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Bitless bridle on hard mouthed horse?

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        10-07-2013, 03:44 PM
      #11
    Trained
    Honestly it's not a bit problem, it's a release problem. CA says horses don't have hard mouths, they have stiff bodies. I totally agree with that. Start over at the beginning asking him to walk and stop. Start with very light pressure then get harder until you get the answer you want. Release the pressure as he is starting to stop, not once he is already stopped.

    You also want to make sure you can flex him easily from side to side and that he will move off of both legs.
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    Corporal and gssw5 like this.
         
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        10-07-2013, 04:08 PM
      #12
    Trained
    Could you try riding him with a bitless bridle in a round pen, to check out how responsive he may be? I'm not a big fan of the cross-under styles, and I dislike any bitless bridle maker who claims you cannot hurt a horse with one, or that they give clearer communication, or that bits work on pain.
         
        10-07-2013, 04:27 PM
      #13
    Super Moderator
    All horses are different so what works for one might not work for another
    Horses that have been ridden in something harsh often run away from the bit so a hackamore like the English ones (I really like the Stubben design) can work well on them. We had great results using one on an OTTB that was unstoppable in a bit - he could take off with you at the trot and his whole neck and jaw would go rigid so you couldn't even turn him.
    I did have a horse that it didn't work on though and he was 'fixed' by putting him in a Cheltenham Gag using 2 reins so I only put pressure on the Gag rein when I needed too
    You might find that having him in a hackamore for a while will break the cycle of fear and dislike of a bit and he can eventually go back into a snaffle if you want too.
    I've never found that re-breaking a horse that's learnt how to run away from your hands works as well as finding a way to stop it from doing it.
    bsms likes this.
         
        10-07-2013, 06:41 PM
      #14
    Green Broke
    Gypsygirl and jaydee made good points.

    One being that a horse is stiff in the body will be hard in the face. That is where the stiffness is the most obvious to you. Work on being able to move his parts where you want with ease.
    On the other hand, some of the hard face may be an after effect habit and some sort of change of gear may help break the cycle of habit of him pulling on you.

    I bought a colt that was started last year and turned out for the past year and I just started riding him. Whoever started him was too much in his face and he has a horrible habit of yanking the reins away when you go to turning him and pretty tough in the face.
    After six rides it has gotten much better, I have identified his sticky parts and have been working on them. I don't worry about a "headset" and I am very deliberate about my seat and leg cues before using my reins. When I do use my reins they are bumps in time with his feet so he can not brace.
    I also switched what he is been ridden in to give him a different feel. I have been riding him in a hackamore(bosal) which will also tell you where your training holes are pretty quick as well ;)

    Good Luck!
         
        10-07-2013, 07:05 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corporal    
    Would you go to the shop and replace your new brake pads on your car with worn ones? That is what you are suggesting by going to a bitless bridles.
    Bitless bridles ONLY work on finished horses. I saw a 4yo horse on Julie Goodnight's program recently that stopped immediately with a weight aid, light rein aid and a verbal "Whoa." The verbal "Whoa" is what you horse needs to learn, bc THAT is a reliable stop. Then you build on that for control.
    I suggest a good month of ground training to retrain your horse to listen. Harsher bits will never work and certainly you will have a runaway with a bitless bridle.
    I'm going to respectfully disagree. My mare, who I would call an advanced greenie, was used as a commercial trail horse for her life till I bought her. Her mouth was hard - subtle signals just didn't get through to her. She is fantastic on the ground, and bareback, and even saddled with a halter. She hated the bit. She would go in it just fine, but her dislike was obvious no matter what bit we tried (and we tried several with no change in results). She'd ridden her whole life with dozens of strangers per day yanking this way and that on her mouth for years and even once we straightened out what signals meant what and she understood what I wanted, she didn't like doing it if it had bit pressure involved. She had a 'head scooping' habit that's only present when a bit is used - very long story about that, but it took a long time to figure out why she was doing it. She would tolerate it and work in it but was far from happy.

    She now rides in a little S and the first time I had it on her was a night and day difference. She listens a hundred times better. She no longer has her ears back when practicing certain things. She's calmer. Signals go through tons better - backing is a big one. I barely have to lift a finger for it. She no longer scoops her head, she will stand patiently if we're not working. It's an overall better, more pleasant experience for the both of us - and she's far from a finished horse.

    I guess what I'm getting at here is different things for different horses. Not all will work well bitless. And not all will be happy bitted, due to whatever circumstances. I don't think one can have a general blanket statement and be accurate.

    ETA: I initially was going to go bitless and work her back into a bit slowly. But she's so much happier and more responsive and willing to work that I'll probably stick with the little S.
    bsms likes this.
         
        10-07-2013, 07:52 PM
      #16
    Weanling
    Thanks guys! And I believe that corporal is simply concerned for the safety of myself and my horse, and is simply trying to get her point across, as she has responded in a similar mannner on my other threads related to this horse, and her advice has thus far proven sound. And yes, I do have access to a round pen. He is not so much runaway as he charges into things, and he was previously MUCH worse. And the issues I have with stopping him at the canter ONLY occur in the arena. I can ride him any speed safely outside the arena, with or without a saddle. He does not like to go to the left, but we believe this is due to diminished vision in the left eye, and he has made great improvement. All advice is appreciated! And this is not an issue of me thinking of trying him in a harsher bit, because I have decided that I will never put something in his mouth that I wouldn't want in mine. I will post a link to the bit he is in currently for opinions on it.
         
        10-07-2013, 08:01 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    This is exactly the bit he is in, except he is in a 4 3/4 inch mouth piece. It his favorite of the bits I have tried on him. Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Racing D Bit with Rubber Covered Mouth <>
         
        10-07-2013, 08:21 PM
      #18
    Trained
    Dang! My mare would hate that bit with a passion, but it just goes to show horses have their own ideas! BTW - my 13 hand BLM mustang HATES arenas, but is great out on a trail. Go figure...
         
        10-07-2013, 08:25 PM
      #19
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corporal    
    Would you go to the shop and replace your new brake pads on your car with worn ones? That is what you are suggesting by going to a bitless bridles.
    Bitless bridles ONLY work on finished horses. I saw a 4yo horse on Julie Goodnight's program recently that stopped immediately with a weight aid, light rein aid and a verbal "Whoa." The verbal "Whoa" is what you horse needs to learn, bc THAT is a reliable stop. Then you build on that for control.
    I suggest a good month of ground training to retrain your horse to listen. Harsher bits will never work and certainly you will have a runaway with a bitless bridle.
    a bosal is used to teach a horse EVERYTHING before a bit is used. Traditional bridle horses are taught headset, reining, speed control, collection, everything in a bosal then double bridled with a spade bit..has worked for hundreds of years, don't don't see any reason to change now.
    AnrewPL likes this.
         
        10-07-2013, 08:27 PM
      #20
    Yearling
    How well can you ride? How good are your hands? And do you know how to retrain a horse that has taught to be hard? If the answer to these are all positive, that you can ride well (training green horses well) that you have good hands, and that you know how to soften a horse up, after someone else has made it hard, then I’d say you could probably do it with a bitless bridle (BB).
    “The only bitless bridle” I’m familiar with is a traditional hackamore, so I can’t comment on the action of any bitless bridle other than that, but, assuming you know what you are doing, you could retrain the horse into the BB. Having said that though, if you know what you are doing, you could restart the horse in a snaffle bit fine, I have done it plenty of times, it is possible.
         

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