Working on the bit
   

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Working on the bit

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  • Working on the bit
  • correct rein length for working stockhorse work

 
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    01-06-2010, 05:46 AM
  #1
Foal
Working on the bit

I have just recently broken my new horse in and he is going fabulously, however now that the time has come for me to ask him to work on the contact he just thinks i'm asking him to halt, despite still asking him for forward movement. I have taught horses to go on the bit before but they were mature and more comfortable with the bit in general. Any tips for a young horse with a very soft mouth...?
     
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    01-06-2010, 05:23 PM
  #2
Trained
Get your basics totally downpat before you worry about where his head is. If he thinks that a bit of contact means stop, you havent got a good enough go button. Does he move off your leg immediately from slight pressure? Or does it take a bit to get him moving? Will he yield from your leg, will he maintain YOUR pace until you ask it to be changed? Are his paces forward, marching and active, off the forehand...? Or does he just run fast making you think that he's 'forward'. This is what people with ottb's say, "Oh, my horse is very forward", no running on is not forward, I bet if you asked for the horse to move off when they want to stay slow, they won't do it.

How are you asking him to come 'onto the bit'? Because if you're just pulling back and putting leg on that is just giving him conflicting aids and won't do you any good. He should be responsive, but not hyper sensitive, to the leg and willing to keep moving each time you touch him with the leg. Getting a horse to take a contact that doesn't understand the concept is not something you can teach over night. It takes patience, and good, solid basic work as desicribed above. He should also have a basic understanding of responding to your back/seat.Work him onto a circle, and legyield him in and out. Lots of rein changes, transitions, leg yield and shoulder fore if you know how to teach it. Always keeping the rein contact steady, don't pull, but don't give your reins away. Just leave the contact there for him to have a feel of, and by making him engage his hindquarters via transitions (trot-canter-trot are the BEST!), changes of rein and leg yield/shoulder fore, he will start to work and loosen his back, which in turn will encourage him to pick up a contact on the bit.
     
    01-06-2010, 08:03 PM
  #3
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperum    
Any tips for a young horse with a very soft mouth...?
Proceed carefully and get some help from an experienced person. It helps to think about what you want to achieve before you start training each day. Your horse will need to break at the poll at a stand still and each gait before expecting her to collect and travel in frame.
     
    01-06-2010, 08:09 PM
  #4
Foal
Try the robart pinchless bit. It does not pinch the horses mouth, its the only thing I use. And its good for horses with sensitive mouths. www.pinchlessbits.com
     
    01-07-2010, 03:18 PM
  #5
Foal
I break in a lot of ponies for people and I find that if you lunge and long rein in side reins to help the horse get used to holding his head there and build up more back and neck muscle which will help him to hold his head in an outline for longer periods of time without causing aches and pains. I also start to work the horses in a outline right from the word go. So there are used to woriking in an outline as much as they are used to trotting xx
     
    01-07-2010, 04:11 PM
  #6
Trained
If you're pulling, you aren't asking correctly. Even backed up with leg, pulling gets you nowhere really quickly. It's an excellent way to teach a horse to stop, and not go again.

Horses will naturally come round when ridden correctly in rhythm, while they are relaxed and on the correct length of rein. You must ride "back to front" to achieve correct contact. Every time you pull back, you are riding "front to back". Every time with no exceptions, even if you also have your leg on.

We like horses with sensitive mouths!! We love them! So this should not be an issue. The horse should be very easy to teach.

Good luck! And I second Kevin on getting a proper coach.
     
    01-07-2010, 05:57 PM
  #7
Trained
Just a note - She isn't pulling, but so far he has worked on a loose rein nice and forward, so when she picks up the contact he takes it as the cue for a stop.
     
    01-08-2010, 01:22 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Get your basics totally downpat before you worry about where his head is. If he thinks that a bit of contact means stop, you havent got a good enough go button. Does he move off your leg immediately from slight pressure? Or does it take a bit to get him moving? Will he yield from your leg, will he maintain YOUR pace until you ask it to be changed? Are his paces forward, marching and active, off the forehand...? Or does he just run fast making you think that he's 'forward'. This is what people with ottb's say, "Oh, my horse is very forward", no running on is not forward, I bet if you asked for the horse to move off when they want to stay slow, they won't do it.

How are you asking him to come 'onto the bit'? Because if you're just pulling back and putting leg on that is just giving him conflicting aids and won't do you any good. He should be responsive, but not hyper sensitive, to the leg and willing to keep moving each time you touch him with the leg. Getting a horse to take a contact that doesn't understand the concept is not something you can teach over night. It takes patience, and good, solid basic work as desicribed above. He should also have a basic understanding of responding to your back/seat.Work him onto a circle, and legyield him in and out. Lots of rein changes, transitions, leg yield and shoulder fore if you know how to teach it. Always keeping the rein contact steady, don't pull, but don't give your reins away. Just leave the contact there for him to have a feel of, and by making him engage his hindquarters via transitions (trot-canter-trot are the BEST!), changes of rein and leg yield/shoulder fore, he will start to work and loosen his back, which in turn will encourage him to pick up a contact on the bit.
What she said. =]
     
    01-08-2010, 01:52 PM
  #9
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
Just a note - She isn't pulling, but so far he has worked on a loose rein nice and forward, so when she picks up the contact he takes it as the cue for a stop.
The rider does not pick up contact, the horse seeks contact. It is always the horse who decides on this issue, based on level of preparedness, fitness, strength, suppleness, etc...

When the horse is truly seeking contact, only then may the rider experiment and ask the question 'can you give me more?' by slightly shortening the reins and that should result in a slightly shortened outline, but still with the willingness to be forward.

If it results in something else, then the horse wasn't actually seeking the contact, or the rider has taken the contact.
     
    01-08-2010, 02:05 PM
  #10
Yearling
I definitely agree with Anebel and Kevin- your first step should be to get an experienced trainer to help, especially in these first stages. It takes no time at all to frustrate a horse and make them resistant, even if your intentions are completely good.
     

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