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Dodger 12-19-2008 02:04 PM

Pony Forgets Bit Exists
I took my six-year old out for a stroll today in the yard, because he hasn't been ridden in a bit and I thought if I rode him in the arena he'd just throw a fit out of boredom with it. He started off toward the road and it was nearly impossible to slow or stop him. The bit he wears is a tom thumb and I ride bareback, so could poor seat cause lack of communication? Should he have another bit or a hackamore? Is he just not respecting me? It'd be awesome to have one ride that isn't a constant power-struggle. He used to be very willing and responsive, but that was when I rode him nearly every day. I've tried that recently, but wind up not doing it because he's so hard to handle.

So, ehh..... yeah. x_x

Joshie 12-19-2008 02:18 PM

Personally, I don't like a Tom Thumb. We start out every ride with the basics. Forward, back, emergency stop, etc. I have a feeling this is less about forgetting he's got a bit in his mouth and more about needing a reminder that you're the boss and he isn't.

Personally, I prefer a snaffle bit.

LauraB 12-19-2008 02:19 PM

He may not understand what the bit means. It is probably just a lack of training and understanding of the cues of the bit. Try working him in the controled environment of the arena first and take some time to make sure he knows what you are asking of him.

appylover31803 12-19-2008 07:32 PM

Do you mean the US Tom Thumb (its a curb) or the Australian Tom Thumb (its a snaffle, no shanks)

I would go back down to basics no matter what bit he has.

Is this something he normally does, or did it just happen for that one ride? If its something he normally does, does he do it out of the arena, or in it as well?

LizAndCollin101 12-19-2008 08:04 PM

Pulling Horse.
It sounds like he just needs retraining again. Lots of walk to halt to walk transitions and when he accepts them with a light contact move onto your other transitions.
Check him out for teeth, back etc also.

If finally after all your retraining and you have him checked out you could possibly change to a kimblewick - a mild curb bit.

I would however stay with your normal bit and try and retrain and teach him the basics again.

Dodger 12-19-2008 11:45 PM

It's been happening regularly, sometimes (mostly it's just diving inside in the arena), and it's a US tom thumb.

Joshie 12-19-2008 11:55 PM


Originally Posted by Dodger (Post 214490)
It's been happening regularly, sometimes (mostly it's just diving inside in the arena), and it's a US tom thumb.

Why did you choose that bit? You said your horse hasn't been ridden in a while. I really think that at the beginning of each ride you need to go over the basics. I'm betting that the problem has to do more with a horse either not knowing what you want or a horse who is testing to see if he can be the boss and do what he wants, not what you want.

I'd review the basics. Each ride, I'd start with the basics again.

ohhellneely 12-20-2008 12:13 AM

Well, if it's a six year old that hasn't been ridden for awhile it probably needs a refresher.

Have you always used that bit him?

I agree with everybody and just start him back with the basics and work your way back to where you were with him. It's a young horse, he'll get it so don't worry.

Dodger 12-21-2008 10:14 AM

I chose it because the market for pony-sized bits is very limited here so it was either that or a curb, or a snaffle.

Though to clarify, "a bit" means months, not years.

iridehorses 12-21-2008 06:20 PM

Dodger, welcome to the forum.

A couple of questions for you. He is 6 years old but how much training has he had? How much experience have you had?

Although I am against the TT for a number of reasons it should only be used on a horse that neck reins. If he doesn't, then direct reining with a shanked bit should be avoided since the dynamics of that bit will send mixed signals to your horse.

How are you asking him to stop? Have you used a one rein stop on him?

Aside from all that, and as mentioned before, you need to go back to the basics with him and that means a lot of ground work. He needs to learn, or relearn, basic commands and respect (as in who is in charge). When you ride him do a lot of half halts and serpentines. A horse that has been trained well will not forget that training after just a few months. I bought a 10 year old last year that hadn't been ridden in 3 years but it all came right back to her after just a little bit of time but I gave her clear commands that she understood and knew that I was in charge.

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