Pulling on the bit - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Pulling on the bit

One of the horse's at the barn continuously pulls on the bit in his mouth and he will tilt his head to the side or even sometimes turn his head completely even on a loose rein. The bit he has is a Korsteel Sweet Iron Full Cheek Snaffle so its not a very powerful bit so I figured the bit isn't bothering him. I also notice that he opens and closes his mouth a lot too. I checked the placement of the bit in his mouth and its not too far back nor is it hitting any of his teeth. I was wondering why is he doing this and what can I do to get him to stop pulling and to relax his neck. Thanks for all your help!!
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 04:52 PM
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When was the last time he has his teeth done and saddle repacked?

If he's a school horse, he's also probably very used to riders with unsteady hands, so the gaping mouth and pulling may very well be him trying to protect his mouth. In this case, you need to have very good, forgiving and quiet hands to let him know that he's not going to get 'gobbed' with you.

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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When was the last time he has his teeth done and saddle repacked?

If he's a school horse, he's also probably very used to riders with unsteady hands, so the gaping mouth and pulling may very well be him trying to protect his mouth. In this case, you need to have very good, forgiving and quiet hands to let him know that he's not going to get 'gobbed' with you.
He is getting his teeth done in May but I don't think his teeth are an issue either because he's been doing this for a while, even after he has had his teeth done. I do notice that the rider does pull back a lot even when unnecessary but a lot of the time she needs to sometimes keep a tight rein because he has the bad habit of stopping and putting his head down to graze. But we are working on getting him to stop stopping to graze when not given permission to.
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 05:23 PM
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Does he do it all the time? Or is it just a few minutes out of a ride?

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post #5 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Does he do it all the time? Or is it just a few minutes out of a ride?
He does it quite a bit. Its mainly when we're just at a leisurely walk.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 05:52 PM
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My mare does it sometimes, for 3-4 minutes, usually while nothing is going on. I've concluded she's bored and wants something to play with. She doesn't do it when we're busy, and it often comes when there is slack in the reins and nothing is happening...just straight down a path. It is about once/ride, any bit I've ever tried, including after getting her teeth done. The rest of her body is relaxed when she does it. Don't know if that the same or not.

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 05:55 PM
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I would maybe find another way to keep him moving forward other than a tight rein? I don't have this problem a lot, but sometimes on the trail my gelding will try to put his head down... I lift (not pull) the reins and urge him with my legs and seat. Alternatively, you could try tapping him with a crop or the end of a split rein to remind him that he needs to pay attention to you! Basically, eliminate his idea that you will always be pulling uncomfortably on the reins so he can relax.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 05:57 PM
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The other option is that he might not like the pressure applied by a single-joint snaffle. You could always try a double-jointed/french-link! I am a big fan of those bits.
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 06:19 PM
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He might be just an active horse. Like bsms states, he may need more to do to keep him occupied. I'd maybe try a bit with a cricket in it, I know you can buy a dogbone bit with one that is fairly inexpensive. And try and tell the rider to use lighter hands.

~Started young horses in Bosca te Ador, unto the two rein the old Spanish spade, brought them along with two hands that were gentle. Some fine reining horses as ever were made~
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-31-2013, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your help!!! These all sound like great ideas!
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