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Old 06-18-2013, 05:54 AM   #1
Corry
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Default Spoiled forever for the hackamore? Or is there a chance?

I'd like to ask if someone is experienced in correcting horses who are tossing their head and are leaning on the hackamore. Is it possible to correct such a horse in the hackamore?

This is the szenario: Last week a student of mine brought me a 5-year old Arab gelding for training. The owner started the horse with a sidepull and rode him with the sidepull for more than a year. The owner used the sidepull in a poor manner so that the horse learned to either toss his head or lean on the sidepull.

I don't like sidepulls and since I thought that it would not make sense to use a hackamore in this case I tried a snaffle bit. I know that the owner rode the horse a few times with a snaffle bit. The horse is not afraid of the snaffle but so far he did not learn how to carry it and how it works. Insofar, this is no problem, I can teach him. But with the snaffle the head tossing is even worse even when I use the snaffle with so-called hackamore hands, i.e., I don't use the reins actively with pressure and release for positioning but hold them steadily offering him a frame to find his position by himself. This usually works fine. But not with him.

So I tried a hackamore. With every ride in the hackamore the tossing occurs less often but still emerges from time to time. The bigger issue is that he leans on the hackamore as he did in the sidepull. When I use subtle rein cues as I'm used to do with other horses he ignores them completely and continues leaning. When I use little bumps he tosses his head. So, he switches contantly forth and back from tossing to leaning. Usually, I don't use bumps but try to only balance the hackamore so that it can work by itself. If any support is necessary I only use my fingertips on the reins or close and open my hands. I learned to use the hackamore reins like bit reins. But with this horse that doesn't work because he is kind of desensitized with the sidepull.

I wonder whether it makes sense to go on using the hackamore. I'm inclined to use the snaffle. Do you think that there is a chance to correct the tossing and leaning with a hackamore? I'd prefer that way but there is a feeling in me that it would not work.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
GWSS
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Have you checked his teeth? I recently purchased a mare and started riding her in the hackamore. Lots of head tossing as you described. Checked her teeth and she needed a float badly. Floated the teeth and head tossing stopped. Just something to check out.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
Jimmy
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Five year old Arabian gelding, started and ridden poorly by the owner for more than a year. All I can say is, good luck with that. Bad scenario to start with. I would say, the horse has negative one year of training.
Riding a horse in a side pull is sometimes just because the person has no idea what to do with a either a snaffle or a hackamore. And Arabians bring their own difficulties to the table as well. It's just a mess you've got.
Whatever you choose to use, it has to be understood, and a horse usually resist in their head when they don't know what to do with their feet, or there is no connection to their feet. Or he's just plain nervous. Either way, he's troubled, and probably doesn't have a clue. If the head tossing is worse in the snaffle, he has to get in your hands to get steady, so it takes educated hands, and at this point, sounds like it may take a lot of pressure, more than you would like probably. I don't really know. This is what happens when people try to do-it-yourself. Home Depot horses. LOL
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:45 AM   #4
Jimmy
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Quite the contrary. My own horse is an Anglo. My daughter rides two of the top Anglo eventers in the country. I have trained two reserve national champion working cow-horse arabs. It is because I actually like Arabian horses that I get so disgusted about some of the people who own them and what they do to them. Many of them are not suited to the desires of their owners. But this could be any breed. I see the trouble, and I see the mess. It is a mess that can be straightened out, some horses make it, some don't, Be getter if they didn't get messed up to start with.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:59 AM   #5
Rex Easley
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Default head toss

I might try to use a large hackamore with a HEAVY hair rope. I have had some head tossers that really respond to the hair rope movement on the neck. I try not to take hold of the face but just really work the hair rope along side the neck and get quiet when the face gets quiet. I have found that if I can ignore the face, concentrate on the feet and balance, the face seems to fix itself. Most of these horses seem to need lots of support but they like it in the form of rein movement instead of trying to hold in frame. This is frustrating because you can offer it up for a couple of weeks and feel like you are getting nowhere then one day they find your body's balance point and the like comes on. Dont weaken!
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:10 AM   #6
Corry
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Thank you all very much for your valuable and kind answers

It's very helpful to hear your opinions. I will consider everything you mentioned.

Today, the ride was not so bad. He is a very smart and also a very nice guy. I like Arabian horses. They are willing to listen and to think it over. It's a pity that his owner really loves him but does not understand him at all. I see some positive development and I am a bit more optimistic than I was yesterday. I will go on riding him in the hackamore and see what we can accomplish. It will be a good deal of work, but if I could help him I'd be very happy. He is a really nice one and worth it.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:55 AM   #7
Jimmy
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What Rex said.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
sierrababyblue
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What Rex said. It might be helpful to make use of some hills and brush to get the reins hooked to his feet. There's a lot of opportunities to use natural barriers to get the horse focused on where he's going and how to use himself properly while doing so. The head tossing may quit when he figures out that he needs his head for balance.

On other thing when he ignores you when you change your balance/lift a rein/etc is to remind him who's in control with an effective double. There is an art to doubling and you definitely don't want to over do those, but they are quite useful to get the horse's attention. Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:11 AM   #9
Corry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrababyblue View Post
What Rex said. It might be helpful to make use of some hills and brush to get the reins hooked to his feet. There's a lot of opportunities to use natural barriers to get the horse focused on where he's going and how to use himself properly while doing so. The head tossing may quit when he figures out that he needs his head for balance.

On other thing when he ignores you when you change your balance/lift a rein/etc is to remind him who's in control with an effective double. There is an art to doubling and you definitely don't want to over do those, but they are quite useful to get the horse's attention. Good luck!
You are right. I think, using hills and brushes is one of the main concepts in vaquero style horsemanship. Giving the horse jobs to do. But exactly this element of training is one you cannot use in Germany to the extent you can at a lot of spots in the US. Germany is so narrow and crowded, there is not enough space for this kind of horse training outside the arena. You have to stay on ways, you are not allowed to ride through the woods or meadows. And there are streets everywhere. So, a horse you go trail riding with needs a certain amount of schooling before you leave the arena. Otherwise it's to dangerous. I have to admit that I'm envious of you in the US about the vastness you have.

But you gave me an idea Since he is so tensed up, I will ponying him with one of my horses. I will see that he gets some miles. Maybe he gets a bit more relaxed from that.

I'm not sure whether I want to use doubling on him. I usually do only a very mild form of doubling. Since he is so heavily leaning on the hackamore it would require a strong kind of doubling. I've never done that before because I so far could avoid to get into a situation in which it would be necessary. But, and this gives me another idea, I think I know someone who could do it. He has a knack for Arabian horses too and I'm sure he knows who to use a stronger kind of doubling appropriately. I will see how far we can get my way. Maybe I will ask this person later to help me with doubling, so both of us, the horse and I could learn something.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:47 PM   #10
Tosch
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So Corry, how are things going?
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