*picture* Am I pulling my bit too much? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 29 Old 12-16-2018, 12:46 AM
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you are learning, and things are not perfect during that process. I agree that a video would show a lot more.

Your horse can make things easier on himself by giving to the pressure . . . . in theory. However, there are reasons why he might not be so successful at that, and might end up being yanking in the mouth painfully.

These are:

you have not trained him to flex to the side, starting small and working your way up to a total flex, and then making that become a flex AND a disengagement of the hind end, thus a full stop.

He is very stiff in his neck and body, and finds it hard to flex to one side

He is focussed very hard on going the opposite direction, and you are working against his body AND his mental brace.

you have pulled the rein quickly, and he hasn't had time to respond when the pressure was less, so you went from zero to 60 so fast he couldn't respond lighter.

The thing is, eventually, a one rein stop is going to require you to move that rein short pretty quickly, and he has to get his head around promptly, too. So, it's not that you are going to be just softly pulling on the rein.

HOWEVER, in the training process, you DO want to give him time to respond, and you do want to cosider his physical ability to bend and / or his lack of prior training.

So, is that wrong, what you show? not really. It would be if you only ever got that far. If you never got a softer response, without a huge pull, then it would be wrong.

Oh, and I agree that you need to shorten your rein if possible when you do this. This is easily done if you use your other hand, in this case your right hand, to reach a couple of fingers over and grab the left rein, holding it firm, while you slide your left hand further down the rein. this way, you do not need to pull back so far to have the same effect.
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post #12 of 29 Old 12-16-2018, 08:34 AM
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I am not trying to be mean...but I think you need a new trainer. In your third lesson, you should not be learning a one rein stop, nor teaching a one rein stop. You should be getting FEEL for the horse moving under you, how to balance during the transitions, and the basic turning maneuvers. If you REALLY were in a position to need a ors, you would be flying through the air if the horse responded to it! There is ZERO need to teach this.

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post #13 of 29 Old 12-16-2018, 10:58 AM
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While horses can and do spook/act silly/ test, I take issue with a trainer putting a new rider on a horse that is likely to do any of the above. You have basically 8 weeks of basic care (halter/lead/feed) and two lessons under your belt so you are shiny new at this and need time to wear the new off. Not saying falling off doesn't happen but it shouldn't and if it does then it should be because of rider error (balance) and not because of a horse acting up or being disobedient. To me it says the trainer was not as familiar with the horse as she should be and she should have already ridden him in the new environment before putting a student on. This is one reason I have issue with rescues running training centers. More often than not they are trying out horses they haven't put enough time on for placing in new homes.

I wholeheartedly agree with the poster that said you shouldn't be learning the ORS on your third lesson. That you would need such a lesson doesn't speak to the reliability of the horses you are on. It isn't going to stop a buck either. I'm also not a fan of learning in a round pen. Using one to evaluate a new rider IMO is fine but once you have gotten through that and have basic steering then you should be in an arena or larger fenced area so you can develop as a rider. You (G - IMO) shouldn't be on a horse that needs a round pen. If the horse you are on is feeling frisky because of the weather then perhaps a better lesson would be a short lunging session for respect (or in other words getting the horse to focus on the task at hand) but if the horse needs to be lunged to wear him out then too much horse for the beginning rider.

AS BSMS pointed out the ORS should be taught to the horse first and not by you. This is a job for the trainer. Circling a horse that is not paying attention or trying to test you can be handy but again you shouldn't be on a horse that needs a correction at this point. I guess I have a different POV because my time is limited - short and to the point to get a boy scout through the merit badge. It is a three day crash course learning experience that culminates with them passing a test of basic care, equipment pieces and parts as well as correct care and use, and riding ability. 4 hours in the classroom, 2-4 on the ground and 4-6 in the saddle.

Once you can demonstrate that you can steer (not just follow the rail), handle walk and trot, transitions, halting, backing then being put on a horse that is known to test a new rider that comes back in line with a well timed correction that you are coached through by the trainer is fine.
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post #14 of 29 Old 12-16-2018, 11:43 AM
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I donít think I agree with you guys. I donít know for sure, but I was thinking about if I were to give lessons to someone. What would I do?

All of the horses I start know a one rein stop. Itís the first thing I teach them. Safety first right? Lol. So, if I were to put a beginner on one of my horses I might first teach them the emergency brake. After all, even the safest horse might have a problem.

I say this and expect it taken with a grain of salt. I donít give lessons, so I donít know. I wonder about teaching people though. (Donít worry, people arenít my favorite thing so I wonít be putting anyone in a bad situation.) I wonder if you taught a person the steps in the way you teach them to a horse, would they then be better prepared to learn with a background of why...
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post #15 of 29 Old 12-16-2018, 12:16 PM
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@Knave all of mine know a ORS. I still reserve teaching it to the student for much later. Circling a horse I will teach earlier. Know your horse. Evaluate the student (in a small space - round pen is appropriate) and then put them in a confined area to limit the amount of space to work in (larger than a round pen but not so big they are going to need a ORS). Remember this should be a horse you are very familiar with. All of mine will respond to my verbal cue/physical cue from the ground over the new rider. If your new rider has balance issues then putting them on a lunge line is effective to work them through that but it shouldn't be your goto method of training the new rider. It gives you control while they develop their seat at the gait that you are working on. I have a 60 foot round pen centered in an acre pen that I use. My son's instructor has a dressage arena (20x40 meters in a pen that is 3/4s of an acre. Gives plenty of room while restricting the rider and horse. As they move up in skill they move into the pastures and then a ORS is taught.
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post #16 of 29 Old 12-16-2018, 12:27 PM
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Since you're just learning, I'd say no. The amount of muscle you are using seems appropriate to the lack of reaction from the horse - especially since you are practicing the one rein stop. This is an emergency move and in which case your horse could be trotting or cantering and you'll need to not be afraid to bend that head around a little at a time until you spiral him down to a safe stop.

On the other hand, if this were a horse with a more sensitive mouth and better body flexibility, this amount of pressure on the rein would have his head tucked into your leg. So for that kind of horse, you would be using too much pressure.

It's all about developing that mystical "feel" that everyone talks about. So hard to describe, it really has to be experienced. You have to find the softest cue possible to get the job done. Some horses take less and some take more, but always whisper before you yell. Keep up the good work!
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post #17 of 29 Old 12-16-2018, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LarsonGr1 View Post
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.
What kind of bit was being used? IMO, a double jointed, thick-ish (comfort) , Snaffle is the only bit I'd use to teach a horse or a student the one rein stop. It looks like a 0-ring snaffle, but no way for me to know if it's double Vs single jointed. A single jointed one could be poking him in the roof of his mouth, or having a 'nut cracker' effect in his mouth. Maybe you can discuss that part of it with your trainer?

I'd also suggest that you clarify with your trainer if Weiser already knows the one-rein stop, and is just testing you or uncertain of your cue ,,,or if you are 'teaching' it to him. While I don't see a problem with the student learning a one rein stop, at the halt to begin with...I hope your trainer doesn't have a student trying to 'teach' it to the horse (as others have said here). I further think it would be helpful to you to learn it from the ground first and then progress to learning it as a rider. Your instructor should know how to have you do that as well.

Whether from the ground or riding, this is just a easily/effectively done in a rope (ie Natural Horsemanship) halter, which would alleviate your concerns of being too harsh in his mouth.

Yes, your technique would be easier, and probably more clear to him, if you reached further down the rein so that you don't have as far to pull. Go slowly, this is a simulation of an emergency, right?, so no real hurry....actually close your hand slowly (one finger at a time will give him warning of a cue coming) over the rein, then turn your fist so that your fingers are 'up' (another cue to tell him something is coming), then---I differ here from what your trainer is teaching..so take it with a grain of salt...I don't want to cause confusion...I slowly bring my hand to my mid thigh and place it there and hold until he softens his 'give'/face to it AND stops his feet. He may go in a circle-ish until he stops moving, so be prepared to feel like he is spinning. He's not, but it feels that way to a beginner. For what it's worth,,,I don't go to the bellybutton (or to my opposite shoulder) unless I am asking for a hind quarter yield with a horse who is learning it (HQ yield from the saddle).

Good thinking to be wondering if you could be hurting him in the mouth !
Good luck. Have fun...stay safe!


Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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post #18 of 29 Old 12-17-2018, 11:40 AM
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I agree with @greentree
Teaching someone how to ride in a correct, balanced way is going to make them a lot safer than trying to teach them on a 1 rein stop on a horse that doesn't seem to know what's being asked of it, before they've got a firm grasp of the basics.
OP - that is no criticism of you.
Start your horse off with some simple flexion exercise on the ground - don't forget that healthy horses can naturally bend their heads right around, what you want is for them to do it to cue.
They can also go at a fair speed with their necks bent around or on their chest
Don't use force when training this - use gentle pressure and release.
When you're standing still or walking forwards with no real impulsion (as in you're pushing the horse forwards as opposed to the horse making the decision to go 'nobody at home in the brain department' and put all its strength against you to race off) the end result of what will happen when you instigate a 1 rein stop will be totally different.
Essentially the horse isn't going to come to a graceful halt or even a sudden one, its going to try to veer off in the direction its nose is pointing
The 1 rein stop should be a last resort emergency strategy - quite honestly, using other techniques combined with a good seat and knowing how to use your own body strength quickly and effectively will usually give the best and safest results
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post #19 of 29 Old 12-17-2018, 12:51 PM
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Itís difficult to tell exactly whatís going on from a static photo, but I see a couple things happening here.
First because the horseís mouth is gaping open it makes me assume he does not understand bit pressure and may be pulling against you or bracing the bit therefore working against you? If that is the case the horse needs some training to understand how to yield/flex to this bit pressure.

I would like to see you choke up on the reins more for a one rein stop. In the photo your hand is already at your waist and the horses head is not flexed to the point that is adequate for a one rein stop IMO. Keep in mind that in an emergency the so called ďone rein stopĒ is really more a way to control the horses feet, and/or disengage the hind quarters. This action may not actually stop them depending on the situation and the horses level of energy.

Best of luck and stay safe.
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post #20 of 29 Old 12-17-2018, 01:45 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 Iím going to ask her about it, but am I pulling on Weiserís mouth with the bit too much? In the horse community, I hear a lot about people criticizing people who are ďhurting their horseís mouthĒ and I donít know what the looks like or feels like. Does anyone have some constructive criticism/pointers on how to fix that if Iím doing it wrong? I genuinely want to be doing everything within my control right as Iím 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.

No worries OP -- good for you for coming on here and asking questions!!

I think it's very difficult to answer your question, based off ONE picture. It only shows us one little snapshot in time, and does not show what happened before or after. I do not like how your picture looks based on the horse's expression -- but again, we don't know what happened before or after the picture.

Being "harsh" on a horse's mouth is when you do NOT release the pressure at the proper time (and of course, not jerking or yanking on them when you apply the pressure).

Does Weiser know how to do a one-rein-stop? Based on this picture, I wonder. He looks to be very resistant to the bit and fighting you. That is not what a beginner rider should be riding, IMO. You will not learn how to be light with your hands if you end up pulling (it looks like you were very much pulling in the picture).

Again, just making judgements on this single photo, I think your trainer needs to take a step back and teach you to be light. You should pick up the direct rein softly and just "hold" the rein pressure until Weiser turns his nose to you and releasing the rein pressure. Then you immediately put slack in the rein and then give him some praise. Then do it again. You very SLOWLY build on that and ask him to go farther and farther. And of course, do this on both sides.

Realistically, you should NEVER put yourself or your horse into the position where you are pulling on them like this. Yes, I understand your trainer wants to teach you a one-rein-stop to use in emercengy situatoins, but that should be done on a horse that already knows how to do one and gives their mouth freely.
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