Is your horse leaning or pulling the reins out of your hands?

The main reasons that I have found for a horse to lean or pull on the reins is:-

  1. Teeth
  2. Pain
  3. No release from your hold on the reins

Question: My horse has started leaning on the bit. She was fine before she had her accident and hurt her back leg, I gave her three months off and now she has started leaning on the bit. I don’t know what to do to fix this. What do I do?

 Answer: This is a good question and thanks for asking. If you are 100% sure your horse has no teeth issues and is not suffering any pain, I would hazard to guess your horse is pulling the reins out of your hands because the is no release from your hold on the reins.

So, we are constantly told to be light on our horses mouth. This can be part of the problem sometimes (but not always). When a horse pulls on us, the tendency is to allow the reins to be pulled through our hands because you are striving to do the right thing and be “light” on your horses mouth.

I actually use a similar method when I am training the horse for Hunter Under Saddle, the only difference is, I am holding a firm grip to encourage the horse to “nose out” and get low… read my book From Go To Whoa – Section on Teaching your Hunter Under Saddle Horse. You can also refer to the blog 3 tips to help you win in Hunter Under Saddle. When a horse pulls on the reins, gets release and is not corrected, this actually teaches the horse that pulling is acceptable behaviour. Having been successful, the horse will do it again.

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