your views on "long jaw" please

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by xyzabc, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. xyzabc

    xyzabc New Member

    Hello, just asking a quick question here.

    Trainer tells me my mare has a "long jaw" and hence she gets "leverage" against the bit and can then "go through the bit".

    There were lots of other things he said but this one is new to me. She does have a long head in comparison to my other horses but she's a bigger horse too. Proportionally she looks ok to me, and to others who know her (inc. campdrafters I know). Certainly none of them has made that comment before.

    This trainer educates and re-educates lots of horses, esp. for people working cattle.

    Views on his comments would be much appreciated.
  2. Topcat

    Topcat New Member

    I guess purely as a matter of physics, horses with a longer head would have more torque and what he says would be true.
  3. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    Sorry but any horse is strong enough to ignore ANY bit if it really wanted too, it doesn't matter if it has a long jaw/short jaw or whatever! If you have a horse that pulls on the bit, leans on the bit, is heavy in the hand etc. etc. it just has not been taught (or has been UNTAUGHT) how to come off pressure and respond to the pressure cues the bit provides! A horse that is heavy/pulls/leans etc...has two main issues, firstly, it needs to learn/relearn now to GIVE to pressure and secondly, they are stiff and need to be assisted to improve their suppleness.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  4. NLEC

    NLEC Well-known Member

    Totally agree with RetroRemedy ;)

    It's an excuse, or a useless label.

    Pressure and release, pressure and release.

    The horse has thousands of sensitive nerve endings in the mouth. If it is taught that it is a good idea to respond to pressure, it will choose that.
  5. xyzabc

    xyzabc New Member

    Thank you, your comments are appreciated.
  6. Topcat

    Topcat New Member

    But isn't less force required to move something further away from the fulcrum (i.e. longer face/jaw length) than something that is comparatively shorter and therefore closer to the fulcrum? Isn't that how torque works? That's my understanding of physics and those concepts anyway, but I'm happy to stand corrected.

    If he is saying that it will be comparatively EASIER for her to get leverage then as matter of physics that is certainly true. As the others have correctly pointed out however, ALL horses can ignore the bit and use leverage since all possess a fulcrum, axis of rotation etc but those with a shorter jaw comparatively speaking will not find it as easy as they won't have as much leverage.
  7. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    That is the problem only start worrying about leverage when your horse becomes resistant to the bit and no longer understands or accepts the communication from the bit....basically when your bit communication fails and you end up relying on inflicting more extreme forms of discomfort on the horse. When a horse starts pulling, leaning, being heavy, resistant, hard mouthed have two choices......fix the problem (learn some timing and feel and TRAIN the horse to accept and UNDERSTAND the bit)...or just use a bit that is more severe.

    Funnily enough it is actually faster, safer, more enjoyable to re-train.

    Believe it or not, all those dressage books (and all other books on many other horse sports) that talk about a light, soft contact are actually describing what contact should feel like....if there is resistance, it is being done wrong :)
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  8. Topcat

    Topcat New Member

    I think I'm missing some background knowledge of the OP's conversation with her trainer. I'm just going off what has been written and didn't know that the trainer in question was using jaw length as an 'excuse' for the horse being heavy.

    I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that he had merely made an observation about what would happen when her horse became resistant, i.e that it would become easier for her horse to move around the axis of rotation, relative to other horses with a shorter jaw. (And physics tells us that that is true, the OP's horse will have to apply fewer newtons of force to move around the axis of rotation than a horse with a relatively shorter length jaw).

    That is the levarage I was referring to, not the levarage of the bit.

    Therefore, my understanding would be that if you had a horse with a comparatively longer jaw you would be wanting to ensure that the quality of the contact and submission to the bit was as optimal as possible - because that horse is physically going to have to apply much less force to the "lever" to move around the rotational axis than a horse with a shorter jaw.

    RR, I think in fact we are on the same page, because as you quite rightly say, "you only start worrying about leverage when your horse becomes resistant to the bit and no longer understands or accepts the communication from the bit".

    I didn't know that the trainer had advised the OP to just use a harsher bit and not to bother training the horse to accept and understand the bit. I absolutely agree 110% that the essence of training any response is pressure and a timeous release. I would be a bit surprised if he doesn't advocate that ... failing to employ appropriate use of pressure and relase is the fast track to learned helplessness I would have thought :/ But as I say I am just going purely by what was in the OP's post and haven't heard what else he said.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  9. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    Sorry Topcat, my comments are just general and I am sure it is just an observation/explanation and mean to make no comment on the quality of the instruction :). It is just as an observation, it just distracts from the real problem which is the training, not really anatomical variation :)
  10. xyzabc

    xyzabc New Member

    Sorry I was just asking a question to get to the nub of what was going on. I won't be getting on this mare again, I'm a middle aged beginner rider and she is not suitable to learn on which is what I bought her for. I've had 3 falls off her now, each worse than the earlier one, the last ending in hospital.

    I want to rehome her so sought the advice of a trainer, and he ended up telling me she is worthless and I should dog her. Actually he said she's probably alright for dressage or show jumping, but not for working cattle.

    I suspect I'm being softened up to take a low offer on her. Some of what he said is true, some is probably true but the 'long jaw' thing had me confused, hence I asked as I figured I would get a informed but impartial answer here.

    Thanks again, it has been very useful.

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