I have a 6yr qauter horseX who is mostly green. My mum and I have been working on him for just over a year to get him 'out' on the circle and improving his paces. But he still is way above the bit, especially when schooling and gets tense, his neck goes all stiff and archs up.
Please help!!!

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The main problem is that most riders cannot tell when the horse is "on the bit" or what it means to the horse. The first time the horse goes on the bit it will only be for a few seconds If the rider does not recognize this and reward the horse for his efforts things will go downhill from there on.
Jane Savoie has some good videos that might help you. A good coach would be better.
Draw reins will not put a horse on the bit nor will it correct the rider problems that prevent the horse from going on the bit that are evident in the picture.
Hey Amy.
Queenrider gave you good advice. You need to learn when to release and let your horse relax.
Read this page here, it should make some things clear to you.

Please, please do NOT use draw reins! Unless you are extremely skilled with them, all they will do is increase the horse's resistance, possibly put him behind the leg AND the bit, and harshly used, can cause a horse to flip over. You are a young rider. I don't want to sound like a snark, but I doubt you have the requisite skills.

The nearly head-on photo tells very little, except that you are looking down (look UP and OVER your horse's head!) and that possibly your stirrups are too long. I say that because it appears that your right heel is up. Many riders think their stirrups must be "long" for dressage, but it's not necessarily so! For instance, I will ride a young green horse with a slightly shorter stirrup. Too long a stirrup just makes it hard to control your lower leg and makes you fight for your position in the saddle.

Queenrider gives good advice here. You must have a good sense of what "on the bit" feels like and reward it immediately when it happens. While Jane Savoy has good videos, it would be better still to find a good riding instructor -- that's your best option. A good instructor can teach you the skills you need to help your horse. There are many things riders to to their horses that makes it impossible for the horse to "go on the bit". Most of the time, the rider doesn't even know she's doing it, and therefore doesn't know what to fix!

Here are some examples:

Riding the horse "over tempo". Riding him not necessarily "fast", but so "quickly" that he has a hard time balancing himself. If he can't go forward IN BALANCE, he doesn't have the ghost of a chance to go "on the bit".

Posting too fast -- leads to the problem I just described -- upsets the timing and balance of the horse.

The rider uses the reins as balancing straps to maintain her position. Lunge lessons with no reins or stirrups will help gain the independent seat that all good riders must have.

The rider is stiff, tense, gripping with the legs, hunched over, banging on the horse's back. Any or all of these things cause trouble for the horse.
I've resisted responding to this question because I feel you are looking for an "easy" answer to a very complicated question but I have to add my agreement that given what you have described draw reins are a terrible idea.

You and your horse need professional help. That's not a personal comment or a slur on you IN ANY WAY. It's just that correctly training a horse to go "on the bit" takes "eyes on the ground" and it takes lots and lots of "wet saddle blankets", by that I mean time in the saddle and instruction.

Lots of people can "frame" a horse, ei: make it "look" pretty. It takes a lot of training and experience to truly get a horse on the bit.

It's worth all the time effort and training.

I hope this isn't falling on deaf ears?
My mum and I used the draw reins only for a short period to give him the right idea, as his previous owners had giver him the completely wrong training. We did not overly use them nor use them harshly, my mum is an experienced rider and she was the one who usually schooled him in them.
I do also know what, 'on the bit' feels like and do reward him as he has been improving recently.
Yep, the best place for the drawn reins is in the bin. The pony looks sweet and will probable be willing if it can figure out what you want. It looks like you have some hilly country near by, so you should use that to help build up the top line strengh of him . Just troting and walking up and down the hills with you just off it's back will work wonders . First we must make the horse strong enough to carry us, before it can carry itself. On the bit is not something that you can force , it has to built up to with the right type of conditioning work ( witch the hill work will help with) . He goes stiff and tense because it is too hard for him to do physically. What type of exersises have you been doing the " improve his paces"? Sometimes taking a step backwards is the best thing( in his training ,not reining him back) as conditioning must come first . So a few weeks spent riding around the trails up and down some hills sounds fun to me. The simple things usually work the best. Cheers Geoffrey
thankyou for the great advice. i have actually trotted him up the hill a few times, i wondered if that helped as it seemed tostretch him out. I always start a schooling session by getting him to walk, trot ( and try to ) with the canter. my mum said this was a good way to stretch out his topline.then i go through lots of transitions, walk-trot, trot-canter, walk-halt, trot-halt, canter-halt etc. is this the right things to be doing.
i also do some work over trotting poles.
what do you mean by " improve his paces"?
thanyou for the good advice
The exersises I'm asking about are the ones that you are doing ,I.E. transitions ,trot poles, that type of thing. You could try a little bit of leg-yeilding, I'm sure your mum will know how to do them . Sounds like your on the right track, just give the draw- reins a miss as I said before. Cheers Geoffrey
yes, my mum has been trying to teach me to do leg yealding and she does some with my horse. im kinda getting the hang of it and can get him to do it sometimes.

thanx, but as much as i would LOVE to get taught by an instuctor they are to expensive for my budget. although once a fortnight i do go to a good pony club where they give me some instruction.


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