||Missouri 5 year old Spotted Saddle Horse with
60 days professional Training. Ridden in snaffle and western saddle in
round pen by fair rider
Question: My horse pulls on the bit ALL THE TIME. When you go
for a trail ride you come back with arms that feel like they are going
to fall off. She is a very spirted horse but
has no bad habits and her ground manners are good. It is as if she
wants you to let her go so she can fly across the trail.
She has a good whoa but then will prance and act like she is wanting
to go all the time. Would more training help or maybe a different bit.
I had the doc check her teeth and
there are no wolf teeth there. Help trail riding isn't much fun anymore.
From Panelists Laura
Here's a simple thing you can try to slow down your filly & teach
carry her own head. Practice first in a round pen or arena where
she may be
more willing to walk & pay more attention to you. Loosen
up your reins so
that she has to carry herself (very light or no contact with her mouth).
she speeds up too much, just give a gentle pull until she slows, praise
and loosen the reins. Tell her to walk. Do this over again
many, many times
until she realizes that when she walks on a loose rein, she can relax
herself. If she speeds up, she is corrected.
When you go out on the trail, do the same thing you did in the arena
best at first to do this when walking away from home). Whenever
you ask her
to walk, loosen your reins and let her relax. Pull her down when
up and immediately go back to a loose rein. It will take a while,
she figures out that it is more comfortable riding on a loose rein,
likely decide that she prefers it. Be sure to praise & pet
her when she is
Don't go for a stronger or more aggresive bit. It sounds like
attention & stops well - a harsher bit will just make her more
with what you are already using and just teach her that you want her
more when you are riding her.
From Panelist Lee
It takes two to make a puller -- the horse, and the rider. The
this problem is more training, teaching the horse to go on a light
(light contact from the rider's hand) and not try to pull. I
change bits, since this is a basic lesson that needs to be taught in
snaffle ( a shankless snaffle, not a cowboy "curb snaffle") --
if you put
her in a curb she will eventually learn to pull on that if the problem
Go back into your round pen (or an arena if you have one).
Ride her at
some speed (in a fast walk to begin with) and as soon as she starts
on the bit, pull backstrongly with your hands on either side of the
the saddle, once, then relax your fingers and allow the reins
to slack a
tiny bit. If she tries to take off, again use one strong pull,
the tension on the reins. If she continues to speed up, just
pull strongly then slack off on the reins. Practice this little
until she moves forward without pulling on you -- and without you pulling
steadily on her to slow her down. It may take a while. She may
confused by your refusal to let her pull on you. You may be afraid
to pull steadily to slow her (that is why you are in the round pen).
Horses tend to lug into a steady pull, not to slow down from it.
pull steadily on her mouth. In a couple of lessons she should
be willing to
go around in the pen or arena without pulling on you. Do not
try to take
her out on the trail until she is doing this consistently in a confined
at a walk and intermediate gait.
Next step -- taking her out on the trail. Go with a couple of
that don't rush on the trail. Ride her at a slow walk, with them,
pulls and slacks on the reins if she tries to speed up or lean on you.
that is working well, then speed up to a flat walk for a short time,
using the pulls and slacks to slow her, never ever allowing her to
go with a
steady strong pull on your hands. Try a few short bursts of intermediate
gait. Don't let her pull steadily and do not pull on her steadily.
way home, walk slowly (have the other horses also walk slowly). If
antsy, take her in a wide circle, heading away from home, until she
down.. Don't let her trick you into holding steady pressure on her
"control" her on the way home. Build on the good experience you
had on this
ride in future rides, again going with calm, quiet horses.
It will take time to teach her to control herself and to relax on a
rein. That is what these little exercises are about -- teaching
and teaching yourself not to get into a pulling match with her.