The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just recently broken my new horse in and he is going fabulously, however now that the time has come for me to ask him to work on the contact he just thinks i'm asking him to halt, despite still asking him for forward movement. I have taught horses to go on the bit before but they were mature and more comfortable with the bit in general. Any tips for a young horse with a very soft mouth...?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
Get your basics totally downpat before you worry about where his head is. If he thinks that a bit of contact means stop, you havent got a good enough go button. Does he move off your leg immediately from slight pressure? Or does it take a bit to get him moving? Will he yield from your leg, will he maintain YOUR pace until you ask it to be changed? Are his paces forward, marching and active, off the forehand...? Or does he just run fast making you think that he's 'forward'. This is what people with ottb's say, "Oh, my horse is very forward", no running on is not forward, I bet if you asked for the horse to move off when they want to stay slow, they won't do it.

How are you asking him to come 'onto the bit'? Because if you're just pulling back and putting leg on that is just giving him conflicting aids and won't do you any good. He should be responsive, but not hyper sensitive, to the leg and willing to keep moving each time you touch him with the leg. Getting a horse to take a contact that doesn't understand the concept is not something you can teach over night. It takes patience, and good, solid basic work as desicribed above. He should also have a basic understanding of responding to your back/seat.Work him onto a circle, and legyield him in and out. Lots of rein changes, transitions, leg yield and shoulder fore if you know how to teach it. Always keeping the rein contact steady, don't pull, but don't give your reins away. Just leave the contact there for him to have a feel of, and by making him engage his hindquarters via transitions (trot-canter-trot are the BEST!), changes of rein and leg yield/shoulder fore, he will start to work and loosen his back, which in turn will encourage him to pick up a contact on the bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,455 Posts
Any tips for a young horse with a very soft mouth...?
Proceed carefully and get some help from an experienced person. It helps to think about what you want to achieve before you start training each day. Your horse will need to break at the poll at a stand still and each gait before expecting her to collect and travel in frame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
i break in a lot of ponies for people and i find that if u lunge and long rein in side reins to help the horse get used to holding his head there and build up more back and neck muscle which will help him to hold his head in an outline for longer periods of time without causing aches and pains. i also start to work the horses in a outline right from the word go. so there are used to woriking in an outline as much as they are used to trotting xx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,184 Posts
If you're pulling, you aren't asking correctly. Even backed up with leg, pulling gets you nowhere really quickly. It's an excellent way to teach a horse to stop, and not go again.

Horses will naturally come round when ridden correctly in rhythm, while they are relaxed and on the correct length of rein. You must ride "back to front" to achieve correct contact. Every time you pull back, you are riding "front to back". Every time with no exceptions, even if you also have your leg on.

We like horses with sensitive mouths!! We love them! So this should not be an issue. The horse should be very easy to teach.

Good luck! And I second Kevin on getting a proper coach.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,179 Posts
Just a note - She isn't pulling, but so far he has worked on a loose rein nice and forward, so when she picks up the contact he takes it as the cue for a stop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,635 Posts
Get your basics totally downpat before you worry about where his head is. If he thinks that a bit of contact means stop, you havent got a good enough go button. Does he move off your leg immediately from slight pressure? Or does it take a bit to get him moving? Will he yield from your leg, will he maintain YOUR pace until you ask it to be changed? Are his paces forward, marching and active, off the forehand...? Or does he just run fast making you think that he's 'forward'. This is what people with ottb's say, "Oh, my horse is very forward", no running on is not forward, I bet if you asked for the horse to move off when they want to stay slow, they won't do it.

How are you asking him to come 'onto the bit'? Because if you're just pulling back and putting leg on that is just giving him conflicting aids and won't do you any good. He should be responsive, but not hyper sensitive, to the leg and willing to keep moving each time you touch him with the leg. Getting a horse to take a contact that doesn't understand the concept is not something you can teach over night. It takes patience, and good, solid basic work as desicribed above. He should also have a basic understanding of responding to your back/seat.Work him onto a circle, and legyield him in and out. Lots of rein changes, transitions, leg yield and shoulder fore if you know how to teach it. Always keeping the rein contact steady, don't pull, but don't give your reins away. Just leave the contact there for him to have a feel of, and by making him engage his hindquarters via transitions (trot-canter-trot are the BEST!), changes of rein and leg yield/shoulder fore, he will start to work and loosen his back, which in turn will encourage him to pick up a contact on the bit.
What she said. =]
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
629 Posts
Just a note - She isn't pulling, but so far he has worked on a loose rein nice and forward, so when she picks up the contact he takes it as the cue for a stop.
The rider does not pick up contact, the horse seeks contact. It is always the horse who decides on this issue, based on level of preparedness, fitness, strength, suppleness, etc...

When the horse is truly seeking contact, only then may the rider experiment and ask the question 'can you give me more?' by slightly shortening the reins and that should result in a slightly shortened outline, but still with the willingness to be forward.

If it results in something else, then the horse wasn't actually seeking the contact, or the rider has taken the contact.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
I definitely agree with Anebel and Kevin- your first step should be to get an experienced trainer to help, especially in these first stages. It takes no time at all to frustrate a horse and make them resistant, even if your intentions are completely good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions, and in answer to kayty and anebel. I am well aware of how to work a horse and at what stage of his training to start educating him on the bit... i wouldn't be breaking a horse in if i didn't. Also young horses who are still learning will nearly always take initial contact on their mouth as an aid to halt.... seeing as that is what they are first taught in most circumstances. I appreciate the input though.... these are just thoughts.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,526 Posts
The rider does not pick up contact, the horse seeks contact. It is always the horse who decides on this issue, based on level of preparedness, fitness, strength, suppleness, etc...

When the horse is truly seeking contact, only then may the rider experiment and ask the question 'can you give me more?' by slightly shortening the reins and that should result in a slightly shortened outline, but still with the willingness to be forward.

If it results in something else, then the horse wasn't actually seeking the contact, or the rider has taken the contact.


Exactly !!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,184 Posts
Thanks for all the suggestions, and in answer to kayty and anebel. I am well aware of how to work a horse and at what stage of his training to start educating him on the bit... i wouldn't be breaking a horse in if i didn't. Also young horses who are still learning will nearly always take initial contact on their mouth as an aid to halt.... seeing as that is what they are first taught in most circumstances. I appreciate the input though.... these are just thoughts.
If the horse is seeking to the contact and coming properly to the bit they will not be halting. If the rider is trying to make contact in a way other than riding the horse to the bit, the horse will stop until it becomes desensitized to the (in effect) "pulling" and then you have lost a lot of the feel that the mouth originally had.
It does not matter who you are or how many horses you have ridden, having an experienced coach on the ground always helps to correct your habits and stop bad ones from creeping in. Even Anky van Grunsven has a coach.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
I don't know much about dressage but for sure they use the bit as the cue for much more than in Western so all my thoughts go to western.

The bit has nothing to do with a stop. It is the seat and legs that control that. The bit is used only if the horse isn't listening to the seat and leg.

Forward is a function of the seat--hip bones-- setting the rythm of the stride.

If he stops with light contact on the bit he is confused because the other things mentioned above are either not there or are not understood.

If you are teaching Dressage then throw all this away and listen to someone who understands that discipline. I do everything on a loose rein and use the bit only for head set and neck position. The rest is with the seat and legs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,184 Posts
I don't know much about dressage but for sure they use the bit as the cue for much more than in Western so all my thoughts go to western.

The bit has nothing to do with a stop. It is the seat and legs that control that. The bit is used only if the horse isn't listening to the seat and leg.

Forward is a function of the seat--hip bones-- setting the rythm of the stride.

If he stops with light contact on the bit he is confused because the other things mentioned above are either not there or are not understood.

If you are teaching Dressage then throw all this away and listen to someone who understands that discipline. I do everything on a loose rein and use the bit only for head set and neck position. The rest is with the seat and legs.
Well I do dressage, and that's all I try to use my reins for lol. The above makes sense to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
When you are wanting your horse to "work on the bit", you must never try and pull and tug on his mouth to get him on the bit. A horse's head doesn't HAVE to be on the vertical for it to be considered "on the bit". It just means the horse is working actively from behind and is accepting rein contact, keeping a soft relaxed mouth.

If you pull his mouth, he will get confused because you will be kicking with your legs, telling him to go, but then also pulling on the reins telling him to stop. Do what Kayty said in her post, transitions, changes of rein, etc, to get him working actively from his hindquarters. Over time he will eventually start accepting the contact on the reins and soften and go into a nice frame, as long as you have gentle hands that don't tug him or move around alot, keeping them still and relaxed and able to move with the horse's head.

If you do it right, the horse will willingly take the contact and work nicely on the bit. Good luck. :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Someone tell me where in my original post I mentioned that I relentlessly pull and tug on my horses mouth. Also I don't know how some of you work your horses but when I mean on the bit I mean just excepting and moving into mouth contact at this stage. I don't pull at all, I simply feel the horses mouth. That's it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,901 Posts
however now that the time has come for me to ask him to work on the contact he just thinks i'm asking him to halt, despite still asking him for forward movement.
That is the phrase everyone is focusing on. When the horse is ready for contact, you won't have to ask him to work on it, it will naturally come in to play, and then like someone said, you can experiment with how much. Anything before that is working front to back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
Well I do dressage, and that's all I try to use my reins for lol. The above makes sense to me.
haha too right, ultimately you want everything to come from seat and legs. The halt should come from seat, turns/changes of rein should come from alternating your weight flow etc. Reins are just there as a light back up aid should the need arise in a well trained horse ;)
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top