Pelham Bits? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-21-2013, 09:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
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If he's dropping his head and you have a lot of weight in the bridle, I would look at a Pee Wee bit. I have had the same problem with my OTSTB who was a horrible puller on the track (to the point he has a healed but a torn lip and a jaw that was bruised at the bar from his pulling so hard) and was miserable to try and ride as he would pull you out of the saddle. I borrowed a Pee Wee from a friend and he stopped pulling immediately (he was very angry about that) and now he is a much calmer horse who realizes the bit is something we use for communication and not as leverage.

I use the bit still as he also has a very fleshy tongue and low palette so most snaffles even French Links irritates the roof of his mouth. He is gaited and will single foot wonderfully with just light contact. He is still learning and is very green for him racing for 8 years (he wasn't driven much he was towed behind another horse because of his pulling so he has a tendency to "zone out" and is learning his brain and attention are needed) and I found this bit gives very clear signals and I'm able to use just the lightest of finger pressure to get him to move.

I seldom use the bit as a fix but sometimes if a horse has an issue I found that finding a bit that is more comfortable to the horse can solve a lot of problems, after that it's just wet saddle pads.
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-05-2013, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
Are you cantering him on a circle, or straight lines?
Try working him on a 20m circle, leg yield in off your outside leg in trot down to an 8-10m circle, then leg yield back out. As you get to about 15-18m, ask for canter but continue to ask for leg yield. Only canter until you get back to a 20m circle, then back to trot and regain suppleness and rhythm before asking for canter again.

How about taking him out on a trail/wide flat field? Can you get off his back, go two point, keep your hands on his wither and just let him canter forwards until he finds his own feet.

It really does sound like he is just unbalanced, and putting more bit in his mouth isn't going to fix that. It might temporarily give you more leverage to pull him up, but it won't take long for him to go back to what he was. I would strongly advise to NOT go to a harsher bit at this stage. This is just a baby problem, if you start bitting up now, you'll run into harder problems later, and then where do you turn? Bit up again?
Stick with riding balancing exercises, not gripping onto him (if you're struggling to sit, you're going to be slamming into his back which will encourage him to run more. Try riding in two point for a while to save his back and yours) and simply letting him find his feet. Keep riding forward, never backwards. As soon as you start trying to pull backwards without putting leg on, you're going to throw him straight onto his front legs, which will encourage him to run on even more as he will be MORE unbalanced.
Sorry I didn't reply before, I didn't get an email notification till quite late.
Thanks for the advice about the two point.. I have never thought about this before, tried it the other day for the first time (just been sticking to trot in the school) and it worked well as i was able to keep the reins loose but not too loose, keep my balance and loose it from being out the saddle and let him do what he needed. He did rush and was on his forehand but I myself felt safer and more confident this way so hopefully now can canter him a bit more and leave him to find his own balance without trying to lean on me
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-06-2013, 10:38 AM
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ooh my favorite answer for canter issues!

trot trot and then trot some more. then trot more. trot hills, circles, patters, fig 8s. trot again. trot transitions walk trot walk trot. then trot some more.

better canter doesn't come from working more at the canter. better canter comes from better trot. so even thought your trot is good, there's some muscling lacking for your horse to not be able to balance (you said he's a bit on the fore in the canter).

the best way to test this is at the trot, without changing directions, change posting diagonals randomly and see how your horse reacts. if he throws his head up, hitches his stride, or bobbles or his balance/rhythm/cadence changes at all, he's ot as fit and balanced at the trot as you may think. you also should be able to change directions without the horse losing his balance or popping his head up or off the contact.

in this case, i would NOT recommend a stronger bit, as i believe the horse may slow down but will likely lean more or learn to balance off the bit. rather than you working to get stronger to hold your horse together (really, i want my horse to balance themselves! i will never be strong enough to hold up my horse!), i'd much prefer to see a horse learn to balance and work WITH the rider rather than one holding/supporting the other. this is not to say that there will never be a time when the rider needs to help and support the horse - this happens. but the idea and goal is to have the horse working towards self-carriage, regardless of discipline.

try the trot exercises, and once your trot is solid even with changes of diagonal, changes of direction, and all sorts of figures and shapes without breaking gait or balance, then try the canter. at that point, trying two point can help to let your horse figure out his balance without you in the tack and i'd be willing to bet the canter comes much more easily!

my OTTB i had for OVER A YEAR before we ever cantered. we trotted for a year! and when we did canter, it was soft, supple, and balanced :)

good luck!
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