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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
About five months ago I bought a horse who leans/is very heavy on the forehand in an Eggbutt snaffle. He's been this way since I bought him, and I'm trying to train him out of it with soft hands, plenty of half halts, rebalancing exercises, etc. He has been to the dentist, his saddle fits, and he's been checked by the vet, so i don't think pain is an issue--unless it's pain on his palate.

He rides beautifully in a Western curb with a solid mouth and solid shanks, but I don't ride Western enough to keep him in that.

What do you recommend? Just keep schooling in his snaffle and work on building and engaging his hind end, or replacing his bit with something else (especially if the snaffle could be uncomfortable in his mouth)? I don't really want to "bit up," but maybe replacing the Eggbutt with something just as mild with a different shape would help?

Thanks!
 

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My horse used to be very heavy on the bit and I couldn't seem to train her out of it. I didn't believe in trying stronger bits as some people suggested, but I switched up from a single jointed snaffle to a double jointed and it made a huge difference. She apparently didn't find the single jointed comfortable.

Since you say he rides well in a different bit, I would try switching it up to see what it is he likes. Another thing to think about if he rides well with a western bit is that he may not like contact. I am assuming that when riding in the western shank bit he is ridden on a lose rein.
 

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I used to own a thoroughbred gelding who was very similar to your horse. I rode him in an eggbutt snaffle and he was REALLY heavy on the forehand and would lean into the bit. I didn't want to use harsher bits so I tried what you are doing and I had no luck with it. Eventually I sucked it up and tried him in different bits even though I didn't want to. I found that he worked really well in a happy mouth elevator. Sometimes a horse needs a bit with more leverage than an average snaffle to get them off their forehand. Try him in different bits. Even if you don't want to "bit up" it may help and turn him into a completely different horse that's very light on the forehand like it did with my horse. It may take a long time to find the bit he works best in but keep looking until you find the one he is comfortable with and works well in. Good luck!
 

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Is he just leaning on the bit or is he trying to run through it? If he is only being heavy may just be that he was trained to the curb and not to the snaffle at all . Maybe try to transition him with a jointed curb type bit like an argentine or a tom thumb. Or if you are able to use two sets of reins maybe try a weymouth(spelling?) bit that is essentially both
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, both of you! A friend of mine suggested an elevator today. I'm thinking about it, but I'd like to see what he does in a double jointed bit too. As far as contact goes, I have asked for much of it because of the leaning. I've been riding on a loose rein so he has less to lean on. But as the warmer weather approaches, I'd really like to see him relax into contact. Patience...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is he just leaning on the bit or is he trying to run through it? If he is only being heavy may just be that he was trained to the curb and not to the snaffle at all . Maybe try to transition him with a jointed curb type bit like an argentine or a tom thumb. Or if you are able to use two sets of reins maybe try a weymouth(spelling?) bit that is essentially both
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He leans, mostly. He'll run through it when he's tired and wants to be with his friends. But he doesn't do it often.
 

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I ride western, so don't deal much with keeping contact and the more english aspects. I have taught/learned contact and such things though, just a bit rusty :p

What I use to do was keep contact and the moment I felt them lean, I'd drop my reins and let them "fall" forward. As soon as I dropped them though, I'd gather them right back up into a soft contact and continue whatever it was we were doing. After awhile, they get tired of almost (and a few times literally) faceplanting and stop hanging on my hands.

But like I said, I haven't had to do anything with contact lately as my mare is moved up into a double jointed curb now.

You could also try a solid mouthpiece for your snaffle..I think they're called mullen mouths? I've ridden horses that would hang on the bit and pay no attention to cues if the mouthpiece was broken, but stick a solid mouthpiece (maybe alow port) on them and they'd be a completely different horse.
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Try a lose ring sweet iron snaffle, not any harsher but they tend to not lean so much on a loose ring and the sweet iron creates saliva keeping them soft.
 

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I second, or was that third, a loose ring snaffle, and I would try a double jointed type.

also, a horse leans on the bit only as much as you allow him to. you might be "allowing" it in ways you do not think about or notice. what I mean is that you are lessening the meaning of the rein. for example, if you pick up and tighten your rein right before asking him to trot off, you are in effect saying that a tighter rein = go faster. if you stop him and when he stops and he is still leaning on the rein, you let go , you are teaching him to lean on the rein. If you maintain a hold of the rein while he is just standing there , like you are just standing for a chat, you are teaching him that there is NO release, not even when just standing politely. If you ask him to turn left and you accept him bracing agains the bit and turning like a gate on a hinge, without any softness in his poll or jaw, you are teaching him to lean on the bit.
 
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