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Feeding time: I make it a rule never to fool around with my horses during this time. I go in, they wait patiently, I feed, I leave. I will feed according to the herd pecking order to keep individuals from fighting. Other than that, they're on their own. If I were to have an individual that gets bullied during this time, I would simply set up a different feeding arrangement, or take them from that herd.

The survival instinct comes out very strongly with some individuals when food is set out, and while you've had success to this point, I'm inclined to do what your wife says and let them work it out their own...or do what I said, and change how you feed.

Besides...what would be worse? Getting hurt by the horse, or having your wife tell you, "I told you so!" as you wake up in the hospital? :lol:

The bit: Oh, boy. Here we go again. What exactly is going on with the snaffle bit that you're having troubles with? When? Where? How often? What are your riding goals? Do you have an instructor? How long have you been riding?
 

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While I agree breed specific bits are good, I was warned by the previous owner that curb bits, or any non-jointed bit, will make him rear and throw a fit, just not something he is into. She said he has been trained on jointed bits and doesn't like the hard bar on other types of bits. His issue I am having is that he wants to go where he wants to, and when I walk him in a circle to get his attention, he pulls "thru" the bit, and continues to go where he wants. So, I have a feeling he may need something with more "correction" to it, with my goal being to work with him and keep his mouth soft, and be able to get an instant response from him and do more of his neck reining and not need as much direct reining. Now that it is warm again I can get out and work him more than twice a week.
The issue at its most basic level is that your horse is out of balance and on his forehand, and you have little to no control over his haunches. Think of it in terms of a car...front wheel drive...what happens when the front tires lock? That's right...you end up in the ditch because you have no steering, the back of the car comes around and you're done for. What happens with a rear wheel drive vehicle? Even if the tires lock, you still can steer, it still responds to you.

Horses can stop or slowdown one of two ways. Youngsters, ill conformed individuals, out of shape individuals, ones with injuries and disease and the like, stop by using their front end. It's very harsh, heavy, as the front legs are designed as pillars, the feet dig into the ground, then they pop, then they dig in again and so on.

The other way, horses with uphill conformation, horses that have been shown how to use their bodies effectively, horses with natural self-carriage and the like, stop by using their haunches. They transfer weight rearward and coil the hind leg, which is structured like a spring. In this manner they absorb the shock of the transition. They can simply slide, or they can sit and turn and head off in another direction.

As a gaited horse, you have a secondary issue. To gait a horse has to tighten the back and hollow. A horse in this position can't engage their haunches. It's the main reason why people then go for the shanked bits...to try and get that control and steering back that they lose from the horse having to be hollow to gait.
 

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iridehorses, I understand what Mercedes was saying, I was confused as to whether she agreed with the bit or not. Also, my point was, it has nothing to do with HOW he stops nor his confirmation, it is his hard headedness and being unwilling to pay attention to the bit, when he wants to stop he will, as with the direction changes, if he wants to go there he will, otherwise he will go where he wants to.
I wasn't actually commenting on the bit itself, or whether you should change it. I was trying to explain the biomechanics of what's going on and why you can't stop him.

That 'hard headedness' is in fact directly related to what his 'body' is doing, and not what he's thinking between his ears. He has the positional advantage over you because you do not have control of his haunches. You do not have those haunches underneath him when he's gaiting.

It then becomes very easy for him to just pop his head up, which tightens the back and totally blocks the haunches from coming through and thus switching himself to the forehand where you now lose steering and control like I explained above.

The key to your problem is to learn how to get control of those haunches and keep control even when he has to tighten and hollow to gait. When you've done that, he will go where you point him even if he really doesn't want to.

Whether you go to a typical gaiting horse bit or not will depend entirely on how educated you want to be about horses and your riding goals. Gaited horses can be ridden in snaffles and simple bits like that, but there is a reason you don't see it often. It's a lot of hard work, takes someone who fully understands equine biomechanics, AND can execute in saddle.
 
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