Where's the stop button?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Where's the stop button?!

Ok so I need some helpful advice from you guys... I have been making progress with Lizzy with turning, with the help of the new stuff I have learned from the clinic on Sunday. But she just doesn't have a stop button. I am on my third bit and so far has the strongest stop, or well really the only one with any stop at all.

First I had a shanked Myler comfort snaffle that worked pretty good until she found out if she threw her head up I had zero control as nothing was in her mouth then. It has no break in the mouth piece and is a level 1 so no port either.

Second I tried an oval link loose ring snaffle. Works very very well for round pen work and is currently what is used with her side reins. This bit also works ok with strictly arena work. But out in the open she completely ignores this bit, no turn and the worst is absolutely no stop at all. I do not like jumping off on the side of a very busy highway because my horse is going all nuts.

Third, and my current riding bit, is an argentine snaffle I believe. It has about 5 in curved shanks with a regular single break in the mouth piece. This is so far the only thing that gets any stop.

She is still very barn sour and honestly after almost 8 months I am not sure this is going to get any better. I just want more stop. The arenas I use are not on barn property but adjacent to it. She will throw her head up when she wants to go back to the barn and with the third bit with quite a bit of pressure she will put her head down and then stop. But here's the problem, I do not want to have to put hardly any pressure on her to stop. I sit deep and back in the saddle with a whoa but if she can see her barn it's pretty much hopeless. Anywhere else she will stop fairly quickly, but she is very headstrong and sometimes still doesn't want to stop.

So help me out with some ideas on how to fix this stop issue. I would really like her to work in a regular snaffle eventually. We have made tremendous accomplishments in the last two days with turning, I barely have to use the reins. So I know this can be done, I'm just at a loss as to how to get her to stop.

I should add this does not appear to be a pain issue as all three bits get an almost perfect response in the round pen, where she cannot run away. She loves to go, go, go, she's an arab afterall.

Circles do not help. The smaller the circle the faster she goes and the lighter her front end becomes. This horse has amazing flex and can actually maintain a canter in roughly a 10 foot circle

We have been working on walking and walking only, especially when others are working faster. This really agitates her but by doing different patterns in the arena her focus come back to me for a bit.
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 02:16 PM
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When you do small circles, are you feeling the hind quarters disengage? The hindquareters are the "drive" behind the forward motion, so if you can get her to step off of the forward track she is pushing, then you take the engine away from her, so to speak.

you need to do this training in a snaffle, no shanks, and best would be a full cheek or D ring type, or Oval eggbut, so you have some part of the bit that is pushing agains the outside of her cheek when you pull on the inside rein.

YOu lift the inside rein, and take up more and more pressure (do so with an even motion, not a jerk ),. IF she follows the rein around, then kind of ease off a bit, but don't give her back the rein fully until she comes around with her ear and eye looking at YOU or at least in the direction you are asking her to circle. ( you are asking her to give up thinking outside of this circle, or barnward direction and bring her thought into where the rein is asking her to think)
AND you want to feel her inside hind leg step under her body, and the hindquarters step over. you feel that sideways motion because the horse is stepping off of the "track" so to speak.

When she does , open the rein to the inside and ask her to step her front quarters over to the inside. Let her walk off. If she starts to brace against the bit when you next ask her to slow down, go right back into this disengagement process. you will have to do it many,many times. but eventually, she will tire of it and start answering the rein to slw down instead of going through all the work of spinning around til she disengages and you let her back out again. Be patient, plan for the time it takes. Start in the arena, then do the work where the problems occur.

Good for you for all the progress you have made.
Wallaby and jaydee like this.
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 02:23 PM
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No stop

I think maybe its not so much a case of the bit not stopping her as she is just not listening to it or you. If a horse blanks like that you could almost put barbed wire in its mouth and they still ignore it. The harsher the bit you use the less responsive her mouth is going to become.
There are some horses who will actually respond to too much pressure and a harsher bit by making it a tug of war that you won't win
A running martingale will help stop her throwing her head up to avoid the bit and keep the action on the bars and working in side reins might be bruising her mouth if you have them on too tight and the horse might again be running away from discomfort in the only way it knows how.
Try taking her back to basics in a soft bit and soft hands in a school area and think about how you are asking her to halt
Body - sit upright to cue
Seat - deepen
Legs - gently ask the horse to move into your hands
Hands - resist with quiet pressure
If you work her on the lunge always keep her calm and focused on you and your voice
Ask her to obey verbal commands so she learns to halt immediately when you ask her too and you can then carry this over into your riding so she understands 'steady', good girl & whoa.
I wouldn't advise taking her out on roads until you've learnt to settle her down
I've had a very fizzy excitable horse for 18 years, you have to learn to be a very relaxed rider while still having your mind on the game
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post #4 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, I will see if there's a full cheek I can borrow, I'm pretty sure there is. Or would connecting the reins by the mouthpiece work on this bit? Since it has the spot you can connect reins at either place? Like this below.

I will try this tonight when I ride and see if she responds better. She eventually stops when I feel her hind end move over but that takes quite a bit of circles.
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Jaydee - I can't quote since I'm on a work computer but I understand what you are saying.

side reins are only used in round pen with surcingle and she listens extremely well with them. They are left very loose and she extends her head down into the bit, I think that's how that is supposed to work.

I would like to avoid using training aids when I'm actually on her as that isn't exactly solving the problem, just covering it.

She listens in the round pen when lunging. And she knows exactly what I'm asking but she also knows how to avoid the bit. I don't think the bit I'm using is harsh. I keep a loose rein whenever possible but sometimes she just wants to run back.
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post #6 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 02:39 PM
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No stop

To me that looks like a lot of stopping gear, unless you intend to use two reins on it you have a lot of leverage going on plus a jointed mouth piece thats going to have a 'nutcracker action. Your horse could just be running away from too much pressure
A correctly fitted running martingale isn't a training aid and should only come into effect if she raises her head to an unsafe position - like a safety net
I would worry far less about a martingale than I would about using a bit like the one you are comtemplating which might just be making her more fractious
Have you tried in her straight ported bits like a kimberwick?
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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I always thought a kimberwick was a rather harsh bit?

I will look into a martingale. There is a lady at my barn that knows how to use one and would be able to help me.

She actually throws her head up a lot less with the current bit then she did with the other two. Which she still only does if she wants to go back to the barn.

She is actually a very good trail horse once you get across the road she is ready to explore and will do anything I ask.
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post #8 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 03:15 PM
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stop button

You dont have the extreme leverage with a kimberwick that you have with the long shanked bits so its easier to ride them with a light hand
Since she stops OK in the ring then I'm inclined to think she understands the whole brakes thing so the problem lies in her attitude and insecurity
I dont know what you call it in the US but in the UK we call it 'napping' which is when a horse wants to stay at the barn for whatever reason and uses any excuse to get back there - spooking etc. and they switch off to all they've been taught.
Interesting that you mention the road as I had a cob that used to do exactly the same sort of thing except he would plant himself in the middle of the road and refuse to go forwards (he would bolt back if he could) if I hit him with the whip or pushed too much he's start doing a 'rocking horse' thing until I stopped so I would spin him round and round in a tight circle until he got fed up and would then go happily on for the rest of the ride. he eventually learnt that he was safe with me and that riding away from the yard & his buddies was fun and not torture
I'm sure that in spending time and bonding with your horse you will find the same thing will happen to you. Remember with this type of horse there is a 'less is more' strategy. She's feeling stressed and dealing with it the only way she can think of
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post #9 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm I will look and see if anyone has a kimberwick available. I'm trying to borrow bits before buying or else I'm going to end up with hundreds of the darn things.

She used to be so barn sour she had no self preservation. She has since gotten much better and will go anywhere and over anything I ask of her on the trail. Just this darn barn issue.

She has also been in season for the last month, which is a whole other issue I am working with my vet on. So that may contribute to it.

But first tonight I will try what Tiny suggested and see how that works. If she is responding better I will stick with that, if not then I will move on to some other changes you have suggested.

Thank you both for the help.
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-24-2012, 03:49 PM
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Hi, I used to ride a mare who always sped up when it was time to go back, so I would ride past our place, then turn around, if she sped up again, I would ride past it again until she realised that she would get home faster by listening.

Our gelding had a terrible stop button, we flexed him a lot on the ground, in the saddle and if he didn't stop then I would pull his head around towards my knee, when he completely stopped I would release the pressure. I'm not going to lie it took a lot of time with his stop button as far as stopping him and getting him to stand still.

I used a full cheek snaffle, its good for teaching going to the left and right.

Barn sour horses are a big pain, I seperate mine out from the others, I work up to it, a hour by themselves and as the weeks progress adding more and more until they get to a point where they know they will be alright on their own. I have a half arab mare that is very prancy nervie acting she was terrified of cars so I put her in a pasture close to the road, had lots of nice grass and she very quickly decided to get over that fear. I put a sour horse in by themselves wait a little bit then I would give them a flake of alfalfa he soon settled down, I didn't do it everytime, sometimes not at all.

Hope it helps or it gets better for you.
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