Sunday, May 13, 2012

Preparing for a Snaffle or Hackamore

     Today I'll talk about working with young horses.  It will be easier for you to make progress if you remember that your ultimate goal is to make a riding horse.  Most people understand that a trained horse moves away from pressure, but I find that many people forget that this applies to the bridle as well as the body.  You can go a long way in helping your young horse accept the bit if you teach him correctly from the ground.
     Before you ever put a snaffle in a horse's mouth, you are handling and working him with a halter.  Now let me explain, a halter is not just for containing your horse, if it is fitted correctly, it applies pressure points to the nose and the poll.  When using these points, one can teach a horse to stop, back up, stand still, turn and pivot, come forward, even help with sidepassing from the ground.
     The point is to use the pressure points so that the horse has a basic understanding and acceptance (big point!) of yielding to pressure before you put a snaffle or "side pull" on.  Now you've not only taught the horse a maneuver but helped him to understand the basic bump and release of the snaffle.
     When foals are born, their first instinct is to nurse.  To accomplish this they must use their nose to bump to bring the milk down so a horse is "hard wired" to move his nose into pressure.  Our job is to teach him to give to the pressure of the bit.  This is especially important if you are planning on eventually riding your junior horse in the hackamore.
     Make sure when you are working your horse that you are preparing him for the lessons he needs to learn later on!  See you next week, JD

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