Michigan 6 year old TWH/SSH, ridden in snaffle and tucker endurance saddle in  round pen, pasture by adv beginner

Question: I just read the article "Making Contact" by Lee Ziegler.  Great article!  I am riding my horse now by himself and he is constantly wanting to go back to his "buddies".  In order to control him, I put more pressure on his mouth and when he slows I release it  (I look like the person in the 1st picture).  My friend suggested going to a curb bit but in looking at those, they have different size ports.
When I ride with my husband, then I look more like the person in the 2nd picture.
Help!  I am new to gaited horses and would appreciate any input.



From Panelist Lee
Hi, Mary. 

We all look like that first picture sometimes .. but try not to! 

Better than putting pressure on steadily and releasing only when he slows, you might find the technique of the half halt more useful -- use a series of vibration/releases .. never a steady pull, with a final release and stopping the vibrations when  he does slow down.  Accompany this with a slightly deeper seat ( putting your weight just  a tad toward your tailbone ,not so much toward the front of your crotch, to be indelecate about it) and low
hand carriage, and he should respond.  The last thing you need to start doing is going down the road of bit inflation (curb bit) when the horse is not listening to you in the snaffle.  Instead, get his attention in the snaffle then maybe in the future when he is really a "good boy" you can ride him in a curb if you are both ready for this.

The "one rein stop" technique is also effective if you have a horse that is trying to run off with you, but it sounds as if yours is just a little anxious at being left behind.  The pull/slack .. pull/slack approach of the half halt will probably work better for you.  Give it a try.

Lee Ziegler

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