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MY HORSE REFUSES TO ACCEPT A BIT

© by Gordon Adair / Trainer

I am happy to read the advice that you have posted for your readers. It sounds as if you subscribe to the same training principals that I do. I am the former owner of a dog training kennel which was based upon similar principals and precepts. While I have worked with a number of trainers, I have never apprenticed with anyone. I merely apply my dog training knowledge to my horse training. This carries me a long way, but occasionally leaves me short. Dogs do not have bits! My 12 year old gelding has been taking the bit successfully since I acquired him 6 years ago. My renters were suppose to care for, but not ride, my horses. My gelding how refuses to accept the bit. Getting my horse to accept the bit has resulted in having to but my finger into his mouth.

Your knowledge of dog training will serve you well when working with horses. Pressure and the release of pressure is the language used to work with both horses and dogs. By using pressure on your horses mouth you are correcting your horse for not opening his mouth.

When bridling your horse leave a untied halter on or attach it around your horse's neck for added control over your horse. When placing a bridle on your horse you will need to control his head by holding the bridle in your right hand between his ears. Your right hand holding the bridle can also apply pressure on the poll area which is a sensitive area for preventing your horse from raising his head. You should practice cueing your horse to drop his head willingly with the touch of your right hand on the poll. This way when your horse raises his head you will have a pre-trained cue to lower his head. The bit should be guided by the fingers of your left hand and your thumb is used to apply pressure inside his mouth. Once your horse discovers that the only way to avoid pressure is opening his mouth, he will stop avoiding the bit. Make sure your bridle is adjusted properly and evaluate how your hands are used when riding.

Persistence training is an important tool, in your case you should not give up until he opens his mouth. Then require him to open with less pressure each time by offering a lighter touch and increasing pressure until he opens his mouth. This way he has a choice of obeying at a light touch or a hard touch. Horses generally will pick the lighter touch. Within time your horse will open his mouth as you offer the bit to avoid pressure. The trick to training is to make learning fun after you gain control!

Training programs and rates / Lesson outline / Ground training / Training tools / Gordon's articles

Hoof Studies / Club foot and uneven heels / Laminitis and founder defined / Laminitis / founder treatment

Homepage / G.A. Equine Center / About Gordon Adair / Interview

Gordon Adair is a professional natural horse trainer and riding instructor with over thirty-seven years of experience. Gordon's specialty is instructing owners with their horses, the philosophy of teaching horsemanship and communication. The ability to teach and communicate can then be used with the owners own discipline and personality. Ocala, Florida for more information

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