I feel so bad - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 02:18 AM
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If you look at your curb bit, every inch of the curb shank adds more pressure to the horse's mouth. So, a 3 inch curb bit means that if you pull with 1 pound of pressure, 3 pounds of pressure is put on the horse's mouth. If you pull with 5 pounds, then you create 15 pounds of pressure in the horse's mouth. Now, with that math in mind, can you image how much the force of your hands is multiplied when you yank on a horse's mouth? A 10lb pull is about 30lbs on the horse. Now, I'm not trying to make you feel any worse, but with a snaffle/halter/bosal, you get a 1-1 ratio. That means you pull 1, you get 1. You pull 5, you get 5.

One of my main objectives when I ride is sensitizing the horse to the bit, and being aware of the pressure I put on him. If I were to constantly ride with 5 pounds of pressure in his mouth, it will take me 10 pounds to get him to react, and so on and so forth. So my goal is to ride with 0 pounds of pressure in the mouth until I want a direct action from him. Then my goal is to only use maybe 1 pound of pressure, and then less and less. And this is in a snaffle. I want no more than 2 pounds of pressure ever on my horses mouth when I am going in a very collected frame - which means I get to hold in a snaffle, and barely touch the reins in a curb. And for western pleasure and english pleasure, I essentially want tiny, tiny increments of pressure to achieve my headset. The rest I do with my leg.

Now, to sensitize a horse, you need to think of pressure and release. When you start in a rope halter, pull your horse's head to his side and hold with steady pressure until he "dips" and give a big, immediate release. How much pressure did it take for you to pull his head around? How long did it take until he sought the release? If you had to pull hard and wait a long time, your horse is not sensitive to seeking that release from your hands. You need to teach him to seek the release and the less pressure he will have. I want to do this exercise so much on the ground and in the saddle that all I need is a pinky's amount of pressure for my horse to turn his head and "give". This will help immensely with hip disengagements, and getting your horse's attention back.

A horse that is stiff in the neck is stiff in the body, and stiff in the mind.

You will immediately see a great change in the way your horse reacts to a simple snaffle bit.
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Last edited by oh vair oh; 07-27-2012 at 02:21 AM.
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by EvilHorseOfDoom View Post
Everyone else is covering the other questions in your post pretty well, so I'll just add - horses don't cry when they're upset. What you saw is probably a reaction to an insect or some dust getting in the eye.
LOL I know !!! LOL I was just saying the fact that it looked like he was crying made me feel even worse. I know horses don't physically cry
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 02:25 AM
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I agree with Just dressageit. I mean, about the circles and such to deal with his energy being amped. Sorry that the place makes that so challenging. So, have to get creative here, . . .let's see.

WEll, I also agree with Oh vair oh that you will want to get some good ground work skills going. That way , after your ride, you can take the bridle off, put the halter on (or have it under the bridle) and lead him from the arena to the barn, requireing that he pay attention and follow correctly. being able to do that takes practice, and best is done with the guidance of a trainer , if you haven't done much ground work on your own.

I am a big proponant of using circleing/disengagements to deal with a horse that is trying to ignore the bit. But, as said earlier, you really need a regular snaffle to do such direct rein work. This kind of work requires that you take up one rein and virtually drop the other one to get the horse to bend around and to swing that hip over. IN a curb , it's not really possible.

From what I've seen of Flash, he is kind of stiff. I mean, "bracey". He does not like to bend his neck much and stays pretty "boardy" all the time. The circles, disengagements will help him a lot to get softer all around, in body and toward the bit.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses guys, I will take everything into consideration and apply it when I go out. I will however start using the snaffle bit for sure. I don't think I pulled back /down as hard as I thought, but it was harder than I've ever had to pull on any horses mouth
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 03:29 AM
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honestly, I think anyone who has ridden for any length of time has jerked their horse's mouth in frustration. (and regretted it, just like you)

It's a very human response and certainly not the end of the world.
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 10:57 AM
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When things like this happen, you have to stay calm so that the horse won't feel your panic and get startled. Flash was probably very energetic that day, and you might have wanted to ride him and exercise him longer than 20 minutes to prevent him from being so energetic. I've made mistakes exactly like leaving a gate open, and just next time be sure to walk in, turn him around to face the gate and close it then get back to riding.
Now, about yanking back on the reins. I think you should have walked him in circles to prevent him from rearing or not yank back on the reins, but simply do the buzzer noise. The buzzer noise (ah-ah-ah) can get a horse's attention most of the time if you're loud enough. This will make him turn his attention back to you.
You could have pulled back on the reins hard, but not too hard and simply say
But don't say "whoa" softly, say it loudly. However say it slowly so that the horse will not sense any panic in your voice. When a rider typically says "Whoa" it tends to sound panicky to a horse, even if you didn't mean it to. That may have been another cause as to why Flash suddenly reared up, because he thought you were the one panicking.
Also, horses don't cry. I'm sure that they have feelings, but they never cry. It was most likely something caught in his eye that caused his eye to tear.
Hoped this helped and don't feel bad about this situation anymore, we all have our moments about things like this and the most important thing is to move on from the mistakes and learn. Good luck!!
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