Is this a bad idea?
I have a 12 year old whos only been ridden consistently for about a year and a half now. He does great but has the tendancy to be stubborn and be pushy under saddle and only do what he wants and get upset when you ask otherwise ( I have been working on groundwork and respect and hes doing much better :-D) Anyways i ride him western just trail and pleasure riding and i use a multi joint D ring snaffle and he does well with it but hes got a really soft mouth and has the tendancy to pull through the bit and act up with it when he is nervious or bored. I have always loved the idea of going bitless with him but he hated the hackamore. I recently on a whim tried a rope sidepull on him that has knots but is a soft rope so its not hard and severe. He did well with it and listened to me alot more than i though he would although occassionally fought me a little on turning but i just pulled him into a flex and waited for him to relax and turn for me. My question is do you think this is a good option for him or should i go back to the snaffle? i really like this alot better but am a little worried about control but i will continue to work with him to get a better voice responce and leg control with him. He acts significantly more stubborn around other horses he would prefer to ride alone unless on a trail ride ( Hes a work in progress :-P) so when on the trail and riding with other horses i might want to use the bit to have better control until ive worked more with the sidepull, my other question is would it be bad to switch him back and forth between the two until i get him to respond better with the sidepull? Sorry for the long post i just want to give enough info. Thanks everyone :-)
Whichever bit or bridle makes you feel that your horse is "listening" to you would be my choice. Of course, if there is discomfort, like a bit that hurts a hrose, he will be listening (thinking about) the pain. So nix that. But if no pain is part of this equation, ride him some and when you ask for a turn, watch his ears and eyes. Say you turn left. You pick up the left rein, and maybe put a slitght twist in hyour body. when you pick up that left rein, does his left ear swivel back some? Does his eye maybe roll back toward you a sec? Does he flex a tad at the jaw?
I am sure that when he disobeys you , his mind is going one way and your rein the other, so you get resistance and pull. In such an occasion you need to get his mind to the rein that is talking. See which one works better at this, the bit or the sidepull.
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