|Louisiana 5 year old Paso Fino with professional
training ridden in paso bit, mid spoon, 4" shank and McClellan
saddle in round pen, pasture by intermediate rider.
Question: Won't flex under saddle or during ground work. I got the mare
last spring, she was in foal when we got her and was put up for the last
two months before she foaled and
Was told by one of the old time trainer I know to tie her head to the
D of the saddle and work her in the round pen slowly taking up any slack
until she is flexed, then work the other side in the same manner.
Doing this each day on the ground then move to doing it under saddle.
Is there a better way?
From Panelsits Lee
Yes. Your first problem is asking for a lateral flex from a horse that doesn't know how to do it in a curb bit. Start on the ground, in a halter. Stand at her side, about half way between her shoulder and head. Hold the side of the noseband of the halter, and ask her gently to bend her neck toward you. She may have trouble. If she tries to slew her entire body around instead of bending her neck, stand her next to a solid fence or wall so that she can't move sideways with her haunches.
Gently and gradually ask her to bend her neck, with little pulls and slacks (tremors) on the halter. Offer her a bribe of a carrot or something to encourage her to bend. The first time, ask for only a few inches of bend, in both directions, obviously. Next lesson ask for a little more. Eventually ( and this may take several weeks) she will be able to easily bring her nose to her shoulder when you vibrate the side of the halter. When she can do that on the ground (and it is better to do it this gradual way than to force her into it by tying her to anything, IMO) then you can ask the same way from the saddle, preferably in a serretta and not the bit. Eventually she should be able to do it in the bit with no problems.
However, there may be more than just muscle stiffness and lack of understanding preventing her from flexing -- if she is not able to do this at all, even on the ground, consult a chiropractor.
From Panelsits Carol
Thanks for your inquiry. I would strongly prefer not to tie the horse's head in a position that she can't change. If the bend put her in extreme pain, she might flip herself over backward and get hurt real bad in an attempt to escape. I reccommend that you go back to the bosal, the type commonly used on Pasos, or a string halter, and, from the ground, put a little steady pressure on one rein and see if she will give to it even a little bit. If she will even tip her nose, you may be able to gradually build this into a bend. If she moves her feet, that's ok, just release only when she bends. If she stops moving that's ok too.
After you're comfortable that she's not going to be violent, you can
do this from the saddle. If you need your regular bridle on, add
it on top of the bosal or string halter. If after several repetitions
of this routine (let's just say 10 minutes of bends and then releases for
10 minutes for 7 workouts), you are not seeing much improvement, I would
get her seen by an equine chiropractor. I know you guys are going
to get tired of me saying this over and over, but if a horse is in pain
when asked to do a particular move, you've
Carol Camp Tosh
From Panelist Laura
This is a good method which is safe for you and the horse. Don't tie her head back for too long at a time. Usually just 5 - 15 min. Look for her to relax and give to the bit, then immediately untie her. You can do this gently under saddle, but since she is fighting you, the ground method would probably be safer for you and more straightforward for her.
From Panelist Liz
Good luck and have fun!
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