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Post by Meg on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:12 pm

I've been riding Zack (ex-racehorse) bitless for several months now and have had very few problems apart from steering sometimes.
Before I got my Dr Cooks I experimented with various bits and they all seemed ok for a week or two and then all the same issues would come back - head tossing, bunny-hopping and jogging mainly.
The bunny-hopping had been completely eliminated with the BB and the head tossing and jogging almost so.
Then Sunday I went out for a hack with a friend on the farm where our livery yard is based which turned into a real 'white knuckle ride' - he got in front and jogged and spooked all the way round Rolling Eyes - I put it down to the weather (cloudy and windy) and also perhaps because it was a fairly new route for him.
Then this afternoon (teatime) we went out for a short hack on a route he knew well and he was exactly the same or I should say worse!!
They both spooked at something (not sure what) and then he just took off - not a real bolt - it varied between a very fast trot and a canter but I could not stop him, I tried to circle him but he had set his head in the direction of home and that was where he was going. I just sat back and pulled with every ounce of strength I had and he was taking no notice at all pale
Eventually he realised that he had left his friend about half a mile behind and stopped to look for her - and I'm afraid I took the opportunity to get off and walked him home in hand.
I'm not proud of that but there is a road to cross between where we were and home and I was not taking the chance!!
When we got home my friend who we had been out with said in no uncertain terms - 'He needs a bit! I don't think you should ride him out in that again'.
I feel absolutely devastated, I had come up against so much opposition to the BB and felt that I had showed everyone how succesful it was and now I feel like a complete failure.
I don't know wether to persevere with it, try a different BB, go back to a bit for a while till I'm sure he's going to listen to me again or go back to a bit permanantly.
Do any of you have any suggestions or advice? Please?!

Thank you


Posts : 7
Join date : 2008-09-15

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Re: Help!!

Post by Jo on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:36 pm

Hi Meg,
having a bit in his mouth will not solve this problem - something has happened -something that is worrying him - check his tack - make sure he isnt hurting anywhere- check him over - his back, neck etc etc.
Dont ever feel bad about getting off. I have no problem getting off and leading my youngster if I am feeling unsafe. If I feel unsafe - he does too - because he is picking up on my unease.
and please dont be put off going bitless -
Why dont you try leading him out on those routes you mentioned and see how he behaves - just in a halter it may be an external influence that is setting him off
most importantly dont give up!

Last edited by winterweave (Jo) on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : presses send before I finished it!)

Posts : 110
Join date : 2008-08-11
Location : UK

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Re: Help!!

Post by Sydney on Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:16 pm

I have to agree: don't feel bad about getting off. You did the right thing in which could have turned into a possibly dangerous situation. When I am having a bad spooky ride with my mare I get off her and walk her and do a lot of ground work. In the end it paid off. Now if she is having a bad day I get off her, do groundwork to where she is listening to me better and we go on with our ride.

Something I always say and I am sure most will agree with me. It is not about the equipment you use, it's how you've trained your horse. I had this rude awakening the other week when I had a runaway though a little longer lived (5 times at a full out gallop in a cart around a track, luckily) it was the same bit vs bitless situation that I encountered. In the end the bitless ruled out as being better able to stop the horse in any circumstance but when a horse gets an idea in his head, especially confirmed bolters (which are far worse than buckers, rearers etc in my books) no piece of equipment is going to stop the horse.

Frankly bolters are the worst to ride. Theres a difference though between a horse that gradually speeds up and a bolter. I've ridden both and I hate both.
Some horses may spook, start off at a trot, quickly work their way to a canter and then gallop. If they get in the habit of this, always from the rider it can be a dangerous habit that can lead to bolting.
Bolting is going from a walk or halt etc into a full out unstoppable gallop.

One way I cured horses that gradually speed up is to get them to move their hips over to slow them down. Do it at a walk, trot, etc. I find this is the best way to halt that forward motion.
When I first got Indigo she would do a really jarring speed walk in group trail rides. I found that if I moved her hips over a lot when she was being speedy she really started to chill out and accept that I was the one giving orders of where she walked in the group.

You could try another bitless but it probably will not put an end to your problems. Some horses lean on the dr cooks I have personal experience with one that did but again like I said, it's how the horse is trained not the equipment you use.

Posts : 292
Join date : 2008-08-10
Age : 30
Location : Harrow Ontario Canada

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Re: Help!!

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