What are the reasons for
the mouths of horses to progressively deteriorate after being handed
over to the owner by the 'Breaker'? They almost always do, some more
than others and some, totally.
Lets say the mouth of the
horse is finished at a 9-10 when it is handed back to the owner.
From that day forward, unless the owner is a professional rider, the
mouth of that horse will diminish for various reasons and end
anywhere between zero and about 6.5. I rarely meet one over that
mark. So what are the causes of this?
Having a contact
against the mouth of the horse at any time other than when
actual rein aids are being employed. Put another way, holding a
feel of the mouth of the horse, via the reins, of any type, when
the horse is not correctly 'on the bit, round and soft'
Leading a horse 'Pony
Club style' and allowing ignorance.
The use of webbing
halters and floppy lead ropes on horses.
Standing still on a
horse, with any contact, even a gram, unless the horse is under
the Judges eye and/or 'round and submissive'
Having ANY contact
against the mouth of a horse at the walk whilst on a trail,
pleasure ride or even walking from the tack up area to a
dressage arena or back.
Working any horse
under training and allowing it to be 'above the bit' and
therefore not truly or completely submissive.
Allowing horses to
break away whilst tied up (twine)
allowing a horse to hang on the end of the lunge line.
Whilst leading a
horse, regardless of the style or technique, allowing the horse
to hang against the rope, no matter how subtly. Put another way,
leading without a loop in the rope at all times.
Allowing a horse to
invade your space on the ground, push you, pull you, head butt
you or make you move instead of it moving.......and
Not understanding that
'reward and relief' for lightness doesn't come from the rider
UNTIL the horse does it first!!!!!
Never being told that
it is not always about feel, savvy, an ounce, give to the
lightest give and so on.
Knowing when to give
or soften and the timing associated with that.
Not having consistency
in the hands.
hands due to hand and arm position.
Never having been
truthfully told the secret to keeping a good mouth on a horse.
The most senseless
thing that I ever see in the Horse Industry. Hanging on to the
lead rope of a horse that is tied up and poking it's head this
way and that way. Tugging, attempting to influence, horse
pulling, handler pulling, all for what? For a complete lesson in
ignorance and the undoing of any good work that a Trainer may
have put into the horse. I see it all the time and I saw it
today. Pushing and pulling on the head of a horse that was tied
up solid and ties up like an Olympic Tie up horse. I see it
particularly when a person is hosing a horse down. The horse is
moving so we pull the lead rope, push the lead rope, "Stand
UP".....tug, pull, push, .."Stand Up"!!!!. For Gods sake,
leave the bloody horse along, stand back away from it and train
the bloody hose on it. Leave its damm head alone and just blast
it. Stop fighting with it. Stop getting up close and personal.
Get out of it's space so it can't invade your space and use it's
size to manipulate you. IT IS TIED UP!
There is a
debate in the World of Dressage about the use of simultaneously
using leg and hand. Depending upon which School they may come from,
dictates whether they promote leg and hand separately or if ever leg
and hand together is acceptable.
There has been a frenzy of debate lately, regarding the German
Training Scale and in particular, the question of whether leg and
hand should be used separately or together. Probably the difference
being that those pushing the 'separate aids' principle are
supporters of the French system rather than the German but I hasten
to point out the results from the recent Olympics and ask you to
tell me where the French were placed.
other observation is that the noise is being made by Trainers who
don't compete in Dressage. Very easy from the arm chair whilst navel
gazing. However, I want to pass onto you, my Readers, some
observations from the real World and in particular, the Mouth of the
If one uses hand alone, not supported by leg, the Mouth of the
Horse deteriorates. (Read my lips)
However, if the integrity of the Mouth is Good, it matters not.
If the hand is used, separately from the leg, the Mouth of the
Horse normally deteriorates unless certain rules are followed.
As the Mouth of the Horse deteriorates, resistance builds and
progressive hollowing occurs.
As regular riding in this style goes on, the muscular ability of
the Horse diminishes.
Then so to the shape of the Horse alters and top line
Ending in poorer Dressage Scores all round.
and Yes, Professionals can ride without Leg and do but they also
keep the rules in place and the integrity of the Mouth in tact.
Here is a photo of a NH
broken horse, ridden for 12 months in a rope halter. Note the
contact, 'on the forehand'. The owner now wants to compete 'English'
Can you see the absurdity of riding this horse with a contact?
This subject is truly ,
THE most mis-understood and poorly taught of all. The secrets are
rarely passed on and often not understood by the teacher. There is
basically no chance of learning these things at Pony Club and less
than 50% chance of being truly taught later. Confusion abounds and
Trainers, Coaches and Clinicians often want to pass on one message
but do exactly the opposite on their own horses. Best of Luck
If you want
to know more about this subject, email me for the free 145 Page
me for the free 145 Page E-Book.
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