse's fault

    carrie_dobrin
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 19

    Norwegian Fjords definitely take some firm handling. They can be very headstrong. My riding instructor/trainer had me on one over the winter, as my usual lesson horse (until my mare foaled and the foal was weaned) becomes a complete mental case in the winter. He was headstrong until he got settled into proper riding (he is usually a theraputic riding horse) with me and my dressage trainer. He still had his moments of pig-headedness, but after a few weeks, he started responding to the leg and seat well. Find someone who has experience with the Fjords if you can. They are definitely not like most other horses.

    ecd
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Joe-Joe, just to clarify, an ‘o-ring dogbone snaffle’ is the Western equivalent of an English loose ring French link snaffle. My brief Western stint taught me that if you look carefully at the French link itself, it somewhat resembles the shape of a ‘dog bone.’

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Thanks! Sometimes my eyes just aren’t up to much computer searching. Unless it is my tired brain.

    My mare is now afraid of eggs.

    It is never the horse's fault

    ecd
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    I totally understand! Especially after long days at the barn (why ride when you can rehab instead?!)

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