New Horse – New Bit?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • emma_knight Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 4

    We just bought a new horse — a 17hh OTTB. He doesn’t fit the normal OTTB category. He is very lazy and requires a lot of leg but has a huge stride. We jumped him over a Xrail on the pre-purchase ride, and he seemed more energetic but very manageable.
    His previous owner rode him in a Slow Twist D-ring. I don’t think he needs the breaks, but I’m not sure whether to buy a slow twist and then have to go out and buy a regular (probably French Link) snaffle later or just by the French link now. I really need help with this, so thanks in advance!!

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    I would never use any bit that was not smooth. It is too easy to damage a horse’s mouth with any of the twisted bits. Many lazy horses have become unresponsive to leg cues because riders let their legs bang on the horse’s sided – – the real conversation & command gets lost in the background noise of the non-stop thumping legs. I would try a smooth bit and a whip, with light leg aids plus quite legs when there is no command being given, and very light requests when a command is given. We have to teach our horses to listen to a whispered command, not continuously short at them. If the horse ignores a light, but correctly given command, such as a little more power please, or a little more speed please, then the error of not listening to a whispered command can be pointed out with one sharp, but again correctly placed tap of the whip behind the leg. Then settle the horse down again, so he understands it is his lack of response that is being pointed out to him, not a random, meaningless expression of general sulkiness on the part of the rider. And try again. Long dressage whips are very good for this, as you can reach behind your leg, but the rider must be adept with the whip for this to be successful, so if you are not familiar with the use of dressage whips, you may need to practice carrying it before you use it. The real trick is to NOT ask harder with legs or add spurs. That only teaches the horse to wait until the rider starts using aids that scream instead of whisper, sort of like human kids who ignore Mom until she blows her top because they know nothing will happen until she does, so why bother paying attention to her until she gets to that point. The goal is to teach the horse to be as sensitive to what the rider is doing, including shifts of weight (which can also be commands), so that the rider only has to think the command, the rider’s body makes a minute change, & the horse received the command and responds to it. Obviously, this does not happen overnight, or in one session, but you can convert a seemingly lazy horse into one who responds to whispered commands.

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

    G&S nailed it. For my horses, I prefer the French link over the single joint always. Also, incorporate teaching him the word for what you are asking him to do. Once he learns what “trot”, “back” or whatever you say means, you may not need to use legs or hands at all.

    It is never the horse's fault

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