Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tying Around

Well today was my big interview, so after recovering from that, I went out to see Louie for some stress relief. It was too cold to work him and we have no footing, so we did another bitting session, this time standing still for the most part. We started by tying around to each side. First I tied him around to the left, with probably a foot between his mouth and the surcingle. I let him wear that for a minute or two and it seemed fairly obvious that he had not encountered this type of bitting before as he fought with it. At first when I checked him to the side he started doing circles like they all do, then he started trying to back away from the pressure, and after about a minute he figured out to just stand and give with his neck. When he stood for a good bit of time (maybe 30 seconds), I released him, let him relax a while, then checked him to the right. Much to my suprise he was tighter to the left than the right, or at least he protested to the left more than the right. He stood very nicely and figured it out quickly to the right, so after I released that side, I checked him back to the left one more time for a little extra stretch on that side. He only spent about 4-5 minutes total being checked to a side, but this will be able to be increased if needed in the future, especially should he develop a one-sided dominance or tightness. After the tying around, I checked him straight back and up with the sidecheck. He produced a beautiful headset, more that of a hunter than a saddle seat horse, but I think with some work and as he grows this may change.

The one thing I struggled with today was Louie chewing on his bits- he has done this some throughout the time I've owned him, but I really noticed it today. He actually bites his bit with his teeth repeatedly and intentionally and in a grinding manner. I'm not sure whether it is out of boredom, frustration, pulling on the bitting rig, or if something is not fitting well in his mouth, but this worries me a little bit that he does this. I plan to have the equine dentist out this spring to check his teeth, as I am sure they will need some adjustment. Louie also does not like the crupper- just going to put it on he squirms around and clamps his tail trying to avoid it. I think we just need more regular work with it.

We are supposed to have a heat wave (up to mid 30's!) this weekend, so I am hoping to get out and actually work my baby for a change!


  1. For the crupper, try wrapping his tail in an ace bandage. Bob Ruxer gave me that tip, and it works. Keep wrapping the tail until he learns to accept the crupper. Grey still gooses the crupper if I let him to canter with it because when he lengthens his back, it tightens up. But then, cruppers were really never designed to canter in, so I forgive him.

  2. Crupper: I use a stretchy track bandage rather than an ace bandage, but same trick... I also start desensitizing them to carrying "stuff" under their tails by taking a nice soft hand towel, rolling it up, and making them carry that while grooming for a few days or a week. After that I'll go to the tail wrap, then introduce the crupper.

    Are you sure he hasn't had tail hairs stuck in it? This is one thing you should always check for, as well as checking after EVERY use to be sure it's not rubbing his skin off.

    You can also try rubbing Vaseline on the crupper, and on the tailbone where the crupper makes contact, to make it "slippier".

  3. thanks ladies- he doesn't mind wearing it once it's on, but he hates having it put on. I will try wraping it. It is going to be one of those questions in the future if I want to put him in a bustle or anything- how is THAT going to go? I'm a little nervous about when I eventually teach him to drive too- he has caught my line with his tail once or twice while long lining.

  4. Tail stretches. Make it part of your grooming routine until #1 he doesn't expect every time you pick up his tail you're going to install a crupper and of course #2 he gets really really used to it. This will also help his tail carriage.
    If you buy a horse who is older and has his tail set, you are dealing with a very desensitized horse.

  5. Brita I think you hit it right on the head. I am so used to Social, who I believe did have his tail cut at one point in time, that I'm not used to dealing with the horse who isn't used to this whole ordeal. I was stretching his tail quite a bit when I first got him, but haven't been lately. I have been trying to decide the fate of his tail, lol I guess we need to decide what discipline he is going to do. I'll get back into the stretching program again here. Thank you!