Reliant on the Bit?
MY guy doesn't seem to respond well to my leg and seat, however he will do almost anything I ask when I ask through the reins. He was a lesson horse for two years, is it possible that he has become reliant on the bit? Is there a way to get him to listen to my leg and seat as well?
As a lesson horse he probably developed a "hard mouth". He's probably had tons of people lugging on him and just gotten used to it. Alot of times a horse will actually get used to the rein preasure and use it as a "third leg", or extra balance.
You could go out and buy a slightly harsher bit, but I wouldn't really suggest that as you could more than likely just go back to the basics and reschool him.
I would do alot of downward transitions, get off the rail, do serpentines and circles. Go from a walk to a trot and then ask for a halt, immediately back and then go back into the trot. change directions often and when you go to canter, only do it for a few strides. Maybe 5 and come back down to a walk or a trot.
The trick is to get him paying attention to you, you want him wondering which way are we going to go and when are we going to stop. Do some gymnasics, trot and walk poles. I'd drop the jumping until you get him listening to you better. It's not going to happen over night but eventually, a light bulb will click and you guys will be a team.
It sounds like he has more gotten used to ignoring uneducated legs. He probably got tired of people kicking him and then snagging him the mouth if he moved forward so now he just ignores the leg.
I'm guessing because he is a lesson horse (like others have stated) he isn't used to riders who use their legs properly, or even at all. I wouldn't really suggest a harsher bit because you want to wean him off of it. Like others have said just work on transitions, always using your legs. And make sure you yourself have a good seat as well as leg cues, you can't expect your horse to know what you want if you aren't asking properly.
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