Your opinion?

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by daniii, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. daniii

    daniii New Member

    Hi just wondering how you would explain to a begininer the difference between, Accepting the bit, On the bit, Above the bit, and Behind the bit.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    dunno about accepting the bit. perhaps tolerant of it in the mouth?

    these are my interpretations. what do others think?
    on the bit - horse is reaching for contact & works "round" but not necessarily 'collected'
    in this one he's slightly behind the vertical.

    above the bit - horse like a giraffe.


    behind the bit - horse sucking back, nose behind the vertical.
    you can see here there's nothing in my reins. i think i was trying to get him to go longer or something in a pleasure class & he just sucked back. he's almost at the stage where he seeks the contact now tho.
    even further back in our riding history.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  3. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    I wouldnt, they have enough to learn without confusing them with horse head positions/contact LOL

    But acceptance of the bridle is when the horse is not fighting the contact, happily going into the bridle and "holding hands" with the rider without any resistance.

    above/below the bit can be rider induced or resistance induced.
  4. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    but then... "going into the bridle"??

    haha, there's so much jargon in this field.
  5. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Excellent photo explanation, Blitzen **)
  6. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    I agree with Heiffer :) If they are a beginner they don't need to know as they shouldn't be paying any attention to where the horses head is :D
  7. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    They might not need to know - however, they asked politely... lol

    I'm quite sure that as a 'beginner' I asked a mountain of questions that were far beyond my skill level... still do! However, it all helps to paint the picture of what you are trying, one day, to achieve.

    If a question is asked, it deserves an answer, IMO. And Blitzens response was perfect - information without it being 'over the top' **)

    Edit: BTW! Welcome to Stockies, Daniii :)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  8. daniii

    daniii New Member

    Sorry, i think i phrased the question wrong. I am doing my certificates at pony club, and one of the questions was how you would describe in detail the jargon mentioned to someone of a beginner level being introduced to dressage.

    I am not intending to expect beginners to know this, they are just wanting us to describe with our own interpretations and not such a high degree of jargon so beginnners could if needed understand what was being said. I was purely just wanting to see everyones opinion on the way you would describe it if asked.

    p.s Thanks for the welcome. :)
  9. erilyn

    erilyn Well-known Member

    A horse is accepting of the bridle when he is relaxed and his head is still, he is going forward evenly, the rider has a straight line between the bit and their elbows through the reins and lower arms, with bit lower than the rider's hands. The rider should be able to 'feel' the horse's mouth evenly through both of their hands so that if they close the fingers on each hand alternatively, the horse's head should move slightly from side to side. Any head tossing, pulling of the reins, or the bit higher than the hands means resistance - and is therefore not 'accepting'.
  10. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    no probs!**)

    and IMO i think a beginner SHOULD have some idea not necessarily for themselves but so they don't create an impression that a horse overbent & on the forehand is "on the bit" etc and so on.
  11. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Ooooh ahhh good one! All righty here's what I would say......
    Accepting the bit is the horse moving happily with a light feel to the mouth, he's not throwing his head around to say he doesn't like it, he's steady in the contact or the weight that can be felt in the riders hands is not changing all the time.
    On the Bit (wow what a debate this sparks all the time!) I define as similar to accepting the bit but the horse perhaps has a slightly more firm contact with the riders hands, he's got that more of a show look to the way he holds his head aka on the vertical. His neck is nicely arched with the top of his bridle is the highest point (besides his ears!)
    Above the bit - he's not a happy chappy with what's going on in his mouth, he's got his head lifted in the air and his movement doesn't look very flash, bit choppy, stiff, bit like a lizard running.
    Behind the bit - looks showy but the reins are floppy, the horse is looking at the ground, his nose is close ish to his chest, it's another form of being above the bit ie resistance. Basically the horse has gone 'ok, you don't like my head in the air, what do you think about this?!' and gone to the other extreme.

    Well that's my attempt anyway.
  12. whitepantheress

    whitepantheress Well-known Member

    Accepting the bit: Where a horse is relaxed with the bit in its mouth and accepts mouth aids (gentle pressure on the reins) without resisting the bit (tossing its head, pulling back, bringing its head under, rearing etc)

    On the bit: Where the horse holds its head at the point where the base level of rein pressure becomes nothing. If they stop holding their head in that position, they begin to feel pressure again.

    Above the bit: the point at which the horse lifts its nose up to try to avoid bit pressure.

    Behind the bit: the point at which the horse pulls its head back towards the chest to avoid contact with the bit.

    How does that sound guys??
  13. daniii

    daniii New Member

    Thank guys, awesome responses. good to see that everyone has the similar opinion. Its funny how in reality tho how different it can be from horse to horse, about whether you believe the horse is truely on the bit, all because of the different confirmations of horses.

    Thanks again.
  14. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    My horse just isn't that religious, I guess! ';' :D

    Sorry, couldn't resist! lol Hot and hungry... I need to 'bit' into some KFC! OH is away in the USA... so my treat is junk food tonight! rofl :D
  15. whitepantheress

    whitepantheress Well-known Member

    PMSL, oh touche justjam!
  16. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    What better place to look than the EA dressage rule book ;)

    "A horse is said to be "on the bit" when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extention and collection of the pace, accepting the bridle with a light and soft contact and submissiveness throughout. The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the rider."

    What most people consider as a horse working "on the bit" is a horse that is working "round" and many times they are not working with the poll as the highest point ;)

    The second picture Blitzen put up to illustrate "on the bit" is actually a horse who is "behind the bit". In fact even the first picture the horse does not have the poll as the highest point.

    This horse is more correctly "on the bit" ;)


    Although this is a very interesting article stating why horses being "on the bit" is actually a bad term Ultimate Dressage • View topic - The Definition of "On the Bit"Written by Dr. Max G

    I am also curious as to why an internet forum is your resource for this terminology if you are going through Pony Club. I can remember all the manuals I had to refer to while at PC! I know one of them at least had all the definitions you are asking for ';'
  17. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Actually, Blitzen did say the second pic was of a horse behind the vertical ;)

    And it's funny, mirawee, however we seem to rarely see people riding horses in the 'correct' position (as in your photo)... they seem to be much lower... wonder why that is?
  18. whitepantheress

    whitepantheress Well-known Member

    Maybe the judges award more points for being on the vertical rather than just above it. I'm guessing, but I have heard some dressage judges judge more to fashion than classic correctness....

    *hope I don't cop it now*
  19. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    That would partially be it :D It does seem at times in Australia that horses have to be jammed into a frame rather than working from behind up into the contact.

    JustJam, yes Blitzen did qualify slightly with that photo - but did put it under the heading of "on the bit" ;)

    The horse that I have put the photo up of is a horse who is competing FEI and has most of the GP work established so his neck is up higher than you would ideally want a Novice horse's to be. Even he did go behind the vertical at times though ;) It was actually interesting watching a top reining rider (who would be used to riding with little rein contact) ride him at Equitana rather than a "dressage" rider - this is a highly trained horse yet is so strong into the contact at times :( It is a bit sad that a sport that is all about lightness and harmony seems to produce horses that are the opposite.
  20. daniii

    daniii New Member

    Just to clear things up I am not using the internet forum as my resourse, I have all the manuals, and a high understanding of it myself. I was purely asking a topic of discussion, which i persumed is what this forum was about, as to everyones opinion on what they classify on the bit and how they would describe it to someone. Fellow p/c members and myself found that we all had different ideas on how we would explain how and what we feel when our horses were correctly on the bit. I was just seeing what everyone else had.

    Also IMO, the manuals are great yes, but it is not as valuable as discussing with people and seeing differences of opinions which is hard to get from a book. Theres not always one fixed or right way

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