Bit/noseband advice - mare opening mouth - help needed!

Fiona

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Flora is normally ridden in a double jointed happy mouth loose ring snaffle and a cavesson noseband. She works nicely in this combination most of the time, isn't hard to stop or turn etc. However she will sometimes open her mouth slightly. Her teeth were checked and rasped (by vet) about a month ago, and her mouth is always nice and wet and foamy when being ridden.

Last week I thought I would experiment a bit, and changed her cavesson to a grackle, but she was very fixed and resistant in her contact (with me and OH) so swapped her back to the cavesson yesterday and for our event today.

Now she didn't do a good test today (the ground was v soft on the tracks in the arenas - at one stage she jumped sideways off the centre line onto the better ground) and got a couple of "tense and against the hand" comments on her sheet. I am worrying now that the judge has picked up on the mouth opening and has marked down hard as a resistance, any suggestions for what to try/do next.

She normally gets a good dressage mark (has had a 29 and a 34 this year), and I didn't notice her mouth opening any worse than normal today.

Should I experiment more with different bits or try and improve it in some other way??

This is a picture earlier in the season (this is about the worst the problem is..)

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For anyone whose interested, OH was so fed up after the dressage we withdrew and came home. Our fields are like a swamp after all day torrential rain, even our lorry was letting in a bit of water round one of the wheel arches by the time we had driven home through all the standing water across the roads.

Whoever is doing the rain dance - will you please stop. I want our summer back.

Fiona
 

trefilan

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A flash or a drop? drops look old fashioned but sometimes they work the best as they don't clamp shut higher up the horses nose.
 

Fiona

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It wasn't a mexican grackle, just an ordinary one, so it probably sat in around the same place that a flash would. No offence whatsoever to those who use them, but I hate the look of a drop noseband. I just think they make most horses heads look terribly big and long. I guess if it worked though, I would have to go with it. Anyone got one I could borrow to try??

Fiona
 

KatB

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Try a mexican grackle, so much nice than a normal grackle or flash
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She does look like she may have the potential to look a bit "fixed" against the hand... sorry you had a not so good day
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This rain isnt great.
 

Fiona

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Thanks K - I have a mexican grackle as well for her good bridle - I can try it at the start of the week.

I guess what I'm asking though at the moment - which is the worse resistance, the tension I can feel in her jaw in a grackle, or the opening of the mouth in a cavesson.

Don't want to throw dressage marks away when she can go so well.

Fiona
 

KatB

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No I agree. I think its trying to get a happy medium, because opening her mouth is a form of resistance too. I think normal grackles can encourage them to fix, as can flashes, so its just finding something she relaxes in I think?
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only_me

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merlin has been through a phase of opening his mouth when i had a flash on, and would resist it. so i took it off and he has not resisted because he cant - he is in a simple cavesson.

a drop almost has the same action as a flash, so you may be better trying the mexican grackle as it sits in a different place to normal nosebands. i may be trying a grackle to try and stop merlin's new trick of chucking his head out in a dressage test!
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sat inside today thinking - how can anyone go xc in this let alone dressage/sj?!? it wasnt the rain, it was the fact that it was so consistent rain
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what was the 1* xc like? strong or easy?
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merlin and i are off to tatts to do our first one
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SillyMare

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I had that exact conversation about Lex in a dressage lesson today (she sounds very similar to your mare - my question to him was drop vs flash).

He made a very good point - the reason Lex opens her mouth is because she isn't happy with something I am doing with my hands. I can clamp her mouth shut, but that won't solve the problem, she will still be unhappy. If I want to progress to higher levels, that unhappiness will re-surface somewhere else.

The answer to my problem is improve my hands (can you guess what the theme of our lesson became?).

So on balance we are not going with a change of noseband - I have homework!
 

kirstyhen

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[ QUOTE ]
and her mouth is always nice and wet and foamy when being ridden

[/ QUOTE ]

This isn't necessarily a good thing, my horse excessively foams and dribbles when he is tight in his neck. Usually when he doesn't like the bit, but also when he is uncomortable in the poll. It prevents him from swallowing.
I've had to play no end with bits, but the major difference came when he had his back treated. His Atlas and Axis vertebrae where out of alignment and it was causing him pain when bridled to swallow. I have a much happier pony now, and much cleaner clothes!
grin.gif


Just an idea. Although my horse did foam quite alot more than in that picture!
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Skhosu

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oh dear, we withdrew before xc as well as it was so horrible and just wasn't working for us, at least you maybe got home before the horrendous floods hit?
 

Fiona

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I must admit to liking the fact that she is ridden in a cavesson - it seems like admitting defeat to have to change now. What homework did you get??

FIona
 

Fiona

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Flooding all around us, and worsening by the hour as the river is now overflowing in more and more places. Sorry it wasn't happening for you either today. Did it rain at Kircubbin later on - when we left at 2.30 it was still dry, but weren't far up the road when it started, and was really heavy.

Fiona
 

Fiona

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I had her back checked a fortnight ago though and was perfectly OK according to physio. She had a lot of work done to in on her last visit about 6 weeks ago, so I was glad she was OK this time. Thanks though.

FIona
 

Fiona

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It wasn't raining when we were at Kircubbin, it was just the wet underfoot. At home though a neighbour said it rained solidly from 11 to about 8 this evening.
Kircubbin novice is twisty, not too many skinnies, but a big bounce, a devils dyke type closed combination and a double of trakheners. Water was nice today, new brush fence 2 strides before drop into water and then out over the white log. Maybe not for a very first novice, but OK after that. I've jumped my 14.2 over the trakheners, but they usually cause a few stops.
GOod luck for Tatts - we may be going down as well as it is the Sportsmans championships (are you staying over??)

FIona
 

Fiona

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I think I'll try the mexican grackle adjusted quite high up (as the normal one sat just below her cheekbone) in case there is any difference. Would rather stick with the cavesson though, and can't go milder in the bit department unless a nathe snaffle is any milder than a happy mouth??

FIona
 

Fiona

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No not directly threatening us, though horses had to go in a different field tonight, just access really. Few of our neighbours are pretty stranded though, tractor access only at the moment.

Thanks


Fiona
 

KatB

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I prefer Nathe, but thats just my preference
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G for ages went best in a nathe straight bar and a mexican, because he had nothing in his mouth to resist against and kept soft through his jaw in the mexican. he is a gobby git though!! Have you tried her in a thinner metal bit? May just be struggling for room in her mouth hence opening it?
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Fiona

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I tried a thin double jointed metal bit last week, and she wasn't keen. She was broken in a quite a chunky copper snaffle, so I don't think she is bothered about the thickness or otherwise of the bit. The happy mouth is v light and moveable, but maybe she would be better with something even softer.
Can't see me being able to borrow a nathe though, might have to see if I can buy one.

FIona
 

SillyMare

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[ QUOTE ]
I must admit to liking the fact that she is ridden in a cavesson - it seems like admitting defeat to have to change now. What homework did you get??

FIona

[/ QUOTE ]

I have to work on habing an independent seat / hands / legs. Aparently I tend to brace against my stirrups and go hard and tight in my back which makes her hollow against me and then I struggle to keep her soft and she opens her mouth.

My homework is lots of work without stirrups focusing on keeping my back soft by relaxing my stomach muscles a bit (if that makes sense).

When I do rising trot, I just have to roll my hips a bit (so not really leaving the saddle).

When I use my stirrups, I need to sort of keep my feet light in them so I'm not bracing and becoming hard.

If I get it right (which is always easy in a lesson and SO difficult on your own at home isn't it!), she softens her back and relaxes so the problem with her mouth goes away.
 

Fiona

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It might be my elbows as well as my back then which is the problem, but I will have a good session in the school in the next few days thinking about what you've said. I must be odd, but I quite enjoy riding without stirrups, and she goes well normally (better than with stirrups sometimes).

Thanks

Fiona
 
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