Pulling/running through the bit - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-12-2011, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Pulling/running through the bit

Okay, so my Aires is VERY green broke (only five rides on him, with today being his fifth ride). He is actually doing GREAT with turning (direct reins and is starting to understand leg yielding...when I rode him today, he worked off my leg almost as much as he did the bit) and we're almost pro at figure eights and "pole bending" at a walk. The biggest problem we're having is stopping.

I am by no means an expert and I am working with the trainer at our barn, but I wanted to get some input on what I can work on with him on my own. I ride him in a loose ring french link snaffle that is fairly fat and he does great with it. He's very responsive when I ask him to turn and has a wonderfully soft mouth.

So here's what he does now. When I ask him to stop, I apply pressure straight back on the reins (pull them to my hips) and say "Ho." He knows the verbal cue well. I also sit back/down into the seat of the saddle (I ride in an Aussie saddle). He will pull his head in (luckily he doesn't throw it up!) as far as he can, but he'll just keep on walking. He doesn't exactly fight the bit, he just ignores it, really, until he decides to stop.

So, what can I do to stop him from pulling through the bit?

We had an issue today where he took off trotting (totally my fault...was trying to give him outside leg and accidentally gave him outside heel instead, so he took that to mean I wanted him to trot). Trying to stop him was like trying to stop a freight train...an incredibly smooth freight train, but a freight train nonetheless. I remembered one-rein stopping right before we reached the fence and started to pull him around, but I'm left-handed and so I naturally went to pull to the left, but the fence was there. By the time I went to switch sides, he had already stopped of his own accord next to the other horses in the arena with us. We kept on working for a while longer and he was doing well, but when I asked him to stop, about three-quarters of the time he would just ignore me for at least a half dozen strides, usually more.

Someone suggested one-rein stopping and or circling him until he stops. I did try a one-rein stop on him at one point (after our trotting incident), and he did stop, but he kind of jumped sideways a little like he was ticked off that I asked him to stop like that.

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post #2 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 12:24 AM
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Drill, drill, drill walk/whoa transitions.

You want your seat, legs, and voice to give the whoa cue, and enforce it with the reins. To train you can try this -

Walk with purpose to a fence, don't allow your horse to veer right or left. Just as you get to the fence, say "whoa" firmly and deeply, sit deep on you pockets, and pull lightly with the reins. Repeat about 100 times throughout your ride. Go circle a barrel, come to the fence and whoa. Go bend through some serpentines, come to the fence and whoa... etc.

Do this everytime you ride. Say Whoa everytime you are on the ground with him and need him to stop. If he doesn't stop promptly at the whoa command on the ground, back him up sharply a few steps. Whoa is super important... and that lesson cannot be overdone.

After a while, ride him off the fence until he gets tired and starts looking for a stopping point, then do your seat/whoa verbal cue and see if he stops without rein pressure. If he doesn't, ask for a few back steps, then move him off again and repeat. Soon he will stop with just your voice and seat.

Hope that helps, Kris

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post #3 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Kris. We're going to be working mostly on stopping all this week since he's actually pretty good at everything else.

He is a pro at halting on the ground. You don't even have to tell him "ho" or "whoa." If you stop, he stops. End of story. I worked on nothing but ground work for the first month and a half I had him because he knew nothing but how to be haltered and walk next to you on a lead rope.

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post #4 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 05:14 AM
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There's actually three common ways a horse will stop.

The first is in balance and stopping the feet in order 1-2,3-4.

The second is common when a lot of groundwork has been done, particularly NH style and that's where the horse will brace the front two legs to stop.

The third is where the horse will stop with his hind coming under, go lighter on the front, then replace the front 1,2.

1 and 3 are fine. Most commonly I see 2. This creates problems once a rider is included in the equation. The horse is effectively falling forward and the extra weight of the rider adds to the momentum. One reining etc will unfortunately just create further bracing and eventual stiffness and avoidance in other ways.

Have you ever tried stopping from the chest? Or chest long-reining? Especially when you have a helper this will quickly teach the horse to halt correctly and squarely and in balance.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Are you talking about how he stops on the ground? When he stops on the ground it depends on how quickly I stopped, but if I gradually stop (not a sudden feet planted stop) he will stop the first way and stand nice and square from the start. If I stop suddenly, he will stop the third way and will square himself up. I've never seen him stop the second way, unless I'm totally mis-reading what you're describing.

I've never heard of stopping from the chest or chest long-reining. Can you explain it, please? (I would google, but I can't use search engines on my computer).

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post #6 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace80908 View Post
Drill, drill, drill walk/whoa transitions.

You want your seat, legs, and voice to give the whoa cue, and enforce it with the reins. To train you can try this -

Walk with purpose to a fence, don't allow your horse to veer right or left. Just as you get to the fence, say "whoa" firmly and deeply, sit deep on you pockets, and pull lightly with the reins. Repeat about 100 times throughout your ride. Go circle a barrel, come to the fence and whoa. Go bend through some serpentines, come to the fence and whoa... etc.
I love this way of getting a stop, fences are your friend, also improves your skill at riding straight!!
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post

So here's what he does now. When I ask him to stop, I apply pressure straight back on the reins (pull them to my hips) and say "Ho."

So, what can I do to stop him from pulling through the bit?

.

You might want to stop pulling on the reins to start.
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 12:21 PM
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Interested in hearing some thoughts. I had the smae issue yesterday. I let my gelding ride outside the arena with a snaffle. BIG mistake. Probably a big dumb idea on my part
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
You might want to stop pulling on the reins to start.
Sorry, that's how I was taught to stop a horse?

You pull back (not up) with as little pressure as is required and slowly increase the pressure (if needed) until they stop. You also sit back (on your pockets, as Ace put it) and give the verbal cue at the same time. You make it sound like I'm just wantonly cranking back on the reins, which is not the case.

What I described is what the trainer told me to do when we were riding on Friday and that's what I observed her doing when she was working with Aires for his first four rides. I'm not yanking back on the reins (which is what the BO wanted me to do). It's steady, increasing pressure until he gives to the bit and stops. That's what my friend who was working with me and my old gelding taught me to do as well.

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post #10 of 20 Old 08-14-2011, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
You might want to stop pulling on the reins to start.
Agreed with Spyder. Putting a constant, holding pressure on the horses mouth is going to make his mouth rock hard and I mean, it hurts!! How would you like a metal thing pulling your mouth?

To ask him to stop, you need to do a series of half-halts and/or give-and-take motions.

You'll see, it works well with all horses.

Do what you're doing now, except give and take on the reins as you're asking him to stop. Don't use a constant pulling pressure! Oh and also, sit tall, definitely don't lean back.
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