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[RC] bitting question - Jonni

I don't think the issue is the bit, one rein stops, lateral flexion or any
basic equipment issues. The horse sounds like it has been allowed to be in
charge. It wants to be "in the lead", and has been allowed to do so.  When
she stops at mud or water, she has not been made to go first, but to
"follow" at her speed through it.  The horse has some basic training issues,
that I am thinking will just get worst if not worked on soon.

It is easier to not fight a horse that wants to be in the lead, and it is
easier to let it follow another horse through the water than again, fight
with it to go first. But is this really the type of ride you want???

I'd do more training rides on the trail, both alone, and with friends. I'd
school on following at the pace I ask,working on passing others nicely,
having others pass me. If in a group, and the others pick up a trot from a
walk, I never allow my horse to do so until *I* ask him to. I may walk for a
few more strides as they trot off ahead, and then ask for the trot. It is MY
idea to trot, not his. Or, I may not ask him to trot at all, and let them go
off down the trail. Fussing, jigging etc. will not get him there faster. I
may turn and head back the way I came from if he were to get naughty.  On an
endurance or competitive ride, you can NOT let your horse be in charge of
the speed. You can not let them take off with another horse that passes
them.  I was sure to start these lessons right away with my current horse,
and I can tell you what a pleasant ride he is in groups. They can leave him,
and turn a corner out of sight, and he will continue at the gait and pace I
have set, until asked to do otherwise. And then, when we do pick up the next
gait, he does not rush and charge ahead, but listens to the pace I ask of
him. Oh, and we ride in a Frenchlink, on a loose rein. He has never tugged
on the bit.

I'd also work on water and mud crossings until it is a non-issue. If you
have that much trouble, then you might get in to problems at a really wet
ride!  If the horse has true fears, from maybe getting bogged down once,
then you will have to take it slow, and let them gain trust in you again,
that they will not have that happen. But, it sounds like it is not true
fear, just being a stinker.

I'd look at your over all training with this horse, and not just the bit.
Really consider if you have allowed the horse to get away with some things
on trail rides as it was just easier...



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