Responding to the Bit
 
 

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Responding to the Bit

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  • 1 Post By tinyliny

 
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    02-10-2013, 09:04 PM
  #1
Foal
Responding to the Bit

My horse, Bella seems to listen to the bit most of the time, but there are some days when she just decides that she's going to do whatever she wants to- bolting, refusing to trot or walk, or just refusing to whoa- no matter how hard I pull on her mouth. I ride in a Dee ring snaffle, but I refuse to use any type of leverage bit. Is there any way to get her to listen to me through her mouth?

Someone had told me that riding her in just a hackamore or bitless for a while will soften her mouth. Any ideas?
     
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    02-10-2013, 09:11 PM
  #2
Showing
She needs to learn that doing whatever she wants isn't going to work. I usually make my horse circle tightly when he tries to go up a gait or speed without me cueing him.

The important thing to remember, regardless of what you do, is always relax or release the pressure once they begin to listen. Like if your horse takes off on you and begins to come back down, ease up on the rein pressure a bit and they should continue to come back down. If you are too tense, your horse gets no release and will continue to 'fight' you.
     
    02-10-2013, 09:14 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
Here's a thought: is it really true that she listens to you sometimes and not others? I mean, is she "good" some days because she is more obedient, or is it that on that day , at that place, what she wants is what you want, anyway? So, you are no more controlling her then than you are on the day she is bolting. She is doing what she wants in both situations, just that one happens to mesh with you while the other doesn't.

It comes down to, how connected to the bit/rein and to your hand IS your horse? Fundamentally?

If she's pretty connected, then when she is more emotional, and more distracted (on a "bad day"), then you'll still be able to reach and control her. But, if the connection isn't good, (only seems good because her will just happens to parallel yours), then when her will goes far away from yours, you will realize how very little connected she is to you and the rein.
Skyseternalangel likes this.
     
    02-10-2013, 09:17 PM
  #4
Trained
First question: Why are you opposed to a leverage bit?

Next questions:

1) How much training has this horse had?
2) Have you ridden horses with this problem before?
3) What happens when she bolts or runs through your hands?
4) Has she been taught to soften to the bridle?
5) Does she know how to flex both ways and do a one rein stop, or are you familiar with the one rein stop and disengaging the hindquarters?
6) Does she bring her head way up or down to avoid the bit pressure constantly?

My first instinct is that the horse was not taught to accept the bit properly, or this is a training issue. If you have to yank and pull and fight with this horse, I would not go any faster than a walk until you can get a solid "whoa" on a loose rein, no mouth contact, before working on it at the trot or canter. You can accomplish this easily by just doing a soft ask and follow through. Say whoa, sit down, then take up mouth contact an back up five steps. Repeat until the horse stops on "whoa" with no contact.

I would also (And probably first) evaluate if the animal is in any pain she could be running away from. Saddle fit is a big issue. Some will run from that pain and refuse to stop. The next is if her teeth are done. If she has mouth pain she may be ignoring you because of that.

My next and final option of the three would be to bump her into a bit like a draw gag, short shank bit, even a little S hackamore and just see how she responds. I occasionally run into a horse who just legitimately hates a snaffle. My gelding is one. It doesn't matter what mouthpiece. He will not work correctly unless the bit works at least half off poll pressure. Shank bits are good for applying pressure onto the poll and he responds well to that as well as the pressure under the chin, but will NOT work if it's only in his mouth (His mouth was ruined by lots of yanking)
     
    02-10-2013, 09:20 PM
  #5
Showing
Also are you working with an instructor at all? Lessons are a god-sent!
     
    02-10-2013, 09:20 PM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Here's a thought: is it really true that she listens to you sometimes and not others? I mean, is she "good" some days because she is more obedient, or is it that on that day , at that place, what she wants is what you want, anyway? So, you are no more controlling her then than you are on the day she is bolting. She is doing what she wants in both situations, just that one happens to mesh with you while the other doesn't.

It comes down to, how connected to the bit/rein and to your hand IS your horse? Fundamentally?

If she's pretty connected, then when she is more emotional, and more distracted (on a "bad day"), then you'll still be able to reach and control her. But, if the connection isn't good, (only seems good because her will just happens to parallel yours), then when her will goes far away from yours, you will realize how very little connected she is to you and the rein.
This is an excellent point.

I've ridden horses who were considered having a "good" day just because the rider didn't fall off. That doesn't mean they were doing what the rider asked, they just managed to lope the horse.

What does your horse do when you try and steer? Do you get an immediate response or do you get a duller, less reactive response? Personally, anything less than immediately and "Yes ma'am" is not acceptable. If your horse dives in on a circle, that's disobedience. If the horse takes two extra steps after you say "whoa", that's disobedience. If the horse is sluggish when you ask them to sidepass, that's disobedience.

Of course the disobedience could easily stem from lack of training, however it all comes back to the human with the reins. If you accept lackluster, C- responses instead of snappy A+ responses, you will feed the problem.
     

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