Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Leaning on the bit - to the extreme
I don't think I've ever been as frustrated as I was yesterday with my horse. Granted I understand she's been out with a leg injury, but her disrespect for the bit is alarming at best. I'm not even sure if this is fixable giving my limited resources - right now, we have NOWHERE to ride except the road as everything is in puddles.
I actually had to get off and walk her home. I went out for a ride with Ashley just for a WALK to stretch her legs as she's coming off a layup. She rides in a loose ring french link snaffle - and she was literally uncontollable. I've ALWAYS had this problem with her, and even my Dressage coach wasn't sure how to fix it - she just braces on the bit and nothing short of JABBING her in the mouth will make her stop.
Yesterday, she was right back to her Arab tricks. We'd be walking nicely and I'd be working on some flexion, and as soon as I got some vertical flexion, she'd just brace every ounce of strength she had against my hands. She completely ignores my "sponging" until I'm literally YANKING on the side of her face to get her to let up on me. If Justus trotted to catch up, Zierra would throw her nose as high into the air as she could and run through the bit trying to bolt.
The fourth or fifth time, I got off and walked home. Because she's coming off an injury, I can't be fighting with her, letting her act up and put strain on that leg. We got home and I promptly threw the Western saddle and some draw reins on her to make her stop flipping her nose on me. No such luck - now she just tucks her dang chin to her chest and STILL leans on the bit.
This is the type of horse who will put her nose to the ground trying to lean on the bit. If you loop your reins around the horn, she will stand for extended periods of time leaning ALL of her weight against the bit with her mouth open.
I understand this is a training issue. I understand this is a "seat" issue. But HOW do I even BEGIN to resolve it when I can't even get her attention? Shay-las mom suggested I throw her in a hackamore and that's COMPLETELY besides the point - in a hackamore or even a HALTER, I have total control over her. She has a serious bit issue. I've had her teeth checked. My only other option is to slap a curb in her and make her start listening, but then all she's going to do is point that nose sky high and act like I'm beating her.
I'm so frustrated, I don't even know how to BEGIN re-schooling her to stop being a cow about the bit. I suppose I don't NEED to, I was thinking of maybe trying a bitless bridle on her, since she responds so well in a halter.
Not having an actual RIDING ring to school her in doesn't help. Once she was in the draw reins, we were doing leg yielding for about a mile at a trot and it didn't help - even as she's leg yielding, she's yanking on her bit.
Any suggestions would be great. If someone needs a vid to see how extreme this is and maybe point out what I'm doing wrong, I'm sure I could provide that today.
I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.