Bit suggestions?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Touch the Sky, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    I have been having some issues with my mare. I need to find a different bit for her. I have tried her in a French long d ring/ full cheek, a regular d ring, a Waterford, a happy mouth, a Mullen mouth and a kimberwick.
    My issue is, she is getting waaayyyyy to fast and heavy in those and she is KILLING my arms and shoulders and core trying to hold her in. We have been focusing on slow work and she is GREAT at the wall and trot but the minute we canter she is a freight train. It isn't that she CANT collect and balance she just doesn't want to. She throws her head up and fights the but and leans on it and runs through it. I can hold her in but a lot of the time by the end lf the ride, arms and shoulders are shaking and my stomach cramping from trying to half halt her and check her. I am not usually one to just throw a bigger but at a problem, but I legit cant hold her in some days.
    She hates poll pressure so those kinda of bits are out.
    Any ideas??
     
  2. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    Why are you giving her something to pull against? You’re letting her lean on you. Stop that. She can choose to fall on her face or hold herself up. I’m quite sure she’ll not choose to fall.

    Outside of that, I bet she’s heavy in the walk and trot. It’s never just in the canter, but can be exasperated by the faster gaits.

    Are you using your seat to slow her?
     
  3. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Video would help too.
     
  4. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    I tried that once (randomly letting go of her face so she would quit leaning on me) and we wiped out going around a corner. Super not fun. I ended up getting pinned under her because she is really clutzy, especially when she is going fast.
    As for the seat, I have been playing with it and trying to figure out what works for best her. When she starts getting fast I try to lean back a tad, and for lack of a better word, I stiffen my spine and almost resist if that makes sense. So like, instead of making my hips fluid and driving with my seat, in contracting almost? I don't know how to explain it better than that. I sink into my heel a bit, lengthen my shoulders and resist through the spine. Thats the best explanation I can come up with right now
     
  5. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Your horse needs to be re-trained. Resistance like you describe screams lack of proper initial training. Hanging onto the mouth is just going to make her mouth callused, further entrench the resistance and wiping out, running off with you and possibly rearing and flipping over onto will be in your future if she isn't properly retrained.

    She doesn't give to pressure, and if you are not riding with seat first, using your body and rein subtlely at the end, you are just riding the head. That will get you just exactly what you have right now.

    Bits don't solve this, training does.
     
  6. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    I agree, she needs retraining. If she is unable to canter on a long rein with minimal contact, she needs to learn to do that.
    Contact is not about winning an ongoing pulling contest by intimidating a horse into not leaning on the rein.

    Post a video, maybe we can suggest something. If the trot is reasonably okay and at the canter she tends to lean and rush, practice frequent trot/canter transitions. How are the transitions, by the way?
     
  7. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    Is this a new development with her?
    If so, I´d have a vet checked, saddle fit checked, the whole nine yards.
    If she wipes out when not bracing against the bit she is probably unbalanced. Either she never learned to balance herself or there is an underlying issue preventing her from doing so.
     
  8. QRTXhorseman

    QRTXhorseman Senior Member

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    It is important to understand that a horse can run through any bit although some bits may cause more pain than others when doing so. Some horses try to avoid such pain. Others may try to “run away from” the pain – thus defeating the rider’s intentions.

    While some horses may run away when asked to canter simply because of the joy of running, most do so because they either think this is what the rider wants or they are trying to run away from discomfort. Telling the difference usually requires a good sense of feel in the rider. Of course, with such a rider, the horse would probably not run off uncontrollably.

    While there are methods which can directly address controlling the way a horse responds to a canter cue, it is best to start further back in the training process.

    Concentrating on slow work – the walk and trot – is useful. But what you do at the walk and trot is important. You should be working on releasing unnecessary tension in your own muscles and in the muscles of your horse. A tense rider is more likely to over-cue when asking for a canter. A tense horse is more likely to take off quickly – giving the rider a sense of lack of control.

    Begin at the walk. Try to feel every tiny movement in your horse’s body. You can’t do this if your muscles are tense. Try to relax without getting slouchy. Use balance – not muscular effort – to maintain good posture. Let gravity settle your seat deeply in the saddle, keep your legs around your horse’s sides, hold your feet to the stirrups, and pull your heels lower than your toes. There is no need to use muscular effort to do these things. Then, simply let your now relaxed and supple muscles react to the horse’s movements and keep you balanced. Don’t “work” at this. Simply let it happen. Enjoy this new sensation. Sitting relaxed and balanced on a horse that is walking can be very soothing – like getting a gentle massage.

    As you do the above, you should feel the tension oozing from your horse’s muscles. Be aware that this may take some time if the horse is accustomed to moving with tense muscles. Patience must be combined with releasing tension. As the horse releases unnecessary tension, its movements should become smoother and more fluid. As you let your body softly follow the movements of your horse, the horse becomes accustomed to your two bodies moving as one. Then, you can begin using subtle changes in your own body’s movements to influence the movements of your horse.

    You no longer need to think of “making” your horse do something. You simply “influence” the horse. Now, you can begin to “whisper” your cues. Your horse should respond calmly and smoothly.
     
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  9. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    My mare was not unsimilar to this not so long ago... she was very unbalanced and I had exacerbated it by resorting to relying on my reins when she blew through all other aids. We started dressage lessons, got a wealth of advice and it was hard to see the progress as it was happening, but she is a different horse now. She still tends to get unbalanced if she is not fit, but I know how to work with that now to help her and not hinder her. We did a lot of loose rein cantering in straight lines out on well groomed trails and fields, then started partial circles in the ring, worked on those for quite some time, and now we can do the full arena and she gets a little heavy in front and strung out down the long side, but responds enough now to my seat that I can control her shoulder and help her stay balanced and rebalance. Unfortunately I agree that these issues are not at all a bit problem. My mare and I did our "retraining" over the last 1.5 years in a LR lozenge double jointed snaffle :)
     
  10. Circle C

    Circle C Senior Member

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    A different bit will help temporarily, but she is going to go right back to her old ways shortly after switching. I'd take her back to the round pen and work on all gaits in a rope halter.
    She may benefit from side reins on the lunge.... let her pull on herself instead of you, but only to be done if you know what you're doing.
     
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