Teen Forum Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
You really don't realize just how limiting equipment like martingales, tie downs, training forks, etc are until you've ridden a good horse without one and felt what it REALLY feels like for the animal to be on the bit and working from behind.
Until last week I'd never, ever ridden a horse with a tiedown or any other type of restrictive device on their face. I've ridden some poorly trained animals and some beautifully trained ones. I know the difference. I'm mostly out of horses at the moment due to finances, but this past Sunday a friend of mine offered for me to ride her TB mare in a clinic since the mare was needing experience but my friend had gotten hurt. I took her, and she was a lovely mare but obviously clueless about correct movement despite being supposedly "broke broke." I had to ride the mare in her usual gear since she wasn't mine- a snaffle, SHORT barrel reins, and a tie down that didn't allow her to put her head much higher than her wither. I'm normally soft handed but in that gear I had a HARD time giving her proper release at the correct time. At least twice I popped her in the mouth when she was trying to balance herself, hit the end of the tie down, and jerked her head. I ended up loosening the tie down a LOT and just fixing it before she went home, but still she braced and bobbed. She was a nice mare, but utterly confused. I had her working off my seat and leg well near the end of the day, but she was not able to really pick herself and round herself out nearly as well as if she'd just been wearing her snaffle.
I know tiedowns and forks are different but the principal is the same. All of those types of equipment, IMO, make both the hands and mouth HARDER, not softer, and they really take away from the smoothness of transition in communication.
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