Reactive two year old. Head gaping, tossing, lips curling at snaffle bit... - Page 3
   

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Reactive two year old. Head gaping, tossing, lips curling at snaffle bit...

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  • "collection of bits"
  • Snaffle bit for young horse head shaking

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    11-01-2012, 02:06 PM
  #21
Trained
You have to do what you think is best for you and your horse. I don't have a video camera, I'm going to see about buying a new one this weekend, and if I get one I'll show you what I'm talking about with the loose side reins and stuff that I'm working on with my mare. With Patti, it's totally a matter of I sent her out to be started (I'm 55, don't hit the ground so good anymore) and he did great on the saddle work, but never put a bit in her mouth. He also forgot to tell me that......uh huh, not pretty the first time I did. She's 8 years old, so not a matter of not mature, but I wouldn't do anything different with a 2 year old, what I'm doint isn't tough on them physically or mentally.

After that little fiasco, I did start my 2 yo colt myself, and we don't have the bitting problems that I am having with Patti.
     
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    11-01-2012, 05:17 PM
  #22
Yearling
I used my phone to record, dreamcatcher- most smartphones have a camera/video switch... maybe see if yours does?

I would love to see your girl - and how you are dealing with the bit issues - I know that we are going to see it again as soon as I go back to reins and pressure... hoping that we can reinforce in her mind that it is just a snaffle, but eventually she is going to have to accept pressure.

I have never had a horse that had such bit/pressure issues and it is incredibly frustrating to deal with... as I know you know ;)

There is a nice horse under there, just got to figure out her buttons.
     
    11-01-2012, 05:17 PM
  #23
Foal
I had a young horse that didnt like a normal snaffle bit, I change to a flexiable nylon one with out a break in it. Which worked for us. They also come in mullen mouth etc and the 3 piece jointed bits. There more gentle as they have some give in them. Also can come apple flavoured.
     
    11-01-2012, 07:19 PM
  #24
Started
Alrighty. I would either turn her out, but you probably want to show her as a 3 year old right? Start her in a bosal or sidepull. Heck, a halter would work!

Say I'm using a sidepull, I'd go about it the same way I would a bit. Start with lateral flexion (only about 5 times each side/ every session... too much gets frustrating) until they give with just a finger wiggle. And then move on to backing up, so they know what that pressure means for sure. And then I'll start then undersaddle.

Just give a sidepull a try, some horses just don't do bits.

But, I have to agree with the people that said she isn't mentally mature/ready enough for it, and say that you should turn her out and let her grow up a bit.
What other groundwork have you done with her? Maybe she isn't sure how to react to pressure.
     
    11-01-2012, 07:38 PM
  #25
Yearling
Qhrider .. I know this thread is getting long, so this is the summary on what has been covered:

1. Don't plan on showing as 3 year old. Ready to take all the time she needs.

2. Will eventually show her english so can't avoid a bit. Will actually eventually show her all around if she is competitive...

3. She gives to lateral and vertical pressure with rope halter. Does showmanship patterns to include w/t stop back set and pivots correctly on off hind. Ground drives well.

4. She has been backed and very lightly ridden with rope halter, does well moving off seat and leg pressure (she's still narrow and lanky so only walking has been done, more to get her used to me up there than anything else)

5. Did you see the video I posted earlier today? She is very relaxed and mellow with the snaffle AS LONG AS NO PRESSURE ON BIT. So the question is how to push her through the pressure part without her panicking... I am leaning towards just working on the ground work, driving, lunging, and showmanship work while she wears the rope halter with the snaffle over it - so it's in but not directly causing pressure... we will give her all the time she needs, but eventually she is going to have to accept the bit and give to the pressure...

That's where we are having the problems.... how long to let her work without the reins and how to introduce them without her gaping, lip curling, etc...
     
    11-01-2012, 07:58 PM
  #26
Super Moderator
There is a way you can let her 'teach herself'. I have known several people that have done this with no apparent problems. Personally, I have not had to do this and have always found a way train a horse by just changing equipment, but I have seen it work.

I have known several people that just put a three piece or two piece snaffle bit in a horse's mouth and turn them loose in a pen and let them drag an old pair of leather reins. Every time the horse steps on the reins in the beginning, it throws its head and 'fights' the pressure on the bit. It does not take very long before the horse steps on a rein and drops its head and gives itself slack. The same is true if a horse drags a lead-rope. It very quickly steps on a lead-rope and drops its head and usually back off of the lead-rope.
     
    11-01-2012, 08:39 PM
  #27
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
There is a way you can let her 'teach herself'. I have known several people that have done this with no apparent problems. Personally, I have not had to do this and have always found a way train a horse by just changing equipment, but I have seen it work.

I have known several people that just put a three piece or two piece snaffle bit in a horse's mouth and turn them loose in a pen and let them drag an old pair of leather reins. Every time the horse steps on the reins in the beginning, it throws its head and 'fights' the pressure on the bit. It does not take very long before the horse steps on a rein and drops its head and gives itself slack. The same is true if a horse drags a lead-rope. It very quickly steps on a lead-rope and drops its head and usually back off of the lead-rope.
Wow that's pretty horrifying, I can't imagine many horses come out of that very happy to ever wear a bit again. I've heard of many people teaching their horse's to ground tie using that method with a halter an lead rope, that's not quite so awful, my mare has done this to herself on occasion when I wasn't paying attention an the lead rope dropped to the ground while I was grooming her. She did exactly as you said, fought at first then would stop whenever she realized she was caught.
But I don't think I would ever risk my horse's mouth by letting that happen with a bit. Especially with the danger of reins getting wrapped around their legs and having them unable to release the pressure. Or if the horse overreacted to the contact and flipped. I can just see far too many awful things happening and really hope nobody ever does that with any bit.
It took my mare less than 5 minutes to learn to give to her french link full cheek snaffle. She was 7 though when she was first bitted. So she was mature and had the attention span to deal with it. I let her sit with a french link egg butt - no reins - for about an hour a day (supervised) for a couple days, then when she stopped caring about it I practiced with reins. It literally took 5 minutes for her to connect all the dots.
All I did was hold one rein with a tiny ounce of pressure and waited a second. She would chew and fuss, then try pulling away, then would turn toward the pressure. The moment she turned toward the pressure I let go and gave her a pat. Repeated this about 5-10 times on either side, sometimes with me standing on the opposite side so she doesn't think she just has to turn towards me. After 5-10times in each direction she was touching her nose to her side with just a tiny ounce of pressure. Then I practiced it on her back and she does just lovely.

There are hundreds of ways to teach a horse to give to the bit and a large number of different tools that can make them give to it - I've found this to be the kindest and most effective method with any horse I've taught.
     
    11-01-2012, 08:53 PM
  #28
Super Moderator
I've never had to do this, but the people that I know that do it all of the time do not seem to have any problems with it at all. Their horses ride just fine. Granted, they are pretty rough old style 'cowboy types', but their horses show no problems later on and some of these horses started out pretty tough.
     
    11-01-2012, 08:56 PM
  #29
Started
Cherie, I've seen people do that to help halter break horses and deal with horses that pull back, never with a bit tho....


I wonder what would happen if you raised the bit another hole and made some more pressure that she couldn't get away from....?
     
    11-02-2012, 12:31 AM
  #30
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace80908    
She hates bits. All bits. D ring, O ring, french link, small diameter, wide diameter, happy mouth, mullen mouth - you name it, she hates it.
Has she learned to yield well to pressure in all ways, reliably WITHOUT a bit? If not, that's where I'd start. Then when first introducing a bit, with Cherie's advice in mind, just let her getting used to wearing a comfortable one first. Don't start asking her to respond to it until she's desensitised to having it there in the first place.

Quote:
no pressure, bit adjusted correctly in her mouth (one soft wrinkle).
The 'nutcracker' effect of a regular snaffle can be quite strong & 'one soft wrinkle' is often enough pressure - too tight for her. Just because your hands weren't on the reins doesn't mean there wasn't any pressure. I would also suggest that she wasn't ready for a bit, that it seems she needs a bit more desensitising first.

Quote:
Worked through it and got her moving, but she had her mouth gaped wide open with lips curled back and head between her knees for the first week.
Can you remember the first time you wore a tie, sunglasses, a skivvy? It was very irritating, but eventually you became desensitised to wearing these things. That's why you don't start with actually using a bit - & one reason I think it's best to teach a horse to yield to rein pressure without one to start with. Allow her to wear it, fuss with it, eventually be distracted by something, then take it off when she's not fussing. I'd do that until she's no longer bothered before thinking about using it for communication.

Quote:
I was really surprised that a few weeks of steady work didn't solve the gaping and head tossing. (I had her wisdom teeth pulled and teeth floated as soon as I got her - no physical reason for her aversion to bits that vet can see).
It's great you've attended to her teeth(how long ago because I gather you mean wolf teeth pulled & they can sit right where the bit is & it takes months to heal), but I wouldn't say there's no physical reason for her aversion to an uncomfortable piece of metal in her mouth, especially if pressure was applied to it, especially if she hadn't first learned how to yield to pressure well.

Quote:
Each lesson I put on a D ring snaffle with a rope cavesson underneath so she can open her mouth a little, but not gape - and we lunge or drive at the walk and trot with an occasional canter.
So as suggested, I'd ditch the snaffle for a gentler, more comfortable bit. I'd also ditch the cavesson or any other equipment that forces her & gives her something else to resist & fight with. (I'd also not want to be doing much lunging at all with a youngster, at least not at a fast trot or canter.)
Then while she's wearing the bit I'd ask her to do some yielding of hindquarters & the likes, loading in trailers, obstacle courses, go for walks(lead clipped to halter) & meet other horses, picking up feet, etc, etc, basically anything that is low stress(she has already learned how) that will take her mind off it & that doesn't require any pressure whatsoever on her mouth.

Quote:
but now it takes about 10 minutes of a walk/strong trot before she carries the bit calmly. She can make a couple circles and then regresses and goes back to curling her lip back, head shaking, pulling, opening her mouth ....it takes about 35 to 45 minutes per session
Oh OK, missed that bit when I read the rest, so that's really good & sounds like you are actually a bit further ahead than you feel. Aside from 35-45 minute sessions, especially when talking lunging & fast speeds, sounding WAAAY too long. You need to negatively reinforce(remove the discomfort) her for the Right behaviour, rather than just pushing on until she tries something else because the 'good' behaviour didn't work - getting reactive about it again. So when she carries the bit calmly after 10 minutes, THAT is when I'd stop work & remove it. What she needs is practice at this behaviour working for her.

Quote:
My neighbor was watching and yelled across the fence - "that one isn't going to GIVE you anything. You are going to have to earn it with her." ...I need to set her up for success - try not to get frustrated, try not to get mad at her bit issues, and just give her the time to get through it and get her to respect the bit and the person on the end of the line...
Very good points!
     

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