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How do you dressage riders get your horses broke in the face?

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  • How do you dressage riders get your horses broke in the face?

    Do you ever use a surcingle, lunge with the bit, tie their head around.

    I am a western, some times English rider and I am having a debate on another forum about needing to get a horse broke in the face.

    I would love to hear your secret about getting a horse on the bit.

  • #2
    Hey folks, this is the user who told a person with a young, fresh horse to lunge the horse with their head tied down to make the horse behave. When I said how unsafe and just overall bad that was, we started a 'debate'.

    Have fun with this Hoot, it should get real interesting.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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    • #3
      "Broke in the face"? What a nasty way to put it.

      There is no "secret" beyond taking the time it takes to do it systematically and correctly.

      Yes longeing with a surcingle and side reins is part of it, but it's not a matter of cranking the horse in to a particular headset, if that's what you're getting at.

      At least it shouldn't be.

      Comment


      • #4
        NO.

        Getting them to relax their jaw and be supple is only a small part of being on the bit. Go to the momentum thread - slc2 has written some wonderful posts that describe it well.

        I would venture to say that tieing a horse's head around would do the very opposite of what you would want to achieve. It certainly wouldn't instill trust or further the partnership, in my opinion.
        www.specialhorses.org
        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
          Hey folks, this is the user who told a person with a young, fresh horse to lunge the horse with their head tied down to make the horse behave. When I said how unsafe and just overall bad that was, we started a 'debate'.

          Have fun with this Hoot, it should get real interesting.
          I think dressage is a great way to ride a horse. My western riding friends take lessons from a dressage rider. I want to know how they get their horses on the bit.

          At least I am trying to learn, you are just picking.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
            I am having a debate on another forum about needing to get a horse broke in the face.
            Sorry but breaking a horse's face in not in my training guides.

            I would love to heard your secret about getting a horse on the bit.
            So would a lot of people, in fact there are tons of books and articles that you can read on the net and otherwise. This is too vast a topic to be able to cover in one or several posts. I also don't give training advise over the net as each situation is different but there are some here that love to expound on their vast knowledge so I will leave it to them to post a mini novel.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
              I think dressage is a great way to ride a horse. My western riding friends take lessons from a dressage rider. I want to know how they get their horses on the bit.

              At least I am trying to learn, you are just picking.
              I TOLD you that's not how it's done, so did showjumper. You argued anyways.

              Maybe the big resounding 'no' you'll get from these folks will get the message across.
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                I TOLD you that's not how it's done, so did showjumper. You argued anyways.

                Maybe the big resounding 'no' you'll get from these folks will get the message across.
                So all the people that use surcingles are wrong?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
                  So all the people that use surcingles are wrong?
                  All the people who use surcingles in the way you suggested, yes, are wrong. Surcingles can't be used in place of training, and will not make a horse go round and accept the bit properly. A horse can be as hollow as ever with the hind end completely disengaged with side reins, unlike what you said.
                  Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                    All the people who use surcingles in the way you suggested, yes, are wrong. Surcingles can't be used in place of training, and will not make a horse go round and accept the bit properly. A horse can be as hollow as ever with the hind end completely disengaged with side reins, unlike what you said.
                    I feel like we are beating a dead horse, no pun intended.

                    Hoof -- A horse can not relax when being forced! What part don't you get? And to get a horse supple and working properly through the body requires them to be relaxed and willing.... Sigh...

                    It's people like you that give western riders a bad rep.
                    Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                    Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                    "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                    I love my Dublin-ator

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Showjumper28 View Post
                      I feel like we are beating a dead horse, no pun intended.

                      Hoof -- A horse can not relax when being forced! What part don't you get? And to get a horse supple and working properly through the body requires them to be relaxed and willing.... Sigh...

                      It's people like you that give western riders a bad rep.
                      I know, I feel the same way. I should just back away slowly from this thread, too.
                      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "I am a western, some times English rider and I am having a debate on another forum about needing to get a horse broke in the face."

                        Hoot: what other forum are you having this debate on? Maybe with more info we will be able to help you more.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I suspect that you are still very young. The question you ask about getting a horse "broke in the face" is really just western jargon that is not at all accurate for any good snaffle bit horse. This would be more a statement you might make for a plodding, four-beat canter western pleasure horse. When you ask your question, you need to understand that true horse training takes many years to learn. You have to have a feeling for when the horse is correctly positioned, and understand the take and release to achieve that position. Teaching the horse to correctly flex to the bit and stay balanced within the contact takes months, and there is no short term fix if you want a true connection...not just a headset. Tie downs create just a headset, with no ability to bring the hindquarters into alignment. Dressage is like reining rather than western pleasure, and for that, you need a horse working off its rear end. If you truely want to learn the correct methods, you need to look around for someone who is really good at starting snaffle bit horses. Since you have no experience as yet, it will be even difficult for you to find a qualified person. If that person uses a surcingle with only an inside siderein shortened enough that the horse's head is held even with the point of its shoulder, that's okay. If the siderein is any tighter than that, you need to keep looking for a different trainer. This is not much contact being created when the siderein is adjusted in such a fashion, and it is designed only to help the horse understand to follow its nose with its whole body. Many more steps must come after that to establish correct contact, but use that one, key point of the training to help you gage the ability of an unknown trainer at this point in your learning curve.

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                          • #14
                            The first secret is that getting a horse "on the bit" is about your seat and legs, NOT about being "broke in the face." Acceptance of the bit is also key, of course, but if you are just thinking of the face, you are going the wrong direction entirely.
                            Proud member of the EDRF

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                            • #15
                              "Above all, during every early schooling the horse should stretch out and learn to have confidence little by little. It is only by giving mobility to the hindquarters, while disregarding the forehand completely, that the rider will feel that the young horse gradually finds his equilibrium, starting to feel confidence in the hands of the rider as he gently pushes his head forward, placing the base of the neck in a proper position as a result of the impulsion he has acquired".

                              "From the very beginning what most matters is the instantaneous forward movement; anything deleted from the impulsion is bad for the progression of the training".

                              "In order to reduce to a minimum the problems and resistances which arise in the course of training the horse, it is necessary to have patience, gentleness and some intelligence. The horse will become accustomed to the aids little by little if you familiarise him with them gradually thus he will be prepared for demands to be made on him, which will then become easy for him to execute".

                              "The correct lowering of the haunches will provoke the elevation of the forehand, never the contrary".

                              Nuno Oliveira
                              Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Hoot, nobody's picking.

                                "All the people who use surcingles are wrong"

                                Quite a few are. If they're using side reins to hold their horse's head in and make him be in a pretty looking pose with his nose in!!!!

                                And there are people that do that (read on).

                                On most bulletin boards, anyone can say any dang fool thing s/he wants about dressage, because there won't be anything but a bunch of starry eyed kids on the bulletin board and they don't know anything about dressage EITHER.

                                OK. So here, you have FEI (top level) riders as well as lower level riders, many of whom have won awards, medals and scored very well in recognized (USEF, FEI) competition.

                                You have the bronze medalist from the Pan Am games on here. You have Lendon Gray, who has been riding internationally for nearly 40 years and heads up the best dressage instruction program in the United States. You have people with decades of experience training, showing, teaching and breeding dressage horses. You have people who have bought top class European warmbloods and imported them and compete on them here, you have people who have painstakingly trained horses of every breed type and background to do dressage, working with the best coaches available. You have people who have written books - GOOD BOOKS, on dressage. How to compete, how to train - everything.

                                The problem is that you are coming at this 'on the bit' thing like it's a matter of 'how do I get my horse to hold his head down and in all the time', and that is just not what we do in dressage.

                                "Broke in the face" just isn't how a dressage trainer thinks of this business at all. That's where you're running into a problem.

                                "Broke in the face" is a part of Western riding. You pull on the one rein, the horse bends his neck around to your knee. You touch the reins, he puts his head in towards his chest.

                                That is about 100% the OPPOSITE of what we want.

                                Alot of people are trying to make dressage be like other types of riding, where the horse is taught to drop the bit, give to the bit, bend his neck way around this way and that, hey, I watch RFD TV too, I have seen how most riding styles train horses, LOL (no actually I have done all the other types populare in the USA - gaited, hunt seat, western, so I know how different dressage is).

                                In fact, dressage is just NOT like other types of riding.

                                Dressage people who have any understanding of dressage at all, don't use ANYTHING to 'get the horse on the bit'.

                                Nothing. Nada. Not side reins, draw reins, martingales, nothing.

                                Dressage is NOT where you put a black saddle on a horse and then start riding him like any other type of riding. It just isn't. It's totally different.

                                Sure, a lot of people think the same as you. They get REAL excited when they find if they jerk the reins back and forth just right, the horse puts his head down and tucks his head in. And there's a WHOLE lot of people jogging around on their horses in backyards all over the USA, thinking 'now I've got 'im! He's Doin' Dress-ajh!'

                                Well he ain't. And if they go to any decent dressage trainer in the United States, that trainer will tell them, 'That isn't dressage'. And most likely, the HORSE will tell them too, because as soon as they get out of a walk or jog, that head is going to pop back up, unless they keep a stranglehold on the reins!!!

                                'on the bit' is not about 'how do I get Sparky to 'assume the position''

                                On the bit, in fact, has very little to do with where the horse is holding his head, or how. That's the first and biggest mistake people make when they first get interested in dressage.

                                No, in fact, we don't do ANYTHING to get the horse in that position. Nothing.

                                No ying-yangin', jerkin' the reins, 'bumping him on the mouth with the bit', 'spongeing the reins', pulling on the outside and yankin' on the inside rein, Nuthin.

                                Most of learning dressage is about UNLEARNING what you first think
                                Last edited by slc2; Dec. 28, 2007, 07:43 AM.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Have you ever gone sailing or flown a kite? You can't 'make' the boat sail or the kite fly by force or by twiddling the ropes. You have to set up all the right conditions and counter energies to allow it to happen.

                                  That doesn't mean it's all flakey and airy fairy and gumdrops and butterflies. Your boat won't sail and your kite won't fly if you take that approach either.

                                  There's a 'science' to it and that's why it takes skill, training and time. If your friends have a good dressage trainer, go and watch.

                                  It's not about getting the horse to drop behind the bit and it's not breaking the face or whatever you called it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have been riding all of my life, including at a western roping barn, where the folks there have national championships in ALL areas of western competition (and I mean National, top, first, in team roping, western pleasure, calf roping, bronc riding), and I have never, ever heard of breaking a horse in the face, and have never ever seen any kind of training there that I don't respect, even though I don't use their techniques or want my horses to go like theirs. What surprises me most about this poster's topic is that she has read the discussions, SLC, by the very top trainers and riders you point out, and she knows the basis, at least, of the answer to her question, and has been told this before, yet chooses to argue about it, densely. She's either trying to be argumentative or is unable to learn by reading. Remember, this is the poster who asked what gophers look like and how they act, and seems unable to read or google simple topics to educmacate herself. You know - the one with a "Principle" for a grandmother.

                                    Unbelievable.
                                    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      getting a horse 'broke' in the face

                                      There is no 'secret' to Training a horse to Accept the bit. It was developed hundreds of years ago. It begins with the trainer educating himself!! A good beginning is reading everything you can find on classical dressage training!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I haven't read all the replies, but, first of all, I think it helps if you thnk about riding the horse from back to front, not front to back. With my youngsters, I don't worry too much about where their head is, and I certainly do not do anything to force it into place. My primary focus is on getting them forward and relaxed. Once you have got them forward and supple through the back, they tend to naturally want to be round through the topline. The goal is to get them where they are carrying themselves and respond to the lightest of aids.

                                        If you attempt to force them into a frame by forcing their heads down, at best what you get is a horse that only has its head down, but it won't be supple through the back and its hindlegs would not be engaged but rather would be trailing out somewhere behind.
                                        Roseknoll Sporthorses
                                        www.roseknoll.net

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