Giving to the Bit (Part1) by Tracy Porter
When the horse is "giving to the bit 'the horse is recognizing us, responding to
our request and turning over control of a body part to us
This month due to the magnitude of the subject, "Giving to the
Bit", I will begin with an overview. In later issues, we will discuss the topic more in depth by covering how the horse physically changes, how the horse benefits mentally and how it
makes training the emotional side of the horse easier.
There are many popular training practices that talk about the horse giving to rein pressure. What makes this "Giving to the
Bit" technique, unique is that it is broken down and enables us to get more in depth in the understanding of what can be attainable by teaching by this method. The
horse begins to give to the bit and soften on a single inside rein. This recognizes the fact that the
horse evolves through many physical phases. Of course it doesn't end there. When we have the
horse working well on both inside reins separately, then we teach the horse to respond to the other rein, also known as the "giving to the outside rein".
A horse's performance is greatly improved if the horse develops the proper muscles to support his body. Not only does the horse benefit physically, by developing muscle structure, but also
enhances and improves overall quality of the gait. A result of this evolutionary process is the horse becomes more responsive and learns to elevate its front end. When we learn how this all fits
together, we can fall back on it when we notice the horse begins to stiffen. For instance, when teaching a new maneuver it's inevitable that the horse gets heavier. If we know what to do when
this happens can improve our performance with our horse. Not only can we achieve the above, but we can also learn how to get control of the individual body parts of our horse off of each rein
and by itself, later we can talk to multiple body parts by using both reins.
When the horse is "giving to the bit 'the horse is recognizing us, responding to our request and
turning over control of a body part to us.
What age does the horse need to be to teach this?
We can teach this to young horse that has never been mounted, we can also teach it to our favorite
horse whether he's 4 or 40! What discipline is this geared for? Any discipline you would like to pursue.
It's based on basic dressage, which makes the pleasure, performance, reiners, jumpers, endurance, trail and dressage horses of tomorrow!
Where do we teach this?
We can teach this on the ground and also up on the horse. By teaching it prior to the first mounting, we have taken steps to ensure a safer first ride. One important thing we should havealready
taught the horse is to move its hips over. It's nice to know that we have brakes when we may want to use them.
So, where does all this begin?
There are at least nine spots, this doesn't include the hips or shoulders. These first nine spots are
only seen in order as the horse progresses. This is what we mean by evolution. We first are looking for spot 1, when we are getting 1, the horse is automatically starting to soften spot 2.
When we see the pick up the rein and the horse is softening spot 1 and 2, we know he is already
starting to soften spot 3. This continues through all the spots on the horse. We just can't pick and
choose what spots we want. For instance, the horse begins to break at the poll when the horse is
softening spot number 3. But if the horse is not giving us 1 or 2, we can't just jump in and work on 3.
THE 9 SPOTS: See the photo!
*Spot 1: The jawbone.
*Spot 2: The ears.
*Spot 3: The short muscle line in the neck.
Spot 4: The poll.
*Spot 5: The mane, from withers to ears.
*Spot 6: This is the found at the bottom of spot
7. As the horse advances the spot moves forward up the horse's neck.
*Spot 7: This is a line that runs along where the shoulder and the neck meet.
*Spot 8: The shoulders.
*Spot 9: The withers.
In the next issue I'll write in more detail about the spots, what we are looking for and the physical
changes we see in the horse. In the mean time may your horse enjoy spending time with you, as much as you do with him!
About the author...
Tracy Porter-The Farm
I rode my first horse with my mother when I was two years old and screamed “WHOA
SCOTCH, WHOA!” the entire time. That was when I decided to go through the John Lyons Certification Program! Now, I teach people. Helping them acquire skills and insights on
how to safely and effectively communicate with their horses. My classes don’t end after a few days
. I try to spark a desire in my students to want to learn more. The result is they get more from their
horse. Any breed of horse and every discipline from basic trail riders to dressage and reining enthusiasts can use these basic principles to create a better athlete physically, mentally and
emotionally. Tracy is a John Lyons Select Trainer.
Contact: Tracy Porter
9736 Serns Road
Milton, Wisconsin 53563
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