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I currently use a bit and I still need to have more control of my horse while trail riding..When I pull reins back he stops for a sec..then off again...
Kinda at a lost... I just dont want to get hurt..
Any ideas on what you use? and worked..? or even a headstall that would work well with it..

Thanks!
 

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Sounds like you need to work in a more contained space for a while first, because if fear of getting hurt and wanting more control is your reason for upping bit, that says you need to do more training with him. I don't know your situation, but this just seems like a recipe for disaster.
 

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Most western style riders I know neck rein and rely more on leg aids than steering with the reins anyway. With my old horse that's how I rode him and I usually stopped him more with my seat than pulling on the reins. I would sort of just relax and then let out a big exhale, like the sort you'd do in a breathing exercise to release all the tension and sit a bit deeper. And my horse was the sort that would try to get out from underneath you if you'd let him get going. Of course, I have much less experience than a lot of the people here and they could probably explain things a lot better than I could and I don't know what level of training your horse has (and at the time I was working with him I also had help from other people around the barn) but this reminded me a bit of the horse I had. But I would really guess it isn't a problem with the bit and changing tack likely won't fix the problem, but training will. It's probably best anyway to look for solution that doesn't require buying new tack. For your wallet's sake if anything else.
 

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if you ask for a halt, and your horse halts but his brain is just holding it's breath until you ask for a forward again, then NO CHANGE has occured. He is halted, but his mind is still focussed on going forward. If you release the reins at that point, you are literally training him to do this again and again. Such that he learns to just lean into and push against the bit.


you should not release the rein/ bit until he actually has some mental change that indicates he has 'thought back to you'. That means he is 'listening' wit his ears and his mind, and has given up that 'go forward' thought , and is waiting for you to say the next suggestion.


I would not release the bit until he has backed up to the point where his ears are pointed backward to me, and he is no longer leaning onto the bit, and if you do release the bit, he doesn't automatically go forward.


I hate to sound mean, but my guess is that you have, inadvertantly, trained this response into him, over many rides.
 

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What kind of bit are you using now?

How old is your horse, how long have you had him and how much training has he had?

Is he experienced on trails?
 

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I will agree with the others that have posted here in that I don't think this is an equipment issue. Of course, you can find others that think that a shanked bit or a curb chain or some such device will function like an emergency brake and provide you with some control but it'll only be temporary until such time that your horse decides to simply go through the device.

This may well be a training issue for both you and your horse but I believe that it'd be helpful to have someone view you and your horse to know for certain.
 
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if you ask for a halt, and your horse halts but his brain is just holding it's breath until you ask for a forward again, then NO CHANGE has occured. He is halted, but his mind is still focussed on going forward.
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Hmm. A halt as you describe, stopped but the mind and energy focused still on forward, is the kind of halt I love! In Dressage, one wants the horse thinking forward and being able to just release that contained energy by slight opening of hand...to feel the power :love:
 

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Hmm. A halt as you describe, stopped but the mind and energy focused still on forward, is the kind of halt I love! In Dressage, one wants the horse thinking forward and being able to just release that contained energy by slight opening of hand...to feel the power :love:
All good and well if the horse waits for the "ok, go!" Signal. But don't blame the horse then if he won't stay stopped when you want him to.
 

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Of course, you can find others that think that a shanked bit or a curb chain or some such device will function like an emergency brake and provide you with some control but it'll only be temporary until such time that your horse decides to simply go through the device.
I honestly have to disagree. I've been riding in curb bits for 20+ years and have never found the control to be "temporary" or had a horse "go through the device." It makes me wonder if someone who says that actually has ridden in curb bits. Because if they had, they would know you have plenty of finesse and it's not just an emergency brake.

I think of a curb bit as walking softly but carrying a big stick. It allows you to have finesse, collection, and ride on a loose rein with trust you can bring the horse back to you at a moments notice. The horse respects it, it makes neck reining a little easier and I can just cruise along with my reins mostly loose. And if I DO have a forward horse that needs more control (like one in a hurry to get home) I may have to use more contact that I would like but I never loose control of the horse.

I hate trail riding in snaffles......my experience is horses will either root or star gaze with them. I don't get that with a curb bit, it's like the horse automatically knows to tuck and give to the bit.

It's hard to make recommendations to the original poster without more information. I sort of get the picture of a high energy horse (or a horse that hasn't been out much lately) and they are pretty excited and forward. If the horse DOES stop, even just for a moment, to me that horse is responding to the bit. It might be the horse needs to run around and get the "fresh" off before they can settle in and be a good trail horse. For instance, if I haven't ridden my horse much of the winter, the first few rides after some weeks off, are quite high-energy, more than I actually like! But after some good 2-3 hour rides the horse eventually settles back into being steady and calm. It might be good to turn a horse like that out in a safe turn-out area to run around, or lunge or ride in an arena, whatever gets the horse nice and settled for the first few trail rides until they relax more. It also might be that the horse is fairly relaxed and they are just a forward type horse and no one ever taught them to just stand there.

But I really don't know what the OP's circumstances are.


PS. One of my rules for trail riding that I try not to break is that I do all my faster gaits away from home, and always walk towards home. That helps prevent barn-sour behavior. Some horses will be barn sour anyway, but at least you are not encouraging it. I don't know if that factors in with the OP, but thought I would mention it.
 

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Having been there done that... and as a trail rider... I suspect its a combination of the horse and the rider. OP - how long have you ridden? What do you do when your horse takes that first step after you've asked him to stop and he's stopped? Are you relaxing into the saddle when he does stop?

My best trail horse has trouble stopping, and we're working on it, and he's a lot better now - but he knows a half second ahead of me when it's time to move again and starts off without me consciously asking him. He has learned to anticipate what I'm going to ask of him and when, but he also reads me like a book. A small child's coloring book. Instant. Are you not releasing tension, perhaps shifting your weight just so that it feels like a cue to keep moving and aren't aware of it?

When is he doing this? On the way back to the barn/trailer/camp or the entire time? Are you riding with a group or solo?

There's a LOT of things that could be going on here, and it's a common problem - but I suspect most of it is lack of experience on your part, but it could be poor training on the horse's part... more often than not this problem is a combination of both. That horse could also be reading you like a coloring book and knows he can get away with it.

IF you are absolutely certain you're not inadvertently asking this horse to go, the second he takes one step forward you need to immediately ask him to back up two steps or even three or four or five. Don't go sawing on the reins or yanking and shouting or over reacting. Just use immediate, slow steady pressure on the reins backwards (Or whatever your horse is taught is a cue) and make him back up. If you're standing there chilling with a group of fellow trail riders and your horse takes one step forward... and stops... make them back up. Because if you give them an inch with that sneaky step forward, they'll learn to take a mile. This approach may not work with your horse - it doesn't with mine, but with the rest of our horses, it works, but you have to do it each and every time.
 

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I've had horses like this over the years, a lot depends on the training (or lack of) in the past, the horse's own personality, how ingrained this habit is and disposition or as others have said the amount of work and the amount of feed he is getting.
I would start right at the beginning and do some ground work and make sure the horse understands the word whoa, that word can be so misused. For me it means the horse stops completely with all four feet on the ground and not moving. I never say it when I want a horse to listen to me or slow down just for a complete stop,.
If he understands then progress to riding in an enclosed area and do the same.
Next when out riding, after the horse has been working for a while I will ask for the whoa, if the horse doesn't I turn him away from home and ask again, if I get a whoa even for a short time but the horse is listening to me, I accept that and continue. I will do this during a ride and over time with consistence (always be consistent) the horse will come to stop and stand for longer times.

When I started riding I lived on the edge of a city and had to stop and stand at busy roads so it was important that the horse could do this. Even now when I come to a road or out of a field the horse has to stop and stand and it doesn't take long for them to learn this and do it without me even asking. Again be consistent.

An older mare I had a few years ago was very bad at this and I did this system with her and one day after we had her for a while Sis and I were riding and came to a stop, stood there for a while chatting and Sis said to me "remember how bad she was at this?" I had even forgotten about that as she was so good to stop and wait for me to say go on.
It didn't have much to do with the type of bit I was using. I have used a Pelham on horses that are not responsive to the bit or I am not sure what the horse will do out on the trails. With the Pelham I can ride on the snaffle but if I have trouble I can switch to the curb, after a while you don't need the curb as the horse is understanding what you want without it.

I hope this helps and good luck
 

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I've had horses like this over the years, a lot depends on the training (or lack of) in the past, the horse's own personality, how ingrained this habit is and disposition or as others have said the amount of work and the amount of feed he is getting.
I would start right at the beginning and do some ground work and make sure the horse understands the word whoa, that word can be so misused. For me it means the horse stops completely with all four feet on the ground and not moving. I never say it when I want a horse to listen to me or slow down just for a complete stop,.
If he understands then progress to riding in an enclosed area and do the same.
Next when out riding, after the horse has been working for a while I will ask for the whoa, if the horse doesn't I turn him away from home and ask again, if I get a whoa even for a short time but the horse is listening to me, I accept that and continue. I will do this during a ride and over time with consistence (always be consistent) the horse will come to stop and stand for longer times.

When I started riding I lived on the edge of a city and had to stop and stand at busy roads so it was important that the horse could do this. Even now when I come to a road or out of a field the horse has to stop and stand and it doesn't take long for them to learn this and do it without me even asking. Again be consistent.

An older mare I had a few years ago was very bad at this and I did this system with her and one day after we had her for a while Sis and I were riding and came to a stop, stood there for a while chatting and Sis said to me "remember how bad she was at this?" I had even forgotten about that as she was so good to stop and wait for me to say go on.
It didn't have much to do with the type of bit I was using. I have used a Pelham on horses that are not responsive to the bit or I am not sure what the horse will do out on the trails. With the Pelham I can ride on the snaffle but if I have trouble I can switch to the curb, after a while you don't need the curb as the horse is understanding what you want without it.

I hope this helps and good luck
I love Pelhams.
 
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