info and help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-09-2013, 04:46 AM Thread Starter
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info and help

Hi I have an ex racer who will not come on contact with the bit he will only grab hold and then I have no control.I do have an instructor and she has advised me to use a waterford Snaffle Mexican grackle and draw reins is this a hard set of tack or not.I do ride really loose reined so there not in hard hands
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-09-2013, 06:30 AM
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I am not familiar with that bit, so no comment there but in my experience and in my opinion draw reins are not going to fix the problem they are only putting a band-aid on it. The way I have fixed this type of problem in the past is do lots of lateral flexion. Start on the ground in a halter teach the horse to give laterally with light pressure, then do it from the ground using a snaffle bit. Horses learn from the release of pressure so as soon as he gives you his nose release. When he gets light on the ground do it from his back, first at a stand still, then ask for a walk and stop him with one rein when he softens release. When he is light at the walk move to a trot then a canter. If he resists bump him off the bit with rein. Make sure to practice on both sides, if he goes to fast at a trot shut him down with one rein you may only get three or four strides then shut him down. Vertical flexion begins with lateral flexion. Your horse has a stiff body something that stronger bits and draw reins will not fix.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-09-2013, 11:19 AM
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if I may also add..

jockeys tend to balance on the reins from what I have seen. This can take several weeks to undo, following the advise above should help...and personally, if a trainer is suggesting more bit and gear to try to force a horse..find a new trainer
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-09-2013, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by sorral3 View Post
and personally, if a trainer is suggesting more bit and gear to try to force a horse..find a new trainer
Absolutely agreeing with sorral here. If your trainer can't just go back to basics & tells you to use 50 million different pieces of equipment - they aren't worth their money. My barn gets in tons of off the track TBs. Some of them require a bit stronger of bits, most of them don't. None of these horses ever required specific nosebands, bits, & extra junk to accomplish a horse to come on contact.

The waterford bit I can understand as I've heard they're a bit harder for horses to really grab & take off with. It might be something you could give a try. If he doesn't like it or still seems to grab the bit real bad, might as well stick with a regular single or double joint snaffle. The Mexican Grackle seems unnecessary as it just closes the jaw shut higher than a regular crackle or figure 8. I can't see how this would help much as he's already grabbing the bit & taking off with it sort of deal. A regular noseband adjusted properly will work fine. And if you've never worked with draw reins before - I heavily advise against using them as you can do more damage than good. You can easily create false frames, collections, bit evasions, etc. Now I do personally use them but on a horse who is well schooled in flexion & collection. She just has a tendency to power through my hands so the draw reins give me a bit of extra control should I need it. But they're not ever anything I would use with a horse who doesn't already understand the concepts. gssw gave you some good training advice & there's numerous other members on here who can help you accomplish what you need with this horse
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