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lovemyponies 04-28-2009 11:24 AM

Bits for jumping?
Okay my horse has been such a roller coaster ride. Short history she came to me from a trainer with too many horses and no cash. She was trained in dressage and some jumping but never left the farm and probably had lots of down time (no working at all) and stuck in a stall about 80% of the time. I have had her about 10 months. She has gained about 200 lbs, looks great and gets 24/7 turnout. Life is good for her. She was so dead at first, then got super crazy now she is in between. I am making an effort to ride her every day (5 days a week) and concentrate on ring work with one day off having fun on the trail.

She is doing better but she still has her days. She loves to jump but I have not been working on that at all lately. Just recently I started trying to jump her over just poles on the ground in combinations. I also have done little cross rails with about 3 strides in between. Well before I always just jumped her over single jumps or with a long distance in between. These tighter distances have her losing her mind. Even with poles on the ground she gets all amped up and by the time she is going over the second pole she is nearly at a gallop and I can barely slow her down.

So there is a lot of information, but my main question is perhaps a different bit would help. Currently I am using this:

Copper Roller Dee Snaffle Bit, Dee Bits, Horse Bits

I am wondering if a little stronger bit might help control her as I am riding down the line to the jump. I know it would be better to just work through it with the existing bit but I never really gave much thought to the bit I am using. She used to chew on the simple snaffle I had her in first. She seemed to like this one and stopped figdeting. She does tend to throw her head when she gets frustrated on occassion. I usually lunge her in side reins and sometimes use a fairly loose standing martingale.

Any suggestions are welcome. Oh by the way she is a 15.3 7 yr old TB mare, her daddy was a race horse but she was never registered. But she is very TB like... rather sensitive and sometimes nutty but lovely and lovable:?

MIEventer 04-28-2009 11:58 AM


Training Scale goes:

Rhythm, Looseness, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, Collection.

Calm, Forward. Strait - it is difficult to teach a horse anything if they are tense, on the muscle.

There is so much that could be occuring here. But I will tell you what I've learnt over the years I've been here in Michigan, via lessons and clinics when I get the chance.


We must learn to ride with our seats first, our seats activate the back end. Our seats determin what tempo our horses are going. We speed our seats up, so do our horses. We slow our seats down, so do our horses. We tense our seats - our horses will respond. We relax our seats, our horses will respond.

Our seats ride the hind end.

Then our legs. Our legs are there to aid our seats. They are there to keep the flow of rhytm going. They are there to lift the ribs up into our seats. They are there to bend, to turn.

Our legs ride the back.

Then our hands come last. They are not there to ride the face - they are there to ride the shoulders. Our outside rein must be there in soft contact to allow the rhythm you created through your seat and legs to flow and continue - to recycle back through instead of gushing out the front. Our hands are there to lift, to aid, to ask and be asked.

Dressage, Dressage, Dressage, Dressage. Lots of it! You can never go wrong when you do flat work consistantly and thoroughly and patiently.

Let me tell you the experience I had with Dorothy Crowell and my TB Nelson.

When I first got him, we was a Prelim Eventer. Very forward, very strong - too much for me. I remember we would go over 1 small CC fence, and before I was able to bring him back down under control - we were already at the other side of the field.

So at that time Dorothy Crowell was coming to the barn to give a Clinic through the local Pony Club and I, of course, had to sign up because I love her. She is a CIC**** and CCI**** Eventer who competes at Rolex every year and she represented U.S.A in the Olympics riding beside the O'Connors.

Anyways - during that clinic she saw how out of control we were. Not dangerous - but I was not riding him correctly. I was riding him front to back, instead of back to front.

We went through a 3 jump combo, and he took the 5 stride in 3 and the 4 stride in 2 *something like was rediculous* and I was riding his face to bring him under control instead of riding with my seat.

So she pulled me aside and worked with me 1 on 1 showing me how to ride


I now have an amazing mount, and we now have a great partnership - all because of what Dorothy showed me.

Our seats must be there to slow down our horses. Our legs must be there to aid our seats. Our hands must be properly carried, tall upper body to allow the energy to recycle.

Incorporate circles and bends and serpenties before the fence and after the fence.

Jumping is Dressage with speed bumps.

There are many great exercises to incorporate - here is a video of my Husbands horse and I in a Dorothy Crowell Clinic. Listen to what she says to me about seat and legs. And watch the exercises given.

Remember - our form in the saddle makes a world of difference as well! If we are out, so are our horses.

lovemyponies 04-28-2009 12:26 PM

thanks so much!!! My background is showing from about age 7 to 16 had some great hunter trainers, got some great basics. Then about 10 years off riding only very occassionally. Then about 12 years ago started trail riding again, nothing formal. So this past year has been about getting my form back, etc. I so appreciate your help. I will def be working on this...I know absolutely lots of my mares issues are all about me. I am planning on having a young lady who is training with top trainers and doing jumpers work with her this summer and hopefully show me how to do it too. I am thinking of sending her to a dressage/hunter jumper training near me who is incredible.

Where in Michigan are you from? That is where my horse came from. You never know you may know her owner trainer. I will pm you her name.

She is famous for creating horses only she can ride.

MIEventer 04-28-2009 12:30 PM

I am in southwestern michigan.

I would really focus allot on dressage right now, incorportating small fences slowly. Really focus on yourself and where you are in the saddle and what you are doing to cause the reactions. Also on your horse, her balance, what parts of her body she is using etc, etc, etc.

You don't have to send her to some trainer - just find a good instructor who can work with you weekly at lessons and then use that at home to work together.

Clinics help immensely! Video's - I recommend Sally Swifts 2 videos. Books. Lessons.

lovemyponies 04-28-2009 12:35 PM

thanks so much. Most of the good instructors are about an hour away from me. but I am looking for some clinics to attend and certainly will check out those videos. My sister lives near Ada. Does that count as Southwest?

lovemyponies 04-28-2009 01:09 PM

Okay back the question at hand though. I do agree there is lot of work to do and changing bits is not necessary per se but at the same time if my seat and legs and hands don't work on slowing her down at some point a stronger bit might make sense, no? I mean that is why they make stronger bits correct? I guess I will wait and see. I did exactly what was suggested as far as circles, serpentines, bending etc and she was fine until she saw the line of two jumps and lost it and started galloping and I was sitting deep and supporting her with my hands etc.

(again I know many of her issues are because of me) but still a stronger bit might help too.....

MIEventer 04-28-2009 01:47 PM

She is off the track - so is my TB.

You give them something to lean into, they will take it.

Stop looking at the fence. Stop anticipating the fence. I am going to guess that you over thought the fence and tensed up, in turn - she reacted.

Work on lots of flat, seat into legs into hands and incorporate small fences. Approach slowly, at a trot first. Rhythmic, fluid, strait, under control - then about a stride or 2 away, let her face go, hold onto mane and let her do the work.

What I am going to guess - is that she is reacting to you.

Jumping is dressage with speed bumps. Ride her exactly how you would on the flat - do NOT change anything when you incorporate a fence.

Sit deep, tall upper body, legs around girth, heels deep, carried hands. Quiet, breathe, relax. Ride your horse, not the fence.

Lots of flat work between each small fence. LOTS.

Let her face go - ride her back end.

lovemyponies 04-28-2009 02:11 PM

actually she was never raced but you would think so, she loves to run out on the trail. she never gets tired. As far as my tensing up, true now that she started this but not until after she started doing this. She has always rushed fences a bit. I was just jumping her over a few cross rails occassionally and she was fast but manageable. I rode her all the way to the fence, supported her by sitting deep and holding her together. She was okay... but seems the addition of a second jump, pole whatever really got her going. I agree I need to not ride her face.

Its just she is reacting so differently. On the flat she has actually calmed quite a bit and is much more supple. It does seem like she has lost her confidence in herself, that the two jumps in a row really freaked her out. The first time this started I wasn't riding her. A younger girl, good rider was on her and she isn't a very experienced jumper, but she had been so good for her I asked her to try the two little tiny jumps and the horse just lost it. I then tried the next day and the best I got was her actually just trotting the poles and not absolutely taking off.

you are right back to flat work.... she is a project but a fun one, if she ever really works out I will feel so proud :)

Spirithorse 04-28-2009 05:23 PM

A lot of good things have been said. I also think that a harsher bit is not the answer. It's never the answer, IMO.

MIEventer 04-28-2009 07:58 PM

Just remember where you need to be, and incorporate allot of flat work between each fence :)

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