Originally Posted by regardinghorses
AKPaintLover: what kind of bit are you using when you try to keep a steady contact? If you are using a western shank bit, it may not put the right kind of pressure on his mouth. If it's some kind of snaffle, there's a different issue. It would help us to know which you are using.
Regarding horses, I have been riding him in only a snaffle (though I have to show in a curb in this upcoming season). It is shown in my avitar - I keep the reins on the snaffle attachment always with no curb chain. I was hoping to switch training to the curb attachment in the days before a show, but otherwise, do not use that part. It is a single joint, which he seems fine with, but I also have a double joint in that style.
I took out the side reins again last week to try to help him accept the pressure better in that way (he is nowhere near as bad as he was last winter - when he gaped at direct pressure). I was thinking of throwing the side rein workout into the training schedule 1 or 2 times a week (I am back up to working him almost daily again now). I also started including riding with contact (more english style) for the first part of my warm-up and then going to practicing a loose rein western jog for the second half of warm up.
Anyhoo - that is what I am trying so far, and I just started about a week ago. At this point though, he works pretty well off a loose rein, but is not incredibly responsive with contact, and does really lean into contact (not in the desirable way where his body is light and responsive, but in the way where he feels to be falling into the contact and is unable to respond quickly and lightly to cues because of it).
I probably made it sound worse than it really is. I would say that it is mostly a finishing/refining issue - definitely not a control or response issue (because he responds well to other body cues). He just feels sluggish.
I would appreciate advise or exercises though. :) :)