I ride my horse in just a plain d-ring snaffle. Getting her to stop isnt easy but it's possible. She tends to drag me around and it's very hard to lift her up and get her light. When we jump, it can be a nightmare when she gets to heavy that I can't lift her. I'm not looking for the easy way out, but I would like a little more aid from my bit until I get stronger. Anyone have any suggestions on what to school her in at home and what to rider her in at the shows. She's does the hunters and jumpers. Occasionally eq if she's behaving Suggestions? Help?! Thanks!
How educated are your hands?
If you are advanced enough that you can have an independent leg, seat, and hand, I would try putting her in a 3-ring bit. It's good for schooling at home without being a very harsh bit, and should help you lift her up. A bit with a port might help you out too. I'll probably get flamed for this, but my mare also likes to get very heavy. When I showed her in the hunters, she went in (for the most part) a ported pelham. It worked really well for keeping her up and light.
First off, it takes two to pull, so don't give her something to pull against if you don't want her to drag you. Second, you shouldn't be lifting her from her mouth - it's hard on her mouth, is going to cause more resistance and a locked jaw (as opposed to a soft one), and you're never going to have sufficient strength to lift a 1,200lb horse.
Soften your hands and ask with your seat and body (relax - audibly breathe out when you ask for a downward transition) rather than your hands. If she ignores you, you can gently gently bump her with your outside rein, or you can do a one-rein stop. Ask her for transitions along a pattern so she can anticipate the request and thus respond better (at first, to teach her), then once she's got it, take her off the pattern. Work on a loose rein - if you're relying on your reins for anything but quiet, gentle guidance (not control), you're using too much rein. Honestly, the most important thing you can do if you want her to be light, is to be light yourself (and make sure your shoulders stay up!!). Allow her to be light by teaching her she can be such when you are light. You simply need to teach her she can be more responsive and how to be more responsive.
As far as getting her up off her forehand and onto her hind and light to your hands, there are numerous exercises to encourage her as such. Transitions, changes in pace, shoulder-in, haunches-in, leg yield, half-pass, and patterns (circles, serpentines, etc etc).
I would definitely recommend dressage lessons for a stronger foundation, with a really good (classical) coach.
Try a pelham for jumping. Ride in the snaffle on the flat and work out the problems.
Sounds like she's a big heavy lug. Get her moving forward, anchor your heels, sit back and think of getting her neck to come up to your body. Do some work on a circle pushing her body out to the outside rein contact. It'll be tough work, but it will be rewarding in the end.
Find a dressage trainer to help you or read up on flatwork exercises that will help you lighten your mare.
i normally ride in a plain full cheek snaffle, but occasionally my horse will get heavy on my hands and i will put her in a slow twist snaffle for a few days and then move her back to the plain snaffle.
I have had the same issue with my mare for years. With her it was very difficult to ride her from back to front, because she would just pull me out of the saddle.
If I put in too harsh bits, she would refuse to go forward. The problem with soft hands and riding from your leg is that it requires give and take from both parties. If there is no give from the horse, it doesn't work. I gave and gave and all she did was take. Doesn't work.
What I did recently was to invest in a magic bit. It gives me a fighting chance and I can now ride from my leg with soft giving arms and she is not objecting to the bit at all. The bit is a pessoa double D bit. If you put it on right, it will lock if the horse pulls on you, but if the horse is giving it is loose and nice.