Showing posts from November, 2010

More about "On the Bit": Calm, Forward and Straight

--> I’ve been thinking about the role and responsibility of the seat and leg aids in “on the bit” and whether “on the bit” is dependent on those aids from the rider or simply influenced and/or refined by them at a later stage of training.  I got to wondering about all of this because all of the horses I start are given considerable training from the ground long before they are ever backed, and that ground work continues in addition to ridden work as a part of their training for the rest of their careers.  An important part of that ground work for me is introducing the horse to contact with the bit and the rein effects before riding in hopes of developing the best possible relationship between horse and hand, while also developing the correct form and balance needed for their later ridden work. Contrary to popular belief, longeing is not just a way to give horses a little exercise when you’re too busy to ride (though that’s not a bad thing) and it shouldn’t be the way to burn o

What it Means to be "On the Bit"

I love getting my e-mails, as they are usually filled with interesting news and information for concerned horse owners/trainers like me. So I was a bit dumbfounded by this recent article title: Study: Horses Prefer Less Rein Tension It stated: “According to a new study by European equitation scientists, horses might prefer to avoid rein tension rather than just get used to it. And beyond a certain force threshold, rein tension can cause conflict behavior . To make the most of training and to keep the horse's mouth sensitive, riders need to know when to apply less rein tension, generally when the horse displays conflict behavior.” When I read the title of this study I thought to myself, “uh, no shit, Sherlock.” Like a previous study stating, “ Study: Shelter-Seeking Behavior Most Common in Poor Weather Conditions ” this was not a major newsflash. But it was a topic near and dear to my training, so I read on and, to my great unsurprise, t