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What bit to use??

This is a discussion on What bit to use?? within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • What bit should be used for western games

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    02-11-2013, 12:03 PM
  #11
Green Broke
You and your horse have no business running games, period. Don't try and slap a long shanked correction bit on her. She'll stop for awhile, and then you'll have even more work to do when you run out of bits to use.

I ran Lucky two years ago and after our first show I stuck a snaffle on her and went back to basics. Seat, leg, then rein is what you want a horse to listen to. I then ran her in a snaffle perfectly fine with a sliding stop and mainly seat/leg cues.

Now..with the snaffle, you need to learn to have light hands (with any bit). You cannot yank on her mouth and expect to be able to stop her from a gallop at the end of a pattern in a snaffle. To stop with the snaffle is progression, you've created a hard mouthed horse. Toss out the Tom Thumb, like now. Use your seat to cue a stop (with voice), if she doesn't respond in a second, slightly pull up the reins, still doesn't respond and you can THEN, and only then, "yank". What you then do if she still doesn't respond is shut her down completely with a one reins stop. This should all happen within seconds, but if she slows, you HAVE to give her that release, no matter how little. Eventually you can move up to a stop and then release, but any slowing right now deserves a reward of release of pressure.
That's basically a "Stopping for Dummies 101" type of thing since I have to go back into work. But, I agree with everyone else that you should get a trainer to retrain both of you, amd don't even think about showing this horse more than walk/trot classes when you're almost 100% positive she will stop.
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    02-11-2013, 12:22 PM
  #12
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by gamingirl22    
But whenever I was riding her and I took her from a trot to a halt, she started to back up right away. And then I squeezed her so she would stop backing up and then she jumped forward and got really antsy. How do I let her know to stop backing up without making her jumpy?
Plus, you shouldn't squeeze her in order to stop her from backing. I would get rather apprehensive about it too if I were a horse.

For her to stop backing, you should stop asking. Everyone cues for a back a little bit differently. If you use only the reins, then release your rein pressure.
If you also squeeze your legs WHILE using the rein cues, then you should stop both of those cues and she should stop.
If you use only your legs (push your feet forward and "wiggle" them in and out), then you should stop asking with your legs and she should stop.

Either way, you should just plain stop using your cues, which will stop her from backing. You are asking her to GO FORWARD NOW by squeezing on her, which is what she's doing.

Again, for questions like these, it tells me you don't have that great of understanding on the best way to cue your horse, which is why it would be good for you to at least take a few lessons with a trainer.

Don't take all these comments as personal or negative, because EVERYONE has been where you are at some point in their lives. What matters is what you do to make your riding better. Everyone can always learn something from someone else. Always.
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    02-11-2013, 12:35 PM
  #13
Weanling
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I wanted to jump back in with another comment. As you can see, there is definitely a common thread in the responses here. May not be what you want to hear, but it is all very good advice.

Think about this for a moment. Ever see a horse swat a fly with its tail? While we think about horses as big strong animals (they are) they are also very sensitive. They can feel a tiny fly land on them... and that's not even the most sensitive part of their body. Their mouth - where we put the bit - is much more sensitive.

Obviously even a "light" pull on a "light" bit is going to be felt much more than a fly landing on your horse's butt. Just like your leg pressure, seat and other movements are felt much more.

EVERYTHING you do when mounted is felt by the horse.

EVERY TIME you ride your horse you are training.

A horse doesn't speak english (or whatever your native language may be). The only way we have to communicate our intentions is what we do with our body. The horse "hears" every movement and (usually) does their best to do what we are asking.

If we are not consistent in our communication, the horse gets confused. Theoretically, you can train a horse to run when you pull back on the reins and to stop when you squeeze with your legs and give a kick.

The problem comes when you pull back to stop one day then pull back to go forward the next. You may not be doing something so blatantly obvious, but it is highly probably you are giving out conflicting signals - we all do at some point.

The horse doesn't not know the difference between lifting the reins, answering a cell phone or turning your head to the left. Doing any will communicate _something_ to the horse. It is up to the rider to teach the horse what each of these things mean. If your cell phone rings every time before you cue a canter, eventually your horse will go to canter from the ring of the cell phone alone. This concept translates to everything you do in the saddle - every movement of every part of your body. Horses don't get bad habits - they are taught bad habits by their riders. It is very difficult to ride while being completely aware of _every_ single thing your body is doing - that's where a trainer can help.

When you have to "pull harder" on the reins to slow down/stop, it is not because the horse didn't hear you the first time. It is because the horse either didn't know what you wanted or intentionally ignored you. Both are training issues which can be fixed.

It is difficult for most people - and all but impossible for beginners - to really see what they are doing wrong when mounted. This is completely different than working from the ground. Spend enough time and you may be able to figure it out by yourself. It will take a while and likely result in personal injury, but it can be done. For most of us, having a qualified trainer work with us and our horse is a much quicker and safer course.
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    02-19-2013, 06:52 PM
  #14
Foal
I'm sorry, but this is my first horse (That is not a miniature) and I will have alot of questions like these, probably. But thanks so much for your help guys! I really do appreciate it. Since the weather has been so horrible here lately, I've just been working with her on ground manners and she is fantastic on the ground! Once spring comes, my aunt and my cousin will be able to come over and give me some training advice.
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    02-25-2013, 10:57 PM
  #15
Weanling
I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said, but you should know we've all been beginners, so don't get discouraged. Don't be afraid to ask questions of experienced horse people.

I would also suggest taking a few horse clinics if you have the chance and the cash. I took a few as a teenager, and even now I like to brush up every now and again. As someone else said, it's very difficult for most people to figure out what they're doing wrong without some help. Slight shifts in weight or hand position communicate something to horses, whether we intend them to or not.
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    02-26-2013, 09:16 AM
  #16
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by gamingirl22    
I'm sorry, but this is my first horse (That is not a miniature) and I will have alot of questions like these, probably. But thanks so much for your help guys! I really do appreciate it. Since the weather has been so horrible here lately, I've just been working with her on ground manners and she is fantastic on the ground! Once spring comes, my aunt and my cousin will be able to come over and give me some training advice.
Don't apologize for asking questions! That's what the forums are for. Just as long as you have an open mind and are willing to take the advice you receive.

Working on ground manners is a great way to start teaching your horse to respect you and trust you. I personally love Clinton Anderson's ground work DVDs and TV programs, just because I feel that he explains every thing very well so that even a beginner horse owner can understand why he is cueing the horse, what he's doing, and when he's doing it. Timing and consistency are very important.

Always make sure you RELEASE pressure the very instant your horse does something correctly.

For example: Let's go through an exercise of getting your horse to yield and disengage his hindquarters. You will want to have some sort of stick or whip in your right hand, merely to "make your arm longer". Hold the lead rope with slack in it, in your left hand. Don't hold the horse tight under the chin because we don't want to make him think we are forcing him to stand there. We want him to be able to move and make a mistake ... that's how we correct it and thus they learn.

Stand off to your horse's left side (never stand directly in front of your hrose, it is not safe). When you are ready, you will want to "crouch" and "glare" with your body language directly at your horse's left hindquarters. Give your horse 2 seconds to respond. If he does not, then raise your stick at the hindquarters. Give them another 2 second to respond. If nothing, start very lightly tapping your horse's left hip with rhythm. After 2 second of nothing, very very gradually tap harder and harder. The VERY INSTANT your horse moves their hindquarters away from you, you need to stop tapping, take away the whip, take away your crouching stance, and turn away from your horse. THAT'S the pressure release for the doing the correct thing.

Now in the beginning, even if they shift their weight in the correct direction, stop and praise. Eventually, the most correct movement will be the left hind leg crossing in front of the right hind leg, disengaging the horse's forward motion. But you've got to start with baby steps.

If you horse crowds you with his head, use your left arm and hold it high to "block" your horse and keep them out of your personal bubble. If your horse moves forward, that's okay. Maintain your exact position (so move with your horse) and focus only on when those hindquarters disengage.

Of course, repeat this exercise on the other side. You can also use this same concept to disengage the shoulders and move them away from you, to turn the horse when lunging, etc

Here's one free clip on YouTube I found of CA. Yes, it is a trailer loading lesson. But most trailer loading problems stem from a lack of ground work. So he gets into ground work exercises and you can see how he is asking the horse to move, the precise moment he releases pressure, etc. TIMING IS CRITICAL. If you do not release the pressure soon enough, the horse learns to brace against you. If you release too soon, the horse does not learn to respect you.

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    02-26-2013, 05:47 PM
  #17
Foal
I have been working on moving her hindquarters/forehand and sidepassing. She is doing great at it on the ground! I can't wait to ride her but the weather here in PA rains or snows every other day...I'll keep working on her ground manners though. She is an ANGEL on the ground! And thanks so much for your help, it helped me alot! :)
     

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