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Barrel Horse with no rate..bit help?

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    06-19-2011, 04:30 PM
Originally Posted by Ace80908    
I agree with bitting up - I do this on Scooby when he wants to be fussy. It is much easier to bit him up, loose at first, and then lunge him and let him fight himself. I listen to my ipod and let him figure it out. Then when he softens, I tighten it up and let him figure out where his head needs to be to get a release from pressure.
Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question but I've never heard the phrase bitting up ever..Could you explain it a little better?

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    06-19-2011, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Fiinx    
Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question but I've never heard the phrase bitting up ever..Could you explain it a little better?

It usually means putting bigger and tougher bits on the horse. I am with SMROBS. Too many people automatically go to a tougher bit when a horse gets strong. I retrain sour horses and many come with this issue. The first thing I always do is put a MUCH softer bit on a horse. It is amazing how many times this improves the horse. I think too many horses are over bitted and they are resisting and fighting the pain/strength of the bits on them.

I love bit #3 that bubba13 showed. I like Bit #2 OK, but I would avoid #1, personally. I don't like any broken mouth curb. Either go curb leverage or go snaffle "nutcracker"....both not both, IMHO.
    06-19-2011, 04:56 PM
"Bitting up" refers to the idea of putting a horse in a harsher bit for a few rides to get their respect back and get them listening to the bit again. I am not a huge fan of people doing this unless they really know what they are doing. There is a fine line between doing it right and lightening them up and doing it wrong and making them worse.

Wild_Spot hit the nail on the head, if the horse is not responding to your cues to slow and rate, then pulling harder with both reins certainly isn't going to help. Completely ditch the idea of stopping or slowing down by using both reins for a while. Start at the walk and ask for the stop with your seat and legs. If she doesn't stop, then take one rein and use a one-rein stop. Then do it again...and again...and again, switching up which rein you take to stop her. She'll soon start listening to your seat and legs and when she's solid with that, you can move up to the trot. Then, when she's solid at the trot, you can move up to the lope. When she's solid at all 3 gaits like that, then you can begin to re-introduce the two-rein stop at the beginning, with the walk. Of course, you can only do this effectively in a standard snaffle.

Clinton Anderson has an excellent video about this that I saw on TV. I can't find the video but here is a good article about it.
Clinton Anderson: Using the One-Rein Stop for Western Lope Control Slideshow

There isn't going to be a quick fix and you probably won't see improvement in just a couple of sessions. It will take lots of time, patience, and repetition.

Edited to add: Breaking at the poll often isn't something that will come in one ride. On a horse that is already bracing, you have to be that much more perfect about releasing pressure at the exact right moment. If you get her soft every other way, then breaking at the poll will come in time with proper handling.
    06-19-2011, 05:01 PM
Ok that makes sense now. Thanks. I think I will actually try riding her again later today as earlier we just did a short trail ride and walked in the arena. I have been looking everywhere to find how to soften your horse but I can't find any good topics. Is there anything that you do that works? I used a d ring snaffle with copper rollers. I didnt put a curb chain on her and used very light hands. When I added pressure she would push her nose out and resist it rather than give into it...
    06-19-2011, 05:06 PM
Smrobs, I am going to try the one rein stop and read more into that article. The thing I may be concerned with on how effective it will be is that she is a verrrryyyy touchy mare. If I so much as move my rein to one side or the other she turns. Do you think this would be a problem? Or if she turns do I just wait for her to stop..? Thanks
    06-19-2011, 05:14 PM
When she pushes against the bit, take one rein and push her into a tiny circle and keep working her until she softens to your hand. If she is content to lean on you, don't be afraid to give her a decent bump in the mouth. Getting a soft horse is about being soft with your hands and giving a good release at the right time, but that's not all. You also need to know when you need to be hard and how hard you have to be to get the best response.

Don't worry about getting her to break at the poll right now, stop using two reins for anything so long as she is bracing against you. Bracing against bit pressure from pulling straight back is one of the easiest things for a horse to brace against and ignore. Use one rein to stop her, one rein to slow her down, get her soft and supple to each side. If you work and get her 100% solid on every bit of that, you might be surprised to find that she'll be quick to break at the poll when she has her mind right again.

ETA: if she turns when you pick up one rein, then just let her turn until her feet stop and she's soft and bent to the side. Sometimes it takes 3 circles, sometimes 300, you just have to outlast them.
    06-19-2011, 05:19 PM
Great thank-you! I will try this and let you know how it goes!! Thanks bunches everyone
    06-19-2011, 05:26 PM
No problem . I hope it helps you out.
    06-19-2011, 05:40 PM
Exactly what Smrobs said - easiest way to get her to break at the poll is to forget about breaking at the poll and get her giving laterally, perfectly every time. It is very hard for a horse to brace effectively or raise/push out their head when you have one rein flexing them.

So lots of small circles with her head flexed to the inside, but your inside leg keeping her body out on the circle. She should only turn when she gets a signal from seat, leg and rein. She needs to learn that an open rein doesn't necessarily mean turn unless it is accompanied the the aids from seat and leg - because you want to be able to ask for her face or change the bend through her body using that inside rein, too. Lots of yielding away from your inside leg (crossing her legs over) with her bend away from the direction of travel also helps gaming horses a lot, because it makes it very easy to step them away from your barrel/pole if needed without losing the correct shape through the body.
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    06-19-2011, 06:49 PM
When I suggested bitting back--and when Ace suggested "bitting up"--we didn't mean switching to a harsher bit, but rather to fastening the reins down low and working the horse from the ground.

Like so: Purpose of tying a horses head down?

barrel racing bits

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