Why does my horse go ‘on the bit’ in his field but not when I’m on him?!

Posted by in above the bit, flexing your hrose, on the bit, Q & A on Jul 7, 2015

“I watch my horse float around his field and yet, try as I might, he won’t go on the bit in the school! What am I doing wrong?

Great question! The simple answer is – you’re asking! Horses,as you’ve so often seen, carry themselves naturally in the shape we know as ‘on the bit’. It’s only when we get on and intefere that problems occur. You need to stop thinking about where his head is and start thinking about the rest of his body.

What you need to do is ride him forward so he uses his hocks and back correctly. When his back ’rounds’ or arches he’ll naturally carry himself ‘on the bit’. 

The first thing you need to do is get him straight so he can stay balanced. (Riders so often get too focused on bending their horses to the inside but that unbalances them and makes it impossible for them to relax in their backs.) Check out this post.

When he’s straight concentrate on pushing his quarters up behind his shoulders. Get his body shorter and really actively moving onto a steady contact. Check out this post to see a great way of doing it without thinking too hard!

Think of your contact as a brick wall that your legs push him into. He can’t get past it so his body will bunch up behind it making his back arch and his neck relax and flex. If you pull back on himself mouth that ‘brick wall’ falls towards him – he backs off and tightens his back, lifting his head and lengthening his body so his hocks stop pushing. There’s more on that here

Good luck and keep in touch!




Leave a Reply