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Pony bears down on the bit and yanks?

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  • Pony bears down on the bit and yanks?

    I've ridden this pony for about 5 years, and owned him for a few until having to give him to my barn because of financial woes. He's been a school horse for the past 2 years, although not used much, if at all, unless it's during my lesson. Also not sure if bearing down is the correct term to be used

    Within the past year, his excessive pulling and yanking (pulling me out of the saddle basically), has gotten worse. He used to never do it until it started becoming more frequent and noticeable. I'm running out of ideas on what to do because I don't want to be the bad guy. I've tried giving him his head (which then he just doesn't want to listen to my leg aids unless I have a dressage whip and steering just becomes a comedy since he's blind in his left eye.) I've tried using a hackamore thinking maybe it's his mouth that's bothering him, he still does it and rips the reins through my fingers. Both myself and the BO have had the vet look at him and he has had his teeth floated. He's in a full cheek snaffle, in case any one is wondering.

    The only thing that has worked is giving him a good yank upright when he does it and a good tap on the butt then he won't do it until we start jumping, then I have to do the correction again. I'm starting to think this is just a bad habit from being a school horse and no one correcting him when he does anything bad.

    Does this seem like a fair correction? Sometimes I feel bad yanking his mouth but then I don't because I'm so mad that he's yanking me forward out of the saddle and causing my whole body to jerk (quite painful sometimes when he really gets at it.)

    Going to the COTH community because I wanted a second opinion.

  • #2
    Yup, that seems like a fair correction. One never wants to "punish" a horse's mouth for general infractions, but if he's being rude with his mouth then you have to provide a correction that makes sense.

    Be very fast, and release immediately, then carry on. Far better for him to get a handful of very quick, fair, proportional (force-wise) and unemotional corrections than to have his mouth pulled on non-stop or to be bitted up all the time.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
      Yup, that seems like a fair correction. One never wants to "punish" a horse's mouth for general infractions, but if he's being rude with his mouth then you have to provide a correction that makes sense.

      Be very fast, and release immediately, then carry on. Far better for him to get a handful of very quick, fair, proportional (force-wise) and unemotional corrections than to have his mouth pulled on non-stop or to be bitted up all the time.
      Thank you! It's a very quick correction that I always do. He's smart and gets it, but he's just stubborn.

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      • #4
        It's about timing - if you can give the correction as he is thinking about starting to yank, he'll learn quickly.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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        • #5
          There actually is another approach that does not require that sort of 'correction.'

          Calling a yank by the rider a 'correction' is still the riding yanking on the horse's mouth.

          How unfortunate those are the only solutions being offered.
          Last edited by LMH; Apr. 28, 2013, 07:37 AM.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by LMH View Post
            There actually is another approach that does not require that sort of correction.
            What would this be?

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            • #7
              No doubt there are a whole bunch of different solutions to any given training problem.
              Click here before you buy.

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              • #8
                If you are low enough in your center of gravity, with your shoulders back and down, no horse could pull you out of the tack. the yank would only send you deeper into the saddle. He needs to be ridden by someone with a good seat.
                Yankers try that nonsense on me once, and they realize they're just punishing themselves and never try again LOL!
                www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                • #9
                  Why would you bother to post that there's another method to try and then not elaborate?
                  "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                  http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

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                  • #10
                    What I was taught to do as a child when a horse 'roots' down like that is give an immediate cue for faster forward motion either trot or canter. The reason you want to do that rather than yank on the bit is that the horse must raise its head to go faster. When the horse raises its head, the rider has to provide the reward of loosening hold on the reins slightly.

                    The way you prevent the behavior is to be sure that you are not hanging on the bit yourself. If the horse learns that 'not lugging on' the bit means the rider stays out of its face, the horse figures out pretty quickly not to lean on the bit.

                    If you have not tried a different bit, this would be a good time to do that also. It is quite possible that the bit is pinching pony's face because that is one of the hazards of a full cheek bit, especially if it is being used without keepers. You did not mention whether there are some, or not.
                    Jeanie
                    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                      If you are low enough in your center of gravity, with your shoulders back and down, no horse could pull you out of the tack. the yank would only send you deeper into the saddle. He needs to be ridden by someone with a good seat.
                      Yankers try that nonsense on me once, and they realize they're just punishing themselves and never try again LOL!
                      He does it with other people. Regardless who it is riding. I'm very light and try to sit as much as possible but I'm so used to him yanking that I've developed a habit of going ino a half seat which I'm trying to correct now. He doesn't exactly bring my entire body forward, it's more of a jerking problem with my arms and the. My body following with my arms. Hope this makes some sense. I do sometimes bury my hands in his mane so he just pulls on himself, but he's as stubborn as I am.

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                      • #12
                        the horse must raise its head to go faster
                        Not if it's in the habit of barreling along on its forehand.
                        Click here before you buy.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                          What I was taught to do as a child when a horse 'roots' down like that is give an immediate cue for faster forward motion either trot or canter. The reason you want to do that rather than yank on the bit is that the horse must raise its head to go faster. When the horse raises its head, the rider has to provide the reward of loosening hold on the reins slightly.

                          The way you prevent the behavior is to be sure that you are not hanging on the bit yourself. If the horse learns that 'not lugging on' the bit means the rider stays out of its face, the horse figures out pretty quickly not to lean on the bit.

                          If you have not tried a different bit, this would be a good time to do that also. It is quite possible that the bit is pinching pony's face because that is one of the hazards of a full cheek bit, especially if it is being used without keepers. You did not mention whether there are some, or not.
                          We've tried different bits on him, this is the only one he likes. There are keepers on the bit. A few bits we tried were a kimberwick, a Pelham, an o ring snaffle (with bit guards), and no bit at all. He's a very strong pony (built like a tank really.. He's a 14.2 quarter pony) and he gets very strong with jumping. Beginners can't ride him because he'll just drag them around the ring basically. I've ridden other horses and I've never had this type of problem. I've been told I have very "soft" hands and use them correctly. I try to reward him every time he does something good with a long rein or a break or a good pat (even when he's bad I can't help but pat him for being such a pain.)

                          Also should've mentioned he only does this at the canter, never the walk or trot. He's very well behaved during those. Just when we really start moving he starts with the pulling. Jumping he'll do it maybe twice at most but usually only when he wants to speed up and I'm trying to make sure he doesn't do a 3 in a 5 stride line...

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Apologizing for any spelling errors in my posts. On my phone and it doesn't want to cooperate with me with spell check or what letters I'm actually pressing. Oh technology.

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                            • #15
                              I had a lovely large pony that was just that - a PONY. One day he came up with the idea of snatching his head down (I'd owned him and worked him for almost a year prior to this). I'm a trainer, so as the reins got yanked out of my hands, I took my jump bat (always ride a pony with a bat!) and just spanked him 3x bap, bap, bap! Was he surprised! He cantered off I picked up my reins continued the canter for a few more strides then brought him back to a walk. He was perfect for the rest of the ride. The next day he tried to step out the open gate. Again, bap, bap, bap! and a perfect ride for the rest of the ride. It became his pony "thing", a test at the beginning of every ride. A 3x spanking resulted in a perfect ride. Flash forward to when I put him in my teaching program. Any student who would spank him once had a great lesson. Any student who didn't, well, they had only themselves to blame for not obeying me the first time when I told them to spank him, because it didn't matter if they did it the next time or the time after that. Because in his little pony brain he'd gotten away with it once so it was worth trying to see if he could get away with it again. If he went into another lesson that day, he'd test the new student. If they would discipline him, he'd be a saint.

                              So I think you need to think that this is your pony figuring out an evasion to working. If he is reprimanded immediately every time he tries it I suspect he'll focus on his job after that.

                              The other thing to realize is that horses can't multitask. If you give them something to think about, like a vibrating rein, as you are going around the ring endlessly trying to perfect some aspect of your position he'll be focused on the rein and not trying to be a pony.
                              ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
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                              "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Kryswyn View Post
                                The other thing to realize is that horses can't multitask. If you give them something to think about, like a vibrating rein, as you are going around the ring endlessly trying to perfect some aspect of your position he'll be focused on the rein and not trying to be a pony.
                                This sounds like my pony haha. This is probably the most helpful because its so relatable. He used to try an do a thing with backing up before the canter because he didn't want to work, quickly fixed that with a good spanking the first few times he's tried it. He hasn't done it since. I'm hoping that this is just him being a poop head (more or less) and hopefully an easy fix as long as I keep correcting it as soon as it happens. (Loved your whole post, just cut it down since I started ranting in the reply lol)

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                                • #17
                                  If it is a lesson pony for kids, you can always make an anti-grazing concoction by running a piece of bailing twine from the bit, thru the brow band, across the top of the neck, and tying it onto the saddle Dee. It should be loose like a martingale, but when they yank, they will quickly reach the end of the rope.

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                                  • #18
                                    There's a difference between a bump for lugging on the hands and a sharp yank.

                                    Bumps are okay, yanks aren't. It probably is a result of being a lesson horse. Especially if he's heavy on the forehand. Sounds like he's lost his 'balance' and wants his head down. Maybe more work on the hindquarters so he can balance himself again? imho
                                    Ride like you mean it.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
                                      If it is a lesson pony for kids, you can always make an anti-grazing concoction by running a piece of bailing twine from the bit, thru the brow band, across the top of the neck, and tying it onto the saddle Dee. It should be loose like a martingale, but when they yank, they will quickly reach the end of the rope.
                                      That is a great idea! I just remembered a lesson pony of my youth that always wore such a thing. That defiinitely would help.
                                      Jeanie
                                      RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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