Making horse softer in the mouth - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 570
• Horses: 8
Making horse softer in the mouth

I am training a mare right now and she is very calm, willing, and listens just wonderful. The only problem I am having is she is very hard with her mouth. When you want to stop or turn, you have to really pull. She doesn't try to get out of the bridle or run away, its almost like she just isn't feeling me pull on her. If I put enough pressure on her she listens just perfect but I want her to be softer in the mouth. I am in a snaffle and running martingale right now and I am staying in this combination right now until she is better at what I am trying to train her in. She is a western pleasure horse that wasn't used for that for a few years and I am training her back into pleasure. I don't want any replies wanting me to use a stronger bit because this is the training bit I want to use and I want her to listen to me and not more pressure.

The Stables of Dreamin' Del Mar
kay56649 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 5,695
• Horses: 3
horses dont have hard mouths, they have stiff bodies. work on her flexibility. you can start on the ground if you want to.

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
gypsygirl is offline  
post #3 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 22,258
• Horses: 0
One of the main tricks is releasing the pressure at the exact correct moment, which is something that can't really be taught over the internet. When she gives even the slightest bit, release all pressure immediately.

The other main trick is knowing when to escalate the pressure and give her a pop for not listening. That's another thing that can't really be taught without being there in person. The main point is, though, you have to learn when you need to give her a firm bump with the bit to sort of wake her up and say "Yes, I did mean right now" or "Hey, quit leaning on me".
smrobs is offline  
post #4 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 570
• Horses: 8
That is what I have been doing with her so far and I am just doing it consistantly...was just looking for other things I could do. When she doesn't listen, I make her do a tight circle and then stop. That seemed to help a little bit

The Stables of Dreamin' Del Mar
kay56649 is offline  
post #5 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
Posts: 7,109
• Horses: 3
You can about it this way, but I am ground training more and more and more. I would work on ground obedience and train with "English". BE brutally fussy about "walk on", "halt" (or "Whoa"), "back", "over", etc. If you lead with a short whip and give only one chance for correct behavior, your horse will learn how to stop with you on the ground and will translate that to the saddle.
nvr2many likes this.

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman,
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
Corporal is offline  
post #6 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 5,789
• Horses: 3
I just want to "throw it out there" that using a snaffle may not always be the answer to getting a horse softer.

For example: Right now, to get this horse to stop, you must pull, pull, pull until she stops. You're having to use quite a bit of pressure to get that accomplished. However, what if you put something on her with a short shank? That would allow you to barely pick up the reins and BAM she stops instantly. Yes, you've moved onto a "harsher" bit, but really .... the harsher bit is actually softer, because you barely have to apply any pressure at all.

Just a thought, anyway. (Of course, the "harsher" bit has to be used correctly 100% of the time, or you will cause the horse to eventually ignore that too)

Another example: I rode my horse Red in a snaffle (mostly) all summer last year, trying to get him softer after I bought him. We didn't get as far as I wanted. So to get some help, I have him at a reining trainer. Guess what she's working him in right now:

And he's responding beautifully. Bending, flexing, and giving nicely.

So anyway, just wanted to say that a snaffle isn't always the answer.
Corporal, nvr2many and Muppetgirl like this.

∞*˚ Βгįťţαňγ ˚*∞
It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.
beau159 is offline  
post #7 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 570
• Horses: 8
I am going back to basics and I am not putting her in a full bridle (with shanks) until she is respecting me with a softer bit. I don't want to just use a bit for more whoa. I have experience with correction bits and I'm not a huge fan of them. I want to get her into a Kelly Mullen Mouth bit eventually. They have worked on every horse I have trained and I really like them. Right now I am just working on her walk and whoa. I don't want to jump to the other options for a while. I am just working on softening her at the walk and whoa because I want her to listen to me better. I am a big disbeliever in using bits to correct simple problems. A snaffle is a training bit...when breaking out a young horse you don't ever just jump to a shank bit. I am treating her like a young horse that I am starting over with.

The Stables of Dreamin' Del Mar
kay56649 is offline  
post #8 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 570
• Horses: 8
She is the most respectful horse on the ground. You can do anything. She moves out of your space and is very good at showmanship. I am working at doing both right now.

The Stables of Dreamin' Del Mar
kay56649 is offline  
post #9 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 956
• Horses: 0
"Horses don't have hard mouths, they have hard, stiff bodies" -Clinton Anderson

"The flexion is in your legs" -Ted Robinson

"I create most of the flexion with my legs" -George Morris

"If he's leaning on my hands, I'll use my legs to get him off my hands." -Richard Caldwell
nvr2many and Muppetgirl like this.
Ian McDonald is offline  
post #10 of 28 Old 05-07-2013, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,332
• Horses: 1
How are you asking her to turn? I mean what are you specifically doing with your aids when you ask her to turn.
Posted via Mobile Device
DancingArabian is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Making leather reins softer ILA247 Horse Tack and Equipment 6 01-14-2013 01:42 AM
How to get softer hands whilst cantering? SamBadger Horse Riding 9 06-28-2012 03:40 PM
Softer mouth? Lexiie Horse Training 8 03-25-2012 11:08 PM
Softer Seat Needed! ilyTango Horse Riding 1 04-08-2010 07:21 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome