Saturday, April 3, 2010


Izzy and I had a crappy ride this morning. I'm not sure why. Part of it was that she was pulling down (hard!) on the bit, then throwing her head in the air and running forward. Whenever I attempted to pick up contact, she would throw her head again. I was doing pretty well at regulating her speed with my posting, but that was probably the only thing I was doing well. We couldn't really get organized. I couldn't get her focused. (Yes, we were riding in the bubble). We couldn't do much of anything because Izzy was super looky and there was a lesson going on.

I'm not sure how to account for this. Part of me wants to say that asking her to pick up a contact and carry herself forward means lifting her back into the rub, which hurts so she throws her head. Another part of me says that Consistent contact is new to Izzy and Izzy hates change, so she's trying to figure it out and having fits on the way.

I think the second explanation makes more sense. She's fussing about her face, not her back. When she doesn't like her saddle, she doesn't go forward. We've been through this over and over. She's kind of in a phase right now where she doesn't want to stand for anything and she just wants to go. That's probably partly because she hasn't been turned out in over a week due to the rain, snow, and slick mud that we're stuck with right now.

I sympathize with her, but it's driving me nuts. Is it too much to ask to have one decent riding day once in a while? Grrrr.


  1. What happens if you ride the back end of the horse, and forget about the head? - get the back end organized and engaged, and maybe the front will take care of itself - engagement behind has little to do with contact with the mouth, and in fact can occur without any contact at all. I suspect she can't take contact because she isn't engaged, or can't engage, behind - it probably has nothing to do with her head. Also try some maneuvers that don't weight both reins equally - serpentines, circles, other figures, so you can use inside leg to outside rein - that sometimes does the trick. Good luck!

  2. I agree with Kate. Can you get her moving forward into the contact so it's not like you're holding her down, but asking her to be through and round?

    Also, do her teeth need to be done? Lucy was being a real pill a few weeks ago, which really isn't like her at all. Whenever I'd pick up the contact, she'd fling her head and pull the reins out of my hands, or try to take off...I called the dentist and he came out and looked at her and there were quite a few sharp points and hooks that had developed. I noticed a huge difference after her teeth had been worked on.

  3. I was wondering about teeth too. Might be worth a check.

    Chance tends to do some of that head flinging stuff to, mostly when he loses his balance--even laterally. I just grit my teeth and try to keep the contact even no matter what he does. And yes, getting the back end engaged does help a lot.

  4. Teeth are def a good idea to check. Also, mabye try varrying up your routine. If it is an attitude thing, it might help to constantly engage her from behind and keep transitioning into different exercises. Shelly had days where she did the same thing to me. Threw up her head, spooked at nothing. Once I kept her mind busy the rest seemed to work itself out.


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