Good all-around bit for trails? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-17-2012, 09:40 AM
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A stronger bit is not the answer, Teaching the horse to mind is the answer.
For a lot of rides, you will need to work on behavior issues. It will be a lot of circling, S's, dancing with bushes, and having a mad horse that is mad that you will not let him have his way. But with practice, he will learn that he can eventually catch up and that he is not being fed to the wolves when he is behind.

It will be a challenge, But this is what make great horses and helps you become a better horseperson.
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post #12 of 18 Old 12-17-2012, 10:08 AM
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Good advice from everyone.

Search out Cherie's posts. She's spent a lot of time outlining training methods that WORK. The best thread is "This is how we train a fearless trail horse" and there was another where she outlined how to get a horse to stand for mounting, it would apply here.

I would work with him on the ground. Ask him to "woah" on the ground, if he moves even one inch, firmly tug the lead, if he keeps moving back him up quick, move his feet and then say "woah!", allow him to stop, and then let him relax, keep it up till he gets the idea. Ho or woah means PLANT your feet.

As far as the bit, it wouldn't hurt to take him back to the old one until you guys work things out and do some more arena work. I grew up using nothing but curbs, they won't hurt a thing if you know how to use them. Have you ridden with them?
When I got my gelding they were using a shanked french link on him. He was a mess and hated it. Use a simple snaffle on him now and it's like night and day. I hope to get him to a mild ported curb because I like and know the action better. Then eventually bitless when he gets more responsive to leg and seat cues.

You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
What do you mean what do I mean?
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post #13 of 18 Old 12-17-2012, 10:11 AM
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Here are the links!
This is how we train a fearless trail horse!

Read more: Horse Training

My horse won't stand still for me

You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
What do you mean what do I mean?
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post #14 of 18 Old 12-17-2012, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by existentialpony View Post

To be fair, I've been riding this horse for about a week, and I know that these things take time. But I feel like a good stop is the most important thing on a horse, and for whatever reason he just won't give it to me in this bit.
Anytime. :)

One thought I had, after reading that you've only been riding this guy for a week (I assumed you already had a relationship built up), is your body language.

What are you doing with your body?
For me, I have a huge issue with being a really forward rider on forward horses. I have no issue being really relaxed on a laid back mount but stick me on a forward horse and I have to consciously force myself to relax, breath, shift my weight backwards, the whole deal. I can now shift over to relaxed pretty easily but it took months to get there.
You probably know that a tense rider makes for a tense go-go-go horse and it's the same with leaning forward.

Before doing anything more, I would spend a few rides just relaxing yourself. Think through each of your body parts and find the tension. When he acts up, analyze the situation and figure out exactly what you did prior to the issue. I would bet you'll find that you tensed up, or you were leaning slightly forward, or you forgot to breath for a second.
What I like to tell my lesson kids when they get nervous (I can tell how their minds are working by how my mare reacts to them, as soon as they get excited or their energy up, hers goes up too) is to pretend they're a centaur. They are physically attached to the creature they're riding, zero chance of falling off. I find that concept really helps them relax cuz generally, the fear in play is the fear that says they could fall off at any time!

The other thing: since it's only been a week, be sure to give him time to know you. You "know" him in terms of most things about his past history, breed, training, etc, but he has no clue about you. He doesn't know why he should trust you other than the fact that you seem like a generally nice person. As they say: you can't force the trust of an Arab, you earn it.
It took a good solid year for my (Arab) mare to trust me. She had come from a very confusing home (one owner was really lax-ly nice, the other was very harsh and expected perfection all the time) so she was basically waiting for "the other shoe" to drop for a year. That was all totally worth it now that she trusts me more than any creature I've ever seen BUT it was a harrrd year!
I don't think it'll take you a year - that's just an example.

Anyway, if you ride today, analyze what you're telling him to do with your body!
With a horse that knows you, you can get away with all sorts of confusing stuff but a new horse, you get the chance to see what might need to be improved and improve it!
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Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #15 of 18 Old 12-17-2012, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the opinions. :) I actually learned today (confirmed a suspicion, actually) from his previous owner that Jax has been ridden in fairly "harsh" bits, especially curbs since the Western Pleasure shows he attended required some kind of curb. I'm guessing that curb = go to work, for him. I am wondering if I can't use a pelham snaffle with last-resort curb reins to show him it is just as important to respond to a softer jointed bit?

Just to add on what some people said, I don't think he "dislikes" jointed bits at all-- on the contrary I am pretty much sure he loves his french link, haha. But that is the sort of issue I am dealing with.

Thanks again for all of the advice, though!
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Last edited by existentialpony; 12-17-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 12-17-2012, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the advice and help, guys! Just an update: I took Jax out in the arena today to make sure he wasn't stiff, etc, just a little walk/trot and transitions, stops... and he was an angel! Aren't tired horses fantastic? But in all seriousness, after some stretching and warming up, we were both very relaxed today and he was very receptive to cues without a change of bit. I was out of his mouth almost the entire time and cut our riding short to reward him for his good behavior (since everything I wanted to work on was suddenly worked out).

I think you guys were right about him being a little nervous/excited yesterday. It's funny, because he's a very calm horse for an Arabian, but I shouldn't have assumed that since he was adjusting so well to the new barn/horses/people, he would behave perfectly our first time out on the trails.

I'll keep you all updated (maybe start a thread on him) to let you know how we progress. I picked up a plain D-ring snaffle, but I'm going to stick with the french link for now and see if I can't keep him in this mentality! Thanks again!
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post #17 of 18 Old 12-18-2012, 02:06 AM
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I forgot to add before, when he stretches down and relaxes, scratch his withers if you don't already - every time! My mare is beginning to associate wither scratching with relaxing and I don't have to ask her nearly as much to stretch now becasue she likes to now. So, yeah something else to think about :)
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-23-2012, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Just an update... our days are here and there lately, but today was especially frustrating. :( I spent most of our ride today doing dozens and dozens of "jog, whoa, back... jog, whoa, back..." today with Jax, and even when he was sweaty and tired he just wouldn't consistently stop for me. He is always giving me a slow down, step, step... stop, and not relaxing into it.

I don't understand. On the ground, on the lunge and even in the round pen he knows whoa means stop. I can hold up my hand and say whoa when he's in his paddock and run laps around him while he stands still, but when I'm on his back he just won't take it seriously no matter how many repetitions we do.

I am just very frustrated. Tomorrow morning will be another day of "whoa back stop" for us, and maybe if that won't work I'll have him work super hard every time he gives me a lazy stop. I'm just running out of ideas. We have respect on the ground, we have building respect in the saddle when I ask him to quicken or soften his gaits, and we even had an exciting moment of collection today! But he just won't stop for me.
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