he's so heavy on my hands!! - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 23 Old 05-30-2010, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 148
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I think he was just having an off day.....I rode him today in a bitless bridle and he was perfect. He's having his teeth done this week, but I think it was just an off day. Thanks to everyone for the advice!!
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post #22 of 23 Old 06-01-2010, 01:29 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Iowa
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If you are still having trouble when you go back to a bit(hopefully a snaffle), try this method. It is a method I learned from watching Clinton Anderson shows and DVD's. It may take some time, and will not happen overnight(there is no miracle cure for anything horse related) You want him to learn to be on the bit, to give to it. Changing up to a different bit, even for a short time, will not cure the problem. You must go back to the basics. I saw that someone mentioned lateral flexing. That is exactly what you need to do, but you have to do it right. The key is giving him an instant reward(dropping the rein) the split second he gives to the bit. So you will reach down the rein as far as you can, pick up one rein, pull your hand back to your hip to bend his head around. Hold it until he gives even the slightest slack in the rein(it doesnt matter if he doesnt bend his head much), the instant he gives any hint of trying to give you slack, you drop the rein like it was on fire. You can start this on the ground if you prefer, if he is really hard mouthed he may fight quite a bit until you get his first give. You must not drop the rein until he gives. If you do this and immediately reward him by dropping the rein, he will be bending his nose to his belly in no time with just a light touch on the rein. Do this until he is light on both sides. From there you can progress to verticle flexing. Do not attempt vertical flexing until he has lateral flexing down. This is done the same way. Pick up on both reins and pull back with equal pressure. Do not release until he drops his nose in even the slightest bit, then drop both reins to give him his instant reward, or at least let them loose if you do not feel comfortable dropping them. If you follow this properly, you will probably never see him push his nose out on you again. He will be on the bit for good. I have used this method on several horses, including one like yours that was hard mouthed, and it has worked perfectly.

Hope this helps. It is pretty simple and it works wonders. Clinton Anderson's methods are for us average owners that aren't experts, and never will be experts, but helps us safely help our horses be better.

Good luck, and I hope you decide not to change to a stronger bit.
Atroya is offline  
post #23 of 23 Old 06-01-2010, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Could be a bunch of things but starting with the teeth is a good idea.

Also make certain your saddle still fits - if horse develops the proper topline they tend to get more muscle and a saddle which previously fit may now pinch - think of a guy who lifts weights - eventually the T-shirt he wore a few months before he started will get "too small" as he devlops more chest muscle. This happens with horses and saddles too.

So if all that is OK then you could try this: when horse starts getting heavy bump with boths legs then do a quick tighten/then loosen with your fingers (called a half halt). Repeat as necessary (similar to what you're doing but think of asking for a halt then as horse starts to step hind end underneath himself to halt you soften your fingers and "allow" (but don't push) him to continue forward in the walk/trot/canter. That's called a half halt and gets the horse to rebalnce themselves by starting to carry more weight on their butt instead of on their front 2 legs (which tend to end up in their head neck getting heavier).

If that doesn't work actuall do some trot/halt transitions. Have a person on the ground that tells you if the horse has their back legs perfectly together and NOT behind themselves. Repeat several time only allowing about 5 trot steps before halting. Soon horse will start getting light on front end.

Sometimes even that doesn't work and you have to resort to taking the inside rein (ONLY ONE rein) and tug it straight up ONCE then release (NOT if you use a curb or really strong bit or you will create rearing problems). That brings the horses head up - so when you release horse is rewarded for bring head up and getting weight off it's nose (and your hands). But be certain teeth are in good shape before doing this.
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