Bitting Dilemma

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Neighlands, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Neighlands

    Neighlands Well-known Member

    Ok - so I have this previously succesfull ex race TB - been off the track a while and is the most wonderful horse in every single way bar 1.

    He pulls my arms out of the sockets :(

    He was known as a puller on the track - now he has been spelling and weight gaining for the last 6 months and it's time to bring him back into work, previously a 2 score in body condition and now he is just perfect and time tobuild muscle and work again.

    Snaffle is just not cutting it - he hates a drop/flash/grackle noseband. Have tried a dutch gag - inconclusive.

    Suggestions gratefully received.

    He is 11 years - I am 50 - been riding for 45 years, keen to try new fangled stuff :p
  2. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    I would be staying with the snaffle and doing One Rien Stops. You may never stop this horse pulling:(. You can go more severe bit etc etc but at the end of the day his brain is the problem not his mouth. Be very careful as pulling ex gallopers turn into bolters at the drop of a hat. Not worth getting hurt over.

    I have a thread I posted the year before last on here about a pulling ex racehorse and recieved lots of good info. Maybe try and use custom search to see if you can get it up. Best of luck with it all. My scenario ended disasterously despite all the great information I recieved from Stockies and the horse ended up in a can:(.

    Best of Luck with it all. There are some very experienced ex galloper re trainers on here who can give you some info.
  3. Mad on Horses

    Mad on Horses Active Member

    Well will ask the obvious - have his teeth been done?

    Have you tried a straight bar bit, I had a mare that would pull and just not stop in a snaffle but was fine in a straight bar - the roof of her mouth was low and quite thick and so she hated a jointed bit of any kind and if it was combined with any sort of noseband she was even worse, I think it hurt her too much and like many horses her reaction to pain was to try and run from it. Once she went into mullen mouth bits she was much happier and more responsive.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  4. TB4Me

    TB4Me Well-known Member

    Bigger bit probably won't help much in this case.

    How much is he being fed? For an 'enthusiastic' horse, you can potentially make life much easier by feeding a lot of bulk and not much grain.

    Also, by the time he's pulling your arms off, you've already gotten into a strength competition which you don't want to get into, because you'll probably lose! The half-halt is your friend here, don't let it get to the point where it becomes a physical battle. Remember - he can't pull if he has nothing to pull against!

    If he's an OTTB then he may not know much yet, but if he wants to really set his neck and hang on the bit, gently bend him left and right, half-halt, turn a circle - make it almost impossible for him to really lock onto the bit.
  5. Elanda

    Elanda Gold Member

    What sort of riding to you want to do with him? As he is an older horse this may be harder to fix. Depending on what you want to do with him, I would try a shank bit or hackamore....both "bits" are "check and release" so give him nothing to lean on**)
  6. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    This is where pee wee bits come into their own - as long as you use half halts and don't lean back on him. They can't pull if there is nothing to pull against - he is using you as a crutch - he will not pull/lean if he is carrying himself.

    So no quick fix - but rather lots of schooling!! Flexion and foward are very important. If he is shown the comfortable and easy place to be he will go there rather than pull.
  7. painter

    painter Well-known Member

    After having his teeth done, a much better solution (better for horse/safer for you) than a stronger bit would be to send him to Watkins (or similar) for re-mouthing.
  8. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    This is not a huge issue to overcome IMO - just a hurdle that Desmo ought to be able to ride through considering she has alot of riding experience. Pee wees are not harsh bits when used correctly (ie not pulling on them), and are very useful for remouthing older horses. They are in essence a mullen mouth snaffle. They are not a bit I like normally but for short term use to assist fixing an issue they are unbeatable.

    Flexion, through the neck, poll, shoulders and rib cage are the key here! I find that most pullers/leaners are looking for a crutch a) because they have been trained to race that way and b) because they are unbalanced and stiff through the body.
  9. Neighlands

    Neighlands Well-known Member

    GTD - Thanks - i will go in search of your thread and I am sorry it didn't work out with your guy, however i feel my situation more encouraging. He isn't a bolter and does nothing wrong, he is just a little to keen to lean on me and the kids once into canter. He can work nicely on the bit at walk and trot but just gets going a little too fast in canter and then its a huge effort to slow him down, and this is where the battle commences, once he slows, he is good, I want more control at this stage ( i hope that makes sense)

    Mad on Horses - Yes he is seen to by Kirsten every 6 months. No i haven't tried a straight so thank you.

    TB4Me - He isn't fed now, He is on 25 acres of good pasture so not required now he is back from the brink. Half Halts and the like i do during battle so to speak as in the reply to GTd, but its this battle that I wish to eliminate. Its fine for me but both my girls are tiny and therefore struggle to bring him under control.

    Elanda - He is purely for pleasure, maybe low level eventing for me and trails and lessons for my girls - nothing special. I have a jointed Pelham I may try with double reins, once again fine for me but a handful for my girls. I can see where you are coming from on the hackamore too. Used one many years ago when one of my youngsters was having teeth troubles.

    Hen - Yep now I have looked at that bit in the past so I may well try. And you are right it's not a huge hurdle. I just thought some refreshing was due for me and whats new on the market.

    I seriously doubt this lovely boy would ever consider bolting, a bit of fast running maybe ;) In actual fact he did a bit a 'fast running' with my 13 yr old in the arena a while back which she wasn't expecting when she asked for canter ( having previously struggled to get older pony into canter ) this unbalanced her and she ended up around his ears, he almost immediatly slowed to a walk and pushed his head right up so she stayed on and slid back down into the saddle. He's a good boy :)*
  10. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    Why get an 11 year old OTTTB ?? ';'

    Seek out a good Horse trainer...{ Lou Francis is great with this problem- and I guarantee he'll solve it for you };- go back to riding the horse in a Halter & lead-rope..and teach halt & rein back.

    Best of luck

  11. Neighlands

    Neighlands Well-known Member

    This is Bob - The day I bought him in June 11 and now :) He needs a haircut i think :eek: And he has had a bit of a bath. Lovely Lovely man - just need to sort out the brakes ;)
  12. old_mate

    old_mate Well-known Member

    He is a nice looking boy.

    I used to ride a horse who would pull and then bolt.
    My Grandfathers advise (after the sugestion of a bullet) was to do 10 big circles at the walk and 10 at the trott and 10 at the canter each way.

    If the horse pulled or bolted it was back to the start to do it again. I spent weeks going around and around. IN fact it was months of going around and around but the horse did learn that pulling or bolting would mean circle schooling.

    The pulling stopped after about 4 months. The bolting stopped as well.
    I know that there would have to be faster better methods but if you get no joy with them this could well be worth a try.
  13. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Wow great job on putting the condition on him! He has such a lovely kind eye too, looks like quite a sweety :)

    Onto business...... I will second GTDs suggestion of one rein stops and lots of them. A very good horseman I know in Alice Springs told me that the best thing for OTTBs was lots and lots of one rein stops. I swear by the one rein stop not only for OTTBs but for all horses. It has certainly saved my butt a fair bit and only last week I realised once again the value of a well trained one rein stop.

    In regards to bitting I would keep it as simple as can be.... loose ring sweet iron snaffle (with or without a copper link) with a lip/chin strap would be my first recommendation, an FM snaffle would be my next. These two bits are nice and simple and won't pull through the mouth when doing a ORS ;)
  14. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Citygirl, I bought an 11 year old fresh off the track TB, he has been a wonderful horse for me :) Hard work to retrain but so worth it - and very gratifying to go from a nutter who would rear, buck, bolt etc to a horse that was jumping 1.10m+ and now is going hacking, AND teaching my husband to ride - what a bargain! I adore that horse :)
  15. Neighlands

    Neighlands Well-known Member

    Great - thanks for the suggestions - I will see what works for us and report back.

    He is just the sweetest horse in every single way bar the pull and even that isn't on a nasty scale, with the correct bit that suits him he is about as perfect a horse I could ever hope for.
    I have been blessed with a couple of special guys in my time - I didn't think another would come my way, then Bob turned up :)
  16. SexyRitzy

    SexyRitzy Well-known Member

    Desmo- I used to ride him in a copper roller D ring snaffle. He seems to like that one. He is looking great! :))
  17. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Usually horses who have raced for that long actually are pretty cruisy horses and have seen lots :D Anything too hot and "nutty" wouldn't have lasted in the racing game ;) So as a pleasure horse for an experienced person why wouldn't you get an 11yo OTTTB?
  18. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    My one that finished racing at 11 is the hot difficult one lol, the 7 year old red one who was a totally crap racehorse is the cruisey one haha! I think they are all different and there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to all horses :)

    Aaaaaaand my warmblood is hotter than either of the tb's ... *#):D
  19. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Really Hen? Everyone I have talked to who have gotten older OTTTB say that their horse is so cruisy LOL. You must have just been "lucky" :D
  20. Neighlands

    Neighlands Well-known Member

    Thanks SR - have been in touch with bitbank and hopefully i can try one of those too.
    Can't wait to get him fit and rippling with topline and muscles :D

    Perhaps I should eat more Weetbix :p

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