Getting Horse To Stretch Into The Bit - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-15-2013, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Getting Horse To Stretch Into The Bit

Hey, so I would like to know how to get your horse to stretch into the bit. Like, have the horse on the bit and not stargazing as my gelding does when trotting.
More like the dark bay, and less like the lighter bay.
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-16-2013, 07:22 PM
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Well, look at those two pictures. On the left you have a well balanced rider. Her feet are under her center of gravity. Her hands are a smidge high, but if you draw a line out her elbows to the bit, it would be nearly straight. Rider position and balance are the most important ingredients in influencing a horse to move correctly.

Now look at the pic on the right. The rider is in a chair seat. Her feet are far in front of her center of gravity. With every post, she comes down toward the rear of the saddle putting stress on her horse's back. Her line from elbow to bit is severely broken putting lots of pressure on the bars of the horse's mouth. If you were the horse, would you want to stretch forward into that?

There's a lot that goes into getting a horse to stretch into contact. The best place to start where the horse is concerned is the dressage training scale. The most important thing you need to do is have a correct a position as possible. Understanding how your position affects your horse's movement will go a long way toward getting the ball rolling in the right direction. Little hint, use large circles and riding a few feet off the rail help put your horse onto the outside rein and encourage proper bend through the body.

If all this makes no sense, read either "Build a Better Athlete", "Cross Training Your Horse" or "Centered Riding". All have the ingredients to get you heading in the right direction.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-17-2013, 12:21 PM
Join Date: May 2013
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Great things mentioned, Puck.

I believe on that second picture someone even used a red line to show how the line from the riders hand to the bit is not straight, but V shaped.

On top of all of this, the idea of constant, consistent contact must be established. Start slow and work your way up, beginning with a strong inside leg to outside rein feel. I'd be willing to bet every time that girl on the right posts, she moves her hands up and down, throwing away the contact then finding it again which leads to a jerk on the horses mouth every stride.

Start by getting a nice, swinging, forward walk from your boy and just focus on relaxation and taking a feel of the reins. You want to be able to feel the horse's mouth in your hands, but not roughly. I like to think of it as two people holding hands- you aren't squeezing and jerking on your friends wrist, but you are quietly there and feeling them.

I also like to work on inside and outside bending, in and out spirals, and square corners to really get in tune with that outside rein and stretch down and into the bending.

Getting an instructor out every once in a while to help you put these concepts in motion is great too. Once your horse realizes how good it feels to stretch down over his topline, he will be so much happier and more willing to do all these things for you.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-17-2013, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Thanks you guys! I'll keep this in mind! :)
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