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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, So I've had Destiny for about 5.5 years now and she's awful when it comes to bits. She was PERFECT when I bought her, but we went to a boarding facility where the owner was so parelli, she yelled at us when we used a bit, so for the year we where there; She was only ridden about 5 times. But Lunged everyday, and did a lot of rope halter work. When we finally moved her to another stable, we rode just about every day. But she started fighting the bit. Tossing her head, and pushing up against the wall until you got off. I finally got the idea to just get clip on reins and ride in a halter. She was FANTASTIC and still is. But now I want to start doing jumping, and showing. But I can't seem to get her to respond, I was using a basic snaffle on her, no results, Tomthumb, no results, eggbutt style, no result. Finally I borrowed a double twisted wire bit from a friend. Barely had to move my hands with it, But I feel bad about using it, so I stopped and went to a bitless bridal and mechanical hackamore.
But now I need to use a bit. What would you suggest, either it be bits, or training. Anything helps - Rider in Need of a Quick answer. :cry:
 

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Anything helps - Rider in Need of a Quick answer. :cry:
Let me just say that it has taken 5 years for this bit problem to develop, so you are NOT going to find a "quick answer" to the problem. The problem didn't form overnight and it isn't going to go away overnight.

First of all, when has your horse had her teeth examined by an equine dentist? When has she been checked by a chiropractor?

If she has tooth pain, that will cause her to resent the bit. Back problems can also cause a head tossing bridle issue too.

We want to make sure she isn't in PAIN before we go about solving the problem.

99% of the time it isn't the bit at fault. It is the hands that hold the reins. Now, I am not saying that you did anything intentionally, but most likely you are not releasing pressure at the proper time to let her understand how the bit works. Especially since your horse was fine when you bought her, and now ignores the bit while she's been in your care.

So we need to go about re-training your horse and re-training you. Are you working with a trainer or taking lessons?

You want to start with a basic snaffle to retrain.

Start from the ground. Stand at you horse's left side. With the left (direct) rein, apply a small amount of pressure. If your horse pulls against you, do NOT pull harder. Simply "stay" with her and keep the pressure 100% consistent. The very instant that she "gives" to your rein and releases the pressure, you need to drop the rein immediately to reward her. If you release the pressure too soon, she learns she doesn't have to give. If you release the pressure too late, she learns that giving wasn't the right answer. This is where timing is very critical and why it is helpful to work with a trainer.

Eventually, your horse will start to understand that if she "gives" you will release the pressure. Never, ever, ever jerk on her mouth because that will only teach her to brace.

Make sure to do this from both sides.

After a couple days and she's doing this well on the ground, you can transition to the saddle. Do the same exercises. Remember to release immeidately when she does the correct thing.

This is going to take some time to fix, because it has taken time to form. And it sounds like this horse has your number. So best to have a trainer helping you soften her to the bit.
 

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95% of bit problems are caused from unsteady hands! the other 5% is teeth problems.
The fact that you have resorted to stronger and stronger buts rather than work through the probes, says that you need help from am on site experienced person.
 

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When you say no results can you define? I think since she once was good in a bit she will be again. Make sure to have her teeth checked. Horses do not have hard mouths they have stiff bodies, not riding for a year, and then only riding in a halter, mechanical hackamores and bitless bridles will cause your horse to be stiff. I can sort of understand her resisting the bit after not wearing one for a year, but that is not an excuse and now is a training problem. Go back to a snaffle and do lots of lateral bending, at a stand still. Get her so lite to the touch that you can pick up your rein with two fingers and she gives you her head, make sure you release the pressure as soon as she gives so she learns that giving to you is the right answer horses learn from the release of pressure not the pressure itself. Once she is soft at a stand still then walk her and practice one rein stops, serpentines, circles, anything to get that lateral bend and softness. If she was good once she will be again. Don't expect the softness over night begin asking for a little each day and in month I'll bet she is softer and giving more.
 

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Check teeth, check bit, check hands. Like gssw5 said, if she was good once she most likely can be great again. But most likely won't be a quick fix. If it was only her teeth, then it could be. If it was just the bit, then it may be to. But fixing your hands takes a lot of time and patience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone for helping.
She's fine at a walk and trot but at a canter is when she loses it. No body's really noticed and neither have I with my hands. What parelli taught me was to do things in phases. Take it slow and soft, still not responding , be a little tougher. But currently our training is postponed due to a leg injury ):
I'll post videos when she's better.
Again thanks everyone ! ^-^
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And it's not turning that's the problem. It's stopping
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I lean back, dig my feet into the stirrups then slowly start gently pulling back and saying "whoa" but she goes faster or keeps fighting it
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Master the “Slow Down” Cue

Slow Down Speedy Horse

Taken from this article - Dressage Mysteries Solved

Your seat controls your horse’s rhythm, speed, length of stride and all downward transitions. “The potentially dangerous thing about that is you can also control these things with the reins,” cautions Savoie. “You can get from trot to walk by pulling on the reins, but this blocks the hind legs from coming forward, creating a chain reaction: The hind legs stop going forward, the back goes down, the neck goes up, and the horse comes above the bit. You have to be very aware of what you should be doing with your seat.” To slow your horse with your seat, still the following motion of your hips and contract your stomach muscles, like you’re doing a sit-up. Once your horse understands this cue, you won’t need to pull on the reins to slow down.


Have a read through those. It's not just about leaning back and pulling on the reins. I am not sure if you ride english or western, but the western videos I quickly looked at basically said the same thing as the english articles and videos.
 

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I lean back, dig my feet into the stirrups then slowly start gently pulling back and saying "whoa" but she goes faster or keeps fighting it
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The problem with this is that the angle of your pelvis changes here and you are actually driving her FORWARD off of your seat. This angle of your pelvis can also be uncomfortable for the horse and they will drop their back, raise their head, quit tracking up and can become unbalanced because of your position. This will then cause the horse to try and speed up to regain their balance. You are also not using your seat here but really your stirrups for support. If you were on a horse that was really broke and did this, you would find yourself not being able to stay with the horse because you are tense in all of the wrong places. Instead, as you prepare to stop, let out a big breath and as NaeNae87 has said, tighten your abs as you melt down into the saddle instead of back.

I personally teach stops by doing lots of ORS. The more you get your horse broke side to side, the better it will be when you do pick up on two reins. However, my ORS are not just stop when I pick up both reins, it's softly circle down as you disengage your hindquarters then come to a stop.

My horses learn to rate off my seat far before I ever pick up on two reins and ask for a stop. I'll rate myself down nice and relaxed, when my horse doesn't respond i'll bend them down to the appropriate speed. In doing things this way i've never had a horse fight the stop or a downward transition. It's very easy for a horse to either brace against two reins, stick their nose out and avoid or tuck their chin and continue to truck along, either way it's a mess. However, when your horse is soft off of one rein and moves their hindquarters around with ease, you take the 'no' out of things.

Once that is all good I teach my horse what two reins mean. I begin this at the halt asking for vertical flexion after I bend down to a stop from a w/t/l ( whatever speed I was going at) and my horse is soft flexing either direction. I want the horse to give vertically without ducking down and hiding behind the bit or just throwing their head down. I do not pull backwards, I simply take the slack out of the reins just barely and wait. It shouldn't be a big jump for the horse as they are already soft both directions. The more you pull the more your horse will pull. Once the horse understands to flex at the poll, I keep holding and wait for the horse to figure out to take a step backwards. If the horse is giving properly, the first step back will be pretty easy. Once I get a step I release, wait a moment and repeat, repeat, repeat without drilling it. I don't spend a ton of time on any one thing so my horse doesn't get bored and I'll typically do this after my horse is warmed up and wanting to stop, it's useless to do this with a horse that won't stand still. At first I do not ask for much, i'd rather have one correct steps than three sloppy ones.

The first day it'll be alright but on the second, everything will really come together. The third day of backing i'll start stopping from a walk. I'll start to ask for a stop with my seat then take the slack out of the reins. Since you are beginning with a cue your horse knows everything will fall into place. I'll then hold for a moment to get a step back. The speed you can progress depends on the horse. Don't move up to the next gait however if your horse is wanting to avoid the bit in your stop at the one you are at.

For instance, i've got a project mare right now with 30 days riding under my training. I had a buddy of mine who was just not getting the process I had explained. At this point I had only ever ever used two reins to back. I put her in a lope, closed my fingers to take the slack out and within two strides my mare who had never been stopped under saddle with two reins had stopped softly. However she is smart and her back up was very very nice at this point and I knew I could push her, skipping a few steps to show my point. I did not give her the usual verbal cue ( the loud breath out) nor did I quit riding. She had simply been prepared to be asked to stop.
 

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I lean back, dig my feet into the stirrups then slowly start gently pulling back and saying "whoa" but she goes faster or keeps fighting it
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The problem with this is that the angle of your pelvis changes here and you are actually driving her FORWARD off of your seat.

Agreed... your'e giving her very mixed signals. My guess is that she was perfect before because she likely was ridden with soft hands. Everyone has flaws but when you start giving conflicting signals it can really affect some horses. Sky used to be a freaking giraffe and toss his head around, or grab and bit and reach up with it and bolt. Then I came along, my bumbling self.. but I got a trainer involved in my own riding and we actually got him soft and accepting the bit. The same bit, mind you, that we found out later was much too small (I was a moron when I got him initially and way too trusting of every horse person I met)

So, moral of the story? You need help. Always make strides to improve your own equitation. Find out if the bit is the right size, the right width/thickness, the right type... don't move up. Then check your own cues. tilting your pelvis so you're sitting more back on yoru seatbones is a driving seat.... no wonder there is confusion with her speeding up and you trying to slow her down with your hands but pushing with your seat.

Has anyone else gotten on her? Some training rides may do her good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, I didn't ask for rudeness from some of you. I was told how to stop her by the old owners. My Number one question is why this stopping problem is only with a bit. And Yes, Skyseternalangel, others have ridden her and she still wouldnt stop. Put a hackamore on her, she was perfect.
Some horses just dont like bits.
 

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I don't see why you can't just use a jumping hackamore. Why do you HAVE to use a bit? I used to ride an Arabian that was a bit of a pill, loved jumping, but definitely would fight the bit. Had him looked at etc., nothing was wrong, decided one day to try him in a hackamore, and he was amazing. Jumped him, did a little dressage basics with him, absolutely no problems with the jumping hackamore. That being said, if you really really want to ride in a bit, then I'd do as others have said, and get his teeth looked at, when the bit's in his mouth, look to see if he's got clearance above the bit. I found a horse that had such a low palate, that even just the slightest tug on the bit both french link, and single jointed, it poked the roof of his mouth. He needed something completely different, we actually ended up with mikmar combo bit (he as a western horse), that had very little bit movement unless you were heavy handed, and it worked wonders with him. He listened so much better after switching the bits. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't see why you can't just use a jumping hackamore. Why do you HAVE to use a bit? I used to ride an Arabian that was a bit of a pill, loved jumping, but definitely would fight the bit. Had him looked at etc., nothing was wrong, decided one day to try him in a hackamore, and he was amazing. Jumped him, did a little dressage basics with him, absolutely no problems with the jumping hackamore. That being said, if you really really want to ride in a bit, then I'd do as others have said, and get his teeth looked at, when the bit's in his mouth, look to see if he's got clearance above the bit. I found a horse that had such a low palate, that even just the slightest tug on the bit both french link, and single jointed, it poked the roof of his mouth. He needed something completely different, we actually ended up with mikmar combo bit (he as a western horse), that had very little bit movement unless you were heavy handed, and it worked wonders with him. He listened so much better after switching the bits. Good luck.
THANK YOU! You understand! Finally someone who does! I am doing a project in agriculture science, and the only thing I could think of was retraining. Reason I want her with a bit is because you have to use a bit in jumping.
 

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I personally do not see that anyone has been rude, I see plenty of people that have offered words of advice without sugar coating anything, myself included but I haven't seen one person be rude. However, as someone who replies to posts and often puts a lot of thought into helping someone, being on this end can be very frustrating. I as well as other people on this thread have given good advice and other people have suggested having her teeth looked at, which should be the first step and to take into consideration how her mouth is built when picking a bit. However, many of us that have replied trying to help you have been ignored.

Just because her old owners tried stopping her that way does not make it correct either. It's a common mistake that a lot of people make, I know I did a few years ago, it's what I had always been told to do and it made perfect sense, in my head. I thought I was pretty good until an old cowboy put me on one of his horses and had me ride him bridleless, practicing stopping off of my seat. He was a complete jerk but I learned more from that grumpy old man than i've learned from anyone. It was a disaster at first. I was told what I needed to do and left pretty much alone. I asked Blackie to 'stop' from a trot and ended up with a gallop. I thought i'd be smart and point him at a fence to help stop him, nope, I ended up asking for more speed and we jumped the fence. I then was left to figure out how to rate him down in the open. When I finally adjusted my seat properly I was launched off his shoulder because I was too loose. It was easily one of the most embarrassing days I've ever had but I learned a lot and it wasn't because anyone sugar coated anything.
 

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I honestly didn't see anyone being rude in their responses. Telling you what you didn't want to hear, sure, but no one wants to hear that they are potentially the problem behind their horse's issues.

I think you need to go back to square one with this mare. Do some ground driving to get her really responding to the bit and soft in the bridle. Work on a lot of flexing from the ground. Once you get back in the saddle, work on flexing and one-rein stops at the walk and trot. Get all of that solid before working up to the canter. Also, work on yourself and how you're asking her to stop. Examine exactly what you're doing and how she's reacting. Take videos of yourself and watch them with an eye geared toward "if this was someone else and someone else's horse, what would I be looking for?" Try different approaches to transitions and getting her to stop to find what works best. And most of all, do this in the gentlest bit you can (a snaffle of some sort with a SMOOTH mouthpiece).
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First of all:

Have you had Destiny checked by an equine dentist?

Have you had Destiny checked by a chiropractor?

You did not answer my questions on that from before. If you do not check these things out, we cannot know if pain is causing her to brace in the bit. Therefore we can't "punish" her in the bit for her behavior if she's lashing out in pain.

Ok, I didn't ask for rudeness from some of you.
Who is being rude??

It might be very hard for you accept and not easy to hear, but you are doing something wrong somewhere along the lines. Unless she is in pain, horses just don't "suddenly" decide to not stop when they stopped perfectly 5 years ago with a different rider.

And just because someone else hops and her back and can't stop her either, that doesn't prove anything except that you have an engrained long-standing problem that is going to take TIME to fix and repair.

My guess is that your timing is off and you are not releasing the pressure at the proper time. Or else you are being too easy with her by very slowly asking harder and harder, but maybe she should get one small warning, and if she doesn't respond, she needs to be reprimanded immediately. Horses aren't cookie cutters. You can't follow the exact same method for each one. They all learn differently.


She's fine at a walk and trot but at a canter is when she loses it.
Simple. Then she's hasn't understood the cues well enough at the walk and trot yet to progress to the canter. Stay at the trot and walk until she gets better at it.

And it's not turning that's the problem. It's stopping
Yes, but we need to get your horse soft in the bit again. Lots and lots and lots of circles will accomplish softening your horse in the bit. And in turn, making her stop more softly.

Put a hackamore on her, she was perfect.
Some horses just dont like bits.
True. Some horses would rather not carry a bit. However, there difference here is that your horse SHOULD carry it for you because you are asking it of them. Especially since you want to show and it requires a bit, she needs to learn to accept the bit and carry it softly.

Are you working with a trainer? I think that would be of great benefit to you.
 
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