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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2008
    Posts
    113

    Default Bit Help-Got a leaning hunter

    I have a really solid, strong athletic horse. He is a tank. He gets really heavy and flattens out two strides out from a fence-- and when he lands after a line I can barely lift him up to get some control, and I'm not a novice. He gets stuper heavy and feels like he is running. The people who owned him before me rode him in a gag and I refuse to do that seeing as he is a hunter.

    I am trying all different kinds of less harsh bits and im looking for suggestions?

    I have ridden him in an elevator- works well but not a bit I want to use consistantly, loose ring- not enough, double twisted wire-got really heavy, slow twist- good to hack in but not jump and just recently the broken segunda but I am concerned that is a little harsh of a bit.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2000
    Posts
    9,023

    Default

    Maybe try a Waterford? It's my favorite bit.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2008
    Location
    Poetry, TX
    Posts
    926

    Default

    I've got one like that.. the slow twist works well on the flat. We just keep schooling "lighter lighter lighter" on the flat in hopes that he'll get it...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2008
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    779

    Default

    More leg??? bring him "up" more a couple strides before the fence...
    I know he's a hunter but he shouldn't be on his forehand either...
    A Waterford might help too though (as already mentioned) as it doesn't support them in any way if they start leaning...
    Good luck
    Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2005
    Location
    North Salem, NY
    Posts
    305

    Default

    My best answer is..... Its not a bit problem. Its a schooling problem. Your bit may be exacerbating the problem, but generally heavy horses need to be schooled to be lighter. Sorry if that doesnt really help you and your horse!

    ETA

    In experience, a three ring elevator on a truly heavy horse will cause them to often times curl behind the bit. (Just in my experience)



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2008
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    779

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HunterJumperLuv View Post
    My best answer is..... Its not a bit problem. Its a schooling problem. Your bit may be exacerbating the problem, but generally heavy horses need to be schooled to be lighter. Sorry if that doesnt really help you and your horse!
    That's what I was thinking... Per my personal experience... they need to be schooled to become lighter.. for me, the trick was tons a dressage work to make her get off her forehand and use her hind end...
    This was for a mare that was ridden (and pulling like a freight train) in a 3 ring elevator waterford
    And after the right schooling... ridden in a happy mouth snaffle...
    Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2009
    Location
    S. Florida
    Posts
    75

    Default

    FLAT WORK !!!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2008
    Posts
    724

    Default

    Jointed raised port.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2006
    Location
    Jupiter, FL
    Posts
    977

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kitsunegari View Post
    Jointed raised port.
    2nd that



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2008
    Posts
    724

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HunterJumperLuv View Post
    My best answer is..... Its not a bit problem. Its a schooling problem. Your bit may be exacerbating the problem, but generally heavy horses need to be schooled to be lighter. Sorry if that doesnt really help you and your horse!

    ETA

    In experience, a three ring elevator on a truly heavy horse will cause them to often times curl behind the bit. (Just in my experience)
    Obviously it's a schooling problem... but if he's really leaning, and a big horse in some cases a stronger bit is needed unless your super amazon women, or a strong man. I'm really strong for my size.. but who wants something pulling on you all the time.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Lucama, NC
    Posts
    5,868

    Default

    I would work on a variety of exrecises, I would use landing and takeoff poles to help him to rock back, gymnastics with the distances set slightly short to again encourage him to rock back. I would set a 5 or 6 stride line, jump in, halt, make him wait then trot out. Repeat several times then jump in and ask him to trot (not halt and trot) out, then jump in and ask him to shorten and add. Being a progressive exrecise helps the horse to understand. Also I like to jump into a line then circle out between the jumps and rebalance then proceed to second jump etc. Don't just go to the fence and jump, use things to help him learn to rebalance.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2006
    Location
    bucks county
    Posts
    1,294

    Default

    I ride my freight train in a mikmar straight bar pellham...works wonders!!
    "to each his own..."

    just a horse obsessed girl who finds blogging way more fun than being an adult...
    http://equinerainman274.wordpress.com/



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2007
    Posts
    243

    Default

    The Mikmar bits are awesome. I was also going to suggest a pelham. We ride over fences and school in the pelham, and swap to a D ring french link for the hack. The pelham is a rubber mullen mouth, and I ride with the chain loose. I also try to loop the curb rein at her. It's there to get her attention when needed. But the bit change really got her attention and made a HUGE difference. She went from pulling and fighting to supple, respectful and rateable in one ride.Freakin awesome.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 29, 2003
    Posts
    552

    Default

    I second the elevator, then after mine got light we switched to a segunda. Love it.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2001
    Location
    Member of both the Southern California and Michigan clique - currently residing in Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    1,322

    Default

    Third the jointed raised port. Just what the doctor ordered for this type of issue - keeps the horse light in front, and saves the horses mouth from any pulling. You probably won't need it forever, once he gets used to staying light, he'll do it in a regular bit as well. You may want to try the Mikmar D bit since you can show in it. If that doesn't work, Jay Shuttleworth makes some great ones for this issue.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,278

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HunterJumperLuv View Post
    My best answer is..... Its not a bit problem. Its a schooling problem. Your bit may be exacerbating the problem, but generally heavy horses need to be schooled to be lighter. Sorry if that doesnt really help you and your horse!

    ETA

    In experience, a three ring elevator on a truly heavy horse will cause them to often times curl behind the bit. (Just in my experience)
    echo that flat work ------- he cant do in the air if he cant do it on the ground



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    1,092

    Default I can relate

    I have a 4 yo homebred that I thought was a natural born leaner. She's half Holsteiner and Dutch/TB.
    I swore she was born heavy... onlybecause she hasn't learned how to carry herself, let alone me.
    She is a wonderful and eager jumper, but we have stopped jumping because....she was running thru the jump, and strung out at the canter. Again, hasn't learned how to carry herself so she leans and "runs". She loves to jump..the ears tell the story, but it's whoa time for that.

    SO, we are doing dressage work and I am floored at what we have acomplished in such little time. I totally agree with the others ...it's a schooling problem that has been a learned response.

    Lateral work. Period.

    Can you imagine...I have tried everything from a mild snaffle to a segunda, and more recently a waterford..ON A 4 YO!!! This is after having her started by a pro, and other pro advice that saw her, and rode her.
    A 4 year old that was started a year ago. I bred and raised this foal from day one.
    I said "this is totally wrong".

    My former dressage trainer took 20 MINUTES to accomplish soft/light/round.
    What I spent a hell of a lot of money to NOT get accomplished, thru the hunter/jumper route. A lot of H/J trainers here in the US are not well versed in basic dressage principles, and they need to be IMO. Side reins and draw reins have to come off eventually, and the holes will be apparent.

    Now we are on the right path to self carraige.
    Then we will jump eventually.

    But lots more lateral work ahead. At least a year.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2008
    Posts
    47

    Default

    I have had several horses like that in my life. The OTTB's like to do that. It has nothing to do with the bit, although a mikmar is a great bit. It all has to do with your leg. You have to bump him up off your hand. A waterford will not stop leaning, it stops horses from grabbing the bit. They not only can lean on a waterford, you may have no breaks. Try a 2 or 3 ring, or even a gag, it will get him off his forehand. Make sure to back it up with a lot of leg. You have to sit him on his haunches. Maybe get a trainer on him a couple of times. A few pro rides will go a long way.
    "Riding is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down, like a game of solitaire. It's a great passion." Ralph Waldo Emerson



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2008
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Thanks to everyone. We've been doing a lot of pole work and flatting to try to get him off of my hand. It seems to be improving but thanks for all of the advice!!!!!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2007
    Location
    Summerville, SC
    Posts
    327

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Underdog View Post
    I have a 4 yo homebred that I thought was a natural born leaner. She's half Holsteiner and Dutch/TB.
    I swore she was born heavy... onlybecause she hasn't learned how to carry herself, let alone me.
    She is a wonderful and eager jumper, but we have stopped jumping because....she was running thru the jump, and strung out at the canter. Again, hasn't learned how to carry herself so she leans and "runs". She loves to jump..the ears tell the story, but it's whoa time for that.

    SO, we are doing dressage work and I am floored at what we have acomplished in such little time. I totally agree with the others ...it's a schooling problem that has been a learned response.

    Lateral work. Period.

    Can you imagine...I have tried everything from a mild snaffle to a segunda, and more recently a waterford..ON A 4 YO!!! This is after having her started by a pro, and other pro advice that saw her, and rode her.
    A 4 year old that was started a year ago. I bred and raised this foal from day one.
    I said "this is totally wrong".

    My former dressage trainer took 20 MINUTES to accomplish soft/light/round.
    What I spent a hell of a lot of money to NOT get accomplished, thru the hunter/jumper route. A lot of H/J trainers here in the US are not well versed in basic dressage principles, and they need to be IMO. Side reins and draw reins have to come off eventually, and the holes will be apparent.

    Now we are on the right path to self carraige.
    Then we will jump eventually.

    But lots more lateral work ahead. At least a year.
    Bravo, Underdog!!!!!!!!!

    Lateral work is key to longitudinal suppleness. If a horse is heavy in the mouth, it means he is not flexing his hocks appropriately and is thereby not carrying himself. Your hands have become his fifth leg! If he's only heavy in one direction and wants to lean on his shoulder in that direction, the problem is he fails to "carry" with the outside hind. If he's like this in BOTH directions, then you've got a horse that's isn't really flexing his hocks at all. With most horses, it's generally more of a problem to the left, and the ROOT of the problem is a stiff right hind. (I bet he generally jumps to the left lead, too. Probably makes you put more weight in your right stirrup. He probably constantly pushes into your left leg. Using more left rein makes the problem worse.) What you need to do is develop the PROPULSIVE power of the left hind (which is generally stronger in terms of staying under the horse and supporting its mass, but weaker in terms of pushing power - which is why he probably doesn't like to jump to his right lead) while developing the CARRYING power of the right hind (which is very propulsive, but lacks strength to flex and step under to support the mass.) If he's heavy in both directions all the time, you have NO carrying power and ALL propulsive power. As you can see, lateral work is the only thing that will truly FIX the problem instead of MASKING it. Therein lies the recipe for success. Not to mention improving your horses's jumping technique and scope. Bits do not develop horses. Thinking riders do.

    The usual work of shoulder-in is helpful. Counter shoulder-in is rather a lost exercise, but the EXACT thing you need to do when seeking to correct an errant outside hind. You cannot address a proper bend through the ribcage before you get control of that outside hind...using the inside rein more will simply encourage him to step out and evade more. SO...simply put, when a horse cops out with the outside hind to evade work (carrying) you simply then put him in the counter shoulder-in position (head and shoulders to the wall, croup to the inside) and turn his evasion into harder work. Horses are smart. They like the path of least resistance. When it becomes work to evade instead of what they think will be easier, they figure out really quickly that it is simply easier to do the work correctly and will stop evading with that outside hind. They learn to dig deep and put forth the effort or they only cause themselves harder work, and then with practice they develop the musculature that makes it easy. That's when things start to get fun. Then shoulder-in becomes easy. And then you can add travers and renvers (haunches-in and haunches-out.) And if at the end you can ride all those without resistance or loss of impulsion, you have the horse's haunches at your command. If you control the haunches, you control the entire horse.

    That's just using brains instead of brawn. And that's where both great horses and great riders are made.

    Keep us posted and best of luck!



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