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Bit for green horse that pulls through snaffle

Good afternoon!

I thought I would try here for some advise for my green “mutt” as I like to call him haha. I have decent experience training from the ground up, I wouldn’t call myself professional, but I can hold my own. I have a 3 year old that I started about 8 months ago. He really is a great, easy going little guy that does not typically give me much grief haha. However, from the beginning, he has been very strong in the neck and mouth. If I would try to one rein stop him if he was getting too quick, he would stiffen his neck and just pull through and we would run in circles for quite some time. He seems to have given that up now for the most part, but I am having major issues getting him to give to the bit. I have him in a regular d ring snaffle with no chain. I have never, from the start, “hung on the bit” or used too much pressure to where he would be reacting to severe pressure and I ALWAYS release pressure the SECOND he gives me what I’m asking. As recently as yesterday, I am trying to slow him into somewhat of a jog, and he does not react to me trying to slow him. I sit deep in the saddle, I try the pull and release technique, the alternating pressure with my hands, pulling and not releasing, and giving him a hard yank. None of these give me what Im asking. So here I am asking for advice. Do I change bits? Are there other exercises I can work on? Please don’t suggest one rein stopping every time he speeds up because I think he actually enjoys running in circles to be a brat, and it can go on for several minutes. Maybe a temporary corrective bit? I want the mildest bit possible, however, I want the issue corrected before it becomes a major issue. Thank you in advance for any insight you may have for me. Thanks again!

If the throttle in your car is stuck open, you don’t fit bigger brakes, you fix the throttle.

In horse terms, your issue is going to be either that your horse doesn’t understand your seat aids or doesn’t respect them.

Therfore, find a dressage ring (or group of even spaced trees etc), and walk from each letter to the next, stopping AT (not near, not just in front of or behind) each letter.

When that works, trot between them. When that works, canter between them. Then your bit won’t matter.

Most people whose horses won’t stop can’t apply rein aids without tensing their seat and bracing against the saddle. Tensing your seat is a driving aid to most horses, so pulling on face to stop while driving with seat means the horse gets to choose which aid to obey. The quiet ones stop, the frisky ones go. This is why old school training says you don’t get to play with reins until the horse lunges from the seat alone.

I’ll actually retract my earlier analogy…bits don’t stop horses, training does. Reefing on his face just jams up his spine, so don’t just find a different way to pressure his mouth. Likewise, one rein stopping all the time plays havoc with his balance, and if he starts to anticipate being thrown off balance he’ll tend to brace up in anticipation.

Don’t let him take a single step if you anticipate you won’t be able to stop him. Try taking just a single step to see if it’s even possible.

The snaffle is the bottom of the ladder of bits. A youngster with errupting teeth shouldn’t even see a bit in my book, since his mouth is going to be sore a lot even without being reefed on.

I always start my horses in a simple hackamore (like a side pull) - AFTER they fully understand yielding to pressure. I long line and teach bending and yielding to pressure on the ground before backing them.

I back them in a side pull or a halter - eventually adding a bit, then I ride with two reins, one to the hack, one to the bit and slowly teach them about bit pressure = stop (because they have the hack etc, already understanding cues for whoa, its easy to introduce).

I am not sure what your process was - but it sounds like this horse has some holes in his training. I would go back several steps and start over. Also get a verbal WHOA well established before asking it from the bit.

I apologize, I should have stated that he has the “whoa” of a reining horse in hand, on the lunge line, and in the saddle. The second i put weight in the back of the saddle and say whoa, he is stopped, with no rein pressure at all. He has also been well worked from walk to trot, trot to canter, walk to stop, trot to stop, and still working on canter as he should be at 3. The only issue I am having is getting him to slow down his gaits. My other horses are trained to slow with seat and leg pressure along with a “shhh” command, and do it well. This one, however, could care less how long I say shhhh and easy. With seat pressure, I use a little leg to make sure he doesnt stop completely, and he will slow maybe a tiny bit, but not for more than a second. Also, I am a major fan of bitless bridles, and I am comfortable using them. Same as his trend, he will run through it. I have a Dr Cooks as well as a simple knotted and have tried both, as well as using it under a bridle and going double reins thinking the nose band pressure from the knots would discourage his behavior without being in his mouth too much. Did not help one bit.

I meant “whoa” not in the western stop dead in its tracks sense - but in the “whhhoooa and slow…” sense.

I am able to rate my horses gaits - as in ask for a bigger trot, then come back to a slower, smaller trot, then back up to a bigger one - based on voice, while working on a lunge line before I back them.

If he is running through everything - he isn’t understanding yielding to pressure. Time to take a big step back, as that should be one of the first things they learn before they are backed.

And I would not be reaching for bigger bits, or knotted nose bands, harsher won’t work. Its kinda like trying to speak to someone that doesn’t speak english. YELLING it at them won’t make them understand what you are saying (yelling = harsher tack), but breaking it down to VERY simple terms, till you get to a point where they DO understand what you are asking - then work up from there.

So, my advice? Work this horse on the ground until you can consistently get variations in gait when asked - he doesn’t understand why you are pulling on his mouth and he is blowing through it. He hasn’t learned the lesson about slowing his gait yet. Teach him that first. Then complicate it with a bit, and a rider on his back.

Well, there are lots of possibilities. Are your hands independent of body, and is your body telling him to slow and yield? Are you releasing too quickly- you’ve been at it 8 months, he should be yielding to pressure and STAYING SOFT until you release. At a standstill can you pull his head around, both directions, and hold until he loosens the rein on that side on his own?

I don’t know enough to know whether you ought to try a new bit. I suspect not, but on the other hand, it can’t hurt. I’ve known a very few horses who just needed a different bit every 6-8 weeks- not stronger, just different. My mare, who is typically soft, wasn’t quite as good as she ought to be in an iron mouthed snaffle. I’ve had her in a D-ring waterford mouthpiece for a couple of years now, and she quite likes it. But she gets ridden a fair amount in a bosal, as well, just depends on my whims.

Is it possible he just isn’t BUILT to slow down? Or that he is sore in his hocks (I know he is young, possibly grown issue?)

I would introduce leg yields and shoulder - in to help him be more balanced and using his hind end more. Then you can use spirally in and leg yielding out on circles and such to help slow him down.