Heavy Mouthed Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Heavy Mouthed Horse

Soo.. i just bought a rescue case that has been ridden in less then ideal circumstances. The rider had a tomb thumb SNAFFLE, yes it's a snaffle with two short cheek pieces, that was too big for this horse mouth, he would pull his hands up to his chest to stop said horse, and every cue was given with a big kick in the ribs.

I Rode him myself in my own gear, and he had a mouth that felt locked against the bit, like he was ignoring my subtler cues, although it worked, i want him to soften a hole lot, i basically used my body to stop him, ignored his mouth completely, he is very sensitive to cues from the seat and legs..

I'd like to use him as an eventer or show jumper, he's keen to jump anything! How should i go about fixing this problem? I Want him to round up and stop resisting the bit, but im not sure what exactly would be the best bet. I'm using a standard snaffle, and haven't ridden him since i bought him on the 31st, I'd like to get him working correctly on the ground before i throw myself up there and have him run threw my hands, i thought maybe a hackamore or bitless bridle may work, but, he will still resist my hands when i put a bit back into his mouth. Or should i ride him, but with softer, gentler cues until he gets the picture?

thanks for any help! :)

Ace, Duke, Red, , Trojan, Unnamed. *Sold* Babe, Shadow.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 09:43 PM
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I'm thinking a nice fat french link or middle lozenge loose ring snaffle for starters. Most horses seem to like sweet iron. I would work him in hand from the ground so he knows he won't be spurred every time he attempt to do the right thing. Just bridle him, stand just behind his shoulder, take up the reins as if you were up there and let him find the bit and get used to comfortable soft connection before moving on. Some horses are so happy to finally have quiet contact, they reach for the bit right away. Others take some time. Hopefully yours is the former. There's a very good book on in hand work called "Right From the Start". It's for training green babies, but works for re-training horses to accept the bridle too. Good luck.

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 09:48 PM
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My old gelding had a hard mouth from being ridden in a twisted wire snaffle with direct reining (maybe not as hard-mouthed as your boy, but very hard, nonetheless). We had to give multiple, short cues with the bit to get him to turn and stop. I'm not sure how to explain it in words. lol Instead of putting constant pressure on the bit until he did as I asked, I would have to give shorter, more gradual "tugs" until he gave and did as I asked. I was able to ride him in a french link snaffle by doing this.

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 09:58 PM
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ride him in a mild snaffle and really put a major emphasis on having smooth hands. no bumps tugs or anything like that, just imagine your hands weigh a whole lot more than they do, so your hand movements become really slow. that will help give your horse a chance to be soft.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 10:23 PM
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I was thinking a french link too, with sweet iron if you can get. When a horse starts salavating they SOMETIMES sofen a little or listen to cues better. I would keep it slow, do lots of bending excersizes.

Live to ride. Ride to live.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 10:45 PM
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Good ideas! Also if you can ride in an arena you can use the fence to develop a stop. Sounds like you're basically starting a racehorse(not that he's a runaway, just that the bit doesn't mean much). I'd ride with lots of slack when you're not asking for anything, and do alot of lateral softening, then the stop will come in time. If he just won't stop, use the fence to turn him. Kind of like "slow down or crash"
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-04-2011, 11:11 PM
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When asking for turns try stroking the rein with your pinky. It's surprising how many horses will soon start to respond to the featherlight request. When you ask for a whoa, and use your body, don't worry if you don't get it right away. He'll stop eventually and that is what you want. In time he will shorten the distance as horses firmly believe in not expending any more energy than necessary.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-05-2011, 01:19 PM
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I would also suggest a sweet iron bit as it promotes salivation, which will help soften the tissue and allow the mouth to be more sensitive.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-05-2011, 01:25 PM
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I would also suggest ground driving him.. starting over as if he was unbroken. If you have a fenced area, get a side pull or a bosal and mecate and use a leading rein. Lots of turns.. serpentines etc. at the walk. Use the bosal when you are on his back.. and you can also use the side pull. You can ground drive in a side pull.

In a bit, use half halts for every cue to stop.. like squeezing an orange and releasing so you squeeze your hand closed, feel his mouth, and release so he has NOTHING to pull against. If he does not respond, use a leading rein and have him turn then ask with a half halt for a stop. Keep it all slow.

It takes time but is very doable. You won't build him in day so figure on a few months to get past this.. much like a green horse or a horse new to riding.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-06-2011, 12:43 AM
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If your hands are working right it won't matter what bit you use. Hold the pressure untill he softens then release. There is no other way. If he gets the release at the right time he will get lighter and lighter. If he doesn't nothing much will change even if you use a different bit. The purpose of a bit or hackamore or any kind of head gear is to make the horse uncomfortable until it does what is required to get the release.
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