Need advice on softening a horse to a snaffle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-03-2011, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on softening a horse to a snaffle

Well Ben and I have been doing well but I have a question or two. First is a snaffle always the way to go? I don't know what he was ridden in before I got him. My father in law rode him in a tom thumb once or twice but that was it and then he became mine, before that no clue. He responds to the french link and a loose ring the same. He eventually stops (from trot back down to walk) but I have to really DEMAND his response. From a walk to complete stop he does well and he backs really well. I have to have contact about 90 percent of the time while walking. I ride western and its really hard for me not ride loose rein and not feel badly about it. He neck reins wonderfully responds to some leg and seat, I am not sure how to train those cues. Should I use a mild curb or continue with my snaffle(and be patient) until he is on a loose rein? I absolutely won't ride with contant on the bit( I know better ) with any curb/shanked bit but I feel like if he has something else maybe I won't have to constantly have contact. I try to trot, I probably shouldn't since he can't walk without me on him to hold the pace but we both get bored. I am trying the ask,tell,demand method and he seems perfectly content with demand. We do ground work and he is very light in my hand at walk,trot,canter, what am I doing wrong in the saddle? Sorry this is so long but I have been wanting to ask these things and it just comes spilling out. Thanks for any advice.

Last edited by azhorseluvr1222; 11-04-2011 at 12:00 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-04-2011, 12:01 AM
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You might consider reading this: Why Shanked Bits are Utterly Evil, etc.
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-04-2011, 12:12 AM
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If you need constant contact in a snaffle it is likely you will also need it in a curb.

I would work on getting him more self sufficient before moving into a curb.

Work on riding with loose reins and only ever pick up on one rein at a time. If he speeds up, pick up one rein and turn a corner, then let him travel. Too fast, another corner. It may take five corners, it may take 50 - but they will eventually relax and self regulate speed so they don't have to corner.

Once you have him maintaining the correct speed, I would work on softening laterally lots of little circles with his head tipped in and inside leg keeping his body out and bending.

Once I had that, I would be pretty happy to pick a suitable curb.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-04-2011, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba13 View Post
You might consider reading this: Why Shanked Bits are Utterly Evil, etc.
I did : ) I want to train him correctly but I guess maybe I am being impatient. I just need some encouragement that I am headed down the right path. He and I have come a long way and I maybe want to move it along a little faster sometimes
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-04-2011, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post
If you need constant contact in a snaffle it is likely you will also need it in a curb.

I would work on getting him more self sufficient before moving into a curb.

Work on riding with loose reins and only ever pick up on one rein at a time. If he speeds up, pick up one rein and turn a corner, then let him travel. Too fast, another corner. It may take five corners, it may take 50 - but they will eventually relax and self regulate speed so they don't have to corner.

Once you have him maintaining the correct speed, I would work on softening laterally lots of little circles with his head tipped in and inside leg keeping his body out and bending.

Once I had that, I would be pretty happy to pick a suitable curb.
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Thank you!! I will try and apply that tomorrow : )
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-04-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Well my horse made a big liar out of me and I don't care because he was an absolute angel today I went in with a more patient attitude which probably helped but he just seemed to get what I was trying to teach him and I am thrilled. Not once did he try to go any faster than I told him to and I kept my reins loose the whole time. Even when a horse ran at him to the fence, he just flicked an ear and kept his nice walk. It was like " Oh this is how nice and calm works" and he and I both were relaxed. Thanks for the tips however, I stored them in my training file. I got him an underpad as well for his saddle and he seems to be much more comfortable.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-04-2011, 04:59 PM
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Yay! Good on you. I find horses tend to be much happier when given a bit of responsibility instead of being micromanaged.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-04-2011, 06:29 PM
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That is a little gem of wisdom!!!

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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