Originally Posted by bubba13
You want a soft mouth and relaxed jaw, sure, but the word chew, to me at least, implies jaw movement and/or teeth grinding and/or actually grabbing the bit in the teeth--all of which are undesirable behaviors. Now that may be a terminology thing, but if so, it's misleading, and regardless, it's not something you can 'make' a horse do. And who cares if the horse is 'chewing' so long as the mouth is, in fact, soft? Any way you look at it, the OP's trainer's advice was either misinterpreted or misguided.
It's a Dressage forum where we're talking about Dressage riding and Dressage training with Dressage coaches so it makes sense that Dressage terminology is used.
There are a couple signals the horse gives when his mouth is indeed, soft. He should relax into the contact and not lean, he should allow manipulation of the jaw and be should softly chew and create a nice lipstick of foam, especially by the corners of the mouth. If we can notice when working with a horse, regardless of having a but in the mouth or not, when he is understanding and in a calm and submissive state, he will chew. Countless nh trainers talk about this phenomenon in the "join up" or whatever you'll call it (and coincidentally - they also refer to it as "chewing" as it is the same jaw movement as when the horse is chewing hay), its the same thing in Dressage but with tack and a rider.
The most important thing to remember when we want a soft and relaxed jaw is the hind end, when the horse is rhythmical and relaxed while moving up to the contact he can develop schwung and supplenness (straight from the training scale). The riders hand only serves to maintain the contact and manipulate the jaw to test suppleness.
Good luck op! Posted via Mobile Device