Bit problems..I'm so frusterated.
The horse I ride, is a 17.2HH Dutch Warmblood mare, she's very stubborn, and extremely lazy. I used to ride her in a hackabit it puts pressure on the nose as it also has a bit. She works really well in it for a while. But I am showing in a hunter show in 2 weeks and you cannot use that type of bit in the hunter ring. My trainer put a pelhem on her. She worked ok with it for about a week, then she started to take advantage. She HATES to round and get into a frame...she she will trot around with her nose poked out and I have the hardest time getting her to keep her frame.
Then when I jump and canter her, she just pulls me around the arena like I don't exist and does not listen to anything.
So my trainer put this lovely western bit on her...(heres a picture of it Showman Rope Nose Gag with Chain Mouth: Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com)
She hates every second of it, but she works like a dream. She gets a little cranky and kicks her stomach sometimes when she doesnt want to work, but I love this bit because she listens to it. I like it because I don't have to be so heavy on my hands, and I can just use my legs to control her.
But the problem is, I can't use that bit at the show either. I don't know what to do. I was thinking just use the pelham, and if she drags me around the jumps, just steer and look pretty (which I don't like doing). Or is there any other bit I can use? Or any tips to make her not pull me or drag me around the course?
I don't blame her for hating it...it looks like a horrible bit :(
I'd try her in a double bridle, if you've ever ridden with double reins? Although, personally, if she's giving you this much trouble, it honestly sounds to me like neither of you are ready to be doing any kind of shows. Not trying to be horrible or anything, but it might be prudent to spend more time getting her to listen and acknowledge you as being in charge without having to bit her up to the eyeballs to maintain control. Plenty of flatwork, lateral work, ground exercises. That sort of thing to make her learn that you're the boss and what you say goes, irrespective of whether she wishes it or not.
Depending on the class you could try a gag bit of some type for a quick fix?
I must agree with the others, that is a horible looking bit & is a good example of why only certain bits are legal.
It is really important to only train in a legal bit because you must be able to ride the horse correctly in the proper equipment. Judges are very capable of seeing a horse go in a bit & knowing why you are using that particular bit. It is very important to ride in the easiest bit you can find. You maybe think this is impossible, but it is not. First you need to ride more from your seat, so you do not need a harsh bit for control. Second, you need to be able to do a one-rein stop to train your horse not to fight you for control of her head. I would very much question any instructor that recommends you use an illegal bit, especially one that is so harsh. When you go to the show, watch who is winning & ask around about trainers in the area that have good successful students. You might want to try some lessons with someone else a few times, because you or the horse may do better with a different approach.
It is a joy to have a horse that works with you instead of against you!
I'm not being rude I promise just offering what I heard in the past. I always learned that it's not the bit you put in their mouth it's the way you ride them. I am a firm believer in a snaffle. I ride all the horses I train in a snaffle. My clients sometimes want to switch to more bit but I feel they need to learn proper bending, seat, leg aids etc to get the horse to respond no matter what bit they have. I would say don't rush the shows because you should be schooling pretty perfectly at home before you go.
Well, she isn't my horse, I ride her to get her to get her ready to be sold. I ride for free and show for free, so changing trainers is not an option.
I agree the bit is really harsh...it's really used for barrel horses it's a western bit so obviously cant use it in an english show. I really like how she listens with it because my problem is when I use another bit, I have to have really heavy hands and use a lot of leg...to get her into a frame. I get really tired, then I start getting sloppy, and she just takes advantage. With this bit, I can have a light hand and just use my legs and seat to keep her moving, instead of doing 10 things at once.
She hates everything that has to do with working. She'll just find the easiest way to do something, then just do it the same way every time regardless of what I'm telling her to do.
I've been riding her for about 8 months...some days shes great other days she's a brat. I've only used that bit about 3 times, I jumped her in it yesterday, and she was great. I was able to keep my shoulders back and I wasn't getting yanked over the jumps.
Also I don't think I can use a double bridle in a hunter show. I think I'll just practice in the pelham until the show. She has come a very very long way with not using a harsh bit..she used to not even want to trot. Just getting her to round up and use he back is like running a marathon without training first.
Thanks everyone for your help.
So, I will share an old-timey trick...use some petrolium (sp?) jelly on the corners of her mouth to soften it up & help the bit work better. For the lazy issue, ride with two Dressage whips & POP them both quickly the moment she doesn't respond. You should not have to use as much leg that way! Finally for the refusal to give to pressure, spin her like a cowboy with only one rein! Really get after her if you need to. After 8 months, the horse should be more obedient. I ask once, very lightly, then POP BIG. Remember a horse can feel a fly, do not let her trick you into working so hard. She is the one that needs to be working hard. Also, try a treat or two to reward her. If the Spanish riding school can treat, why can't we? I first treat for little bitty right thing, then start making them wait longer. She might learn to focus on how to earn a treat instead of how to make you miserable!
Lucky you to ride for free:D
Shimla said it perfectly, especially the lateral work. There's nothing like getting a horse soft laterally to get the result of a horse soft longitudinally.
Ever tried a mikmar d-ring snaffle bit? It's a great bit! My horse used to be ridden in an elevator all the time! We switched him to the mikmar and he listens! It's a great jumping bit as well as flat. He LOVES it (it has a tongue roller in the middle, entertainment!) and actually gets into frame with it. It is a soft bit, but when you pull back, it puts pressure in the right places and makes them listen! I would suggest trying to find one to try before buying... they can be a bit expensive (we got a USED one for $108, so they are costly).
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