View Full Version : On, In Front, Behind the Bit...???
6th Jan 2002, 11:59 PM
I have heard this quite a lot, but I am not sure how to tell which is which :(
My instructor explained that when the horse is ON the bit I should be able to feel the bit in his mouth through the reins. I think I have that part down.
But how do you know when the horse is on, in front or behind? I thought it had to do with the position of the horse's head, but I was told that wasn't correct.
Can anyone explain this to me? Please!?
8th Jan 2002, 09:17 PM
"On the bit" is one of those expressions you'll understand a lot better once you've felt it for yourself! Until then it's a bit difficult to explain, which is partly why it's very important for people to have access to schoolmasters who will give them the right feelings. It's a bit like using a new recipe and not having a picture to guide you - you've no idea how it should look when it's cooked.
Being "on the bit" is absolutely nothing to do with rein pressure. You can have your reins hanging loose, or you can hang onto them for grim death - it doesn't mean your horse is on the bit!
Generally speaking, a horse is "behind" the bit if they evade rein pressure by tucking their noses into their chests; if they're "above" the bit, they're probably sticking their noses up in the air. Neither is desirable, as you'll probably realise!
Being "on" the bit means that you horse is accepting the bit, and your hands at the end of the reins - he isn't fighting you or trying to evade you in any way, and he's ready to listen when you signal to him through the reins and with your seat and legs that you want him to do something.
The ideal head position is, as you suggest, approximately vertical, but to be properly onthe bit he should at the same time be carrying himself properly, so that he makes carrying YOU as easy as possible for both of you. To do that he rounds his back, which he has to do in order to enable himself to push his hind legs well underneath his body at each stride. You'll feel the difference when he starts to do this, because you get a lovely smooth, springy, powerful feeling underneath you! It's quite unmistakeable.
8th Jan 2002, 09:23 PM
I have no idea if this is true (!) but when a horse is on the bit should the front of their face be almost verticle?
8th Jan 2002, 09:25 PM
What a lovely explanation ros:)
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