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Getting a very sensitive TB to take the bit

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  • #21
    Originally posted by JWB View Post
    Have you contacted his previous owner/seller to find out if you're doing anything different, or what they were doing to combat the issue? Sounds as if it has escalated since you got him home. I'd get as much info/wisdom from the folks who were riding him last. It's possible that they may know his tricks and how to ride through them. Save yourself a ton of experimenting and a ton of $$ in new bits and equipment if they already know what works for him.
    They probably caused the problem.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._


    • #22
      Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
      They probably caused the problem.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


      • #23
        Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
        I'm going to say, maybe and probably but possibly not!

        I think that curling horses are born not made, horses always start out as either curlers or star gazers and they will default back to that when poorly ridden or upset even after they are trained out of it.

        It's possible that he was born a curler and his previous owner worked very hard at getting him to stop doing it, but something about the change in venue and change in rider and possibly riding style has triggered a flashback.

        Talking to the previous owner should give you a good idea, either it's a problem that they've worked very hard on or it's something they ignored as they stuffed him around.


        • #24
          Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
          They probably caused the problem.
          I was going to say the same thing.
          Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


          • #25
            Originally posted by rollonhighway View Post
            I recently purchased a 8 year TB gelding (as in exactly a week ago today) - He settled in wonderfully and i've had the chance to hop on him several times.

            His record:

            Started U/S late and started eventing at almost six years old, moved up the ranks quickly - BN to Training in a year and a half (with many top 4 placements, two 1st places at training, etc). He just had several months off for a very small strain to his annular ligament in his left rear (evidently a pasture injury - his PPE ultrasounds looked great) - owner is moving across the country for school & couldn't take him along.

            I have found that he is very sensitive - more so than any horse I have ever ridden. You pick up the reins and he just curls, put leg on and he just keeps the curl - even when his hind in is engaged - he just keeps almost zero contact.

            His teeth were done 3 weeks ago, saddle is a custom fit, etc.
            I just ordered his very own Micklem bridle & BOT sheet a few days ago so they should be arriving soon, i'll be very interested to see how he goes in the Micklem after seeing how these first few rides went.

            Anyone have suggestions, ideas, exercises, etc?

            I've dealt with sensitive horses before but nothing like this.

            (Incase anyone is wondering - I do have a trainer but she is in Aiken for the next three weeks, so I'm kind of on my own for a little bit.)
            Does he curl/stay BTV on a long rein? If not, lengthen your reins until he finds the bit and stays steady there. You can then (eventually) reel him back in to the most forward connection you can maintain - the one in which he is steady, relaxed, and authentic.

            I also like 3 short steps 3 big steps at trot and LOTS of variation in pattern, gait, direction, etc., to get them to step into the connection.
            When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.


            • #26
              Give him time. I usually just gently hack new horses for at least 2 weeks as I build trust and confidence. He maybe overwhelmed.
              I also use food treats from the ground as a bit exercise. From the ground, I will turn his head to the side on contact and reward him. It teaches them to accept the bit in a quiet relaxed way. The key being I make it very simple and easy for them to succeed. They learn this simple thing without having to deal with a rider. I think sometimes it is too many things for them to deal with at one time when you are teaching everything from the saddle and they get frustrated and resistant. I realize he is not that green, but often I find teaching them as if they have never done anything before helps to identify what the real issue may be.

              Sometimes we expect too much from our horses when we put them in new situations with new riders.


              • #27
                Has he been ridden excessively in draw reins? A lot of times that seems to cause it. And they do tend to score well at the lower levels.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Robby Johnson View Post
                  Does he curl/stay BTV on a long rein? If not, lengthen your reins until he finds the bit and stays steady there. You can then (eventually) reel him back in to the most forward connection you can maintain - the one in which he is steady, relaxed, and authentic.
                  This +1.

                  In fact even if he doesn't do this, accepting steady contact on a long rein is the first place I would try to get to. Once you get the horse in a "neutral" frame--neck almost horizontal, mouth accepting and softening to the bit (but not face necessarily on the vertical--teach the horse to stretch down. Yep, you can actually teach one to stretch BEFORE you teach it shorten its frame. Repeating the lesson of stretching as you progressively over time ride in a shorter and shorter frame gives you a tool and an aid to correct on the occasions he starts getting BTV.

                  I would not continue to ride the horse curled on the contact just trying to push him forward to fix it. If he's curled most likely the back is hollow, so while you might start getting him to uncurl your still developing the horse incorrectly--inverted back and all the wrong muscles. Fix the hind end and the back and your neck problems will solve themselves--that's what riding a horse back to front means.

                  Personally I hate this problem (and I have fixed it on multiple horses) because it takes months and months if not years to truly fix and get the horse's whole body going correctly. You have to start over at the beginning.


                  • #29
                    But OP said that she had ridden the horse several times (prior to purchase) and the curling has gotten worse since she got the horse home, which leads me to think that something has changed with how the horse is being ridden if the problem is getting worse.

                    That's why I suggest asking the previous rider.
                    The rebel in the grey shirt


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by JWB View Post
                      But OP said that she had ridden the horse several times (prior to purchase) and the curling has gotten worse since she got the horse home, which leads me to think that something has changed with how the horse is being ridden if the problem is getting worse.

                      That's why I suggest asking the previous rider.
                      Well then let's state the obvious:

                      "Stop cranking on him."
                      When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.


                      • #31
                        Is his back hurting? Does the saddle fit?
                        Intermediate Riding Skills


                        • #32
                          I have a TB as well, and when I got her I was told I was the perfect match for her because I had soft hands. I didn't understand this until I tried her and realized that she was REALLY forward and engaged, but she would NOT take the bit what-so-ever. It was quite aggravating. I'm not sure what bit her previous owner used, but I used a rubber snaffle and now I use a happy d-ring snaffle. She's still really hard to teach to take the bit, but when I REALLY engage her, she starts to accept the bit, and ALWAYS if I start with flat, she's soft on the bit, but once I start doing transitions or over-fences work, she starts to take hold of the bit (Sometimes more than I wish.) Believe it or not, after almost owning her for 2 years, I still have figured this little mare out.

                          Best of luck to you and the new boy!
                          Save The Date 08-15-2011