The Horse Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first ever post!:D
So, to start things off, I'm going to post some good advice I've been given about horses being on or off the bit!:wink:
Educated Hands​
Often times riders are confused on how to tell when horses are off or on the bit.
I understand, it can be complicated!
But there's one HUGE myth!
In order to be on the bit, your horse's head SHOULD NOT be tucked to it's chest with it's crest being the highest point! This actually results in the horse not being on the bit.
A horse that is on the bit will have the place below his ears as the highest point, with his head VERTICLE to the ground!
This is a concept taught by GEORGE MORRIS
Thanks,
E :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
'On the bit' is so much more than where the head is located!

It always starts with the placement of the hocks well under the body, then lightness of forehand, accepting of the bit, lightness to all aides with a raised, arched neck with poll as the highest point according to the horse's level of training.

Welcome to the forum by the way!
 
  • Like
Reactions: elbandita

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
'On the bit' is so much more than where the head is located!

It always starts with the placement of the hocks well under the body, then lightness of forehand, accepting of the bit, lightness to all aides with a raised, arched neck with poll as the highest point according to the horse's level of training.

Welcome to the forum by the way!
Thank you! And IKR! It peeves me when people's horses are obvoisly hollow and downhill, but they insist they are round because their heads are tucked to their chest!:evil: AND THEN they brag about how beautiful and perfectly trained their horse is! Agh.. Some people!:wink::wink::D:lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
Ummmmmmmmm....

Pretty stock standard concept that I assure you George Morris did not bring into existence.
Not to mention the head placement is an incredibly insignificant piece of the 'on the bit' puzzle.
What about the hind legs, haunches, abdominal muscles, back, base of neck, shoulder...? All pieces that are much larger building blocks than simply 'poll at the highest point nose in front of the vertical'. Not to mention that a horse can be 'on the bit' in a head/neck positioning other than that. In long and low, LDR, etc the horse is still 'on the bit'.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,762 Posts
I am working to improve a situation of my horse going behind the bit. I know it is probably my hands. I am working on that. I am also doing fundamental groundwork to correct my blunder. Any suggestions on specific groundwork techniques to correct this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,155 Posts
This is my first ever post!:D
So, to start things off, I'm going to post some good advice I've been given about horses being on or off the bit!:wink:
Educated Hands
Often times riders are confused on how to tell when horses are off or on the bit.
I understand, it can be complicated!
But there's one HUGE myth!
In order to be on the bit, your horse's head SHOULD NOT be tucked to it's chest with it's crest being the highest point! This actually results in the horse not being on the bit.
A horse that is on the bit will have the place below his ears as the highest point, with his head VERTICLE to the ground!
This is a concept taught by GEORGE MORRIS
Thanks,
E :lol:

Oh darn.

Back to youtube :(

Oh... the place 'below his ears' is known as the poll.

HOWEVER you are very incorrect in saying that a horse on the bit will have that as the highest point. It is INCREDIBLY important for a horse to come long and low on the bit or with contact to build up the muscle from behind and through the back. The biggest mistake you find in the lower levels is some, not all, riders believing that a horse can hold self carriage without any work, or seesawing it in to a "pretty" frame means the horse is on the bit.

The term on the bit is not just about the bit. It is the whole horse that is working for those three words, not just it's head.
I would suggest you put George whatshisname down, and read the dressage section in the horse forum for some very detailed explanations on how to correctly train and work a horse from whatever level you currently ride at. From long and low, to half halts, to correctly being on the bit. From starting out in dressage, to PSG there are riders on here that will give you detailed and experienced answers.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,268 Posts
George Morris is a good writer on riding, although he would be surprised to find out he discovered 'on the bit'. I tend to prefer 'listening to the rider and attentive to cues' to 'on the bit', since I don't ride dressage...and because I don't think dressage, properly ridden, focuses on the head or bit.

For the OP, the FEI (the international governing body of equestrian sports) defines 'on the bit' as:
"...when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the pace, accepting the bridle with a light and consistent soft submissive contact. The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the Athlete.” - Article 401
http://www.fei.org/sites/default/files/DRE-Rules_2014_black_GA-approved_update_20Dec.pdf

That would include "NOT be tucked to it's chest". I like the ideas in this article:

Eclectic Horseman Magazine - The Definition of "On the Bit"

A rider like myself has no need for a horse to be 'on the bit', but 'on the aids' or 'listening and attentive' is important for every horse and rider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
BSMS, if you read above you will see myself and Duffy, both Dressage riders, cringing to see the phrase 'on the bit' (which I put in quotes because I too and the Dressage fraternity do not like the phrase) referred to as merely a head position.
Also of note, George Morris is not a Dressage rider.
Don't dump the head position reference in with a dressage just because in the end our horse's do travel in a 'collected frame'. I'd say the on the bit = head position comes from pony club and kids who watch too much Saddle Club!
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,268 Posts
No, George is undoubtedly NOT a dressage rider. Unhappily, however, "headset" is a word which is getting common in the horse world. I wish it could be banned...from western riding too, where it is getting a lot of use! One no more stops a horse with headset than one collects a horse with it. :evil: There are probably people who can use the word in a productive manner, but there are far more who use it as a guide to bad riding...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,506 Posts
George does not claim to have invented "on the bit" and always says to have a horse on the bit, or to do anything with a horse, it is from having the horse work from back to front and seat/legs to hands.

In this link, look at the first picture and the description he gives of Beezie Madden. He admits that the frame of a jumper is different than a dressage horse. The FEI description of on the bit for a dressage horse is not the same for the needs of a jumper.

Advanced Equitation Rider Critiques from Practical Horseman | EquiSearch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
Upanddown, no one poking a stock at George, only at the OPs interpretation of the statement. Much like the media cuts pieces from a story to make it more interesting, the OP has cut mention of anything but head placement from the afore mentioned statement.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
36,319 Posts
I am working to improve a situation of my horse going behind the bit. I know it is probably my hands. I am working on that. I am also doing fundamental groundwork to correct my blunder. Any suggestions on specific groundwork techniques to correct this.
Your problem most likely comes from someone training your horse to work in a false 'headset' or 'in frame' (or whatever else no one wants to call it). It can start when someone uses side reins incorrectly, draw reins, a harsh bit that the horse doesn't want to make contact with - pretty much anything that doesn't involve training the horse to accept the bit and give to the pressure and learn to carry itself in a balanced collected frame through correct schooling. Horses can learn to evade the bit by ducking behind it and once they do they can be a real danger to ride if they decide to take off with you
A horse that's accepts the bit - 'works on the bit' (that expression was certainly around in the 60's and 70's and commonly used in the British Horse Society training and the UK Pony Club) will always 'follow the bit down' when you lengthen your reins to allow him to stretch his neck
I seem to have cured my pinto by riding her in a mild shaped Mullen Mouth happy Mouth bit - when I got her she was so afraid of a bit she'd clamp her mouth shut and refuse to have one in - now she doesn't worry at all. It took a while but eventually she learnt that the bit wasn't going to hurt her and leaning on it a bit was better than avoiding contact with my hands by tucking her head into her chest
Having no brakes was a major issue but teaching her to 'whoa' on command on the lunge was the breaking point in that - although she will stop dead when she hears that word so had to learn how to be ridden into the halt - extended canter to standstill in a few seconds is not to be advised.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,506 Posts
Upanddown, no one poking a stock at George, only at the OPs interpretation of the statement. Much like the media cuts pieces from a story to make it more interesting, the OP has cut mention of anything but head placement from the afore mentioned statement.
Posted via Mobile Device
It's all good, I never thought anyone was poking a stick at George.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top