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Young tb's hardening mouth

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  • Young tb's hardening mouth

    I have a 3 year old tb gelding. I was never raced but was trained for the track and deemed unfit for reasons I don't know. When I got him he hadn't been worked in 3 months and I decided to pretty much restart him. We did lots of in hand work using a rope halter then moved to a bridle with a full check snaffle. Then I taught him to lunge in that bit as well.
    Once I started in saddle I moved him to a curved dee ring with a copper oval which he really seemed to like. I wanted to put him in a kind bit that he would accept and like yet still listen. This worked ok for a bit but the last 2 months or so he has been power housing around the ring, holding the bit and paying no mind to me. He isn't taking off but most my ride is spent half halting and nothing is getting accomplished. A friend suggested putting him in a slow twist to get my point across more effectively when I ask him to slow down. I am afraid if I continue in a normal snaffle or the dee ring his mouth will get hard due to the fact I half halt every other step. Hoping to get some thoughts and opinions on this situation from others. I do get that he is only 3 and I don't want to ruin his mouth but he needs to respect me undersaddle like he does in hand and on the lunge, even if only for a few minutes considering his attention span is short....

  • #2
    Put him in something harsher for a few rides to remind him to respect your hand, then you can try switching back to the old bit.

    He could also be the type that figures bits out fairly quickly and needs to have his bit switched every month or whenever he begins to start ignoring another bit. You could try rotating between three or four bits of similar severity.

    If I were you, I would also check how I was riding--maybe you've recently begun to hold his mouth just a bit too much/too long? Maybe have someone you know has soft hands hop on him in this bit and see how that goes.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would suggest lunging him with the bit and side reins. This will be the beginning steps of teaching him to carry himself and be round. If a horse is collected and round they have to pay attention to the bit. I would also spend a lot of time in the walk at this point, doing exercises like shoulder out and in. If you would like more information on those type of exercises at the walk let me know.

      Keep in mind that racehorse are taught to take the bit and go faster when the reins are pulled. Try keeping your arms low and open in the beginning with lots of rein stimulation. This will teach them to get on the bit with their heads low.

      I don't know if I would rush so quickly into using a harsher bit as that just masks the problem and can create a larger problem down the road.

      Comment


      • #4
        As was mentioned, race horses are trained to lean. I wouldn't necessarily go to a harder bit. Lots of changes of direction, circles, serpentines will begin to bring him back a little. Do your half halts if needed on a circle or bend; he won't be able to lean quite.

        Comment


        • #5
          Down Time.

          Comment


          • #6
            He's probably getting unbalanced and leaning on your hands. More transitions and more leg... also it takes two to pull... and if a half halt isn't effective then back it up with a halt.

            Comment


            • #7
              Keep in mind that at 3-4-5 teething is an integral part of a horses mouth. I use a half moon full cheek snaffle to avoid any nutcracker action.

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              • #8
                I would not put anything with a twist in a 3 year olds mouth.

                I would evaluate the ride he's getting. I often find people are so terribly concerned with touching a horse's mouth, especially a young one, that the horse gets away with bloody murder. If he blows through a polite half halt, HALT him. Big give, move along, and half halt again. Rinse and repeat until you get the right answer. This is not too much for a young horse. If you stay consistent and do the same thing every time, he will get it and start to listen.

                But he is only 3 (is he 3 this year, or rising 4 this year?)....I agree with Kate Wooten....maybe a little vacation?
                Amanda

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for the reply. I acutally had a good friend hop on him yesterday to see what she thought. I have very light hands but still felt a 2nd opinion was necessary. She suggested just what you did. He needs a firm hand at times when he gets grabby but he will drop his head and relax. He seems to understand and appreciate the release and softness but he has to fight with me 1st.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    You got me yellowbritches! I am concerned far too much about his mouth and he knows it. The girl that rode him yesterday really got on his case which he didnt much care for but she got the right answer much sooner than I had been able to. With that being said, I am going to start making my point much more clear to him. He is no dummy, it is a concept he can get and needs to do it when I ask. And a small vaca may be a good idea. Let his mind clear.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When my OTTB first came he had a some what hard mouth from the track. I spent about a month not touching his mouth at all. If he went to fast we circled and if he was on his forehand or leaning down I used my leg to lift him back up. Then when I finally took contact and started to use the bridle to slow him down, I made sure that was accompanied with A LOT of leg. He's got a great soft mouth now and goes in a fat rubber snaffle with no problem.

                      Perhaps you need more leg OP? It sounds counterintuitive but if he is leaning on you he can't get his hind end under him for a smooth transition.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with Rel6 that it is probably an issue of needing more leg rather than an issue of needing more bit.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Clarify the point with me-- if the horse is ignoring a half halt, but is still in the place where leg means go faster, then how does one apply more leg without making the horse rush around even more?

                          More for my own curiosity than because the OP is saying that's what's happening.
                          Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                          you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
                            Clarify the point with me-- if the horse is ignoring a half halt, but is still in the place where leg means go faster, then how does one apply more leg without making the horse rush around even more?

                            More for my own curiosity than because the OP is saying that's what's happening.
                            To some degree, it does make the horse rush around even more at first. But eventually, they just sort of start to...get it. I couldn't tell you exactly what happened to make my horse "get it" but he transformed from a heavy, lugging dead weight to a horse that was not heavy in hand at all.

                            You don't just run them around with more leg on a straight line, though. I did a lot of transitions from walk to trot to walk to trot (using a lot of leg through the transition), and I also made circles, serpentines, etc. That seems to help with the concept of, "Hey, pony, you have to carry yourself...complicated stuff happening here and you are going to have to push off the ol' booty without the benefit of me holding you up by your teeth."

                            Also take care that you are not posting too quickly. That was an issue with me and my horse. I felt I was keeping up with him, he felt he was keeping up with me, and we were both just way too fast. A trainer finally said, "You know, you are encouraging him to trot like that by posting too fast." As soon as I slowed my post down (actually posted slower than his trot, which can be tough to do but very effective), he was like, "THANK YOU." That was solved in pretty much one day.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sounds like he is leaning on the bit. It is something that you have to train them out of. My OTTB is 6 and he is in a KK Sprenger loose ring and that is the only bit he has been in since I have had him. My guy has 2 years of professional training, give or take and he is getting much, much better but he will lean on the bit at times. When he does he get's a half halt and leg to move forward.

                              He is getting better balanced and muscled and that has helped. A stronger bit should never replace the training necessary to work with a young horse. A 3 year old is very young and I agree with time off as well. It is an annoying thing to work with, but with patience and good training we get the horse we enjoy riding. Good luck, I know that I have had to work with my OTTB on that.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
                                Clarify the point with me-- if the horse is ignoring a half halt, but is still in the place where leg means go faster, then how does one apply more leg without making the horse rush around even more?

                                More for my own curiosity than because the OP is saying that's what's happening.
                                My understanding of the half halt and leg cue, is that it can also help the horse balance itself. What I am asking for in that cue is that he engages his hind end and lightens his front. I don't always get the response I am seeking the first time-sometimes I do-but I always get the response after 2-3 times of asking.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                  To some degree, it does make the horse rush around even more at first. But eventually, they just sort of start to...get it. I couldn't tell you exactly what happened to make my horse "get it" but he transformed from a heavy, lugging dead weight to a horse that was not heavy in hand at all.

                                  You don't just run them around with more leg on a straight line, though. I did a lot of transitions from walk to trot to walk to trot (using a lot of leg through the transition), and I also made circles, serpentines, etc. That seems to help with the concept of, "Hey, pony, you have to carry yourself...complicated stuff happening here and you are going to have to push off the ol' booty without the benefit of me holding you up by your teeth."

                                  Also take care that you are not posting too quickly. That was an issue with me and my horse. I felt I was keeping up with him, he felt he was keeping up with me, and we were both just way too fast. A trainer finally said, "You know, you are encouraging him to trot like that by posting too fast." As soon as I slowed my post down (actually posted slower than his trot, which can be tough to do but very effective), he was like, "THANK YOU." That was solved in pretty much one day.
                                  I ask because my now 5yo (and new to me, which is part of the issue) horse is very hot off the leg. He will go right away, but if you ask him to step over with leg he doesn't get that yet and goes faster. He doesn't lean on the bit at all, is very light in fact, but does not have the ability to process leg on + hand says stop. He can only either a) stop or b) go faster but does not have step c) step under and slow down.

                                  So if he is not listening to the half halt, but I add leg, that is a good recipe for him to throw me a little mini rear or other I-don't-get-it maneuver.
                                  Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                                  you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    soloudinhere: That is why I had a good baby trainer take my OTTB who was 4 when I got him. He did not move off the leg but he leaned on the bit, not the same as your guy but he did require some basic training before I got on. I started riding him about 4 months after full training. I just think trainers are worth their weight in gold during the initial training period since it really takes finesse and understanding for babies.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
                                      Clarify the point with me-- if the horse is ignoring a half halt, but is still in the place where leg means go faster, then how does one apply more leg without making the horse rush around even more?

                                      More for my own curiosity than because the OP is saying that's what's happening.
                                      He probably will rush. My guy did at first. Our indoor is small so he couldn't get too much speed and I would pick up the canter, lift him with leg, and let him rush all he wants. Eventually he slowed himself down and would start to get a really nice quality to his canter (at which point he gets a "good boyyyyyy.") They realize that it is MUCH easier for them to relax into a slower canter despite you having leg on them than running around on their forehand. If they get too fast, circle instead of pulling them up. This worked for the trot too!

                                      So basically the rushing is kind of an intermediary step between leaning on the forehand/ignoring aids and a more uphill balanced canter/trot. Obviously you don't want the horse to rush, but it may happen while he's figuring out how to carry himself slowly.

                                      In fact, I get a lot of compliments on my horse's canter because he carries his own, slow rhythm. You can see his canter about a minute in here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pmPqyspytE

                                      (mods, I hope the link is ok? Its the only video I have posted of him.)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The canter is actually better than the trot. He is actually going to have a trainer riding him 2x a week starting the 15th. But until then he's got me.
                                        Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                                        you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                                        Comment

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