*picture* Am I pulling my bit too much? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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*picture* Am I pulling my bit too much?

First off, please don’t be mean if I’m not doing something right. Also, I am just learning, I wasn’t holding my hands right/doing the right things in this pic. However, we were practicing a sort of emergency stop/bending today (I’m not sure what to call it). However, my trainer took this picture and I’m going to ask her about it, but am I pulling on Weiser’s mouth with the bit too much? In the horse community, I hear a lot about people criticizing people who are “hurting their horse’s mouth” and I don’t know what the looks like or feels like. Does anyone have some constructive criticism/pointers on how to fix that if I’m doing it wrong? I genuinely want to be doing everything within my control right as I’m working with Weiser. It just struck me because this pic looks a little extreme with how much is mouth is being pulled by the bit.
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post #2 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 10:46 PM
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I think so. Looks like your arms are coming in a bit too much. Ya need to be careful of that or you might hurt your horse.
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post #3 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by farmershaffer86 View Post
I think so. Looks like your arms are coming in a bit too much. Ya need to be careful of that or you might hurt your horse.
That's exactly what I'm afraid of--is hurting him. Thanks!
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post #4 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LarsonGr1 View Post
That's exactly what I'm afraid of--is hurting him. Thanks!
No worries! Happy to help.

Looking closer at the picture it appears you're putting a lot of pressure/strain on his jaw. I would suggest loosening up a bit and letting your arms relax, while still keeping a firm and controlling grip.

Hope that helps!
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post #5 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by farmershaffer86 View Post
No worries! Happy to help.

Looking closer at the picture it appears you're putting a lot of pressure/strain on his jaw. I would suggest loosening up a bit and letting your arms relax, while still keeping a firm and controlling grip.

Hope that helps!
For sure! I'll try again tomorrow. It was my first time riding him after I fell off him last weekend, so I think I was a little nervous and tense and it's easy to do that when I don't relax enough.
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post #6 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by LarsonGr1 View Post
First off, please donít be mean if Iím not doing something right. Also, I am just learning, I wasnít holding my hands right/doing the right things in this pic. However, we were practicing a sort of emergency stop/bending today (Iím not sure what to call it). However, my trainer took this picture and

No meanness from me...you're learning and asking as you are unsure...
There should not be "mean or rude" from anyone!


To me...
You're learning what a emergency one-rein stop is and how you would execute that maneuver to save your butt and neck from serious injury.
In a true emergent condition where you need to get stopped and in a hurry...
Honestly, being kind to the horses mouth is not forefront in your mind...
Saving yourself from death or serious injury by any means is where your brain function goes to..



If you were saying this is how you hold your reins while riding under normal conditions I would say you need some more instruction from your instructor regarding this...
You're doing fine...keep asking questions.
Keep working on making sense of all you're being taught and practice, practice and more practice pays off.
Ask those questions to your instructor too while you are riding.
Your instructor is your best advisor as she sees you "live" and that is very different than a photo taken a split second in time..
...
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #7 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 11:02 PM
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I donít necessarily agree. Yes, of course that is not what you want it to look like, but you also said you are teaching the one rein stop right? In teaching that, you must hold his face until he gives to the pressure. He is fighting the pressure in the picture.

Therefor my answer would depend completely on circumstance. Did you teach him to flex yet? If you did, and he is totally prepared for success, then maybe it is a picture during a moment that is taken out of context. It would be a lot easier to judge what you were doing if it were in a video and not of this particular moment.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #8 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Yep! We were learning the one-rein stop. My trainer taught me that one hand should be kept on the whithers to stabilize yourself and also help your legs relax. The other hand should reach down as far as you can and pull your pinkie to your belly button. The horse should eventually give to the pressure and relax his mouth/head/neck.

Clearly, my one hand pulling back was a flat against my stomach and this picture was taken before Weiser relaxed, which could have something to do with it, in hindsight. I also don't think I reached down far enough that my elbow had to jam back too far in order to make his neck turn to the side.

For the sake of the exercise, we returned him to neutral, if you will, once he completed the task of stopping and relaxing. Honestly though, Weiser is such a steady sweetheart that he is a gem to learn on and make mistakes with.
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post #9 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 11:14 PM
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I think the thing is that your reins are too long so it's making you have to pull and it feels like you are pulling "harder" and "more".

I would suggest you shorten your reins a foot or so and stick your arms out in front of you more, then you will have more room to pull in front of your torso before you have to pull behind it, and will likely have to pull less to get the same result. If you feel like you are pulling each step because the reins are too short, think of your arms as jello or rubber bands and let your arms relax and flow with the horses motion. It takes time to get that feeling down. You should be using your elbows to pull back, and your elbows are already as far back as they can go!

The position you are in now, your reins are long and your arm is already pulled back as far as it can go.

I like your horse, he looks like a sweetie.
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post #10 of 29 Old 12-15-2018, 11:37 PM
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That isn't how I was taught a one-rein stop. First, the ORS is supposed to be taught to the horse. It is a cue to ask the horse to stop, not one one forces him to do so. Second, you can TURN a horse in circle most of the time that way, and spiral in to slow down, but only if you have room.

Second, pulling a horse's head around doesn't force them to do anything. I've been on a galloping horse whose nose was at my knee, and it didn't slow him at all. Horses have to follow their shoulder, but they don't have to follow their head. If you ever DO find yourself in that spot, kick the outside shoulder...

Third, I don't agree with using steady pressure to slow a horse down. If it is steady pressure, they can brace against it and go faster. I found it more useful, particularly on a bolting horse, to bump, bump, bump [see the final video: "set the brick wall, set the brick wall, set the brick wall"] until the horse got the message. Keep riding, talk softly to the horse, and bump, bump, bump. Worst case, there is a pulley rein stop. The one time I needed it, I did it off of memory of this video - and it worked. Good thing because we were running out of room fast!
Worth tossing in your bag of tricks. Teach lateral flexing this way before trying a one rein stop:
And FWIW, my first horse was a bolter. The video below helped me a ton to set her up for success in stopping bolting:
PS: In a real emergency, when my horse is bucking or bolting or trying to spin away, I'm far more concerned with saving our lives than saving his mouth! I save his mouth by staying out of it 95% of the time, and teaching him what I expect when I do apply pressure.
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Last edited by bsms; 12-15-2018 at 11:45 PM.
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