my horse goes behind the bit then grabs the bit in his teeth and runs thru it - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 03-21-2014, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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my horse goes behind the bit then grabs the bit in his teeth and runs thru it

I have owned this horse for 10 years and I am very attached to him. I can not sell him because I am afraid he will end up at the slaughter pen if I don't fix this problem. I know most equestrians blame the rider's hands for the horse going behind the bit. I blame myself already and feel responsible. He is getting dangerous for me to ride, but I can't see myself never riding him again. In searching for a solution, I have even considered using a noavel halter to ride him. Of course, only with extensive ground work teaching him to stop on verbal command. He generally goes behind the bit when the horse infront on the trail moves too far ahead or he is having to move away from other horses. He gets totally caught up in being with the other horse or horses rather than listening to the rider.
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post #2 of 25 Old 03-21-2014, 08:12 PM
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I don't think one should ever depend on verbal commands. Verbal commands only really work well when the other points of control; seat, leg, hands are working well, too.

A horse that comes behind the bit is much harder to deal with than one that goes above the bit, but, one thing to do is to NEVER apply both reins equally. Instead , you utilize the One Rein Stop; you give him one rein to follow, and some leg to make him move forward, and follow that rein around in circles, small circles, until he decides to give to the rein and stop.


You need a good riding buddy who will help you while you work on this, and will not ride off and make your hrose flip out when you are circling him, but will patiently wait for you to get that one rein stop. Then, the two of you will walk on. Don't do any trotting or cantering until he will stop pretty quickly .
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post #3 of 25 Old 03-21-2014, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your advice. I will take it to heart and try to find someone who is patient and will help me. Thanks again.
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post #4 of 25 Old 03-22-2014, 11:30 AM
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An option you can consider is going to a curb bit. A good curb bit used properly is not harsh...in fact, I'm beginning to think one used properly is gentler than a snaffle. There is a sticky thread by smrobs about curb bits:

Bit Information (Curb and Western type bits and hackamores)

If a horse grabs a curb bit in his teeth, it doesn't help him any. Snaffle bits work in a straight line. Curb bits rotate, and gabbing the fulcrum in his teeth doesn't change the pressure. They also provide plenty of warning, so the horse gets to choose if any pressure is needed at all.

This video was done by one of the forum members. I think it has a lot of good information on transitioning a horse to a curb bit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTyM...TOE2D5kF7OxdRA

If the problem comes when he feels too separated from another horse on the trail, work on it gradually - 10 feet, then 15, then 20, etc. Every few rides, increase the distance by 5 feet and let him get used to it gradually.
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post #5 of 25 Old 03-22-2014, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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The Horse Forum is a good tool, but the people that are involved really make this a great site. It is really a good feeling when I log in and find that there are people here on this site that care and are willing to share their knowledge. Bsms, thank you for taking the time for to share your advice. I am going to try some different bits on my horse and I'll try gradually increasing the distance between my horse and the horse in front of him when on the trail. What do yall think about working him in a round pen before riding?

Thanx again!
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post #6 of 25 Old 03-22-2014, 08:45 PM
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Sounds like to me it's a buddy sour problem instead of a bit problem treat the problem not the symptoms
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post #7 of 25 Old 03-22-2014, 11:17 PM
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You could try a waterford bit. It's a strong bit but there's nothing to grab. So that may solve one issue. After you break the 'take the bit and run' thing, I would go back to a snaffle and work on driving him from behind and keeping him on the aids to get his carriage back where it belongs.

BTV is a booger to fix. Good luck.
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post #8 of 25 Old 03-23-2014, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Hey, I appreciate the feedback. Red stays by himself, and whenever there are horses around, he gets buddy sour on the spot. He was always at the bottom of the herd hierarchy when he was with other horses, so he probably is insecure. How would you work on the buddy sour issue? I am going to try some different bits so thank for your suggestion on that specific bit. I have read that correcting 'going behind the bit' is tricky. Thanks for the support. If yall think or hear of anything that might be effective on that, please let me know. Thanx again for you ideas.
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post #9 of 25 Old 03-23-2014, 10:04 AM
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You need to change his focus from the horse ahead of him to what you want him to do. Horses fear being attacked and it's the horse at the tail end or the edge of the herd that is often picked out. As previously mentioned you need to do tight circles at least three then allow him to straighten out and walk on but the moment you feel him increasing his speed, circle him the other way. You need to be consistent with this as it is teaching him about choices - he can either listen to you or he's made uncomfortable with tiny circles which is much harder on him than walking in a straight line. As soon as he wants to close the distance, circle him. He needs to learn to stay back well out of kicking range. If you ride with others, perhaps allow him to be in the middle if single file. At least he won't feel like predator bait.
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-23-2014, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I will try those suggestions.
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