Snaffle bit Q

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Snaffle bit Q

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    12-27-2011, 02:26 AM
Snaffle bit Q

I know, I know, I've been asking a lot about bits lately... But someone said, ''It worries me that your horse doesn't respond well to a snaffle''. It really got me to thinking. I would LOVE for my horse to only need a snaffle, so is there any way that I could help him respond more to it? He's a 6 year old greenie. But I only consider him green because he doesn't get his right lead all the time, and he's not 100% kid safe. I don't have a round pen unfortunately. Any advice is appreciated. (:
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    12-27-2011, 02:41 AM
If I had a horse who was completely unresponsive to a snaffle, I would do SOOOO much slow foundation work my head would spin. I would completely start over from the ground up, and probably spend a LONG time just walking, stopping, turning, softening, suppling. Then move up to a trot, to the point I don't even have to touch the bit to get an immediate response.

Is there a reason this horse is not responsive? Has he been ruined by hard hands, lack of training, etc? Any more background would be helpful. And what exactly is he doing? Is it just brakes? Or all-around?
    12-27-2011, 02:43 AM
Green Broke
Ride him in it. Do a lot of bending and such, get him nice and soft through his body, and it will continue up into his mouth. Basically, you want to get him to pay more attention to your seat and legs, rather than relying on the bit.

It's a slow paced transition, especially because he's probably so used to the pressure the bit you use in him right now applies, so you both would have to get used to the way a snaffle bit works.

Getting him nice and "bendy" would also help with getting his right lead too.

That's all I can say with the details I know...
xxGallopxx likes this.
    12-27-2011, 02:47 AM
Young horses find balancing a rider and being light in the mouth quite hard.
Balance is improved by a combination of suppling exercises and transitions.

Circles, loops, serpentines and changes of direction improve lateral suppleness allowing the horse to place its hind legs further under it.

Transitions within the pace and between the pace supple the horse longitudinally and encourage the horse to shift its centre of balance further back and so lightening the shoulders.

Once the shoulders are lighter the horse becomes lighter in his mouth. All this takes time and patience. When schooling plan to never go around the arena or schooling area more than once without changing the subject. This keeps the horse more attentive so that he concentrates on what you ask of him.
xxGallopxx likes this.
    12-27-2011, 03:07 AM
Along with all of the above, which was great posts btw, you build in responsiveness to anything by being super responsive yourself. So, you have to really pay attention to putting on enough pressure to get a response from the hrose and reward that response. And the response that you reward is NOT bracing, it is GIVING. So, you don't reward the horse while he's still leaning on the bit. You hang in there with contact/pressure until he gives, THEN you reward his give with an even bigger one on your part.

Too often people put pressure on the mouth, the horse resists, or he moves that way a little but he's still fighting against the rein, so the human releases. The hrose just learned to fight the rein, 'cause that's what gets the human to give off the pressure.
    12-27-2011, 03:12 AM
That's a great post Tinylily! I never really thought of saying that. I've always pushed the "Everything about training a horse is about pressure and release", but I never thought about explaining human responsiveness like that. I'm definitely going to remember that post because I think it will help me explain to my lesson kids. :) Thanks!
    12-27-2011, 03:31 AM
Thank you SO much everyone! He used to be ridden in a hackamore at his old house, so I put a snaffle on him. But he was SO much more green back then (August) and he's gotten much better about being responsive to his rider...I think he's ready to take a step down to a snaffle because he's listening really well in the bit he has now. (tom thumb, but don't criticize.. I know lots of people don't like that bit but my trainer put him in that and it helped a lot) It was just lack of training that made him so GO GO GO. His old owners kind of messed him up, and I reprogrammed him lol. So thanks again everyone! I'm switching him to a snaffle tomorrow when I ride, and I will just walk, stop, back, and flex. I'll work my way up to the trot and lope when I know he's ready(: I'll keep you updated too.
    12-27-2011, 03:38 AM
Oh and one more Q: While using the snaffle, should I direct rein or neck rein? He does great either way.
    12-27-2011, 03:56 AM
To go back to basic training for sensitvity, I would return to direct reining.
I always direct rein anyway, but that's just me.

First work to have him "following the rein" , and for that you need to direct rein.
    12-27-2011, 04:01 AM
Agreed with Tinylily. When you are teaching responsiveness it is best to ride with two hands for now. BUT, as you advance your training, it will be ideal to be able to ride with one hand.

By the way, what do you plan on doing with this horse? Are you showing at all?

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