PDA

View Full Version : My horse is pulling, Any Bit Ideas?? *pics*



Tobias
Jan. 7, 2010, 11:09 PM
Lately when I have been riding my horse has had a really bad pulling or hanging problem. He will hang on the bit and get really heavy on the forehand especially when I am trying to slow down. I Need him to lighter, partially because it would help his navicular, but mostly because I am tired of him hanging on me.

So...I have had him in just a snaffle. ( I do not own many bits so my options are limited) No brakes and lots of pulling. I thought I would try something with a little leverage so I tried a kimberwicke sp? somewhat better with brakes but he just buries himself in the front. The slightest touch of the rein and his nose is aiming for his chest!

So I tried a loose ring french link snaffle. same as a regular snaffle.

I have ridden him before with just a rope halter just for a pleasure ride and he had amazing brakes! and no hanging. but no steering either. I thought I would try a hackamore since you and steer and its on their nose. Worked great! no more hanging, had brakes, steering. The little bit of leverage kept him lighter.

But...now he is starting to hang again, and i am losing brakes, Is he no longer sensitive? Its to the point where he does not react to the leverage but waits til it is direct contact from my hand to his nose.

what am I doing wrong??? is there a different bit/hackamore I can use?

I know a lot of it could be me. I am out of shape and my posture is terrible. but I should not feel like I am stopping a freight train. here are some pics so you can see kinda what he is doing.

Feel free to critique me. I can't afford a trainer any more so its you guys, and lots of research. any help would be great!

I do know that my shoulders are slouching a LOT! I have not strengthened my back back up yet since a car accident. getting there.

Anyways, Thanks in advance!


http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Tobias13/100_5780.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Tobias13/100_5776.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Tobias13/100_5777.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Tobias13/100_5779.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Tobias13/100_5762.jpg


and This one you can tell me how bad our jumping is :) we try. lol

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Tobias13/100_5769.jpg


Sorry its so long...But I really need help.

CatchMeIfUCan
Jan. 7, 2010, 11:16 PM
I would evaluate your riding before switching bits. The shank on the hackamore is almost parallel to the ground in all the pictures. It takes 2 to pull! I would try to use a lot of half halts and transitions to lighten him up.

Eventer13
Jan. 7, 2010, 11:45 PM
I would first examine your riding- as the previous poster said, it takes 2 to pull. What will he do if you completely let go of his mouth? Run off? Speed up? I might try shorter half-halts, and really make sure you release (the release of the half-halt is just as important as the pressure). You can also try keeping contact with one rein, and half halt with the other, keeping it loose when you aren't using it so he can't hang on you. Do lots and lots of transitions. I find trot, halt, reinback, trot works well, over and over again and in quick succession.

It also appears that he may be on the forehand, and he's using your hands as an extra "leg" to balance on. He needs to start working from behind. Shoulder in and haunches in would be great to work on if he knows them. Again, lots of transitions would also be good to help move his balance backwards. Get it at the walk before moving to trot, then canter. Don't worry so much about his head (although he shouldn't go around like a giraffe), think about getting him to push from behind and lift his shoulders up. He also needs to go FORWARD, which from some of the pictures, I'm not sure if he is. It may feel like he's going fast because you can't stop him, but he can't stop easily because of his downhill balance, so its much easier for him just to run long and flat.

You need to SIT UP so you can better resist his pulling. Shoulders above the hips, like a dressage rider. Sit the trot if you can. You might want to put your reins into a bridge and just let him pull on himself for a bit until he finds it doesn't solve anything.

You can try some trot poles to slow him down if he's rushing.

I might also try longeing in side reins (solid leather, not ones with elastic or rubber donuts) so he learns that leaning doesn't get him anywhere.

How are his teeth?

If you still are having trouble, a gag seems like it would be the most useful in a situation like this. But I hate to jump to something that harsh so quickly. Also, if he is not working from behind, a gag will slow him down, but it may also cause him to become hollow. His head will come up, but his back will drop, and he'll still be on the forehand. A bit with leverage (kimberwicke and pelham) may make him duck behind the bit if he isn't properly working into the contact, so I don't think they are great ideas for this horse. If you want to try a snaffle, you can bump up to a Dr. Bristol, or maybe a slow twist. But I really think the main problem is his on-the-forehand balance.

goeslikestink
Jan. 7, 2010, 11:52 PM
I would first examine your riding- as the previous poster said, it takes 2 to pull. What will he do if you completely let go of his mouth? Run off? Speed up? I might try shorter half-halts, and really make sure you release (the release of the half-halt is just as important as the pressure). You can also try keeping contact with one rein, and half halt with the other, keeping it loose when you aren't using it so he can't hang on you. Do lots and lots of transitions. I find trot, halt, reinback, trot works well, over and over again and in quick succession.

It also appears that he may be on the forehand, and he's using your hands as an extra "leg" to balance on. He needs to start working from behind. Shoulder in and haunches in would be great to work on if he knows them. Again, lots of transitions would also be good to help move his balance backwards. Get it at the walk before moving to trot, then canter. Don't worry so much about his head (although he shouldn't go around like a giraffe), think about getting him to push from behind and lift his shoulders up. He also needs to go FORWARD, which from some of the pictures, I'm not sure if he is. It may feel like he's going fast because you can't stop him, but he can't stop easily because of his downhill balance, so its much easier for him just to run long and flat.

You need to SIT UP so you can better resist his pulling. Shoulders above the hips, like a dressage rider. Sit the trot if you can. You might want to put your reins into a bridge and just let him pull on himself for a bit until he finds it doesn't solve anything.

You can try some trot poles to slow him down if he's rushing.

I might also try longeing in side reins (solid leather, not ones with elastic or rubber donuts) so he learns that leaning doesn't get him anywhere.

How are his teeth?

If you still are having trouble, a gag seems like it would be the most useful in a situation like this. But I hate to jump to something that harsh so quickly. Also, if he is not working from behind, a gag will slow him down, but it may also cause him to become hollow. His head will come up, but his back will drop, and he'll still be on the forehand. A bit with leverage (kimberwicke and pelham) may make him duck behind the bit if he isn't properly working into the contact, so I don't think they are great ideas for this horse. If you want to try a snaffle, you can bump up to a Dr. Bristol, or maybe a slow twist. But I really think the main problem is his on-the-forehand balance.

agree - look at helpful links pages and read all of page one and read all links its all relevent
read links 2 and 4
http://chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178116

the horse is pulling you as your tending to put your bodyweight into the bridle area and supporting yourself via the reins and head which is tipping you forwards as tthis poster says sit up
read in helpful links how to alter your stirrups corrrectly which will help you with your position , which in turn will help you with your balance

Tobias
Jan. 8, 2010, 01:45 AM
Thanks for all your help. I never really thought about it taking two to pull. I will work on that tomorrow when I ride.

If I just let him go on a loose rein he will just trot faster and faster then canter. I can try him over poles again, but usually he doesn't really care if he hits them to he will speed up because he gets excited. He thought he needed to jump over a pole today.

I do not have solid side reins, just ones with elastic. But I can try it might help some.

I will work on these things tomorrow. Thank you again for all your help and feel free to keep adding. I will try to keep you updated with how he is coming.

mvp
Jan. 8, 2010, 07:18 AM
First, your jump doesn't look bad! You are going with him, you have picked an ok distance, you have let go of his head. No apologies necessary.

Judging from his conformation and muscling, it looks like on the forehand is how he wants to go. You know he must rearrange and remodel his whole body (and perhaps his mind) in order to squat down as you'd like. I'm sure if he had just a few more brain cells he'd realize that pushing rather than pulling would help is navicular cause. Sadly, these beasts can't put this kind of cause and effect together by themselves!

So if you wanted to fix mind and body, you need to consider some questions:

Does he rush and fall on his front end?

Does he lean when he gets going faster-- say a bigger trot or cantering?

To me, this suggests that he needs a little mental rewiring. Asking for a halt and a moment of standing still can help. It will slow his mind down. Stopping over a pole can be good practice for you both. You can add to this with a few steps of backing to remind him that he has a big strong butt he could use and that, by the way, this is the part you wanted him to use when you picked up your hand in the first place.

As to bits. If leverage works for this horse, by all means use it-- at least while you are teaching both his mind and body what you want.

You can try: Raising your hands a bit in whatever bit or hackamore you use. I note that they are not especially high in any of your pics, though you do raise them in the canter shot. You might try raising your hands to half halt or halt.

You might consider a full cheek with bit keepers in use. A more extreme would be an elevator bit. I like to use these with two reins so that I'm not always applying leverage. In the beginning, however, you may find that you need the lower rein a bit more.

It does take two to pull. So:

How long are your half halts? Shorten them in terms of duration and repeat as often as needed. You can "escalate" with this in terms of pressure, adding a halt, or halt and back if he hasn't listened. Keep in mind that a horse who is never "turned loose" by your hand will adjust and respond by hanging.

How about a less stable bit? A loose ring is one option, a french link is less stable and a waterford is less stable still. But all of these work best when your half halts are short and you even "drop him" in between. He needs that moment of self-carriage, even if you have to correct him (again!) in another 2 or 3 strides.

Always ride "from leg to hand." To me, this means I never pick up my hand until I have closed my leg first.

If you can find hills or do many transitions while stuck in the ring, you will build his hind end so that the technical stuff gets physically easier for him. With respect to transitions, don't worry about their quality at first, but get them done by riding correctly with a series of half halts rather than pulling him down to the lower gait. A series of these in quick succession will sharpen up his mind and his body.

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment! The bits I have mentioned are traditional. Among these, you could add a pelham. Stepping outside that box, Mikmar bits with and without the complicated rope that goes over the nose can help. Those and the elevator bits I consider a temporary solution unless you are showing him as a jumper. But there's nothing wrong with modifying your equipment when you need a way to cut into a long-standing problem, so long as you adjust your riding as well.

Best of luck to you. I'm sure his front feet will thank you in the end!

rileyt
Jan. 8, 2010, 08:37 AM
Gosh no.

Lose the hackamore. Work on your riding.

The answer here is very simple, but will require work and lessons on your part. Horses do not magically get lighter in front when you switch their bit. Horses get lighter when they shift weight from their front to their back. Your horse is not using his hind end AT ALL.

You need to learn how to ride him correctly forward as a starter. If you don't get the engine going, he'll never be able to balance himself. Right now he is hauling himself around on his front end, and you're pulling on his face.

Seriously... I know we all have budget issues,... but the best thing you can do right now is get some GOOD instruction. Perhaps even a dressage person would be really helpful to you.

Noctis
Jan. 8, 2010, 08:48 AM
I agree with the losing the hackamore. That is a TON of leverage on his nose with how hard you (both) are pulling. Pull that hard with your hand under there. Back to a simple snaffle and tons of transitions, shoulder in, some leg yield and spirals, making him sit back a bit and USE his darn brain. Its not about the bit, its about the butt :)

ifiwereyou
Jan. 8, 2010, 09:04 AM
Although I have no recommendations on a bit (I think it's better to downgrade than upgrade) I'd recommend doing leg yields, transitions, 10-meter circles (spiraling in and out) and the most important thing, LEG!!!

Your horse can't lean if it's you that's making him go forward

Tegan
Jan. 8, 2010, 09:11 AM
As mentioned, lose the hackamore and put him back in the snaffle bit.

You need to ride leg to hand and get him moving forward. This picture (http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d34/Tobias13/100_5777.jpg ) shows that he's completely leaning on the forward and not engaging his hind end at all.

So the first thing is move him forward to get his motor going. He may not be slow, but he's definitely leaning heavily on his forward and not tracking up. I wouldn't worry terribly about speed right now, I'd rather see him too fast and engaging than just shuffling around. Then do lots of circles, transitions, short half halts, etc, anything to get him moving off the rail and thinking. Ridden correctly, he will have to lean back. This will require you to do several half halts with release and if he starts to get heavy, give him a bump with your leg. Really make sure you stretch up and allow him to get off the forehand, and don't forget the release!

Make sure he's listening. If you ask him to go forward and he doesn't, give him a sharper kick for a correction, then slow down and ask again. You always want to make sure you ask again when you make the correction.

It will take time to build up his muscles to move correctly. A dressage lesson, even if its only once a month, will be invaluable.

g29000
Jan. 8, 2010, 01:30 PM
You look very young. Words can be hard to follow and sometimes things are best taught not read.

( Just because I read a book on Brain Surgery does not mean I should try it out on someone.)

Get a trainer to work with on a regular basis that can ride your horse and show you what they want. If they can't get on and show you what they want get a new trainer.

Good luck

Eventer13
Jan. 8, 2010, 07:57 PM
You've gotten some good advice. If he knows how to leg yeild, you can use that to slow him down (most horses won't keep rushing if they also have to go side ways). Someone also mentioned doing spirals- walk or trot on a 20m circle, slowly spiral in while keeping the bend, down to 10m, then spiral out while keeping a 10m bend. When spiraling out, really focus on pushing his inside hind into your outside rein. That's the key to this exercise. It will force him to carry himself a little bit better. And as another poster said, he's got to move off your leg. If he doesn't listen to your leg then you won't be able to get him stepping further under his body (which is what he needs to do to get off the forehand).

At this point in his training, however, you may need to just stick with going forward, and doing simple transitions, between and within gaits. You can start with going from a slow to faster trot and back, before you get him balanced enough to change his stride length.

But really, a trainer would be the most helpful to explain how to give an effective half halt to help comtrol him, and the best exercises for this particular horse.

SaturdayNightLive
Jan. 8, 2010, 08:03 PM
Horses don't hang on the bit - riders do. As others have said, work on your riding.

Brydelle Farm
Jan. 8, 2010, 08:24 PM
As others have posted, improving your riding will help your horse go better. There aren't any quick fixes. I would go to a full cheek snaffle, slow twist perhaps. I would also shorten your stirrup at least a hole, you almost have NO knee angle and this will improve your balance, and give you stability as to not pull on him. As others have said, investing in lessons even infrequently would be most beneficial.

With all that said, if your horse is painful, this would be another reason for his leaning to be worsening, I would consider having him evaluated by your vet and farrier to discuss medical therapies and/or special shoeing to help alleivate discomfort related to navicular dz.

Good luck!

sptraining
Jan. 8, 2010, 08:48 PM
Agree with the above. The hardest thing to learn to do on a horse that pulls is to let go. There has to be a ying to the yang. If you're always pulling, then the horse assumes that's what you want and your pull means nothing.

Today with my young mare who has a tendancy to get a little quick, we worked on stopping on the outside rein into the rail. I'd let her canter and the minute she became strong, I'd sit up and take a feel of the outside rein and stop her into the rail. Then I'd let her stand and either do a turn on the forehand, or continue forward the same direction. It was a great confidence booster for me knowing that I now have an emergency stop and I'm less likely to get in a pulling match with her. By the end of the lesson, she half halted nicely on the outside rein and wasn't running off with me. It's easy and definitely worth a try. :)

mjmvet
Jan. 8, 2010, 11:00 PM
Well, just as it isn't about the bit, its also not about the hackamore. There's no reason you can't do the same things in what you have - you don't HAVE to go back to the snaffle. Having said that, I think a full cheek snaffle with lozenge is nice for greenies.

One thing that has helped me is "single rein riding" a-la John Lyons. Like a friend says, you don't have to LIVE there, but its a great place to visit. If you have someone nearby that can teach this to you, it is great for teaching a horse how to use his body in ways he can't fathom on his own. It helps to reorganize his balance and bring his butt underneath. When he can do that, he won't need to balance on your hands - he'll balance himself.

If that's not appealing, I really like the exercise where, either from the ground or the saddle, you ask for a halt, back up a few steps then trot right off. Repeat. A lot. It may help to practice several 'repeats' on the ground with him first so he can learn the movement without having to balance you on his back, then mount up and do it again. He'll have a better idea what you're asking for too this way. I find it helpful to walk, then halt. Walk, then halt. Reinback, then halt. Walk, trot, then halt. If the answer is always to 'halt', it will be in his mind as he's 'going'. He'll be more prepared to halt, and if he is more prepared, he'll have himself in a better balance. If you practice this on the ground first, try treating him after each halt. Then try it from the saddle. Trust me, he will be THINKING halt and balancing better while moving. Some horses have never learned that stopping, or slowing is a good option - they just feel more comfortable moving their feet. Show him its a desirable thing. It'll make his half halts better too.

When you practice just one exercise (like halt - back- trot) over and over, the horse gets a chance to think ahead to what comes next. He'll anticipate, which can be a very good thing when teaching a concept like 'half halt' or 'halt'. While this is happening, make sure each time you ask for the down transition, you use less and less pressure to get it. After a dozen reps, you should be able to THINK 'slowing down soon' and have him responding without you pulling. Keep your sessions short. Work on patterns like this often and daily. Try not to work on more than one pattern a day until he's used to that style of teaching. Eventually you'll be able to go one pattern to another within one training session and he'll be able to make the transition with you.

Good luck!
M

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 9, 2010, 12:25 AM
If you try to fix everything all at once you'll be riding in circles forever. When he tries to pull on you, think about your arms being attached by a rope that goes behind your butt. when he pulls, he takes your whole pelvis with him. this will keep your shoulders open and your body balanced.
Now, when he hangs on you, change what you are doing. You have to keep the communication line going, and by supporting, you deaden the line. so bend him, drop him on his face, bump him up, boot him forward, sing, yodel, ask for a lateral. change SOMETHING, but most importantly, ask for him to keep his hind end going forward.
To better understand why take your finger and press hard into your thigh. 10 seconds into pressing hard on your thigh, is it easier to ignore? Now poke yourself HARD with one finger on your thigh repeatedly. 10 seconds later it's REALLY hard to ignore!
be "the poking finger" when asking your horse for something. When you get what you want, stop poking. ;)

Tobias
Jan. 9, 2010, 01:41 AM
*update* I rode today and used a loose ring snaffle with the link in the middle. (I don't know what is called) He tried the pulling thing again, and I did what most of yo said and stopped pulling myself. if he pulled I kinda "dropped him" I guess you could say. It really threw him off but he realized that I was not going to carry him any more, so he stopped pulling! YAY!

He still did not have much for brakes but I don't want to ask for too much in one day, and my farrier showed up.

I have had the vet check him out and I have corrective shoeing on him as well. That is keep him sound for the most part. but there are days where he is a little ouchy and I think that just being balanced will help that. Even after jumping (little jumps) yesterday he was not sore today. YAY!

I will continue to work on these things and I will keep checking in here for more advice. Thanks to all!

God Bless!