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KingoftheRoad
Nov. 8, 2010, 12:10 PM
I can't figure out how to do this one - I have a LARGE 17.1" wb who hacks beautifully in an easy snaffle. However, when he gets going to the jumps, he wants to yank his head down and pull me around the corner. I end up hunched over, trying to remember to sit up, but fighting to regain control all the way through the corner.

My traininer (wonderful in every other respect) is very tall. At least six inches taller than me. So he can use both his strength and his height to keep his butt in the saddle and lift the horse back up and get him under control. I don't have the strength (although I am building some killer biceps) or the leverage to lift him back up that easily.

I keep making mention than I need a little more stopping power, but I keep getting dismissed. The last thing I want to do is overbit the horse, especially since he's still young, but feeling like I can't stop is also what makes me so stinkin' nervous.

How do I convince trainer that I need a little bit of help (no pun intended), I'm not just trying to wimp out?? I feel like he thinks that's a crutch, but he has such a physical advantage on me, I don't think he realizes how hard it is for me to stop horsey, and how much that frays my nerves trying to get him back.

TTIA!

Petstorejunkie
Nov. 8, 2010, 12:14 PM
grab mane with your outside hand and press it into the withers to push yourself up, and lift your inside hand WAY up til your horse lightens. If you need to add a little boot with your inside leg
you don't need a stronger bit, nor 6" in height, or p90x to ride a large horse taking advantage of you. you need to under stand physics and leverage.
obviously this is something to correct the issue outside the show ring unless the only other option is turning into a fetal gorilla

Lostboy
Nov. 8, 2010, 12:20 PM
Maybe he isnt giving you more bit because he thinks your hands aren't ready for that.

I agree with the change in leverage by raising you inside hand and even opening it a little to make him have to balance back up. Have you noticed that he falls/folds into his shoulder a bit as well ? or is it just the headdown.. anyway look at your own leverage and of course..stretch legs down and your sterum up.

Sport
Nov. 8, 2010, 12:47 PM
I am having a similar problem, except I am trying to get the trainer to use more bit. She can get the job done with the loose ring snaffle, but he takes advantage of her and makes her work too hard.
With a bit more bit he respects the hand and her job is much easier.

I would try to explain what you have said to us. If you spend the whole end of the ring battling with the horse to come back, you don't have much time to prepare for the next line. If as someone mentioned if the trainer is concerned about your hands, maybe he would use the heavier bit, to remind the horse he needs to respect the bit.

StorybrookeFarms
Nov. 8, 2010, 01:57 PM
Sounds to me like horse needs to be in regular schooling with Trainer. Trainer needs to take horse back to basics, an smaller fences and teach to respect hand & seat. Your size shouldn't matter if the horse has the training. I recently had a similar problem with one of my kid's horses. Regular schooling with me, in addition to reteaching the kid has improved the situation 100%.

Adding more bit, especially if you are already pulling/fighting is just going to make the situation worse. May be a quick fix momentarily, but eventually he'll just learn to ignore that bit, and the next bit, and the next, etc, etc, etc. Until finally your horse has such a hard mouth you can't do anything with him. Something with YOU has to change in addition to the horse having correct, consistent schooling from someone who CAN make him listen.

JumpWithPanache
Nov. 8, 2010, 01:58 PM
My approach when feeling the need to bit up is to do so for a few rides, then go back to the milder bit. Hopefully horse has a light bulb moment and realizes (especially since he's young and learning) that all the "pulling" is trying to get him lifted up and to quit leaning.

KateKat
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:02 PM
my horse will do this to me too. Ditto on the lifting of the inside hand around corners, I did that this weekend and it makes a huge difference. Also, you say you get nervous and curl into a fetal type position when he does this. Personally, I know when I do this I also look down, lean forward, and lock my elbows which just throws the horse off balance even more. It helps to have someone yell at me after my jump to "look up!" and then we don't get into this gross, unbalanced rushy canter because I'm not all curled up and tense up there.

amastrike
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:04 PM
You own the horse? Then do what you want.

wendy
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:05 PM
If he's putting his head DOWN and running round a corner after a jump, I don't think you need more bit- I think he's out of balance and trying to keep from falling down. You need to drive him into your hand and re-balance him BEFORE you get to the corner.

shawneeAcres
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:09 PM
I will not say if you do or do not need more bit, but what I will say is to work on exercises that will help to lighten him. Not just flat tho, what I like to do on horses that pull thru the corners, is ride courses with circles in the corners, that is, when approaching a long side or diagonal line, FIRST ride a relatively small circle (about 15 meters or so) THEN the horse will rebalance, go down the line and in the following corner, after the line, ride another circle to rebalance and get him back over his hocks. continue around the arena doing circles before and after every line. If one circle doesn't rebalance, then do two. Use a bit of an "upward" inside rein when doing the circles and sit up and BACK in the saddle, get out of your half seat and put your butt into the saddle to help him rock back

netg
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:19 PM
You own the horse? Then do what you want.

Including get a new trainer...


If he's putting his head DOWN and running round a corner after a jump, I don't think you need more bit- I think he's out of balance and trying to keep from falling down. You need to drive him into your hand and re-balance him BEFORE you get to the corner.

This is the most common reason a trainer doesn't need more bit and wouldn't believe you need it either.

Shawnee's exercises will help you get your horse balancing. Your trainer should be trying to get you to do this, and most likely is in some way that you haven't understood/absorbed yet. If your trainer is fine with the bit, you *should* be as well, so there's something going on with your riding and lack of support of your horse/balance. I would guess lack of bend and motorcycle turns as a likely culprit, as well as lack of seat in saddle on a horse who still needs that for balance, though without video that's purely a guess based on experience/observations of others, and not based on you specifically at all.

Bogie
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:24 PM
What does your trainer recommend other than bitting up?

There are many ways to fix this kind of problem. Sometimes more bit is the answer; sometimes more bit can cause different problems.

What would be most important to me is whether or not the trainer has a plan to help YOU fix the problem (if he doesn't experience it).

When I had my trainer working my horse I always had her do one training ride a week and then teach me -- that way I made sure that the horse didn't just go well for her :D. I wanted to be able to replicate what she achieved.

Spud&Saf
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:36 PM
If your horse is dragging you through the corners, HALT before the corner. Wash, rinse, repeat....over and over again until horsey no longer feels any desire to drag you.

Then, re-school any time horsey thinks of dragging.

Done consistently, this should solve the problem.

My horse lovessssss to drag, root and shake her head through the corners when she is fresh or irritable. This technique works every time.

Obviously, proper remedial flat work is in order as well.

MichiganHunter91
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:39 PM
I would go back to flat work with schooling figures (figure 8s, serpentines, etc.) if you feel he has balancing issues to get him more in balance since younger horses are not as balanced. That's what I did with my youngster and it had a lot of benefits in the long run for us.

Jumping wise, do a small course then try to bring him back calmly into your hands before the corner but don't pull back, pull upwards on that inside rein. Don't hunch though, just sit back and relax even if you get nervous and/or start anticipating it. (keeps an awkward situation from becoming worse)

^^I agree with above poster, make sure that you incorporate circles into your courses.

If he's real young then don't go to stronger bits, it may make things worse.

Not So Practical Horse(WO)man
Nov. 8, 2010, 02:47 PM
add leg.

KingoftheRoad
Nov. 8, 2010, 03:07 PM
Couple of things - trainer recommends "sit up" and "keep your hands together". Horse has several interesting/conflicting habits - hauling through the corner, at the same time hunching up/getting behind the bit, and also trying to snap down out of the canter. So it's kind of like "if we're going around the corner, it's going to be at breakneck speed, or I'll just trot." And then when I try to put leg on him to keep the canter, we're slamming forward again......

I know a lot of this is nerves/protection on my part, because we've had a few really bad months recently, going from us getting ready to show at 3', to him spooking hard and ditching me at a fence he's jumped 100 times before, to him tripping and falling when we were out for a hack, to the point where now I'm terrified to canter a 2' vertical. Things are going backwards very quickly, and now jumping at night tonight is not going to help matters.

I had gotten pretty good at sitting on my butt, keeping my hands up and making him ride through the corners, but now that I'm nervous about whether he will jump or spook or stop, I'm reverting to my defensive posture (which I know sucks but I can't stop) of jumping, then planting my hands on his neck and trying to stop him, rather than getting my butt in the saddle and riding him. Kind of one of those passenger versus driver things.....matter of fact, just thinking about it enough to write this all down is actually making me feel nervous, and I'm not normally that type of person.

Part of me just wants to know that when I say "STOP" the horse STOPS. Right now, it feels like it is totally up to horsey to decide whether he wants to listen to me or not. Sometimes, I say "whoa" in between jumps, and he collects nicely. Other times, he just inverts and says "screw you". And I wonder whether a tiny bit more bit :) would give me that added confidence that I can stop this sucker. Does that make sense?

Maybe I had the title of this wrong, but I appreciate all the advice - just hard to break through that brain block that gets me hunched over pushing on his neck, rather than sitting up and getting him back to me. Although even when I sit and get him back, it still feels like it's because he's allowing it, not that I'm making him........

Petstorejunkie
Nov. 8, 2010, 03:11 PM
I will not say if you do or do not need more bit, but what I will say is to work on exercises that will help to lighten him. Not just flat tho, what I like to do on horses that pull thru the corners, is ride courses with circles in the corners, that is, when approaching a long side or diagonal line, FIRST ride a relatively small circle (about 15 meters or so) THEN the horse will rebalance, go down the line and in the following corner, after the line, ride another circle to rebalance and get him back over his hocks. continue around the arena doing circles before and after every line. If one circle doesn't rebalance, then do two. Use a bit of an "upward" inside rein when doing the circles and sit up and BACK in the saddle, get out of your half seat and put your butt into the saddle to help him rock back

ding ding! you can also put a canter pole or two a stride or two before your corner

Spud&Saf
Nov. 8, 2010, 03:23 PM
Couple of things - trainer recommends "sit up" and "keep your hands together". Horse has several interesting/conflicting habits - hauling through the corner, at the same time hunching up/getting behind the bit, and also trying to snap down out of the canter. So it's kind of like "if we're going around the corner, it's going to be at breakneck speed, or I'll just trot." And then when I try to put leg on him to keep the canter, we're slamming forward again......

I know a lot of this is nerves/protection on my part, because we've had a few really bad months recently, going from us getting ready to show at 3', to him spooking hard and ditching me at a fence he's jumped 100 times before, to him tripping and falling when we were out for a hack, to the point where now I'm terrified to canter a 2' vertical. Things are going backwards very quickly, and now jumping at night tonight is not going to help matters.

I had gotten pretty good at sitting on my butt, keeping my hands up and making him ride through the corners, but now that I'm nervous about whether he will jump or spook or stop, I'm reverting to my defensive posture (which I know sucks but I can't stop) of jumping, then planting my hands on his neck and trying to stop him, rather than getting my butt in the saddle and riding him. Kind of one of those passenger versus driver things.....matter of fact, just thinking about it enough to write this all down is actually making me feel nervous, and I'm not normally that type of person.

Part of me just wants to know that when I say "STOP" the horse STOPS. Right now, it feels like it is totally up to horsey to decide whether he wants to listen to me or not. Sometimes, I say "whoa" in between jumps, and he collects nicely. Other times, he just inverts and says "screw you". And I wonder whether a tiny bit more bit :) would give me that added confidence that I can stop this sucker. Does that make sense?

Maybe I had the title of this wrong, but I appreciate all the advice - just hard to break through that brain block that gets me hunched over pushing on his neck, rather than sitting up and getting him back to me. Although even when I sit and get him back, it still feels like it's because he's allowing it, not that I'm making him........

Seems like there may be something physical going on too.

The tripping and falling, spooking, inability to hold the canter comfortably in corners...is this new? How old is this horse and what is its training level?

KingoftheRoad
Nov. 8, 2010, 03:43 PM
He's 6.5, been in training since he was 4, trainer rides him a couple times a week. Training has been slow but steady due to his size, collecting can still be really hard on him. Hope this helps...

snaffle635
Nov. 8, 2010, 03:51 PM
To convince your trainer, then next time your horse does this, gallop wildly around the arena screaming 'I can't stop I can't stop' and slowly aim your horse at said trainer. I think he'll get the hint.

Of course I'm kidding, but it does give a funny visual.

mrsbradbury
Nov. 8, 2010, 04:09 PM
I don't want to make you feel further frustrated, but this is not a bitting issue. Getting inverted has to do with loss of connection between leg and hand, you are pulling too hard. Everywhere, because you are nervous.

This is a tough position to be in, and I feel for you. You are quickly getting overmounted and defensive. You need to take a step back. Encourage your trainer to help you build a more positive lesson plan, so you can reconnect with why you ride. Maybe you don't need to jump for a short while. Make sure you are comfortable cantering balanced circles on the flat, then over the poles.

Make sure you can do a sitting trot with him in a frame, do some other work that can challenge you without scaring you for a while. Then try again.

Good luck & hang in there.

RockinHorse
Nov. 8, 2010, 04:10 PM
I used to have a horse that acted like this when he needed to have his hocks injected...

netg
Nov. 8, 2010, 04:54 PM
Couple of things - trainer recommends "sit up" and "keep your hands together". Horse has several interesting/conflicting habits - hauling through the corner, at the same time hunching up/getting behind the bit, and also trying to snap down out of the canter. So it's kind of like "if we're going around the corner, it's going to be at breakneck speed, or I'll just trot." And then when I try to put leg on him to keep the canter, we're slamming forward again......


Those aren't the least bit conflicting. All are signs of faulty flat work. Jumping should be a series of obstacles in the middle of flatwork, not something to be done alone. You should have balance around all corners before you're trying to go over a jump.

Your fear is a VERY REAL thing. Don't try to make excuses or talk it away - it is. The question is how to deal with it? You need to be able to control your horse comfortably, with no fear, before you jump him, or of course it will get worse. There's nothing wrong with having fear - it's your mind's way of saying "hey, something might be wrong here!"

A horse who is confident in himself and physically strong may want to go faster because it's fun, but he doesn't feel a need to take long spots, to rush, to gallop around corners, etc. If he gets off balance, though, he will try to lean on you, and usually break to a trot, or go faster to try to catch himself and bunch himself up into a ball as he does it. If you hunch and don't sit up, you are making his balance even worse. Sure he slows and responds when you sit up - because he's letting you tell him what to do since he's now balanced enough to do it. It could be that you two are a mismatch, but after this long I think you just need to go back to basics - do some ground work, then ground poles, then many, many grids before you try to return to courses.

You are going through something many, many riders have, and it sounds like you should be able to get through it and come out better and stronger in the end for having worked through it. Good luck!


I used to have a horse that acted like this when he needed to have his hocks injected...

Aka: The horse wasn't using it's body correctly and couldn't push off from behind properly, thus not well-balanced...

Horseymama
Nov. 8, 2010, 05:39 PM
Trust what you feel. If you think you need more bit, you probably do. More bit requires more responsibility however, from your hands to be soft when you need to.

I had this exact problem. I am a trainer, but I have a coach, whom I respect enormously, who comes a couple times a month to school me and helps me with my main jumper at shows. He is 6' 190, I am 5'4" 125. My mare is small, 16 hands, but mighty and hot! He can ride her and jump her all day in a snaffle, I cannot. He is very conservative and comes from the school of GM and doesn't like bitting with much more than a single rein snaffle and a running martingale. I kept getting pulled past the distance with my mare, kept getting her under the jump and then she would pop straight up into the air and I would have to hang on for dear life! He doesn't ride her for me much but every time he did he couldn't understand why that was happening to me.

I begged him to let me try a gag, he finally did and boy was he surprised at the control I have now. No more getting sucked under the jump! He didn't like it at first because she shakes her head a little, but we tried all sorts of versions and finally settled on a plastic two ring French link.

I find that tall people have a much easier time picking horses up off their front end. Us short little people just don't have the leverage. I don't think there is anything wrong with more bit as long as you are soft and following with your hand and know when to let go. You can't ride to a jump with no control!

CBoylen
Nov. 8, 2010, 05:54 PM
Horse has several interesting/conflicting habits - hauling through the corner, at the same time hunching up/getting behind the bit, and also trying to snap down out of the canter. So it's kind of like "if we're going around the corner, it's going to be at breakneck speed, or I'll just trot." And then when I try to put leg on him to keep the canter, we're slamming forward again......

More bit is going to make these issues about a thousand times worse.

faraway46
Nov. 8, 2010, 09:22 PM
It is true the horse needs more education, but it's also true that the OP has to have control to be able to do what is asked. The trainer says "sit in the saddle, shift your hips forward, look up, straighten your back and squeeze your legs to ask for balance and a half halt". Dear OP does everything (or tries to) but horsey doesn't cooperate, still playing the tug of war just because he overpowers her. Now what? How does the OP know if she is failing/doing it wrong or maybe the horse is too strong and even if she's executing perfectly, he has the habit of winning her over just because he can? OP will not learn without confidence and it is obvious she needs more control to gain it. The horse has discovered he doesn't have to obey.
What if she does try more bit with trainer's supervision and tries to understand what a correct, light half halt/balance should feel like (and horsey understands who's the boss again). Once she knows what it's like, starts to regain her balance/confidence and the horse starts respecting again, they can go down bit-wise, looking for the same feeling with less force...
FWIW, if you see the horses at the WEG games, not all of them show in perfect loose ring snaffles. Hicstead jumps in a hackmore combination bit, HH Rebozo uses a hackmore, Checkmate a gag. So the question is: are all horses REALLY meant to be in a snaffle? All these horses' riders are more than exellent (they are riding Gods) and even they couldn't perfectly educate them to beautifully go in a snaffle. Why should we insist with the snaffle till death do us part? Obviously all these changes should be done with correct/reputable supervision (in fact, I'm in the middle of desperate bit experimentation, and I'm no begginer, but I have a set of experienced riders looking into my changes anyway... two or three or four heads always think better than just one, specially if they are smart heads..;) ).
I'm all for the cautious change, with your trainer breathing down your back. Be honest about what you feel and make sure there is a blance between your leg and your contact (your horse should respond with equal reaction to both). Ask around, be curious, research and consult this wonderful BB, but if you don't feel safe, it's time for something to change!
Just my two cents.
Good luck!
V

xxreddxheaddxx
Nov. 8, 2010, 09:45 PM
Once upon a time a trainer put me and my once "crazy"(just not properly trained turns out) tb in a d ring snaffle. No twists, nothing, just plain. At the time I was still doing like 2ft at horseshows and this was just not right because I couldn't control my horse or get aroung a course without absoulutely going too fast and not having the option of breaks if I needed them. The trainer had great intentions- she wanted me to be able to ride and train my horse in a plain snaffle. Great intentions, wrong timing. We ended up leaving the trainer because we couldn't find a compromise to make both of us happy. Found next trainer, took the time in the pelham to learn how to ride my horse, and now we are jumping 3 ft courses with rollbacks, bending lines, skinnys, in and outs, you name it- in a plain snaffle. For me it was switching to someone who really beleived I was not the only issue with not having good rounds, part of it was indeed my horse. I hope you find a trainer that really has your best intrests in mind and can see past what they can ride and you may or may not be able to! :)

mg
Nov. 9, 2010, 11:01 AM
I had a friend with a similar problem. Her horse would invert and run at jumps or ball up and run around on her forehand. My friend tried practically every bit/combination under the sun. Finally went to a jumping lesson with a woman who told her: 1. horses who run at jumps usually do not do so because they are "excited," as people like to think, but typically because they are afraid/have performance anxiety, and 2. stronger bits are not the solution to this problem.

They worked on a Jimmy Wofford exercise of trotting a low, wide oxer, NOT touching the horse's face at all, halting after the jump, turn on the haunches back towards the jump, repeat.

It's amazing how quickly the horse turned around in just half an hour once my friend stopped hauling on her face.

These are training issues, not bitting issues. And, in all honesty, I don't see why your trainer has you jumping courses at all when this sort of issue is occurring. You obviously need lots of flatwork, working on pushing your horse INTO the bridle and balancing, and lots of strategic jumping exercises like the Jimmy Wofford one above.

KingoftheRoad
Nov. 9, 2010, 11:19 AM
Lots of interesting stuff here - I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help me out.

To be clear, we do a TON of flatwork. Every one of my lessons is at least 60-70% flatwork, and then some jumping at the end. Lengthening, shortening strides, serpentines, bend in, bend out, etc.....and when my trainer isn't there, I don't jump at all, I usually do a 30-40 minute hack twice a week. So we're not overjumping here, by a long shot.

Horsey is just hard to figure out. We canter down to a single vertical, he jumps cute as can be, really over top of himself (which alone is a HUGE step forward), nice balanced bouncy canter, and he stops nicely at the end of the ring. No hauling me around. Do it both ways, both leads, probably about 2'6". Then we do same vertical to quiet five stride line. Trying to get him around the corner without a)him breaking the canter or b) putting too much leg on and ending up with huge flat stride at the jump is damn near impossible. Get the canter through the corner, try to circle to settle the canter a bit so we can have the same nice balanced bouncy canter to come into the line, and he throws a shoulder, humps up, breaks to a trot, starts getting pissy and pinning his ears when I get after him to get back to a canter. Get the canter back, try to settle him around the corner into the line, he breaks canter again. Repeat ad nauseam. :(

When he's doing this, he actually gets under and behind the bit - he's so big, he loves to hump his back up and carry his head straight down, which is really hard to ride - I'm doing a better job of keeping my head and shoulders up and trying to get leg on, but it's such a game trying to make sure I don't get too much leg, and he goes tearing down the line.

Finally get him to canter through the corner(after about four circles) and settle up for the line. Get a really nice quiet distance to the first vertical (maybe 18" tall) and then sit for a quiet five strides. But now I have so much leg on from trying to get him through the corner and into the line, that at the 4th stride, he grabs the bit, inverts, and takes off to the second jump, to where I end up with one hand on the withers, and the other pulling up trying to get him to stop. When he does this, he has a tendency to grab one side of the bit really hard.

So there is everything I know - when he decides to grab and go, that's when I feel like I need something to get him up off his forehand without him taking off - like I need some way to harness the leg that is pushing him into the hand. But how to do that with a horse that likes to get behind the bit???

I'm not sure that helps answer the question, but i'm trying to give as much information as possible so you guys can help me with a solution.....thanks again - I really appreciate all the help!!!

mg
Nov. 9, 2010, 11:42 AM
Lots of interesting stuff here - I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help me out.

To be clear, we do a TON of flatwork. Every one of my lessons is at least 60-70% flatwork, and then some jumping at the end. Lengthening, shortening strides, serpentines, bend in, bend out, etc.....and when my trainer isn't there, I don't jump at all, I usually do a 30-40 minute hack twice a week. So we're not overjumping here, by a long shot.

Riding on the flat a lot doesn't necessarily mean it's correct flatwork though.


Horsey is just hard to figure out. We canter down to a single vertical, he jumps cute as can be, really over top of himself (which alone is a HUGE step forward), nice balanced bouncy canter, and he stops nicely at the end of the ring. No hauling me around. Do it both ways, both leads, probably about 2'6". Then we do same vertical to quiet five stride line. Trying to get him around the corner without a)him breaking the canter or b) putting too much leg on and ending up with huge flat stride at the jump is damn near impossible. Get the canter through the corner, try to circle to settle the canter a bit so we can have the same nice balanced bouncy canter to come into the line, and he throws a shoulder, humps up, breaks to a trot, starts getting pissy and pinning his ears when I get after him to get back to a canter. Get the canter back, try to settle him around the corner into the line, he breaks canter again. Repeat ad nauseam. :(

...and this is where correct flat work comes in. It honestly sounds like your horse doesn't understand and/or doesn't have the muscling and balance to make these turns properly. Most horses get scared/angry when they are being asked to do something that is uncomfortable.


When he's doing this, he actually gets under and behind the bit - he's so big, he loves to hump his back up and carry his head straight down, which is really hard to ride - I'm doing a better job of keeping my head and shoulders up and trying to get leg on, but it's such a game trying to make sure I don't get too much leg, and he goes tearing down the line.

I don't see how you can have "too much" leg in this situation. You shouldn't have to physically HAUL your horse's head and neck up. You should be keeping a light connection in your hands and using your leg to push him forward into this connection. Does that mean that doing this will automatically correct the issues you're having? Nope, because the horse doesn't understand what that leg into a light contact means. This is where your flatwork training comes into play.


Finally get him to canter through the corner(after about four circles) and settle up for the line. Get a really nice quiet distance to the first vertical (maybe 18" tall) and then sit for a quiet five strides. But now I have so much leg on from trying to get him through the corner and into the line, that at the 4th stride, he grabs the bit, inverts, and takes off to the second jump, to where I end up with one hand on the withers, and the other pulling up trying to get him to stop. When he does this, he has a tendency to grab one side of the bit really hard.

I would invert and bolt to jumps too if I was worried that my face was going to get ripped on. Again, look at the Jimmy Wofford exercise I posted about above. Your horse needs to learn to trust that you aren't going to pop him in the mouth or haul on his face to/over/after the jumps. Once he can stop worrying about you, he can start feeling relaxed enough to learn to do his job himself.


So there is everything I know - when he decides to grab and go, that's when I feel like I need something to get him up off his forehand without him taking off - like I need some way to harness the leg that is pushing him into the hand. But how to do that with a horse that likes to get behind the bit???

By working on this with your flatwork. Pushing your horse off your leg and into a light, steady, correct contact.

I totally understand what it's like to feel like you need to micromanage every aspect of your horse's movement, but I feel like that's really what's bringing you down here. YOUR job is to train your horse to do the job HIMSELF. Get out of his face, support his stride, and let him jump on his own. There's a reason why eventers can let almost their entire length of rein out over a fence and still have total control when they land--it's because their horses know their jobs and aren't being told what to do every step of the way. Understandably so, too. I would never ride a horse at the upper levels of eventing if it was dependent on ME making every single decision and telling the horse exactly what to do!

EMWalker
Nov. 9, 2010, 11:43 AM
Although many are saying it's not a bit issue and different bit could help if you are an advanced enough rider to handle more.

My trainer likes a totally different ride from me and he can handle a heavy ride. I am 105 lbs and don't like him towing me around.

We ended up switching my horse to a gag just for hacking and poles. He has really learned some balance and I have an easier time regulating his step. I have to switch to a 3 ring Dr Bristol to jump because the gag is way to much bit. Obviously, him being a hunter, we will figure out what works best in the show ring when he starts showing again in Jan.

With some poles on the ground I would try getting the correct number of strides, then adding a stride then taking out a stride (if this scares you then just try getting the correct amount of strides and adding). If he is getting heavy and rude, halt him after the last pole and back him up a few steps.

Halting and backing up is definitely our friend!! If you can not halt him and back him it really is probably time for a bit more bit. Horses are not all created equal -- some are just not meant to go around in a D ring fat snaffle.

EMWalker
Nov. 9, 2010, 11:58 AM
Does your horse have a solid auto lead change?? Sometimes the ones that have trouble with changes can start towing around the corners etc if they are anticipating the lead change.

If all circumstances are correct (correct flat work, lead changes are not an issue etc) and you can not halt and back your horse without "ripping his face off" then maybe you do need more bit? But remember you do have more bit so don't be as aggressive. Sink deep into your heel and seat and ask nicely. If you don't resolve this issue sooner rather than later it's either time to move to a new trainer or sell the horse and get one that you CAN ride and doesn't care the crap out of you and take advantage of you. Not every trainer and rider are the perfect match and not every horse and rider are the prefect match. No matter what level you ride at, we all pay too much money to be scared.

Horseymama
Nov. 9, 2010, 12:03 PM
I have to agree with mg here.

Is this a young horse? It sounds like he doesn't know how to add to a distance in a balanced manner. You need to teach him how to add while still carrying you.

Now that I have read your explanation and that he is breaking to the trot, this is what I would do: I would ride forward to the fence no matter what, not running of course, but off a forward step. Be brave and let him go a little and even though you may be rating him slightly, you don't let him know that. You are going to remain as quiet as humanly possible with your hands and body. Leg is there, but just to keep him cantering forward. Ride towards a fence. One of three things will then happen:

You will get to the perfect distance. (Not what you want but great, jump another jump).

You will get to a long distance. (Not what you want either, but he needs to learn how to do this too so fine, jump another)

You will get to such a long distance that his only option is to chip to make it to the other side. (This is EXACTLY what you want!)

You are not going to interfere, in fact you are going to remain as quiet as humanly possible with your hands and body, and if you get to the chip, you are going to release him off the ground. You do NOT want to hold his face. Then you say, "good boy!"

Then go back around and canter again to the same jump, off the same pace, and guess what, he will be expecting that funny chip, and he will instinctively balance his body back onto his hind end. Then you can take a slight feel of his mouth while keeping your leg and help him out by giving him just a tad bit more room so it's not sooo short, and he should keep cantering and not trot because you have been riding him forward. If he does not do that, continue on and get the chip as many times as possible until he starts to expect it and balance himself a little for you. Remember for all this to work you have to be going forward.

Young/green horses do not know how to carry you to a collected distance, and you can't teach them by holding them, you have to teach them to hold (carry) you!

I know the chip is ugly and feels funny, and it does to them, too! But it is a safe distance (as long as the fence isn't too big, keep it comfortable for him, so he doesn't wipe out the whole thing or something.)

Pretty soon he will learn to keep going forward to the fence while allowing you to adjust him. Although you feel like he is running, he is doing that because he feels like you are holding him too much. Most horses are smart and will chip. When he learns that he has to balance himself at the fence, and that you will not hold his face, he will stop trying to run.

kookicat
Nov. 9, 2010, 12:05 PM
Quick reply. What about putting him in a pelham or three ring bit with two reins? You can can ride him on the snaffle, but have that little extra for when you feel you need it.

jetsmom
Nov. 9, 2010, 12:45 PM
Lots of interesting stuff here - I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help me out.

To be clear, we do a TON of flatwork. Every one of my lessons is at least 60-70% flatwork, and then some jumping at the end. Lengthening, shortening strides, serpentines, bend in, bend out, etc.....and when my trainer isn't there, I don't jump at all, I usually do a 30-40 minute hack twice a week. So we're not overjumping here, by a long shot.

Horsey is just hard to figure out. We canter down to a single vertical, he jumps cute as can be, really over top of himself (which alone is a HUGE step forward), nice balanced bouncy canter, and he stops nicely at the end of the ring. No hauling me around. Do it both ways, both leads, probably about 2'6". Then we do same vertical to quiet five stride line. Trying to get him around the corner without a)him breaking the canter or b) putting too much leg on and ending up with huge flat stride at the jump is damn near impossible. Get the canter through the corner, try to circle to settle the canter a bit so we can have the same nice balanced bouncy canter to come into the line, and he throws a shoulder, humps up, breaks to a trot, starts getting pissy and pinning his ears when I get after him to get back to a canter. Get the canter back, try to settle him around the corner into the line, he breaks canter again. Repeat ad nauseam. :(

When he's doing this, he actually gets under and behind the bit - he's so big, he loves to hump his back up and carry his head straight down, which is really hard to ride - I'm doing a better job of keeping my head and shoulders up and trying to get leg on, but it's such a game trying to make sure I don't get too much leg, and he goes tearing down the line.

Finally get him to canter through the corner(after about four circles) and settle up for the line. Get a really nice quiet distance to the first vertical (maybe 18" tall) and then sit for a quiet five strides. But now I have so much leg on from trying to get him through the corner and into the line, that at the 4th stride, he grabs the bit, inverts, and takes off to the second jump, to where I end up with one hand on the withers, and the other pulling up trying to get him to stop. When he does this, he has a tendency to grab one side of the bit really hard.

So there is everything I know - when he decides to grab and go, that's when I feel like I need something to get him up off his forehand without him taking off - like I need some way to harness the leg that is pushing him into the hand. But how to do that with a horse that likes to get behind the bit???

I'm not sure that helps answer the question, but i'm trying to give as much information as possible so you guys can help me with a solution.....thanks again - I really appreciate all the help!!!

All of the getting behind the bit, breaking from the canter, etc tell me you aren't using enough leg, and using too much hand. A stronger bit won't help.

mrsbradbury
Nov. 9, 2010, 02:17 PM
The issue may not be a stronger bit, but a different bit. For a horse that curls behind the bit, leverage is NOT the answer (pelham, three ring, myler with the hooky gigs etc.). Is it a standard snaffle? You might want to try a waterford, a dr. bristol, a bit with no break etc.

I think we need to canter poles, poles, poles and do gymnastics until both you and horsey are more confident.

I think the key here is exploration of bitting rather than just stronger bit. What does he do when trainer rides him? Have you watched the school?

KingoftheRoad
Nov. 9, 2010, 02:18 PM
Guys, I promise I'm not trying to be dense, but how am I supposed to put more leg on when he's already trying to run through me? I totally understand the leg into hand thing, but doesn't that mean there has to be something active and listening in the hand for me to push him into?

As it is, he just wants to hang on the bit, either inverted or overflexed, so that me pushing him with my leg only gets him more inverted or more humped up and overflexed. Don't I need some way to get him to respect my hand before I push him there with my leg?

When we canter these single fences, I'm telling you, it couldn't be nicer, he's listening to me, I have leg on, I have feel on his mouth, and I never ever hit him in the mouth over the jump. It's after the jump when he wants to take off and barrel through the corner (or in between jumps).

Sorry if I'm being dumb here, but when it takes me pulley reining off his neck to just get him to stop in a straight line, how can I put more leg on?

Spud&Saf
Nov. 9, 2010, 02:29 PM
Because in order to stop effectively, you need to drive the hind end under the horse first, then stop the forward motion.

If his hind end is not underneath him, the weight shifts on to the front end and you are left with no other option than yanking on a freight train.

Close your leg, stiffen your hip/core, sink down into the saddle, and then use the hand. It's simple, but if you're not thinking about it, it's very easy to just pull your way into the downward without the appropriate amount of leg to support it.

He's a big horse, I'd hazard you need at least twice as much leg as you think you do to keep him together.

jetsmom
Nov. 9, 2010, 02:38 PM
Because in order to stop effectively, you need to drive the hind end under the horse first, then stop the forward motion.

If his hind end is not underneath him, the weight shifts on to the front end and you are left with no other option than yanking on a freight train.

Close your leg, stiffen your hip/core, sink down into the saddle, and then use the hand. It's simple, but if you're not thinking about it, it's very easy to just pull your way into the downward without the appropriate amount of leg to support it.

He's a big horse, I'd hazard you need at least twice as much leg as you think you do to keep him together.

This.
And knowing how to soften your hand when you get a response, and how to do a proper half halt, which involves using leg, as well as softening as soon as they respond.

Ask your trainer if you can jump a small jump on a circle over and over. Use your seat/raise your chest, and half halt to rebalance, and then keep the reins soft. I'm betting that if you rebalance and then keep the reins soft, the horse won't get as quick. I am guessing that he is getting strung out after he lands from the line (or you were using all hand in the line with no leg, so he jumped out of the line flat), and then lays on your hands because he is on his forehand, all unbalanced. You HAVE to use leg, to rebalance. It is used in conjunction with hand, but you HAVE to soften your hand when he responds. Not enough leg and all hand = on forehand/behind bit/breaking gait/dragging you around the corner.

If you think you are collecting him/keeping him slow going into the first jump in the line, but are shortening him up/taking away impulsion, many horses will run/race out of the line. Some horses will get quick if they feel their face is being held constantly, and when no leg is used, you get the dragging you/on the forehand/behind the bit thing. Maybe going into the first jump of a line with a little more impulsion, and longer step, will help to stay softer in the line, so you can do a light half halt if needed, and land softer.

mg
Nov. 9, 2010, 04:16 PM
Guys, I promise I'm not trying to be dense, but how am I supposed to put more leg on when he's already trying to run through me? I totally understand the leg into hand thing, but doesn't that mean there has to be something active and listening in the hand for me to push him into?

As it is, he just wants to hang on the bit, either inverted or overflexed, so that me pushing him with my leg only gets him more inverted or more humped up and overflexed. Don't I need some way to get him to respect my hand before I push him there with my leg?

No, because that's called riding front-to-back. I imagine you probably have a lot of weight in your hands and are trying to push your horse forward into that, which is why he gets behind the bit. The weight on the reins shouldn't be put there by you, it should be put there by the HORSE. This is a very hard concept (for me, at least!) and it takes a lot of concentration while you work on getting into the habit of making your horse make the contact, rather than you making it for him. Right now, you're closing the front door and then asking him to walk into it. There's no place for him to go but down.


When we canter these single fences, I'm telling you, it couldn't be nicer, he's listening to me, I have leg on, I have feel on his mouth, and I never ever hit him in the mouth over the jump. It's after the jump when he wants to take off and barrel through the corner (or in between jumps).

In your post above, you said this:

Finally get him to canter through the corner(after about four circles) and settle up for the line. Get a really nice quiet distance to the first vertical (maybe 18" tall) and then sit for a quiet five strides. But now I have so much leg on from trying to get him through the corner and into the line, that at the 4th stride, he grabs the bit, inverts, and takes off to the second jump, to where I end up with one hand on the withers, and the other pulling up trying to get him to stop. When he does this, he has a tendency to grab one side of the bit really hard.
(bolded by me)

You've stated a couple times that this horse makes you nervous, so I'm guessing you probably expect him to react in this way and get ready to grab and pull. I totally understand that, because I've been there (and still go there sometimes!) myself. But this is why I think you need to practice flatwork and other exercises that'll get your horse balancing and working on his own, so you can both trust each other.Will it be scary the first couple times? Maybe. But it doesn't sound like this horse gallops off bucking and trying to get you off. I think exercises with halting after jumps (standing in your stirrups, NOT using your reins to halt) would be very beneficial for the both of you to get him coming back to you without you feeling like you need to rely on a pulley rein.

And ditto to Spud&Saf and jetsmom. Very sound advice from the both of them.

netg
Nov. 9, 2010, 04:21 PM
Guys, I promise I'm not trying to be dense, but how am I supposed to put more leg on when he's already trying to run through me? I totally understand the leg into hand thing, but doesn't that mean there has to be something active and listening in the hand for me to push him into?

As it is, he just wants to hang on the bit, either inverted or overflexed, so that me pushing him with my leg only gets him more inverted or more humped up and overflexed. Don't I need some way to get him to respect my hand before I push him there with my leg?


Because a horse who is trying to run through you who needs a harsher bit isn't curling to get behind the bit. A horse who isn't pushing from behind and has too much contact on his mouth curls and gets behind the bit. And off balance. And goes faster to try to catch his balance. He's not going faster to get off too much leg - he's going faster to try to stay upright. He's not curling behind the bit because the bit in his mouth isn't strong enough - he's trying to get away from too much contact.

Unless he's flat out trying to take off with you, in which case it's a completely different story than what we're reading in what you're saying, and in which case it's a major training issue on his part which you don't understand yet. I don't think that's the case, though.

Bogie
Nov. 9, 2010, 04:29 PM
I know it seems counter intuitive to put more leg on a horse that's getting strung out or quick, but it does work. I promise!

I have a TB who used to flatten and get quick to fences. Your leg helps support and balance your horse and, as other have said, helps him rebalance so that he's using his haunches and lightening his forehand. If he's breaking into a trot or having trouble with the corners, then he's not balancing himself.

That's not to say that you might not need to get tough with him a few times and insist that he stop after a fence. You do not want to him to invert or run through your hands. I was very firm with my horse about that and if necessary, would stop him after every fence.

The goal, of course, is to teach him to maintain his own balance, so you don't want to be holding him together with your hands all the time. That's why you need to have a supporting leg and use your back and thighs to half halt.

As for the bit. Sometimes having more is better, but only if it doesn't cause him to invert more.

I moved my hunt horse up to a Kimberwicke after a hunt this spring where he put his head down pulled. I tried him in a two ring (which he hated) and I've found that in the Kimberwicke he is more respectful but still takes contact. Now that's not a bit typically used in hunters so you might have to experiment a bit. The point is that horses react differently to different bits.

Good luck!

retsasid
Nov. 11, 2010, 04:43 PM
you need to under stand physics and leverage.


This is one of the most important things I've ever learned in riding, and it was first introduced to me in my days before owning a horse by the wonderful Kathy Kusner. She is tiny. I am tiny. Margie Engle is tiny, but the bits don't get stronger because of our size. Petstorejunkie is entirely right in saying it's about physics. I ride 95% of horses in a loose ring snaffle when not explicitly told otherwise.

Strong bits scare me and I have rarely seen them do good.

whbar158
Nov. 11, 2010, 07:41 PM
I think people have said a lot of good things here. Lots of good ideas to try. I will say in my experience just because I prefer a horse in a certain bit does not mean that everyone rides the horse just as well with it. I am very much use the least about of bit you can to get the job done. Pulling and straining with a snaffle is no fun for the horse or the rider and teaches bad habits for horse and rider.

I am not saying you need to go to a twisted wire or anything crazy, maybe the OP just needs a 3 ring with the same mouth piece? I don't like to see people fitting with their horse, if a harsher bit works it works. I usually like to ride horses in either a HMMM or sprenger kk ultra for the soft bits then my harsh bits are 3 ring french link and then a broken segunda D. This is what works great for me but not true for everyone even on the same horses even for experienced riders. Riding should be fun and if you can not make the horse stop and it scares you then something needs to change. If you are soft and use light contact then a stronger bit is a good choice as you can use it when you need it. The horse needs to learn to take you seriously at the moment it does not, something needs to change.

There is nothing wrong with the idea that horses should go in a snaffle, but fact is it doesn't always work all the time. The goal should be to ride in a soft bit, but sometimes it takes steps to get there.

faraway46
Nov. 11, 2010, 08:23 PM
I think people have said a lot of good things here. Lots of good ideas to try. I will say in my experience just because I prefer a horse in a certain bit does not mean that everyone rides the horse just as well with it. I am very much use the least about of bit you can to get the job done. Pulling and straining with a snaffle is no fun for the horse or the rider and teaches bad habits for horse and rider.

I am not saying you need to go to a twisted wire or anything crazy, maybe the OP just needs a 3 ring with the same mouth piece? I don't like to see people fitting with their horse, if a harsher bit works it works. I usually like to ride horses in either a HMMM or sprenger kk ultra for the soft bits then my harsh bits are 3 ring french link and then a broken segunda D. This is what works great for me but not true for everyone even on the same horses even for experienced riders. Riding should be fun and if you can not make the horse stop and it scares you then something needs to change. If you are soft and use light contact then a stronger bit is a good choice as you can use it when you need it. The horse needs to learn to take you seriously at the moment it does not, something needs to change.

There is nothing wrong with the idea that horses should go in a snaffle, but fact is it doesn't always work all the time. The goal should be to ride in a soft bit, but sometimes it takes steps to get there.

If you read my post in page 2 (I think), I am all for change when the horse is not respecting you. I stayed with the same type of bit for 10 mo because reputable riders were telling me that was the one. I could always feel that while turning right, I was barely in control/balance (and his flatwork/schooling at home is fine...remember horses change and get stronger in the ring...). Because I didn't follow my instincts, during my last show, he ran out left on a spread and now I have the "running out" ghost haunting me: it shattered my horses confidence and mine towards him.
It is true you need more impulsion, but you need something up front to balance that increase in impulsion. If not, he's going to race around, not respecting your contact (why should he? He's fine/comfortable pulling you around...).
As I said in my post before, many top riders don't show in a perfect snaffle: Hickstead shows in a hackmore-bit combo, HH Rebozo (Pessoa) shows in a hackmore, Checkmate (Beerbaum) jumps in a gag. Are you saying these perfectly qualified riders are not flatting there horses well because they can't jump them in snaffles? There is a time for everything. Maybe you can move up a notch (with strict supervision), teach him what you want and then go back to the snaffle. Or maybe, his sensitivity, build balance is not made for a snaffle...no crime there (unless you plan to ride the Hunters..).
You will never know what bit is for you and your horse until you try it. Remember it's not only about finding the right horse, but finding the right bit for him, too. ;)
Good luck and keep us posted!
V

Janet
Nov. 12, 2010, 12:49 AM
I can't figure out how to do this one - I have a LARGE 17.1" wb who hacks beautifully in an easy snaffle. However, when he gets going to the jumps, he wants to yank his head down and pull me around the corner. I end up hunched over, trying to remember to sit up, but fighting to regain control all the way through the corner.

My traininer (wonderful in every other respect) is very tall. At least six inches taller than me. So he can use both his strength and his height to keep his butt in the saddle and lift the horse back up and get him under control. I don't have the strength (although I am building some killer biceps) or the leverage to lift him back up that easily. I expect it has MUCH MUCH more to do with the fact that he is sitting up straight, and you are hunched over, than it has to do with the difference in height, or even strength.

Any time I feel that I am developing arm strength from riding (as opposed to mucking and grooming), I know that I am doing something wrong.


I keep making mention than I need a little more stopping power, but I keep getting dismissed. The last thing I want to do is overbit the horse, especially since he's still young, but feeling like I can't stop is also what makes me so stinkin' nervous.

How do I convince trainer that I need a little bit of help (no pun intended), I'm not just trying to wimp out?? I feel like he thinks that's a crutch, but he has such a physical advantage on me, I don't think he realizes how hard it is for me to stop horsey, and how much that frays my nerves trying to get him back.

TTIA!

It isn't his "physical advantage" in terms of height or strength. It is his advantage in terms of technique.

Whether or not you need a different bit depends on how far you are from having his skill in technique.

Consider the extremes.

A beginner has no technique and finese at all. For a beginner you HAVE to give the rider a bit that will stop the horse, without depending on "technique" for simple safety.

But with a rider that is sufficiently skilled that they COULD develop the technique, it is worth developing he technique instead of using a stronger bit.

Personally, I know that , if I am WORRIED about not being able to stop, my hands go up a couple of inches, with a steady pull, the horse inverts, and pulls back without slowing down.

But if I am not worried, I can keep my hands down, and pulse the pressure on the reins. And low and behold, the horse slows down politely.

I have no idea what aspect of your technique you need to work on (probably "not hunching") but I am sure that "not worrying" and perfecting your technique will produce much better results than a stronger bit.

But, like so many things with riding, it is "simple, but not easy", and "easier said than done".

I'd also work on perfecting balanced corners, without a jump, or with just a rail on the ground.

RugBug
Nov. 12, 2010, 02:16 AM
Personally, I know that , if I am WORRIED about not being able to stop, my hands go up a couple of inches, with a steady pull, the horse inverts, and pulls back without slowing down.

But if I am not worried, I can keep my hands down, and pulse the pressure on the reins. And low and behold, the horse slows down politely.


This. I rode a horse for quite some time that gets VERY strong, quick in the turns and curls behind the bit. I tried all sorts of bits on him, from a mullen mouth to a gag, to a double twisted wire (he regularly goes in a slow twist). None of the bits slowed him down. Learning a better technique for asking him to "slow down" did.

I put "slow down" in quotes because it had nothing really to do with slowing down, but had everything to do with balancing him and getting his hind end back under him. Instead of pulling, I learned to "fluff" like fluffing a pillow. I think Tidy Rabbit on the board also said something once about half-halting everytime the mane comes up during the canter. It visually works for me to think about fluffing a pillow each time the mane comes up and also gets me to let go as the mane goes down. Lo and behold, horse was easier to balance in the corners.

Go ahead and try new bits...I think its the only way you're going to realize the problem isn't your bit, it's the technique.

Ponyclubrocks
Nov. 12, 2010, 10:30 AM
I think there has been a lot of very good input on this already but I would like to add that you should be able to have this level of discussion with your trainer. Is there a communication problem here? Is he saying the same things being said here? If he is why are you not taking the input from him? Or is he one of those trainers that just tells you to go out and do something without getting into the whys and wherefores? Anyway, whatever the case I know I require a trainer relationship where we can talk about what we are doing and why and how my actions affect the mechanics of the horse etc. I am fortunate to have a trainer that can and likes to do this. If this is what you need and you feel you can't get this from your trainer you need to have a candid discussion with him and resolve the communications or move on to someone who can communicate with you. Best of luck to you. JMO

mg
Nov. 12, 2010, 11:11 AM
I think there has been a lot of very good input on this already but I would like to add that you should be able to have this level of discussion with your trainer. Is there a communication problem here? Is he saying the same things being said here? If he is why are you not taking the input from him? Or is he one of those trainers that just tells you to go out and do something without getting into the whys and wherefores? Anyway, whatever the case I know I require a trainer relationship where we can talk about what we are doing and why and how my actions affect the mechanics of the horse etc. I am fortunate to have a trainer that can and likes to do this. If this is what you need and you feel you can't get this from your trainer you need to have a candid discussion with him and resolve the communications or move on to someone who can communicate with you. Best of luck to you. JMO

This is a good point. Additionally, some trainers might not give the "why" and/or "how" on their own, but are MORE than happy to answer those if you ask. I have always been a student who asks lots of questions because I want to make sure I'm understanding everything correctly.

OntheBuckle
Nov. 12, 2010, 11:35 AM
Hi, I don't know if this is the same problem my daughter was having with her horse or not, but sure sounds similar. Daughter is 13 years old riding a very big and strong 16.3 KWPN Dutch WB. We've had him almost a year and kids want to jump and this horse loves to jump, he is 13 too and never had any previous jump experience, so he was just a wild crazy jumper, very brave, but very un-educated and she just could not stop him once he got going...freight train, running away. Anyway, the trainer(s), yes we had two could ride him, and he was strong for them, but did not do to them what they did to her. We tried every bit under the sun....but we wanted to ride hunters, so it was hard for her when it came show time. We recently, in July/August sent him to a trainer to ride him and tell us if he was gonna make it for my daughter as a hunter and if he was fixable for her, her poor arms were aching after a ride. I was worried to put a stronger bit for her, because she didn't know how to really use it, and she just was defensively pulling to stop and I didn't want to ruin the horse in the meantime. Trainer started with a big gag elevator bit, as he was notorius for throwing his head down and dragging her around. He was not in shape, which did not help either. Then came the jump training, he would get faster and faster, jump early, etc., never refused a jump and never hit a rail, the horse could jump 5' easily. We only wanted a nice 2'3 course that looked calm, cool relaxed. She is now riding him nicely, he has good days/bad days, but trainer told me she needs a double twisted wire bit to school in, we got one and daughter only uses when trainer is with her. She has to be able to control him, half hault him down and feel good about it. It is working great. We are showing him in a waterford, full cheek and that is working well so far at the show. One day we hope to get him back to just a snaffle, but he is a smart one and will take advantage of the kid if given the chance, but such a beautiful horse....I've been told however, that these "Olympic Ferro" children tend to be hard headed, but will give your their all if you respect them and treat them properly....it's been a real learning experience for all of us. Good luck! :)

tidy rabbit
Nov. 12, 2010, 04:17 PM
I put "slow down" in quotes because it had nothing really to do with slowing down, but had everything to do with balancing him and getting his hind end back under him. Instead of pulling, I learned to "fluff" like fluffing a pillow. I think Tidy Rabbit on the board also said something once about half-halting everytime the mane comes up during the canter. It visually works for me to think about fluffing a pillow each time the mane comes up and also gets me to let go as the mane goes down. Lo and behold, horse was easier to balance in the corners.

:)

Not so much a half halt as a lifting, thinking of lifting your horse's withers up to your belly button using all your core and inner thigh.

Another good way to think of it, is that you have a string from the horse's stifle to your hip and each time the mane blows up you're drawing that string tight to pull the stifle under your hip.

Notice I've said absolutely nothing about hand here. ;-)

meupatdoes
Nov. 12, 2010, 05:15 PM
I agree about the physics and leverage.

The extreme example is the rider who puts her feet on the dashboard, stands up, and pulls against them, using all the power of her legs as she would while sitting in a rowing machine. Someone who weighs 90 pounds can draw an eleven in the dirt with a horse's back legs with only a snaffle if they do this right. This tool enables a rider to shut a horse down in one stride.

The rest is a matter of degree, timing and feel.
Obviously going all the way to Eleven Land is an extremely rare occasion. But all of the half-halts and ratings and checkings of varying intensities and frequencies are all milder versions of the same thing.

Rather than keeping the horse just at the speed you want him at with a constant pull or constant management, use a little extra half halt to back him off a touch extra so that then you can LET GO. He will probably surge ahead but for a moment there you will be able to offer him a LET GO. He learns this way that backing off gets him into Let Go Land, and pushing his luck gets him backed off again (whereupon after you get an answer you immediately let go).

Constant "massaging" half halts that never expect much less receive an answer have the opposite effect: horse learns to pull like a train.

TheHunterKid90
Nov. 12, 2010, 06:56 PM
You must have a working relationship with your horse's mouth in order for him to ride and jump well.

First, I would work alot on canter circles, getting my horse's ribcage to flex by using my inside leg and inside rein for a small bend to the center.

Second, your position is crucial to your horse's way of going, especially the position of your shoulders. If you are hunched over and collopsing your ribcage, your horse is going to become a freight train, on his forehand and pulling. Remember, 70% of your horse's weight lies on his forehand if you lean as well, your telling your horse is totally okay to drop all of his weight downhill.

If your horse is going behind the vertical and on his forehand, you need to add leg...there's no way around it. Pulling or a stronger bit on a horse who evades contact by going behind the bit will only make him worse...it doesn't matter if he's gallopingaway with you, to gain control you must sit up, add your leg, and keep consistent contact on the reins.

Even in a downward transition, the horse must go forward into the bridle, this means adding leg on a downward transition, this will ensure that your horse stays on the bit and balanced, not falling into the trot from the canter or even coming behind the bit when making a halt transition.

Even when your horse is hauling away with you, the best thing you can do is lengthen your torso, stay tall in the saddle, put your butt down, lift your inside rein and add inside leg...remember to add much more leg then you expect and leg doesn't just mean heel or calf, remember that your thigh is there too and that can make all the difference...


Edited to say that I reread some of your posts and it really sounds to me like your horse isn't respecting your inside aids or isn't balanced enough to respect them...and when he gets truckin' around a course his flatwork goes out the window and he resorts to lay on the inside and pulling you around...
Your height or strength is not your issue, I know a very petite hunter rider who is 5'2 and weighs 105 soaken wet and she gets on monster young horses and they give her hell and she sticks it. You need to think about your ride, not just playing tug of war because you will never win.

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
Nov. 12, 2010, 08:09 PM
Don't worry about asking more questions if you don't understand. The goal of the post was to make sense out of an issue. It would appear to me as it seems to other posters that the question you originally asked is a different question than you really need an answer to.

Like others have said what you describe about a big horse falling out of canter or being long, quick and heavy in the corners both point to not enough leg.

When I half halt I think about holding in the front. I do this with my hand, strong abs/core, and tall shoulders over my hips. I thin instantly have to think about using my leg to ask for more forward motion from the hind. So I slow the front and push the butt. Woahing a fraction of a second before going. Both the woah and the go happen within a stride and a half or two strides at trot and almost always within one canter stride. Holding much longer will just have the horse fighting the pressure.

However in order for this to hold up and work the horse has to respect your hand and upper body in the woah, and leg in the go. That is where practicing on the flat with transitions comes in.

I understand a horse that leans and pulls. I have one. I understand a horse that drags you all the way though the corner and then stops/spooks at the fence. Mine plays this game too. Fixing it in my horse (who isn't young at all) required me being able to get him back before going into the turn, so I could just let him chill around the corner, and then go forward ever so slightly to the fence. For me that did mean a different bit. However, I was already as effective as I could reasonably be in my body, and my horse would ignore me.

Before making the bit change I did a lot of gym time. I did a ton of ab/core work, elliptical (bad knees make running hard), biking (both of endurance), thigh abductor (I think that's what it's called.... the thing you have to squeeze your knees together on against weight), and slow lunges without letting my knees go over my toes. I did ab work twice a day sometimes.

After 8 weeks of that (when I wasn't showing major position issues before) when I was still getting dragged though corners in a mullen pelham jumping and a fat french link on the flat... I got a thinner snaffle to flat in and a triangle snaffle to jump in. Having a sharper bit without all the leverage did the trick.

mg had some wonderful advice for you, as did many other posters.

I think you have a right idea about wanting more control. It is really scary to be jumping fences when you're not in control. However, I think that you'll find that control in your position and own strength rather than mechanical advantage with a bit with some of the right work and training for you and maybe some training for your horse too.

paw
Nov. 13, 2010, 06:12 PM
Sounds to me as though part of the reason you want more bit is that, right now, you're scared. BTDT. You need to fix the "scared" first... that might be the problem with the lines - you're fine jumping single fences, but something about jumping a line has you freaked out. Do you have same problem coming through the corner an just jumping a single fence?

One thing that helped me in a similar situation was to keep the same bit, but put the horse in a figure-8 noseband (a flash would probably do just as well) and a running martingale. When mine would start to scoot, I had a litle more control with his mouth closed, and I could get him to stop. Knowing that I could stop him let me progress with other issues...

Another problem I've had is not releasing enough at the fence - if I'm water-skiing at all and he's feeling frisky, he can scoot on the other side as soon as his feet land because I'm balancing him with my hand. Making sure I release at the base (he's a jumper, not a hunter, and hates to be left totally on his own) means he has to balance himself on the landing side, and that gives me time enough to be sitting up when he's recovered enough to take off. It's all in the timing.

Yours is young, so there are undoubtably other issues as well, but the fact that you're not 100% confident needs to be addressed first, IMO, before you're going to be able to make progress.

Good luck!