Do You Stop A Horse With A Bit?

The simple answer, my friend, is NO. You see, a horse stops because he was trained to it. It’s the training that stops him…not the bit. The bit is merely a signaling device. To get a runaway horse to stop you can employ the One-Rein Stop.

One reason it works so well is because a horse can’t push against the bit when his head is pulled to the side.

Only use the One-Rein Stop when necessary. You teach your horse some bad habits if you overuse the One-Rein Stop. One habit is he’ll start to move his hip out be because pulling his head to one side causes the opposite sided hip to move out. So the trick is to train the horse to stop. A good technique is to use a fence. Start in the walk. Always teach something first from the walk.

Anyway, walk up to the fence and before you get to it, adjust your body in the stop position. That is where you relax, take a breath, feet a little forward, and draw your belly button back to your spine. You see, the horse can feel that. It’s a pre-signal to what you’re going to want. A pre-signal is always a good thing to do for the horse. It tells him something’s coming’. Okay. You gave him the pre-signal and now you say “Whoa”. Whoa is the signal.

You may have to give a “post” signal too, and that is a slight bump on the reins. That means stop. So why use the fence to teach your horse to stop? Because it’s in his way. It’s an aid to help him to learn not go forward anymore. After all, there’s a fence in his way. As you practice this, don’t go to the fence 90 degrees. Go at more of an angle, say, 45 degrees.

Remember to switch sides on the horse to practice this. One more thing. Don’t make your horse stop, and stop, and stop. He’ll get tired of it REAL fast. Just do a couple stops on both sides then let him go where he wants. You can make a horse mad by overdoing it. And when he gets mad, he’s not too keen on being cooperative.

Last but not least avoid endless, boring lunging in a circle. Not only is it tedious but lunging has a tendency to “load” the inside leg and strain the hip joints and is tough on the suspensory ligament of the inside leg. Look how many race horses you have come across that have left front suspensory problems. That is partially due to running a race going to the left. The horse picks up the lead on the left front leg and causes severe strain of the suspensory ligament.

Lunging – A training method a horse uses on its owner with the purpose of making the owner spin in circles-rendering the owner dizzy and light-headed so that they get sick and pass out, so the horse can go back to grazing.