A Horse That Doesn't Accept the Bit & Shakes the Head

bitting polo pony training Apr 07, 2022

Is your horse grabbing the bit & shaking it's head? It is really a bitting issue or rather a training issue?  

Have you unknowingly re-enforced this behaviour? Before you change a bit, first address the cause of the issue.

Watch to see how I fix this issue in a horse very effectively.

A Horse That Doesn't Accept the Bit & Shakes the Head


Brigetta asked what to do when a horse doesn't accept the bit and shakes the head. Okay. So, again, if you go to the bit grabbing video, bit grabbing and head shaking video in the academy, it's very explicit.

But the big thing that people are kind of, the mistake they make, just to talk about it without watching that video, is that always rewarding the horse for the wrong response.

So, what happens is, you touch and the horse shakes their head and starts doing this, and you let go, because you want to kind of stop stop it shaking it's head. So, the horse very quickly learns, if I shake my head, this idiot on my back's going to let me go. Yep. Gav, you still there? We can hear you fine. Sorry, I seem to have lost you again here Rob's, we back?

So, my takeaway, my advice on this, is to use a snaffle bit with one rein on the snaffle. And every time that horse starts to shake its head, just grab it. Don't jerk it, but just pull it's head back to your knee. And when the head comes back, left it go soft. And every time it starts to shake, do the same thing.

Now, once it starts to realize that if it shakes, you're going to pull the head back, have the whip on the inside and touch it on the bum. And you'll find the horse actually turns with no head shake. Okay.

And they get to where you touch it and they put the head there, you get the backside out and they make a turn with no head shake, and you change them so quickly.

But it's that letting the horse go when it shakes its head. And it's not a bitting thing. You know, if you cure the habit, now you can work with a bit, but you'll never cure that habit with a bit, with a bit change, shall I say, you never going to do it. Yeah.

So, 100%. Brigetta, so first thing you need to do is just check on that, with what Gav was saying, and go to that training approach first, before you look on, on changing the bits around, you know, there might be a bit that that horse is far more happier and suitable in, but, it is very much likely to do with, with that riding and training issue as well.

And Gav, you've actually, there's a video in the academy as well on that head shaking. So, you, I can see you, you're getting frustrated there because obviously we've, you've lost us, but we've still got you. So, I'm just gonna carry on.

There's a lesson in the academy on head shaking that literally in, you know, five minutes Gav has completely and utterly changed this horse. I actually remember, I remember it specifically because Kit Brooks, is a 5 goaler in New Zealand in the academy. Kit Brooks, and he commented on that video just saying how, you know, what an amazing little clip you've completely changed that horse in five minutes.

And I was just referring to that lesson that you've got in the academy, Gav, on that horse, on head shaking. How do you cure head shaking and using that one rein stop. Yes, that's it. And literally within five minutes, it's a completely changed horse.

So, a hundred percent Brigetta, I hope that's that's will help you, you know, go away if, if I'm not sure if you're in the academy or not, but if you are, definitely go and have a look at that video and then go and work on that horse. 

And once, you know, once you've, you've got that horse really responding to that one rein stop and not shaking it's head as much. And you've got the training right. Then it's so much easier to actually go, go ahead and find the correct bit for it. Yeah.

The thing is, if you can get milder and milder, with the one rein stop Rob, once you've kind of got, You're quite strong to start with, and once that horse, you waiting for it to give, you've got to really pay attention to the timing of pull and release.

Because when you pull and you feel the horse kind of hold and the minute it goes soft, get soft. So, after a while you touch and the horse does this, give back, so you're rewarding it for no shake for giving you the response you're asking for. You're not rewarding it for that head shake, grab, pull you around kind of the story. You know, it works so well. It really does. Yeah.