Once again the bits come in many different styles. Simple physics must still be applied to understand their actions. Longer and straighter shanks mean the more leverage action the bit will have. A curved or swept-back shank has less leverage action. Bits can have any style of mouthpiece and any style of shank. Some bit makers get fancy and have beautiful designs up and down the shanks and on the sides of the mouthpiece. Many people make the mistake and believe that once a horse is broke he can then always be ridden with a curb bit. This can be done, but the horse’s responses become sluggish and hesitant. Horses, just like people need refresher courses to remain in top form. It is important to continue both the training of the horse and the rider throughout their lives together. The snaffle bit is never outgrown and riding with two hands is not just for beginners. If you go to any big horse show and watch the top trainers schooling their mounts for any event, you will see them riding with two hands to keep responses fresh and correct. At home they will ride with snaffles at times, always training and reminding the horse of the desired response. Confusion eliminated, right!!!!???? Remember: “A bit is only as severe as the hands that hold it!! ” 39
How to Start, Stop and Turn a Horse When Riding Two-handed with a Snaffle Bit The rider now knows how to properly sit on the horse and has developed some confidence in their ability to balance on the moving horse’s back. They have read the pages on hand characteristics and hopefully, now appreciate the sensitivity of the horse’s mouth. The art of communication through the hands can now begin. At the start, think of the horse as having four doors, a front door, a back door, a left side door and a right side door. To get the horse to move in the desired direction, the rider must first open the door in the desired direction of travel and then close all other doors. This gives the horse no option but to go where the rider wishes. This opening and closing of doors in done with hands and legs and requires a great deal of coordination on the rider’s part. Humans are fairly laterally connected. For instance, if a person was sitting on a chair and was asked to pull hard on something with the left hand, the left leg would tighten as the person pulled harder, this is lateral connection. In horseback riding, diagonal connections must be made. The rider must think of pulling a door open with a hand and arm, as the horse is pushed through the door with the opposite leg, sounds simple until sitting on a 1200 pound moving animal. This coordination takes much concentration and relaxation on the part of the rider, even for the advanced rider that is unfamiliar with this type of cueing.
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- Fall '19