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Jr_lover 01-06-2008 10:56 PM

hmmm so i don't know how many of you guys remember me so heres a little refresher. I'm Stephanie i own a quarter horse named Junior. He has knee problems due to a past accident so he got retired from barrel racing which he did at his old barn. Now he is with me and he is doing great. His knees are alot better now. He also had anger problems i think i might have mentioned it when i was here before but yea he used to charge at people trying to drag them down and bite them and stuff. Well he's out of that now we finally broke him of it.
Oh and i was doing western pleasure with him and i had wanted to do english for so long but had no saddle. Well good news i got an english saddle now. And i need help with training him in it.

Lets see this is a little info about it so far. He was in a snaffle bit but ran through it i had him in the bit for about a month and just now changed it after he took off in a gallop down a stretch and i couldn't stop him. So now he is in a tom thumb. I've only ridden in it once and so far so good. The only main problem i have is him collecting his head for english because i want to show him in english pleasure. I also want to find a way to get him to extend his trot is there a training method for that?

AKPaintLover 01-07-2008 01:26 AM

I don't know if you can show him in english pleasure in a tom thumb, not to mention that it is not that great of a bit (for reasons others can explain much better than myself). I don't really think you can ride with a shank in english.

I would suggest getting him back in a snaffle (loose ring, D, egg-butt - everyone has their preference - I like the loose ring) and riding in an enclosed area until you get him softened to it. If he was a barrel racer that might be contributing to some of your problems with bit and taking off. He might have never been trained in a snaffle (I used to barrel race and there have been all kinds of ridiculous contraptions invented for bits).

When in the enclosed area work on softening him side to side (this will help with your long term goal of collection. One misconception many have is that they can kind of hold the horse's head in the desired position and then drive them into whatever gait, making them collect....The horse really needs to learn to carry himself in a collected manner no matter how loose your reins can then pick up a light direct contact in english or leave the reins drooping for western.

Serpentines and circles work really well to soften side to side. I mean REALLY GREAT, but you have to have the patience to spend a lot of time doing it properly. They are also a great daily warm up to get your horse suppled and warmed up.

Even if your goal is english with light direct contact on the reins, in practice, I would suggest you focus on HUGE release and loose rein. Start by asking with one rein only as gently as you can for him to turn his head in a direction (left or right). You want him to turn his head and then follow with his feet. I also like them to drop their head a bit when turning and I think you could just pick him up later for english - starting too low seems better than too high. when you gently touch the rein for a direction, if he does not immediately follow through by bending head around (at least so you can see his eye) and start following with his feet, then you want to ad drive while holding the rein steady. Add drive by squeezing with your thighs, then calves, then heals with a kiss sound (drive sounds like not much of an issue for him). Keep driving until he bends and follows with feet. Do not pick up any more rein contact though (you are working on softening his mouth. As soon as his head bends and his feet follow, RELEASE to a very droopy rein and let him go straight. If you do this over and over and over on both sides, he will get pretty soft and to the point that when you touch the rein he follows with head then body.

Doing the above will help you keep him from taking off from you no matter what bit you have in. When he tries to bolt on you, do not pull on both reins, but use one to bring his head around toward your knee until he cannot run away any longer. Doing the above exercises will help him gain balance, rhythm, and softness, so that when you take up a light direct contact for english, he will be able to frame his own body with a little guidance from you. You will feel his body become collected when he gets is really not so much in the head - but he does have to be soft in the mouth and neck.

I sure that was confusing - just ask for clarification in parts or from others (who might have other ways to help you out).

barnrat 01-07-2008 01:52 AM

That was a very good responce add to this you need to really get back to a snaffle, it will be a hard transition but it needs to be done. I suck at explaining things but here goes a shot, wish me luck... :oops:

Tom Thumbs are leverage bits, in fact when you pull back on a horses mouth with the tom thumb the joint in the middle goes right up into the roof of there mouth causing a gaping mouth. The horse will naturally avoid pressure by putting there heads up...(this would be hard to get your horse to collect and put there head down..) another effect of the tom thumb is the "nutcracker" the tom thumbs shanks will squeze the side of the mouth....Painful I'd say. A snaffle has a 1:1 ratio meaning apply one pound of pressure and the horse feels one pound of pressure. For a tom thumb the ratio becomes higher.

I got most of my information from this site, the only reason I did not direct you to it in the first place is because I don't like all of the advice given.

Jr_lover 01-07-2008 02:04 PM

Well i've tried for about a month or two now with the snaffle. I did exercise after exercise and its just not working. My horse is hard mouthed and he's stubborn like all the time to encourage him to do something i have to hit him. The snaffle just wasn't good. Including the fact that my trainer said it had to go to since she rode him and he took off with her too. So the snaffle is through with i'm not longer riding in one. Unless i get it twisted or something then no. Plus i read up on snaffles and shank bits heres something interesting.

Snaffles pull on the oposite side of the mouth so that the horse has to move away from pressure to go in a certain direction. With shanks it pulls on that side so that they had to move torwards the pressure. So since he has used a shanked bit all his life i can see how that would confuse him. Plus i need that extra leverage from the shanks.

I'm not too worried about the bit thing its not like i'm gonna be going to a big show or anything most kid shows or fun shows that we attend don't have rules on that stuff. Although thats what i was telling my friend but she said that shanked bits are in english too. I'm not so sure about that but i just went with what my friend said but originally i wanted a full cheek twisted snaffle with a slow twist.

moomoo 01-07-2008 02:43 PM

You could try a thinner snaffle? Or a french link/ Doc bristol they are stronger but still appear to be snaffles for showing;)

Jr_lover 01-07-2008 02:52 PM

hmm i'll think about it but i just recently bought this other bit i don't wanna go shopping for another one again so its gonna have to wait for a while.

GottaRide 01-07-2008 03:08 PM

There is no such thing as a "hard-mouthed" horse. This horse needs to go back to a snaffle and learn some basics. If I was your trainer, that's what we would be working on. You absolutely cannot show english with a tom thumb bit. Don't disqualify yourself before you even get in the ring!

If you are calling your horse hard-mouthed, my guess is that you have "hard hand". Horses learn from the release of pressure. Go back to basics and ask for this horse to learn how to give to bit pressure again. Make sure you focus on softening your hands and giving an immediate release when your horse gives. Changing his bit is not going to make the difference in your horse's training. It is up to you to change the way you've been riding that will be the most beneficial.

BriLeigh 01-07-2008 05:17 PM

My first tip would be that if you are coming here for advice, then you shoule probably listen instead of just keep doing what you are doing. It isn't working.

If you did western pleasure then the same things apply to english. You can't have a horse that is resisting the bit so I am not sure why there is such a problem.

You should try lunging with side reins with a regular snaffle, that way your horse gets used to it and with the side reins they give when your horse gives. The same type of thing needs to happen when you ride. Your hands are elastic and when your horse gives you reward and give back.

It takes time, but you can't just say it isn't working and go to something easier for you. For english classes you have to use a snaffle. The reason a tom thumb works is because the pressure is coming from below and making your horse give or else it will hurt their mouth. It is almost like cheating because the pressure is coming from the wrong spot so it makes it seem easier. Try using a snaffle that is a little skinnier.

tim 01-07-2008 05:23 PM


Originally Posted by GottaRide
There is no such thing as a "hard-mouthed" horse.

ask for this horse to learn how to give to bit pressure again.

Yea, if you want to look at it from that perspective, I guess hard mouthed is just relevant to the bit you use.

When I ran into it with my horse, a 3mm rusty twisted wire snaffle did the trick. Two days later he was giving me his head no problems.
Oh, and you may begin flaming... :twisted:

Jr_lover 01-07-2008 07:23 PM

look thanks for telling me all this but i already know all of it. I'm sry but i decided to move from the snaffle bit. I'm just think snaffles aren't my horses thing. And i find it very wrong that you wanna call me hard handed i am very gentle with him and rarely put alot of pressure on him unless need be. Look the tom thumb is a second step up to the worst that he has been in. I'm going to pull him back down in time but honestly i can't ride a horse that bolts off with no control now thats dangerous.

And i asked for how to do collection and an extended trot not what type of bit to use. He is fine in the bit he is in.

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