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Another Bit Question - Don't shoot me!

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  • Another Bit Question - Don't shoot me!

    Ugh the neverending Bit thread

    So, after reading the other bit threads and looking some over, I decided to switch my TB mare from a copper lined plain D ring snaffle to a copper French Link D ring.

    No difference.

    I have a feeling whoever had her before me hauled on her mouth. She's almost dead there. We are working on sitting deep and her transitions from there, but if I need it, I'd like to get her attention, especially over fences as she is a little fast.

    My favourite is a pelham, and I may switch to a french link there as soon as I can get one, but want the great COTH's input.

    I will be starting lessons after the new year with her to get her using herself and working on her rusty transitions. She just tends to get ahead of herself jumping as she's new to it.

    Right now I'm just doing a lot of flatwork and asking her to round and use herself as well as lots of half-halt and transition work. But, for example, yesterday, I almost had to turn her into the fence to get her to stop. She's not bolting, just is hard to get to come down. I have a pelham but it's a big rubber mullen mouth.

    So, COTH, leave the french link until after I start with the trainer and see what they think from watching on the ground, or see if I can find the pelham that I'd like to use? Or any other option?
    Friend of bar.ka!
    Originally posted by MHM
    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

  • #2
    Have you tried a waterford? It worked great on one of my TBs when he was strong over fences. The little balls gave him something to keep him busy and didn't give him a "hard" mouth. Eventually I was able to transition back to a d-ring snaffle and just used the waterford on the first day of a show.

    Comment


    • #3
      If she is boring down on the bit, you may want to school her a few times in a gag. It does wonders sometimes for a horse that drags down and pulls. You could also try a Dr. Bristol, waterford or Segunda all of which work on different "varities" of pullers. A french link is a VERY mild bit, so doubt that is the direction you need to go. However, I think teaching her what "whoa" means is important. I would do LOTS of jumping a single fence, and stopping. Then jumps into a line, stop and trot out ontil she begins to BELEIVE you!
      www.shawneeacres.net

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Yes we've only been trotting the fences and I only jump her if she's been good on the flatwork, as that's my main focus right now.

        I knew the french link was mild, wanted to start slow to see if it was just a minor fix.

        I looked into the waterfords, but have never used one, so I wasn't sure how they worked. Did see the Dr Bristol and I like them.

        Will speak to my trainer (once I secure one) about the gag as I've never had to use one of those either and don't want to without instruction since they can be severe if used improperly.

        Thanks guys! You're the bestest
        Friend of bar.ka!
        Originally posted by MHM
        GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
        "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

        Comment


        • #5
          How about a running martingale instead of more bit?

          If you wanted to "bit up" a bit, I'd try a slow twist rather than going to a waterford or a segunda.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Haven't tried a running yet, have been using a german though to aid in the flatwork.
            Friend of bar.ka!
            Originally posted by MHM
            GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
            "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

            Comment


            • #7
              Actually a gag really is not severe. It just has a different action, whcih tends to "lift" the front end. I think the name of a gag is unfortunate as many people hear the name and think it is severe!
              www.shawneeacres.net

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Ah I see, i'm going by what I read on equisearch in their bits article.

                Will definitely look into it!
                Friend of bar.ka!
                Originally posted by MHM
                GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
                "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Actually as long as you find a fairly simple bit that fits well and is comfortable in your mare's mouth, I think it is more a question of re-educating her response to your hand.

                  Ask me how I know this.

                  It's easy to get into the habit of accepting that a horse is less than perfectly responsive to light aids, and just using more hand (or leg or whatever.) However, as my trainer says, as long as you are absolutely consistent, you can teach a horse to respond to aids that are as light as you want.

                  The key is to always ask for what you want using the soft aid first. If the horse does not immediately comply, you significantly amplify the aid RIGHT AWAY to correct the horse. That doesn't mean you are rough, of course. But you do have to be prompt and firm.

                  So, you are cantering along and your horse speeds up as you are heading down the long side. You sit a bit deeper, stretch up and back with your shoulders, and softly close your hands on the reins while supporting with your leg. Your mare ignores all that and just keeps speeding along. You immediately execute a downward transition, or even halt and back if you think the horse is *really* ignoring you, then softly ask for the canter again. If you need to raise your hand a bit and use a very strong half halt to get the downward transition, do that, but then immediately soften when the horse complies and start again "with a clean slate." No emotion!

                  It will probably take quite a few transitions before the horse is promptly coming back to a very soft aid, but they WILL. The key is not to accept a so-so response. If the response is only 50% better, you still have to correct them immediately, otherwise you are sending conflicting messages about the proper response to the aid.
                  **********
                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                  -PaulaEdwina

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Exactly. Agreed 100%. Which is why I only went up slightly in bits.

                    It's gotten to the point where, if she's being ornery, I have to turn her into the fence. Normally, and what actually has been working nicely, when she's in the right frame of mind, is turning her into the ring and doing a 20 meter circle which makes her rate herself and slow a bit, and I praise and we continue on until she tries to speed up again, and then we come in for another 20 meter until she gets it.

                    Other than that, I have been doing lots of half halts and transitions, and of course lots of pats/praise.

                    When jumping, I have trot poles before and after the jump and right now they're no bigger than 18" - 2'.

                    She was never formally trained I don't think, so I'm doing things slow and easy and consistant.

                    She loves to foxhunt though! And I don't really have a problem out in the field with her coming back to me. Sometimes she's a pull, but normally, she'll come back.
                    Friend of bar.ka!
                    Originally posted by MHM
                    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
                    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RxCate View Post
                      It's gotten to the point where, if she's being ornery, I have to turn her into the fence. Normally, and what actually has been working nicely, when she's in the right frame of mind, is turning her into the ring and doing a 20 meter circle which makes her rate herself and slow a bit, and I praise and we continue on until she tries to speed up again, and then we come in for another 20 meter until she gets it.
                      Oh, yes - been there, done that!!

                      The circles *do* get the horse to rebalance and rate themselves.

                      BUT - and this is key - it really doesn't teach the horse to respond properly to your hand.

                      Yes, you can teach a horse not to canter fast using these circles. Basically they just start associating a certain canter = being put on a circle and they don't offer that canter anymore.

                      But that's not really what you want.

                      You want the horse to respect and respond to your leg and hand and to maintain whatever speed and stride you dictate, whether that is fast or slow or somewhere in between. And you want to be able to dictate length of stride, too, whether collected or extended or just a working step.

                      That requires that the horse is obedient to your aids, obviously.

                      I moved to a new trainer last fall and I think we probably spent two solid months on lessons where I did transitions about every three strides, lol. I thought my horse was pretty broke, too. Maybe a little lazy, sometimes, but nothing major. However, I *did* have to use quite a bit of leg to get the upward transitions (and sometimes to maintain a decent canter)... and he'd lay on me a bit in the downward ones. He's a big, quiet WB type and I had just accepted that he was a bit of a tank.

                      My new trainer said that was ridiculous and told me the horse needed to do what he was told, and I mean RIGHT NOW, not two strides later!

                      So we'd be trotting on the rail and she'd say, ok, collect and go trot sitting, three strides then, now go FORWARD.. three strides... now walk. No, don't let him lurch into the walk or get behind your leg. Trot forward again, four strides, now WALK. Raise your hand and bend your elbow. Back him. Now, trot forward again, three strides WALK. Canter. We'd do this for a solid HOUR until my horse was constantly attentive and I could the transitions without having to make any big moves - no kicking, no pulling, just invisible, light aids.

                      If my horse did not immediately come back to my hand, he got a very strong half halt and a big downward transition. A failure to go immediately forward was met with a sharp smack with my stick. As my trainer says - at that point, you are looking for an OVER REACTION. If you use your stick and only get the gait you originally wanted, you did not execute an effective correction. (The idea being, you do not want to have to use your stick - or a strong hand - to get what you want; you want to be able to do that with the correct, light aid.) The correction needs to make an impression on the horse that they gave the wrong answer - so they get backed up or galloped forward to reinforce the idea that leg =forward and hand = come back.

                      My horse now MELTS into my hand at the softest touch, and will go immediately and energetically forward from a soft leg.

                      Try it ... I can pretty much guarantee you'll like it.
                      **********
                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                      -PaulaEdwina

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Can I borrow your trainer for a month? LOL
                        Friend of bar.ka!
                        Originally posted by MHM
                        GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
                        "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RxCate View Post
                          Can I borrow your trainer for a month? LOL
                          LOL.

                          I call it going to boot camp...

                          But you really *can* do this on your own if you want to. It just takes really, really paying attention at a very detailed level.

                          I cannot *tell* you how long I spent at the walk and trot those first few lessons. Or how freakin' hard it was!!

                          The whole trick is that you simply Do.Not.Give.Up.Your.Position.Period.

                          So you are walking on a big circle at one end of the ring. If the horse likes to be forward, you ask it to slow down and collect for a few strides, not by pulling, but by stretching up, deep in your heel, half halting on the outside rein.

                          Your inside leg is pushing the horse into the contact on the outside rein, and the outside rein controls the shape and the stride. You encourage the horse to bend around your inside leg and maintain a consistent feel on the outside rein. Inside rein helps guide the horse so that you can *just* see the horse's eye on the inside. Now WITHOUT CHANGING THE CONTACT... close both legs and ask the horse to walk forward. (Your horse will likely do this happily, lol. Mine needed a smack with the stick because he'd rather shuffle around not expending too much energy.)

                          Practice going back and forth from collected walk to forward walk to regular walk to halt and so on ... every few strides. If the horse doesn't halt as soon as you close your hand, you bend your elbows, raise your hands slightly and MAKE it halt. If you need a pulley rein to halt, do that. But - do it unemotionally, and then go right back to work. You can reinforce the message by backing a few steps. Then, do your walk-halt again. Keep mixing it up every few strides, concentrating on maintaining your own position and always, always, always asking softly first.

                          Then move on to trot, canter, etc.
                          **********
                          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                          -PaulaEdwina

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a mare that sounds similar to yours, however she has never had anybody truly heavy as I've broke and worked with her since she was 2.


                            Have you tried in the beginning just letting her work at a big pace? Let her trot big, canter big at her own carriage level. If you want her to come back a bit, ask nicely with your reins and when you get any form of change, give back to her. If you want to bring her back down a bit more ask nicely, give back to her you get the idea.

                            I just finished a clinic where the main theory was that we work these big horses to constantly go under pace, constantly slow down and constantly package when if we truly ask them to be big and be how they seem to want to be it isn't any fun anymore and they want to listen because being belligerent isn't any fun in the first place.

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