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theocchick007

Back off the Bit

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Hi, I am currently training my 4 y/o to do western pleasure. She has been under saddle for about a year, and we are still in a snaffle. She is very soft, supple, and flexible at the walk and trot. Some times she tries to grab the bit at those gaits, but I put her into a circle and bring my inside hand up and to the outside with inside leg to lift the inside shoulder and she backs off the bit. We didn't really have a problem with her pulling the bit until lately. We did not lope her right away when I broke her, just for some information. Anyway, lately she has been trying to run through the bit at a lope. I don't think I'm trying to get her to slow down too much. Lately I began taking lessons from a new trainer, and I have been working on her using her hind end at the lope, not about speed.

Anyway, she's getting too hard at the lope with the snaffle, and I was wondering if there were some exercises I could do with her. Today I rode her in a twisted wire under a trainers guidance, and she was more respectful of that. I'll try her in the snaffle tomorrow and she if the reminder helped any. I'm also beginning to think that it might be time to step up to a big horse bit. I'd probably start out with an Argentine snaffle type bit. If there is any more information I can offer just ask! Thanks for all the help.

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Hi, I am currently training my 4 y/o to do western pleasure. She has been under saddle for about a year, and we are still in a snaffle. She is very soft, supple, and flexible at the walk and trot. Some times she tries to grab the bit at those gaits, but I put her into a circle and bring my inside hand up and to the outside with inside leg to lift the inside shoulder and she backs off the bit. We didn't really have a problem with her pulling the bit until lately. We did not lope her right away when I broke her, just for some information. Anyway, lately she has been trying to run through the bit at a lope. I don't think I'm trying to get her to slow down too much. Lately I began taking lessons from a new trainer, and I have been working on her using her hind end at the lope, not about speed.

Anyway, she's getting too hard at the lope with the snaffle, and I was wondering if there were some exercises I could do with her. Today I rode her in a twisted wire under a trainers guidance, and she was more respectful of that. I'll try her in the snaffle tomorrow and she if the reminder helped any. I'm also beginning to think that it might be time to step up to a big horse bit. I'd probably start out with an Argentine snaffle type bit. If there is any more information I can offer just ask! Thanks for all the help.

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Ya know, I would NOT go up to a "big horse bit". If there is something wrong with her while riding in a snaffle, that will eventually only be amplified in a bigger bit. It doesn't solve the problem, training and time does. [Wink]

I might do a few things here. Your horse Is NOT as flexible or as soft as you think she is if she is grabbing the bit and running with it. Because if she WERE truely soft, the second you picked up those reins, she would collect and tuck her head and give to the bit. So I would go BACK and do LOTS of lateral and vertical flexion starting from a standstill on up SLOWLY. Be a perfectionsit when it comes to this and don't let her slack off.

When my horse goes faster than I have told her to go at a lope (or a trot) I might do one of two things. I might stopp her hard and back her hard to teach her she needs to respect that bit and GET OFF it. Once she backs collected and giving to the bit, I let her out and ask for a lope again. She gets speedy and wants to gallop, she gets shut down hard again.

I might also one rein stop her. I would only pull on rein to my hip and wait till the horse stops moving her feet AND gives to the bit. Then I ask her to lope off again. She gets speedy and wants to gallop, she gets shut down again with a one rein stop.

Basically what your doing is making the wrong thing uncomfortable and the right thing comfortable. Just make sure when she is being good at the lope, you stay out of her face and leave her alone as a reward for loping nicely. [Wink]

That's all I got! [big Grin]

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Ya know, I would NOT go up to a "big horse bit". If there is something wrong with her while riding in a snaffle, that will eventually only be amplified in a bigger bit. It doesn't solve the problem, training and time does. [Wink]

I might do a few things here. Your horse Is NOT as flexible or as soft as you think she is if she is grabbing the bit and running with it. Because if she WERE truely soft, the second you picked up those reins, she would collect and tuck her head and give to the bit. So I would go BACK and do LOTS of lateral and vertical flexion starting from a standstill on up SLOWLY. Be a perfectionsit when it comes to this and don't let her slack off.

When my horse goes faster than I have told her to go at a lope (or a trot) I might do one of two things. I might stopp her hard and back her hard to teach her she needs to respect that bit and GET OFF it. Once she backs collected and giving to the bit, I let her out and ask for a lope again. She gets speedy and wants to gallop, she gets shut down hard again.

I might also one rein stop her. I would only pull on rein to my hip and wait till the horse stops moving her feet AND gives to the bit. Then I ask her to lope off again. She gets speedy and wants to gallop, she gets shut down again with a one rein stop.

Basically what your doing is making the wrong thing uncomfortable and the right thing comfortable. Just make sure when she is being good at the lope, you stay out of her face and leave her alone as a reward for loping nicely. [Wink]

That's all I got! [big Grin]

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Hi

I agree basically with Lopin, except I won't use a ORS on a pleasue horse to slow them. You need to be able to rate speed on a loose rein eventually, so the =key is body control, not rein

When a horse speeds up and leans on the bit, he is also on his front end.

The key is to have them drive more and have those shoulders up

First, I agree you need your horse softer at the slower gaits.

When you start to lope a pleasure horse, have them soft in the face and understanding how to maintain a consistant topline

If you jog to lope transition isn't good, then you will spend the rest of the time at the lope fixing things. Get those first strides right

Taht means when you ask for the lope, you just move thast hip over slightly and have the horse pick up the lope by driving up from behind, keeping frame and topline. Hold with wahtever it takes and drive with leg so that the horse elevates shoulders, not head, and steps up into the lope. Done correctly, you will actually feel like you are sitting higher as the horse rounds. Drive and hold until you feel the horse become light in your hands-this is the time to reward with release of rein. At first you might only get a few strides before you need to take hold again and drive, but you build on this.

Lope half a cirle, stop, then either do a rollback or a turn on the forehand and lope off again. Done correctly, and you horse almost feels like he is loping in place as he picks up the lope

If you don't have him soft in the face, then getting speed control at the lope is not possible. Speed control is the last thing you put on a horse, after correct movement and softness and collection.

Once you have those things there are a few other excercises to slow a lope, including having the horse understand that increased leg means to drive deeper which in turn slows rhe lope. You can also move the hip slightly into the inside to slow the lope witout picking up on the reins

You can use an intial cue of pressing down harder in the stirrups and then stopping and backing the horse.Lope off again. The horse will then on a loose rein, eventually respond just to the added weight in the stirrups and slow down

A horse is able to perform a true three beat lope going slow only with the correct conditioning and strength, drived out of body conmtrol excercises and never , ever by trying to control speed by pulling on the reins

A horse learns to be heavy on a bit by the incorrect ridng of using more rein than leg, of always 'baby sitting the horse, and never just correcting him and then allowing him to be correct on a loose rein. That is the only way you develope self carriage-let him =make a mistake, correct it and him him a chance to be correct without rein support

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Hi

I agree basically with Lopin, except I won't use a ORS on a pleasue horse to slow them. You need to be able to rate speed on a loose rein eventually, so the =key is body control, not rein

When a horse speeds up and leans on the bit, he is also on his front end.

The key is to have them drive more and have those shoulders up

First, I agree you need your horse softer at the slower gaits.

When you start to lope a pleasure horse, have them soft in the face and understanding how to maintain a consistant topline

If you jog to lope transition isn't good, then you will spend the rest of the time at the lope fixing things. Get those first strides right

Taht means when you ask for the lope, you just move thast hip over slightly and have the horse pick up the lope by driving up from behind, keeping frame and topline. Hold with wahtever it takes and drive with leg so that the horse elevates shoulders, not head, and steps up into the lope. Done correctly, you will actually feel like you are sitting higher as the horse rounds. Drive and hold until you feel the horse become light in your hands-this is the time to reward with release of rein. At first you might only get a few strides before you need to take hold again and drive, but you build on this.

Lope half a cirle, stop, then either do a rollback or a turn on the forehand and lope off again. Done correctly, and you horse almost feels like he is loping in place as he picks up the lope

If you don't have him soft in the face, then getting speed control at the lope is not possible. Speed control is the last thing you put on a horse, after correct movement and softness and collection.

Once you have those things there are a few other excercises to slow a lope, including having the horse understand that increased leg means to drive deeper which in turn slows rhe lope. You can also move the hip slightly into the inside to slow the lope witout picking up on the reins

You can use an intial cue of pressing down harder in the stirrups and then stopping and backing the horse.Lope off again. The horse will then on a loose rein, eventually respond just to the added weight in the stirrups and slow down

A horse is able to perform a true three beat lope going slow only with the correct conditioning and strength, drived out of body conmtrol excercises and never , ever by trying to control speed by pulling on the reins

A horse learns to be heavy on a bit by the incorrect ridng of using more rein than leg, of always 'baby sitting the horse, and never just correcting him and then allowing him to be correct on a loose rein. That is the only way you develope self carriage-let him =make a mistake, correct it and him him a chance to be correct without rein support

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Something else that might help without going to more bit is to spirle in to a smaller circle....that is hard work for them and they slow down quickly. Then spirle out and just keep the same amount of contact. If she speeds up spirle in...etc etc

I have a student who rides a quarter pony and that baby looked like a race horse for sure...at a show she was passing em up like the derby it was really funny. But the spirels really worked for her. Now she picks up the canter and stays nice and slow.

Just another thought for you.

Good luck with her.

P.S. How do you spell spirel...??

I ride better than I spell [Embarrassed]

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Something else that might help without going to more bit is to spirle in to a smaller circle....that is hard work for them and they slow down quickly. Then spirle out and just keep the same amount of contact. If she speeds up spirle in...etc etc

I have a student who rides a quarter pony and that baby looked like a race horse for sure...at a show she was passing em up like the derby it was really funny. But the spirels really worked for her. Now she picks up the canter and stays nice and slow.

Just another thought for you.

Good luck with her.

P.S. How do you spell spirel...??

I ride better than I spell [Embarrassed]

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what do you mean by "bring my inside hand up and to the outside with inside leg"

are you crossing over the withers thus breaking your bit to elbow line and entirely changing the mechanics of the bit? or...?

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what do you mean by "bring my inside hand up and to the outside with inside leg"

are you crossing over the withers thus breaking your bit to elbow line and entirely changing the mechanics of the bit? or...?

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quote:

Originally posted by Serah Rose:

what do you mean by "bring my inside hand up and to the outside with inside leg"

are you crossing over the withers thus breaking your bit to elbow line and entirely changing the mechanics of the bit? or...?

No exactly, I guess I should have clarified. When she drops her shoulder at the trot, I lift with my inside rein up a bit and push my inside leg into her to lift her shoulders. Or that is the idea anyway.

Thank you all for your helpful tips! Smilie, I was going for the idea that I had to have correct movement before slowness, I knew what I had to do, like what the problem was, just not how to FIX it. Thank you all so much for your help. I'm going to try these exercises tomorrow, and I have a lesson on tuesday, so I'll try to update this with any new questions if that is ok with ya'll.

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quote:

Originally posted by Serah Rose:

what do you mean by "bring my inside hand up and to the outside with inside leg"

are you crossing over the withers thus breaking your bit to elbow line and entirely changing the mechanics of the bit? or...?

No exactly, I guess I should have clarified. When she drops her shoulder at the trot, I lift with my inside rein up a bit and push my inside leg into her to lift her shoulders. Or that is the idea anyway.

Thank you all for your helpful tips! Smilie, I was going for the idea that I had to have correct movement before slowness, I knew what I had to do, like what the problem was, just not how to FIX it. Thank you all so much for your help. I'm going to try these exercises tomorrow, and I have a lesson on tuesday, so I'll try to update this with any new questions if that is ok with ya'll.

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Hi there, awesome responses you get and pretty much spot on. Just another thought. If you train your horse to do anything more than slack reined pleasure, ie: western riding, trail classes, you might discover that especially in a snaffle, your horse will get gradually heavier in the bit. Even when working on lateral or horizontal flexion. You might find yourself making great progress and then suddenly the horse appears more dull. The snaffle is essentially designed to be pulled against with little discomfort, if they weren't, race horses wouldn't race in them. Having said that, it is a lovely and elegant bit, and for someone wishing to keep the horse in the snaffle, to "re-lighten" them, switch to a twisted wire, or thin-wire for a couple of days. Don't keep them in it for more than two, three tops, then go back to your regular snaffle. Don't be unnecessarily harsh with it, just school as u usually do. The idea is not to sore the bars, just to get his attention again. This is a great idea to do the day before a show, to tune him up. And, when you eventually move up to a "big horse bit" you will most likely nicely transition in the argentine snaffle. Also, like someone mentioned, a non-conditioned 4 yr old is not able to hold true collection indefinately. Ask for a few strides, don't confuse collection with simply reining the head in, and as soon as you get a few strides, give the reward... release. This takes months of practice to gain muscle tone and memory. Done properly, you will have a horse that seems to practically float, with a true 3 beat lope. Done wrongly, you will get a flat footed lope with the head reined in and the horse looking at the ground instead of where he is going. Hint, you don't want the head beyond vertical. Good luck!

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Hi there, awesome responses you get and pretty much spot on. Just another thought. If you train your horse to do anything more than slack reined pleasure, ie: western riding, trail classes, you might discover that especially in a snaffle, your horse will get gradually heavier in the bit. Even when working on lateral or horizontal flexion. You might find yourself making great progress and then suddenly the horse appears more dull. The snaffle is essentially designed to be pulled against with little discomfort, if they weren't, race horses wouldn't race in them. Having said that, it is a lovely and elegant bit, and for someone wishing to keep the horse in the snaffle, to "re-lighten" them, switch to a twisted wire, or thin-wire for a couple of days. Don't keep them in it for more than two, three tops, then go back to your regular snaffle. Don't be unnecessarily harsh with it, just school as u usually do. The idea is not to sore the bars, just to get his attention again. This is a great idea to do the day before a show, to tune him up. And, when you eventually move up to a "big horse bit" you will most likely nicely transition in the argentine snaffle. Also, like someone mentioned, a non-conditioned 4 yr old is not able to hold true collection indefinately. Ask for a few strides, don't confuse collection with simply reining the head in, and as soon as you get a few strides, give the reward... release. This takes months of practice to gain muscle tone and memory. Done properly, you will have a horse that seems to practically float, with a true 3 beat lope. Done wrongly, you will get a flat footed lope with the head reined in and the horse looking at the ground instead of where he is going. Hint, you don't want the head beyond vertical. Good luck!

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Hi Jak

Good points, concerning the snaffle,but all the same a horse should have everything on them in a snaffle before moving on to another bit

A horse running through the bit at a lope has problems that going to a 'bigger' bit won't solve

There are times that one uses a twisted wire snaffle short term to get a horse light again that has become heavy in a snaffle. But this degree of lightness is very slight, probably not even noticed by the average rider. It certainly isn't the distinction of running through a bit to respecting a bit barrier, because if it is to that point, then basics in a regular snaffle are missing

While the objective to showing a western pleasure horse is on a loose rein, off of seat and leg alone, one gets to that point by training with contact when needed and correct use of legs

Even reiners are now shown on a loose rein , and so are western riding horses. The idea being is that these horses have body control on them, and taht makes it possible on a well trained western riding horse, reiner or western pl horse to drop the bridle and run a pattern bridleless

While a finished western pleasure horse benfits from the polished look of a aluminium grazing bit or a Klapper, and the bit and shanks facilitate a proper head carriage, one also shows a snaffle bit western pleasure horse on a loose rein in a snaffle, getting the horse correct in a snaffle before moving on to a curb for refinement

Yes, race horses run on the bit, using a snaffle, but they are trained entirely different from a western performance horse. Race horses are on their forehand, running on the bit. A western performance horse is taught from day one to stay backed off the bit and to work off of the backend, acheiving collection

You could teach a race horse to run on the bit in a curb. If you rely on the bit itself for control, a horse can and will learn to run through any bit

Get them light and soft in a snaffle first. Go to a curb becuase the horse has graduated to one, not because he is dis respectful of a snaffle

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Hi Jak

Good points, concerning the snaffle,but all the same a horse should have everything on them in a snaffle before moving on to another bit

A horse running through the bit at a lope has problems that going to a 'bigger' bit won't solve

There are times that one uses a twisted wire snaffle short term to get a horse light again that has become heavy in a snaffle. But this degree of lightness is very slight, probably not even noticed by the average rider. It certainly isn't the distinction of running through a bit to respecting a bit barrier, because if it is to that point, then basics in a regular snaffle are missing

While the objective to showing a western pleasure horse is on a loose rein, off of seat and leg alone, one gets to that point by training with contact when needed and correct use of legs

Even reiners are now shown on a loose rein , and so are western riding horses. The idea being is that these horses have body control on them, and taht makes it possible on a well trained western riding horse, reiner or western pl horse to drop the bridle and run a pattern bridleless

While a finished western pleasure horse benfits from the polished look of a aluminium grazing bit or a Klapper, and the bit and shanks facilitate a proper head carriage, one also shows a snaffle bit western pleasure horse on a loose rein in a snaffle, getting the horse correct in a snaffle before moving on to a curb for refinement

Yes, race horses run on the bit, using a snaffle, but they are trained entirely different from a western performance horse. Race horses are on their forehand, running on the bit. A western performance horse is taught from day one to stay backed off the bit and to work off of the backend, acheiving collection

You could teach a race horse to run on the bit in a curb. If you rely on the bit itself for control, a horse can and will learn to run through any bit

Get them light and soft in a snaffle first. Go to a curb becuase the horse has graduated to one, not because he is dis respectful of a snaffle

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