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rookie 07-07-2012 08:11 PM

grabbing the bit and going
So, Harry went on his first solo trail ride today (yay). It was in hindsight probably a bad idea but I learned a lot about the horse in question. I asked for a walk, a trot and a canter on the trail. I noticed that once I had a slow collected trot or a nice canter. I would have that and ask for a down shift. I asked with steady rein pressure. The result was often him taking the bit, bearing down and often going faster before slowing down. He did this even at the end of a ride when he was tired. I noticed this was still an issue when I used half halts to slow him down. He would slow but its a long time for him to give the behavior requested. This malcontent with pace continued when I returned to our riding area. Is there anything I can do to discourage this behavior? My current plan is to work on transitions to walk and trot and spend more time focusing on that slow trot. I plan to table the canter for the moment. I am also planning on taking a lesson with a respected trainer in the area in about two weeks. Is there anything else I can do in the meantime? He is currently in a split kimberwick bit. I know its a bit harsher a bit then I would like but he does respond and stop in this bit.

rookie 07-07-2012 08:46 PM

Oh also going to add that I am going to readjust the saddle. Its not fitting him as well as it did a few months ago. So this will be ammended before I get back up on him. I just know everyone is going to mention saddle fit.

Ray MacDonald 07-07-2012 09:07 PM

I would teach him the one rein stop, tell him you mean business. When you say slow down, he should slow down as soon as you say so. You could also try sponging the reins.

Or what I do is a light see saw of the bit, but there is a trick to it. You don't just pull on either side of his mouth. It's a give and take, so you are sliding the bit around in his mouth using only light contact with his mouth. I haven't tried this with a kimberwick so if you do try it, try it in a snaffle first.

Palomine 07-07-2012 10:03 PM

When you have steady rein pressure, you are giving horse something to brace against and ignore.

Ask for slower pace, and then alternate rein pressure to get horse to listen.

Also, make him stop and stand still.

But since you have discovered this problem, work back in pen to fix it, instead of getting out on trail and getting hurt.

Daisy25 07-08-2012 11:06 AM

Work on yielding to rein pressure on the ground.

Use a gentle snaffle bit. Gently, gently pull on one rein until the horse bends its head (if the horse does not respond to "gently"'ll need to increase the pressure) - as soon as the horse complies....release the rein. Practice this on both sides. Gradually, your horse should begins to respond to lighter and lighter pressure.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Darrin 07-08-2012 12:37 PM

I just bump the bit when asking for them to slow down. Pretty much every horse will learn to ignore their bit if a rider is keeping to much pressure on it all the time. A common issue for beginner riders that gives horses "hard mouths". Have to remember when holding your reins to treat them as an egg, to much pressure and you'll break it.

If your horses does get behind the bit and ignores you. What I do for hard mouthed horses is ask once politely. If my request is ignored, I take one rein and give it a couple quick jabs to get their attention. Then they are politely asked to do what I want again. You can't over do this with to many yanks or they'll quickly learn they can't escape and just keep doing what they were doing, ignoring you.

rookie 07-08-2012 08:47 PM

Thanks for the advice. I don't think I have hard hands but then again I don't suppose anyone thinks they have hard hands. I will be going back into the ring with him. The trail was fun and a huge step for him but I think he needs some more polish before that happens again. I will try softening him to the sides and if he does it again I will try some of the things suggested here. It was weird because it felt less like he was ignoring me but like he was convinced that this was what he did. At the end he was dog tired and still bearing down. I guess it does not matter whether its the result of training or a lack of training its going to be fixed.

Darrin 07-08-2012 10:32 PM

Yep, got to be fixed. It doesn't have to be you that created this situation, could of been any of his previous owners/riders.

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