Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sneaking Rides and "He doesn't like the bit"

I see it all the time, folks talking about "breaking" their youngster and saying with pride that "I've been on him 3 times and he rides like a dream. I get on and just kinda let him go where he wants and if he wants to stop, I let him. He hasn't tried to buck me off or anything." Doing this is what I call 'sneaking rides' on a young horse, where you get on and do everything you can so that they don't realize they have a rider. I just got finished with one mare and now have a gelding that had this done to them when they were young. When they are started like that, it takes time after you actually start directing them to make them realize that they need to go the way you want them to go, not the way that want to go. Plus, all of a sudden, all that leg and rein pressure and they don't get their own way, it is much more likely to turn into a huge wreck. Horses that never offered to buck with 20 snuck rides will suddenly turn into a rodeo bronc when you actually ask them to do something. It is so much easier to dictate everything from day 1. Even on that first ride, they need to go the speed you want them to go and in the direction that you want them to go. It is up to you, as a trainer, to decide what they are ready for. If they aren't ready to trot circles, then fine, let them walk around but they need to go and stop when you tell them to and turn in the direction that you want to go. If you do this, you will get them broke so much quicker and they will generally be more willing to do exactly what you tell them to do instead of having their own ideas.

No young horse likes the bit the first few times. They will chew, chomp, twist their head, stick their nose out, shake their head, and try to spit it out. That's just a part of it. Just because you put a youngster in a snaffle and they act upset, don't just throw it into the "can't use that" pile. Work them through it. Get their attention back on you, give their mind something to think about other than that thing in their mouth and soon, you will find you have a horse that is quiet on the bit and doesn't mind being bridled simply because they know it is all part of it. They have accepted the bit the same way they have the saddle and no longer want to resist or avoid.

This mare hated the bit at first too, but I rode her through it and she ended up very soft and quiet on any bit I put her in.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds a lot like Rick Gore horsemanship.

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