The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 34
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    862

    Question Leaning on the bit

    Do you guys have any suggestions for working with a horse who leans on the bit, especially during downward transitions? I am starting to ask her to use herself more and that is what I'm getting. Now I'm starting to wonder if she doesn't respond to my trying to get her to stretch f/d/o, not necessarily because she doesn't know how, but perhaps her back is stiff and she simply can't. She will bend laterally very well, but when it comes to getting her to stretch over her back, and engage her hq...it's nearly impossible. I hesitate to even ask her to use herself much anymore because I don't want to hurt her. She's such a sweet, willing mare and I know she wouldn't just "evade" for the sake of it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. FYI: I do not own this horse.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,723

    Default

    First, you must be strong in your core with shoulders that lie flat, otherwise you two will just get into a tug of war. If she's leaning it's because she doesn't understand the correct muscles to use in the downward transition, or there is a physical ailment preventing the correct response (could be as simple as muscle fatigue, or wonky pelvis, or needs hock injections, etc).
    Another thing to consider is the cause and effect you are predicting (that she'll stop seeking the hand) tells me you may need a clarification in how you are asking for the downward transition. There is no "taking of the hand" (ie pulling back) the downward should come from your core with a soft closing of the thigh, and a ceasing of follow of the torso. Once a horse fully understands how to halt correctly the rider should be able to uberstreichen DURING the halt transition. For a horse that is leaning on to the hand, the hand must not give, but rather the core should continue to block. If the horse becomes defiant in using the correct muscles, I may "drop them" with a sudden forward of the reins while they are leaning so that the threat of splatting onto their face becomes evident to them.

    Since she likes lateral work, I'd use that to your advantage. Put her in a nice shouder in, one where you can uberstreichen the inside rein and she maintains correct bend. Be sure not to turn it into 4 tracks, it must remain 3 so that you are loading that inside hind. Now ask for the downward while maintaining shouder in (remember the whoa is coming from your core as described above). Don't get discouraged if the first 50 attempts fail to solve it (I wouldn't attempt 50 times the first introduction; you'll sour her)

    If you are skilled in hand, I'd also take the exercise to the wall in hand with non elastic side reins. A stiff donut style will do. Of course, do your due diligence to accustom her to the equipment if you don't already work regularly on the lunge (which in her case I HIGHLY recommend you start each ride with 10-15 minutes on the lunge, and one day a week of just lunging so she can explore her topline). Do some trot walks and trot halts in hand. Make sure the hind end is coming under. if it doesnt, give a light tap to the offending leg until she moves it up, and then praise. ask for a bit of school halt (not much but enough that you see her rock back), and then cue her promptly to trot off with power. I am not against a good pop with the whip to inspire that promptness as it only takes one or two pops til they understand now means NOW. Then start to ask for that same promptness in your halts. lift up with your bit hand to help her to understand the weight goes back to stop. On the first correct halt (with hind legs under her, and abs engaged, looking like a landing airplane with lifted base of the neck) immediately praise, remove the side reins and give her a treat. end the day there with lots of pats.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2012
    Posts
    120

    Default

    Sometimes it can help to change bits. I have had to go from a regular, smooth snaffle, to a twisted wire snaffle until they learn not to pull on themselves.

    Then when she stops pulling, start keeping her framed when stopping from a walk. i do this by slightly bumping the snaffle, side to side, to keep her face in before (in preparation for), during, and after the stop, until she takes one step back. Repeat. Then, when she's got this, do the same thing transitioning from a slow trot to a free walk.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,310

    Default

    A little more background, please? Might she be weak over the back? Has she been out of regular work for a while or newish under saddle? What was her previous training? Breed or body type?

    With horses that like me to "hold their head up", I do what PSJ suggests -- I occasionally "drop" the reins -- either one or both, so the horse learns I'm not going to hold the front end up. If she lacks a "whoa", I teach it by walking the horse straight into a corner or wall while applying the halting aids.

    Sometimes these types would rather go fast on their forehands than balance themselves nicely between hand and leg.

    You might find "head to the wall" leg yields helpful, too. If she does this because she's weak, she will need frequent breaks. There's no point in making the horse so sore and tired she learns to dislike work.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rtph View Post
    Sometimes it can help to change bits. I have had to go from a regular, smooth snaffle, to a twisted wire snaffle until they learn not to pull on themselves.

    Then when she stops pulling, start keeping her framed when stopping from a walk. i do this by slightly bumping the snaffle, side to side, to keep her face in before (in preparation for), during, and after the stop, until she takes one step back. Repeat. Then, when she's got this, do the same thing transitioning from a slow trot to a free walk.
    She's always been in a twisted wire. I'm not sure I understand the point of bumping the snaffle--to remind her not to lean?
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,310

    Default

    Good Lord! She leans in a twisted wire?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    First, you must be strong in your core with shoulders that lie flat, otherwise you two will just get into a tug of war. If she's leaning it's because she doesn't understand the correct muscles to use in the downward transition, or there is a physical ailment preventing the correct response (could be as simple as muscle fatigue, or wonky pelvis, or needs hock injections, etc).
    Another thing to consider is the cause and effect you are predicting (that she'll stop seeking the hand) tells me you may need a clarification in how you are asking for the downward transition. There is no "taking of the hand" (ie pulling back) the downward should come from your core with a soft closing of the thigh, and a ceasing of follow of the torso. Once a horse fully understands how to halt correctly the rider should be able to uberstreichen DURING the halt transition. For a horse that is leaning on to the hand, the hand must not give, but rather the core should continue to block. If the horse becomes defiant in using the correct muscles, I may "drop them" with a sudden forward of the reins while they are leaning so that the threat of splatting onto their face becomes evident to them.

    Since she likes lateral work, I'd use that to your advantage. Put her in a nice shouder in, one where you can uberstreichen the inside rein and she maintains correct bend. Be sure not to turn it into 4 tracks, it must remain 3 so that you are loading that inside hind. Now ask for the downward while maintaining shouder in (remember the whoa is coming from your core as described above). Don't get discouraged if the first 50 attempts fail to solve it (I wouldn't attempt 50 times the first introduction; you'll sour her)

    If you are skilled in hand, I'd also take the exercise to the wall in hand with non elastic side reins. A stiff donut style will do. Of course, do your due diligence to accustom her to the equipment if you don't already work regularly on the lunge (which in her case I HIGHLY recommend you start each ride with 10-15 minutes on the lunge, and one day a week of just lunging so she can explore her topline). Do some trot walks and trot halts in hand. Make sure the hind end is coming under. if it doesnt, give a light tap to the offending leg until she moves it up, and then praise. ask for a bit of school halt (not much but enough that you see her rock back), and then cue her promptly to trot off with power. I am not against a good pop with the whip to inspire that promptness as it only takes one or two pops til they understand now means NOW. Then start to ask for that same promptness in your halts. lift up with your bit hand to help her to understand the weight goes back to stop. On the first correct halt (with hind legs under her, and abs engaged, looking like a landing airplane with lifted base of the neck) immediately praise, remove the side reins and give her a treat. end the day there with lots of pats.
    Oh, I know not to pull back. I just keep my contact steady without giving, either. I was taught to push with the leg also in this situation, but that isn't working and I'm afraid the mare might actually be uncomfortable which is why I posted this thread. Also, I think you might be misunderstanding me. I don't expect/want her to stop seeking the hand. On the contrary, when I try to get her to seek the rein downward, she does not. It's like she would rather hold her neck in a certain position. So, not being able to convince her to stretch her neck down (during warm-up), I just maintain the appropriate level of contact where she wants to be. I never pull my hand back. I try to still my seat first, and when she doesn't quite respond to that, I close my outside hand and she's good about that right away. "Dropping" is a good idea, but again I'm afraid this may be a physical problem (i.e. pain.) If she were mine, I would get a good chiro/vet workup. Is it possible that she can jump 3 ft fences and yet have some kind of issue going on? One thing I've noticed that may or may not be related is that she never wants to hold up her left hind foot for me to pick out. She lifts it up, but wants to drop it down again right away. The other feet are no problem. Yet I've never noticed any offness under saddle..

    You gave lots of good ideas there. Unfortunately, shoulder-in is the only one I could try. I have not asked the owner about doing in-hand work or lunging. I am not even sure how to approach this to her. I don't want to come across sounding like I think I know something she doesn't. Not only is she the horse's owner, she's also a trainer. Nor do I want to make it sound like I think the horse is not being cared for. She IS very well taken care of--I just think that because the trainer/barn is hunter/jumper rather than dressage, the focus is on jumping rather than flatwork. And like I said it's not like the horse is lame, so it wouldn't necessarily be a glaring concern for the owner. I'm not sure where to go from here, since she isn't my horse. It doesn't seem like she is in distress--no ear pinning or tail swishing when I ride--just unable to work the way I am trying to. I guess I can continue to exercise her but not ask her to use herself like I have been.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeFigs View Post
    Good Lord! She leans in a twisted wire?
    Yeah. :-( So this is worse than I even thought?
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    I give my reins a bit and then take again at more of a supple angle in the neck and body or in the bend. If they are at a certain early level trying to halt halt may or may not work depending if they understand how to engage more vs it becoming a halt halt war.

    Another idea is to follow the half halt down to a downward transitions a few times. Or volte letting the figure do the work.

    Depending on the horses ability to understand what is being asked I differ.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2012
    Posts
    120

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cu.at.x View Post
    She's always been in a twisted wire. I'm not sure I understand the point of bumping the snaffle--to remind her not to lean?
    I generally use a standard, smooth snaffle, just so the twisted wire will be there when i need it. Maybe you can find a slightly smaller twisted wire that she won't want to lean on. I would try if for a awhile (a few days to a few weeks depending on the horse). Then try going back to your regular bit. I would use it as little as possible so she doesn't get used to it. Or she might have to stay in it to stop pulling, just depends on the horse.

    I mentioned SLIGHTLY bumping from side to side to keep her from leaning when stopping from a walk because this is the slowest, most basic "downward transition" that you can do. I ride reiners usually and i cannot over emphasize how SLIGHT this needs to me. Maybe bump is the wrong word. I usually do this by flicking my two little fingers intermittently, just a little signal so they know somethings coming and to flex and be ready. But she does not need to be leaning on the bit when you start this. After you get her to stop leaning generally, then practice starting and stopping from a walk and standstill while keeping her face in without pulling.

    Good luck!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeFigs View Post
    A little more background, please? Might she be weak over the back? Has she been out of regular work for a while or newish under saddle? What was her previous training? Breed or body type?

    With horses that like me to "hold their head up", I do what PSJ suggests -- I occasionally "drop" the reins -- either one or both, so the horse learns I'm not going to hold the front end up. If she lacks a "whoa", I teach it by walking the horse straight into a corner or wall while applying the halting aids.

    Sometimes these types would rather go fast on their forehands than balance themselves nicely between hand and leg.

    You might find "head to the wall" leg yields helpful, too. If she does this because she's weak, she will need frequent breaks. There's no point in making the horse so sore and tired she learns to dislike work.
    Nope, she is ridden 3-4 times per week, mostly in jumping lessons. She's actually a cute little jumper. She is about 20 years old, so not new under saddle. To my knowledge, she's been ridden hunter/jumper her whole life. She's a Thoroughbred. I have a video of me riding her if you're interested. I had it posted on the Off Course forum but I took it down for the privacy of the owner/trainer.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    rtph Im guessing you are new Before it becomes a dog pile, I will try and jump in!

    We dont use Twisteds in dressage since we dont "throw away" enough for that to be comfortable.

    They are not a bit meant to be in "contact" with. So they are not a good bit to keep a horse supple while also in contact with the hand.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2012
    Posts
    120

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
    rtph Im guessing you are new Before it becomes a dog pile, I will try and jump in!

    We dont use Twisteds in dressage since we dont "throw away" enough for that to be comfortable.

    They are not a bit meant to be in "contact" with. So they are not a good bit to keep a horse supple while also in contact with the hand.
    I'm new to this forum, but I'm not new to reining. That said, I agree with everything you said. But her horse is leaning on the bit, she's already using a twisted wire.

    So.... what's your suggestion?



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,310

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cu.at.x View Post
    Yeah. :-( So this is worse than I even thought?
    Well, I don't know for sure. It's surprising that she'd lean into a twisted wire, I guess.

    I have a client who's horse does what this mare does when he needs a chiropractic adjustment. When he's "out", he will not or cannot keep his left front foot up for picking. Once he's been adjusted, he can hold it up all day. So maybe she does need an adjustment?

    Yes, I believe a horse CAN jump three feet and be out of kilter somewhere. If she's been a jumper (or hunter?) for all her career, she may have adopted some defensive postures. Is she a school horse for this trainer or a training project? Schoolies develop defensive tactics to protect themselves from wobbly newbie riders.Standing or running martingales or German Martingales are often used. There might be a host of reasons she does what she does.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeFigs View Post
    Well, I don't know for sure. It's surprising that she'd lean into a twisted wire, I guess.

    I have a client who's horse does what this mare does when he needs a chiropractic adjustment. When he's "out", he will not or cannot keep his left front foot up for picking. Once he's been adjusted, he can hold it up all day. So maybe she does need an adjustment?

    Yes, I believe a horse CAN jump three feet and be out of kilter somewhere. If she's been a jumper (or hunter?) for all her career, she may have adopted some defensive postures. Is she a school horse for this trainer or a training project? Schoolies develop defensive tactics to protect themselves from wobbly newbie riders.Standing or running martingales or German Martingales are often used. There might be a host of reasons she does what she does.
    Ah, that makes sense. Mare is a schoolie...and all trainer's horses/client horses go in a martingale, I think it's a standing? It attaches to the girth and the noseband.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    For dressage? Im confused did the OP say she is not trying dressage?

    My suggestion is above already and I dont use a twisted on anything if I ride in contact because the horse will lean into it worse almost attempting to avoid the pressure but only accomplishing the opposite
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    Ah yes a schoolie will many times root because of hands that are learning

    Please save her from the twisted and give her mouth a break :/
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2012
    Posts
    120

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
    rtph Im guessing you are new Before it becomes a dog pile, I will try and jump in!

    We dont use Twisteds in dressage since we dont "throw away" enough for that to be comfortable.

    They are not a bit meant to be in "contact" with. So they are not a good bit to keep a horse supple while also in contact with the hand.
    I usually try to stay away from the Dressage threads. This person ask and I just responded before I realized that it was the Dressage forum. LOL

    My apologies to you Nomi and the all the other dressage "experts" on this forum. I will try to make sure I don't respond to any other post in the dressage forum.

    And let me make it very clear that I don like twisted wires either. But sometimes you just have more than one concern. SOMETIMES you have to worry about getting the job done as well as what's in the best interest of the horse. And sometimes getting the job done is exactly what is in the horse's best interest.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,310

    Default

    Whoops! I see a bunch more info posted while i was composing my reply!

    OK, she's 20, she's been a H/J all her life -- I think at this point she is what she is. As long as she's obedient, safe and happy in her work, there's probably little you can do. Likely she's got some arthritic changes (maybe very small ones) somewhere.

    If you are exercising the mare on the flat in between her jumping lessons, could you ask the owner if she has a plain snaffle that fits the mare? She might be more willing to stretch down into a smooth bit. You may sacrifice some "brakes" at first, so be ready to stop her in a corner. I think she'd soon adjust to the new bit and she may be more content in her flat work.

    She may still need the twisted for jumping. Agree with the other posters, though, it's not the sort of bit you ask a horse to maintain steady contact with, or seek to stretch into.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    RT its a whole nother world LOL

    I have no problem with a twisted wire either if the hand is kind and not attached to the mouth but in a "contact sport" LOL such as dressage you are attached to their face and intimately so. Every mistake you make is doubled with a "naughty" horse bit.

    If you make a correction in the other worlds you can throw away after or float the reins and leave them be. In dressage they use stretching and such but for the most part you are hand in hand or hand in mouth so a bit like that wont be friendly and a constantly negative gesture to the horse IMO.

    Im glad to see the new faces over here and its nice to know that Coth is becoming less "english" so to speak!

    I miss my reining days but dont tell anyone that LOL
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



Similar Threads

  1. Leaning O/F
    By PonyPeep in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: Sep. 10, 2012, 03:34 PM
  2. leaning out at canter
    By slight in forum Dressage
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Apr. 18, 2012, 09:21 PM
  3. Bit Help-Got a leaning hunter
    By SUET1999 in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: Oct. 15, 2009, 04:32 PM
  4. Leaning in on the circle. Help?
    By Rescue_Rider9 in forum Eventing
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Sep. 21, 2009, 01:05 PM
  5. leaning in saddle
    By equislover in forum Dressage
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: Nov. 24, 2008, 09:34 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
randomness