In many cases, “hard to please horses” like the one Stefanie describes in the Q&A video below, who toss their head and gap their mouth, don’t have a bit problem.
As I state in Secrets to Barrel Racing Success, the way we go about performing maneuvers, applying techniques and solving problems, matters. In many cases, it’s not the BIT, but HOW our horse responds to it, that we must be concerned with. If our horse is not responding in a way we would like, we need to ask WHY, and develop a solution from there.
This time of year, as intense rodeo action is playing out at stock shows nationwide, I’m reminded even more, that the horses who excel those little pens, with short runs and funny angles to the first barrel, are the horses that are especially soft and supple to bit pressure (and through their entire bodies). They not only especially excel in those more difficult set ups, they excel more in general.
Putting the odds in your favor requires a commitment to creating feather-light response to bit pressure. When you do, your horse is more likely to wrap around those barrels wickedly fast, even in less than ideal circumstances – leaving the stiff, resistant horses in the dust!
Of course, horses DO have preferences when it comes to bits, and they are likely to perform better with certain types. However, no matter how advanced and complicated the contraption is that we put on our horses head or in their mouth, it can never replace emotional fitness and a solid educational foundation. (Watch the video below to learn about how you can provide both to your barrel horses.)
Along with this week’s video, I’m including this link to a book titled Recognizing the Horse in Pain…And What You Can Do About It! In the case of any behavior problem, we always want to rule out a health issue, first and foremost.
Also check out Form, Function & Communication with Barrel Horse Bitting Expert, Dave Elliott to learn more about horse anatomy, bit function and the importance of choosing one specifically based on your horse’s need and what you intend to accomplish.