17 January 2008 17:06
I have a nine-year-old 16.2hh TB x ID who won’t stop when asked especially out hacking – he’s walked out in front of traffic at junctions several times and I often have to physically use another horse to stop him. He’s ridden in a snaffle at the moment, and my instructor has suggested something stronger, but I’m reluctant to do that.
By Your Horse
Natural horsemanship expert Kelly Marks says…
I’m pleased you’ve looked at the main physical reasons for this happening – always the best place to start – but it seems you’ve found nothing and are getting no improvement.
I’d always advise that you work with an experienced instructor and it seems you have someone to help you, but you’re not happy with her advice. I do think her suggestion about changing equipment is on the right lines but you have concerns that this means something more severe. This doesn’t have to be the case at all.
If you think of all the different ways we try to control the horse’s head (and whole body) there are several different points:
1. Corners of the mouth
2. Bars of the mouth
5. Curb groove
7. Roof of the mouth
Plenty of horses find the nutcracker action of a single joint snaffle really uncomfortable, so much so that they resist or become completely dead to the bit’s action on the corners of the mouth and tongue. A bit with a double link or lozenge in the middle or even a Pelham can soon make a horse much happier. You may even want to test your horse’s reactions – in a safe environment – to no bit at all and just nose pressure. Once you think you’ve found the right bit or type of pressure he’ll be happy to respond to you. Then you can start a training programme encouraging him to be light. A website you may find interesting is Hilary Vernon’s www.informedbitting.com. Hilary does talks on bitting, visits private clients and lends bits with a 14-day trial.