Asking to Accept the Bit.

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Asking to Accept the Bit.

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    11-20-2012, 10:26 AM
Asking to Accept the Bit.

My horse is learning to bring his dead down and in and accepting the bit. He does an AWESOME job of it at walk and does an okay job at a trot. I always have to squeeze and pull back a little to ask him, which I would like to have him just listen to me squeezing him into it. At a Canter, he is horrible! He throws his nose in the air and gets a uppity like he's going to rear up. I have tried different bits and methods to ask him kindly and am currently riding in a bitless bridel which he likes much more. I just am wondering how I can get him to accept the bit at a canter and me not have to force his head down, which I hate to do!
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    11-20-2012, 04:34 PM
It sounds kind of funny, but my best suggestion to you would be to get a running martingale, an o or d ring snaffle and a bridle with slit reins, and try that. That is the basic training tool for horses. I have a finished western pleasure horse, and I put him back in that in the spring to refresh him on his training. It works wonders and I guarentee you will get results. If you feel brave enough, use draw reins. They are easy to make and use and give wonderful results
    11-20-2012, 04:59 PM
Just PLEASE don't use a bitless bridle for the solution!! He needs to learn bit manners to be a sucessful horse!
    11-20-2012, 05:25 PM
Just a quick question here.....are you 'holding' him, like blocking him in the front with your hands and asking assertively with your legs?

Try this.....
Always ask with your legs and get some good impulsive walking (walk first) , then smoothly pick up your reins and block his front end while still asking with your legs......then release when he is nice and soft but still moving off your legs....release slowly.....that is the reward......

I suspect if he is throwing his nose out that you may be asking with hands BEFORE getting impulsion with your legs first.....keep it smooth with your hands ....Imagine his body like an accordion......squeeze it up and then release it out

Ask for a few strides first, then release......
    11-20-2012, 06:50 PM
Sounds to me like you just need a good coach who knows how to ride a horse's hind end up to the bridle.

Your post makes it very clear to me that you are riding front to back, trying to pull his head in to give him a 'pretty headset' rather than working his body correctly in order to achieve a round and fluid outline.

Forget about pulling back and wiggling your horse. There is little wonder that horse goes better in a bitless if you are going this - his mouth isn't being made sore and uncomfortable.
Put him in a snaffle - either a loose ring single jointed, or loose ring french link. If it's a single joint, make sure he has 1cm on either side of his mouth to allow for the 'shortening' action of the bit. If a french link, it can be a little tighter fitting.

Invest in a neck strap (a stirrup leather will do just fine), and for your whole ride, hook your fingers under the strap. Your hands are not to move - especially backwards.
Think of it this way:
Pulling back on the reins pushes the hind legs out behind.
Pushing the hind legs forward into the reins, pushes the neck and wither forward into the bit.

You don't want ANY pulling action while riding, everything is pushing.

So, keeping your hands still, resting on the wither and hooked under the neck strap, start your ride, and don't think of ANYTHING other than making the hind legs active. Ride millions of transitions, changes of rein, circles, serpentines, leg yield etc.
It will take time for your horse to consistently come 'onto the bit', because he has lost trust in your ability to give him a soft and consistent contact to work into. But it will come eventually, as you persist he will learn to trust that you're not going to start pulling on his mouth and winging his head around.

Your absolute best bet here, is to get lessons with a Dressage instructor, or an eventing instructor that has a good background of Dressage (assuming you are riding English).

You can put all the bits in the world into his mouth, and strap all the pieces of leather onto his head to pull it down, but you will never, NEVER have him working softly and correctly into the bridle if you don't learn how to ride it.
Chiilaa, AnrewPL and Muppetgirl like this.
    11-20-2012, 06:51 PM
Originally Posted by kay56649    
It sounds kind of funny, but my best suggestion to you would be to get a running martingale, an o or d ring snaffle and a bridle with slit reins, and try that. That is the basic training tool for horses. I have a finished western pleasure horse, and I put him back in that in the spring to refresh him on his training. It works wonders and I guarentee you will get results. If you feel brave enough, use draw reins. They are easy to make and use and give wonderful results
Please don't.
    11-20-2012, 06:51 PM
There are just so many threads on this subject here that if you have perused them you might find some that address just what you are dealing with

When a person says that they cannot get the horse to accept the bit, and that he "giraffs" at the canter, that describes a whole range of possibilities, from a training issue to an ill fitting saddle

First and formost is for you to be sure that pain is not the source of your horse's avoidance of the bit, I.e. Back or mouth pain.

Then you have to look at your riding, and then you look at his training, and you also look at the tack.

For the best suggestions from an online forum, taking a video and posting it will help to answer some of the questions and give members here a better chance of being correct in their suggestions

Or, you can slap on a martingale or draw reins.
    11-20-2012, 08:13 PM
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Please don't.
Please try it!!
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    11-20-2012, 08:22 PM
Kay, I have been a Dressage rider for a number of years. I have never felt the need to use a martingale to teach a horse to 'accept the bit'. The only time I have employed the use of draw reins, was on a particularly unconfident off the track thoroughbred who was terribly nervous about lowering his head and neck, and carrying himself. Draw reins for two rides gave him the idea that he COULD drop his head and neck. After that I never used them again.

The problem with these gadgets when used for a situation SO simple as a rider error, is that they end up as bandaids every time something goes wrong. Draw reins, when used on a horse that really would be perfectly fine without them, or with a rider who does not have experience in their use, teach a horse to evade the bit. Yes, you may get a 'pretty head set' but the horse is not working anywhere near correctly.
Martingales are great for horses that will toss their head to dangerous levels. NOT for strapping their head down to 'teach them' how to 'accept the bit'.
This is a bandaid, a short cut, and will lead to long term education and balance problems.

As a rider, I would MUCH rather learn how to ride by taking the long route, than slapping on a piece of leather and 'faking it' to achieve a short term solution.
Chiilaa, Saranda, AnrewPL and 1 others like this.
    11-20-2012, 08:25 PM
Green Broke
Martingales, draw reins, etc, are just means of covering up the problem.
There is a reason your horse is doing this and it always has to do with the horse being confused or in pain. Unfortunately, the most common solution is to strap him down to make him "behave".
I agree with Kayty.
Make sure you are no restricting him at all. Horses like to rear when they feel they cannot move forward comfortably/freely.
If he canters in a bitless and not in a bit, then clearly the hunky bit of iron pressing between his jaws is the problem.
First assess yourself, then the equipment ;)

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