Horse "Scooping" Reins
 
 

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Horse "Scooping" Reins

This is a discussion on Horse "Scooping" Reins within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • What to use on horse that pulls reins out of hand
  • Horse pulling reins out of hands teeth problems

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    06-03-2013, 12:45 PM
  #1
Weanling
Horse "Scooping" Reins

Several times I've encountered horses who will jerk the reins from their rider's hands by "scooping" with their heads - they sort of duck their heads down and then pop their nose in the air. I've seen quite a few horses do it while halted as well as at the walk, and less commonly at the trot and canter. I'm not sure if it's a coincidence, but it seems that children's ponies tend to be the most common examples IME.

I've been told that this is the result of riding with too much contact and that the horse is trying to evade the bit (however, I've seen horses snatch loose reins as well). What I'd like to know is if there are other causes for this behavior, ie. Problem with teeth, pain, ill-fitting tack, etc., or if it's usually solely a training issue.

Also, ruling out pain/health issues and ill-fitting tack, what is the best way to work on resolving this problem?

Thanks in advance!
     
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    06-03-2013, 01:00 PM
  #2
Foal
I had a mare that did it all the time. Most of the time it is behavior and not health problems, it all depends on the horse. You might want to check out the horses mouth and make sure there is no injury, and if you find nothing wrong and feel that it's still a health problem have your vet come look. :) sometimes if the bit is too tight it can yank on wolf teeth. Only some horses have wolf teeth and they can be removed, but most of the time it can be fixed by loosening the bridle a little.

One way to fix the head tossing/scooping is to offer no resistance at all-the only reason a horse will do it is because they want to yank the reins out and be in control. If you offer no resistance (move with them when they do it) they will realize it is pointless and usually stop.
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    06-03-2013, 01:54 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
If you know that there are no health issues, then it's a behavorial one, maybe left over from some time when the bit was painful. In any case, let the horse discover how bad it is to do this. You let him bop himself in the mouth. You have your hands fixed, maybe against his neck, and your core engaged so that he cannot pull you off your balance. Give him enough rein so that he can stand quitely with no rein contact at all (afterall, he's just stnading, right?) If he tries that manuever to get the reins out of your hand, you maintain your position very firmly. He will bop himself in the mouth, and when he puts his head back down, he gets his own relief. You do nothing except give him NO more rein than enough to stand comfortably with his head up , in a natural position. He will only hurt himself by doing this, but you have to be very firm so that he never gets any reward for this type of behavior.
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    06-03-2013, 01:58 PM
  #4
Trained
If a horse does that, 9 times out of ten, they are seeking relief from pressure, too heavy of hand. The reaction you want is the horse seeking out bit pressure. A good sign of too much pressure is when you are stopped and the horse seeks relief by pulling the reins out of your hands. You are stopped, release the pressure, why is it still on? Maybe because you think it's not on? Yes it is and the horse can never be light on his face if you always keep pressure on. The less rein you use, the more the horse will seek it out.
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    06-03-2013, 01:59 PM
  #5
Weanling
Thanks Tiny, I figured it would be good ol' pressure-and-release that would do the trick. It's been one of the most frustrating things for me as a rider when I've had to deal with a horse like this, especially because I've worked very hard to have soft, consistent hands. It feels like that's all thrown out the window when I'm on a horse that's pulling!

Looking forward to hear from others, too. The more info the better.
     
    06-03-2013, 02:59 PM
  #6
Super Moderator
You can't have soft hands with a horse that is giving you a hard mouth.

I mean, you can really only be as soft as the horse is. If you are really soft on a horse that leans on the bit, he will only continue to lean. You have to be a bit firmer than he is, just until he gives a bit, then you give more. He decides how soft you can be, but he has to give first. Once he does, and you reward promptly and consistantly, he learns that the softest way for him to ride is to be soft to the bit himself, since that is when he gets the most release. He sets the contact; hard or soft. It's his choice.

Now, that works as long as the rider is observant to feel the horse's gives in order to give back even more, AND, is very consistent about this. That's what soft hands are about.
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    06-03-2013, 03:22 PM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
you can't have soft hands with a horse that is giving you a hard mouth.

I mean, you can really only be as soft as the horse is. If you are really soft on a horse that leans on the bit, he will only continue to lean. You have to be a bit firmer than he is, just until he gives a bit, then you give more. He decides how soft you can be, but he has to give first. Once he does, and you reward promptly and consistantly, he learns that the softest way for him to ride is to be soft to the bit himself, since that is when he gets the most release. He sets the contact; hard or soft. It's his choice.

Now, that works as long as the rider is observant to feel the horse's gives in order to give back even more, AND, is very consistent about this. That's what soft hands are about.
You're right, it's so obvious now!

Hmmm...it seems I've been a bit spoiled the last little while, getting to ride a horse that's a dream. He belongs to my trainer, and I'm riding him specifically because he knows more than I do and so I can ride in 'learning mode' as opposed to 'training mode' (though the boundaries between those are blurred, aren't they?).

Now I'm riding a horse that pulls on my hands. I've been doing the exact opposite of what I need to do. I was keeping my hands soft in hopes that he would settle down and relax into the bit, but really I was just letting him get away with pulling me around. I will definitely try out what you've recommended. I've really gotta stop overthinking these things... Thank you!
     
    06-03-2013, 03:49 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Can also be because rider has jiggly hands and horse is trying to get more rein to get away from that.

And curb may be too tight also.

But pain/aggravation issues usually.
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    06-03-2013, 06:38 PM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
you can't have soft hands with a horse that is giving you a hard mouth.

I mean, you can really only be as soft as the horse is. If you are really soft on a horse that leans on the bit, he will only continue to lean. You have to be a bit firmer than he is, just until he gives a bit, then you give more. He decides how soft you can be, but he has to give first. Once he does, and you reward promptly and consistantly, he learns that the softest way for him to ride is to be soft to the bit himself, since that is when he gets the most release. He sets the contact; hard or soft. It's his choice.

Now, that works as long as the rider is observant to feel the horse's gives in order to give back even more, AND, is very consistent about this. That's what soft hands are about.
Wrong-o! Horse is giving you resistance because you haven't got his "feel" or he hasn't been taught it's ok to seek out pressure. No worries Tiny, I used to think the same way until I advanced in my horsemanship skills, I approach it with a whole different style.
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    06-03-2013, 08:57 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by waresbear    
Wrong-o! Horse is giving you resistance because you haven't got his "feel" or he hasn't been taught it's ok to seek out pressure. No worries Tiny, I used to think the same way until I advanced in my horsemanship skills, I approach it with a whole different style.
What I've been taught is to have soft, forgiving hands to encourage the horse to seek the bit. Stretching down into it basically.

How would you approach the situation, wares?
     

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