How can I get my horse on the bit?

This topic contains 14 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe 2 years, 3 months ago.

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  • brielle_ari Original Poster brielle_ari
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    Hi! My horse is super sweet and he loves to jump. I would like to start trying to get him in a frame, but he has never been taught. Whenever I attempt to get him on the bit(I ride in a 3-ring ball bit), he always resists. Is there another bit that would help him accept it more? I don’t want to force him to accept the bit. He is a jumper, but if I could get him round, I think that we might be able to show a little in equitation and hunters too. He has a very calm personality. If anyone has any tips that could help us, please share them! Thank you!

    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 29

    my horse has a rubber snaffle and she takes it pretty well, and sometimes if you get your horse engage their hind end better by collecting him he will be on the bit better

    Life is not about waiting for the clouds to pass, its about learning to ride in the rain

    ClinicHorse ClinicHorse
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    The easiest way to teach a horse to go on the bit is in the stretch down. This topic can be quite controversial so I will guide you to 2 books that do an excellent job in guiding the rider on this subject. Alois Podajsky has a great chapter on this in his book, “The Complete Training of Horse and Rider”. Also Egon Von Neindorff in his book also describes in detail how to do this properly. It is simply a matter of getting the horse to find balance, relaxation and straightness. If done properly, they will “go on the bit” on their own; all you will need to do is pick up on the reins and they will meet you there.
    Good Luck to you!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Perhaps there is a problem elsewhere in the horse, like your saddle fit. Coming to the bit involves lifting his belly and engaging muscles around the spine. If in doing that he encounters a pinching saddle, he will avoid the necessary action and not reach for the bit. Another issue could be his teeth. Floating is not dental care, even if it is done annually. Equine dentistry is both an annual necessity and the only way to properly address changes in the mouth which are happening constantly. Many owners avoid addressing this issue due to the cost. Imagine doing that to yourself, and you don’t have teeth that grow til you die. If your horse is otherwise obedient, I would investigate teeth and saddle fit.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Your other answers that you have received are absolutely correct. Take care of your horses teeth and saddle fit. The next issue is to make sure that your bit is mild and comfortable for your horse. It is through the bending and driving (forward) aids that a horse comes on the bit. Being on the bit never comes from riding backwards with the hands ( pulling).

    You might also want to look at Jane Savoie’s Dressage 101 or some of her videos. There is an older video series about getting your horse on the bit that she did many years ago. The art of Dressage is a lifetime pursuit, have fun !!!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    I agree with the answers reflected above – once you have established no discomfort in the mouth, neck or back you can train your horse with non-coercive methods to stretch down and seek the bit. I really prefer French Classical Master Phillippe Karl for this, whose incremental program reflected in the ecole de legerete books and DVDs will correct bit inverted, upward avoidance of the bit, as well as downward, forward or twisting resistance. To this end, I am curious to the nature of your horse’s resistance- is he behind or above the vertical? pulling? twisting? tossing? each form of resistance tells a different story about where your horse is either uncomfortable or misunderstanding your aids. A video would be even better to help advise you further. Let us know, and good luck!

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    I agree with all the answers given. It’s pointless to change bits because true collection comes only when the horse steps under himself with his hind legs in response to your legs, and the bit and your hands control his impulse to move faster and to collect, instead. I have never competed, but I train all my horses (or I send them to a trainer) to learn basic dressage because it makes them more supple and cooperative. In other words, use your legs to get your horse to track up behind. How old is your horse? When my ASB mare Prim was a green 3-year-old, our trainer started her with a fat rubber snaffle, then graduated to an eggbutt snaffle. I rode Prim in an eggbutt until the day she died, 22 years later. If your horse isn’t green, I would suggest that you use the mildest snaffle he will respect. Is there a trainer in your area you can take lessons from? That would be a big help. So will videos, if you don’t have a good trainer nearby.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Before answering, I have a question for you. Exactly how are you trying to “get him on the bit?”

    The answers here are all helpful, but only if you know what “engagement,” “straight,” “supple,” “impulsion,” “collection,” etc. mean.

    Most of getting a horse on the bit has nothing to do with the hands or the bit. A horse being on the bit is the visible result of other, less noticeable aids. Chances are that if you are actively using the bit to get “on the bit,” you will get the exact opposite response (leave-my-mouth-alone, instead of submission).

    I can help you best if I know what your understanding of “getting on the bit” is. At least 95% of riders don’t really know, and that includes dressage riders! In fact, I have seen more Western riders properly have their horses in frame (with no bit and loose reins) than I have dressage riders (with “all the right equipment”). Lol, I am a dressage rider with proper respect for Western riders ๐Ÿ™‚

    And by the way, if anyone ever tells you that they “do dressage” or that their horse “does dressage,” run away as fast as you can! Dressage isn’t like “doing your hair.” It is a method of training that requires observation, consistency, patience, and understanding. It involves the posture, balance, accuracy, and brain of the rider.

    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 14

    All of the above replies are awesome…also I would strongly reccomend checking out Linda Parelli’s “Game of Contact” dvd set. It is extremely thorough and you do not have to “do Parelli” or natural horsemanship to understand and apply it. Also its in high demand on ebay and other sites so when your done with it if you want you can always resell it. I learned so much from this dvd set and it has made a huge difference in all the horses I train and ride. It includes teaching your horse to stretch into the bit and then all kinds of exercises and techniques to get them into self-carriage, round, using their hindquarters properly, and being “on the bit” AND enjoying themselves doing it!

    I'd rather be riding!

    ShilohsGirl ShilohsGirl
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 49

    Evention TV has a really nice video

    Evention TV: Understanding ‘on the bit’

    I use a plain snaffle bit, and my horse is pretty green, but she is starting to accept the bit. Sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    "Think of riding as a science, but love it as an art" ~George Morris

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    I too pretty much agree with most of the other posters. However, riding with “correct” contact is a dressage concept, and while books can be helpful, you might do better to find a really good dressage basics instructor. For example, a well trained dressage horse does not just stretch to the bit, they actually stretch to the bit at whatever length of rein they are given, and put enough tension on the bit to take the reins through the rider’s open hands. The rider determines the length of rein by opening or closing the fingers — opening the fingers allows the horse to gently pull the reins through the rider’s hands (emphasis on GENTLY), while closed fingers tell the horse when he has gone down far enough, and the horse must also follow the bit back up. My issue with books is that one must understand the principles being discussed, and this can often be a case of 1 picture being worth a thousand words, or on good demonstration of what should be happening and what it feels like can be worth 20 thousand words. Some of the dressage concepts are simply so radically different from what is often taught in the US as basic good riding is the opposite of top quality dressage, and this makes these concepts hard to understand from just a book.

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    Rubber bits may be a solution, but I have no idea how your horse reacts or anything else. The bit that I use to help my horse get set up is called a “Wonder Bit.” I like how this bit works, after a pressure moment it automatically releases to reward the horse. I found a picture of how it exactly looks. I hope this might help, and I hope you are able to try it.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I pretty much agree with everyone else, but – you can get your horse to be properly collected and framed while riding bareback with a halter. Your legs and core muscles are far more important than your hands or any bit. In order to learn this, you really need a good instructor and videos of yourself.

    It is never the horse's fault

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    I agree with Joe-Joe, you can get a horse squared up with a halter.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Riding for Christ – thank you! I get so frustrated seeing people rely on harsh bits, multiple bits, etc., when equipment is not the “problem”!

    It is never the horse's fault

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