View Full Version : Did a Micheal Tokaruk clinic and here is what I got from it.. opinions?

Nov. 28, 2009, 02:19 PM
I am an eventer, so I went into the clinic as a jumper rider, not a hunter. So I go in and we are warming up. extending and lengthening.. my horse hates it! at the trot. Okay, we got that for the most part. Then we move on to canter... He was asking us to put more strides into a line.. OMG my pony was mad! So try as I might.. we hardly got the canter we needed! MORE Collections.. more leg, less leg, more hand, more leg! haha an endless cycle! Then he takes my spurs away!!!! OMG! Pony girl doesnt like to canter without the spurs.. or bend.. or really do anything! hahaha He said my horses has too much energy and would be fine without them! So we broke to the trot a million times until FINALLY We did the line with 5 strides instead of 4! Just once though.
So during the clinic I learned I am doing everything right with my mare :) she is just a big brat and needs to be pushed more!

So here is where I get a little skeptical....
I ride ALL of my horse in a plain loose ring or d-ring snaffle. I have always been the type to work through bit problems with the same bit. He told me I should try a slightly harsher bit in her mouth because she gets bracey at times and doesnt like to listen.. He said just a slow twist and see where that gets us.. How does everyone feel about uping a horses bit?

Tha Ridge
Nov. 28, 2009, 02:30 PM
A slow twist is hardly a huge upgrade.

I'm sorry, but I'm not one of those people who believes that everything can be worked through with a plain snaffle - it's just not true. There are different "tools" for different horses.

Nov. 28, 2009, 03:06 PM
prove either him or you right. Your horse will live through the experience without too much trauma.

Nov. 28, 2009, 03:14 PM
I used to be one of those who thought everything should be done (and could be) with a plain ol snaffle.......until my awesome trainer told me to try a slow twist on my STRONG TB gelding.

Hmmm while I was worried, I still did as told and that horse LOVES the slow twist. he is not happy in a regular snaffle or even french link.....

So yeah, some bits may seem super harsh, but maybe your horse will like it much better.....you never know until you open your mind and give it a try right?

Something I noticed in MYSELF (and you could think about maybe) is that I was more 'scared' to use a harsher bit because my hands weren't quiet enough. (they are now)

Nov. 28, 2009, 04:29 PM
The only thing that makes me super worried about using even a slightly stonger bit is the fact that my super strong/hot saddlebred was continuously put in stronger bit until she ran through everything... she goes fine in a hackmore (she is only a trail horse now) but she has no mouth... I dont mind trying new things, I just like to get other peoples opinions first. I promise I do (and did yesterday) have an open mind!

Nov. 28, 2009, 04:48 PM
If you have educated hands you will not ruin his mouth.

Nov. 28, 2009, 04:49 PM
Your Saddlebred girl and your Pony girl are not the same girl. ;) You'll probably get different results. If your mare loves to brace on your hand, you probably get tempted to brace right back, and then you'll get nowhere. If, however, she tries to take hold of a stronger bit, she might think, "Hm, I don't like that as much" and stop trying. Then you can learn to ride softer. Once you both get re-acquainted, she can go back down to her regular snaffle, and the slow twist can be brought out to say "Excuse me, I am up here you know" when she forgets.

Nov. 28, 2009, 05:03 PM
I never brace... I hold my outside rein and work my inside. Is that what I am supposed to be doing when she does this(I also do this all the time to different degrees)?

Nov. 28, 2009, 05:08 PM
A slow twist is not all that much bit. It will discourage leaning, though.

Personally I prefer to ride in whatever allows me to use the least amount of hand possible. I can ride any of my horses in a plain snaffle and often flat in a simple loose ring. However, my big gelding goes significantly better in slightly more bit; he doesn't brace or lean, allows me to raise his withers and correct his balance just by closing my fingers, and makes for a more pleasant ride all the way around.

Give the slow twist a try; you might find that you can get better results with less effort, which will be nice for both you and your horse.

Running Fox Farm
Nov. 28, 2009, 06:13 PM
I think the point with the "Ride it in 4, ride it in 5" ( be happy more numbers didn't come into play!) wasn't so much an issue of what bit you need, but of responsiveness to any bit. You kind of answered your own question. You lengthened, you shortened. " My pony hated it." Well, if he hasn't been educated to respond to your hand and leg, yes, he is going to hate it, and it's just not a lot of fun to teach them to be really responsive to your hand and leg if they've been let to kind of " shlep" through the aids. Been there, done that, had to work really hard and change my ways and beliefs to accomplish a better, more responsive horse. If you think Michael's tough, try a George Morris clinic. He wants INSTANT response to hand and leg. If your horse didn't adjust easily to your hand and leg, saying you're doing everything right at home may be a stretch.As far as upping the bit, just because you move up to a twist doesn't mean you can never adjust down again. We have one pony who we constantly switch up and down the scale from a big rubber mouth D to a corkscrew, maybe making the change for 1 0r 2 rides, so she doesn't get dulled to anything.

Nov. 28, 2009, 06:42 PM
I know i am doing everything correctly because this is something we work on all the time. my horse is still green with stuff like this. we work on it and we have always done exactly what micheal was asking us to do yesterday. Its hard for my horse because she is still learning. i never said he was hard.

Running Fox Farm
Nov. 28, 2009, 08:30 PM
No, I wasn't saying Michael is hard - on the contrary I've seen him teach and he is quite kind as an instructor. In your initial post I don't recall seeing you describe your pony as green. So, in essence, if he is green, you can't expect a whole lot more than how your day went. It was a day well-spent, sounds like. Do consider swapping back and forth between the slow twist/regular snaffle,as it might sharpen up her response a bit.

Nov. 28, 2009, 11:04 PM
IME you would have run into the exact same exercise with just about any eventing clinician (and you'd be chewed up and spit out). Cross country is all about having an adjustable horse. I'd try the different bit - what have you got to lose? Especially if it helps to educate both of you.

Nov. 28, 2009, 11:21 PM
As Renn said, changing your bit is not permanent. I ride in different bits quite often, depending on the situation. You're paying a clinician for their opinion, so why not try something new and see how it works out.

Nov. 29, 2009, 11:35 AM
I will try anything I am told (to an extent of course), but I just wanted to know other peoples opinions on the matter. Thats all. I will try it (when i get the money to buy the bit, Are the cheap ones okay?).

Nov. 29, 2009, 11:51 AM
My slow twist is a Korsteel and was $25 new from a tack store in CO. Its an eggbutt, single joint.

I imagine looking on ebay or shopping around, you could find one a bit cheaper.

Most 'average' brand bits are in the 20-30 dollar range anyway...as long as they look and feel balanced...and the metal is smooth and doesn't have rough patches or rust, they're good to go.

Nov. 29, 2009, 12:30 PM
I have several $25 Korsteel and Metalab bits (including a slow twist!) and my horse doesn't seem terribly offended that I didn't pay three figures for them. :)

Running Fox Farm
Nov. 29, 2009, 01:31 PM
Ebay and used tack sales are the way to go - I can't pass a used tack sale without coming home with some bit I may want/need/use on some horse, sometime.

Nov. 29, 2009, 02:46 PM
I can afford those bits! lol My parents always bought the bits i needed and my horses needed the best (most expensive) stuff. I stuck with tha theory for a while, but im jobless now and most of my horses nice stuff is used off ebay! Thanks everyone!