Gelding Evades the Bit
My gelding has a problem of lowering his head and completely evading any signals that I try to give him. He is 7 years old and while he was started as a 3 year old and ridden ever since, I'd still consider him green. I try to ride with soft hands, but when he lowers his head it isn't possible to gently give him ques. I have gotten conflicting views from two different trainers. One has seen the problem first hand in an arena that he is comfortable in, the other has only seen him at three different occasions where he wasn't comfortable enough to drag his nose on the ground. The first trainer said that I should take one rein and just pull his head up every time he lowers it until he gets sick of it. My horse never gets sick of testing people, and while I have been doing it for going on a year he hasn't given up. The other trainer says I need to just hold onto him and not let him have control of his face. Honestly he has far too much personality to be held with two reins, and that doesn't work for me.
Neither of the ideas have really been working. I don't want to tie him with fancy ropes or get the most aggressive bit possible, and I am willing to work through the problem. But I would love to actually see some progress whereas any other time it succeeds in wasting my time or possibly setting back our training. He is ridden in a snaffle but I did have him in a different bit that had shanks on it when I did my first show. I rode in that for a while, but I haven't succeeded in finding a bit that won't tear his mouth apart the way he acts some days.
I really want to try to get him soft and responsive, but the second you get a bit in his mouth he acts like a three year old and like he has never had it in before. Last time he was like this his teeth were sharp, that problem was fixed, then a few months later it started again. Out of habit, perhaps? Some days he will be really good, then others I wish we were a few decades back because I would have the best peanut roller. Also we've gotten a saddle that fits and he doesn't show signs of lameness. He also has started a habit of putting his chin all the way to his chest whenever I get him to back up. ALSO, another added note, he used to eat the dirt in my trainer's arena. He has since stopped because we have mineral block, but maybe he remembers how tasty it was? -.- He is an amazingly versatile horse, but we can't get very far when his head is up his butt and around the corner. >.<
Thank you for your responses. ;)