When tacking up your horse, do you ever struggle to get them to accept the bit? For new horse owners, this can be one of the hardest parts of tacking up. The good news is that teaching your horse to take the bit is not only achievable but can even become quite simple once you learn how to make a few small changes to your approach.
Teach Your Horse to Lower Their Head
First things first: it’s difficult to bridle a horse when they’re holding their head high. In fact, doing so could be dangerous. Your horse could toss their head and hit you in the chin, or they could hit their own head on a lower ceiling. As such, the first step in teaching your horse to accept the bit is teaching them how to lower their head.
This is why we always start with our training video, Foundational Flex 7, which can be rented
individually or can be accessed in the member-only library of videos. This video will guide you to become proficient at asking your horse to lower their head so you can teach them to accept the bit. Once you watch that video then you are ready to begin the next step.
Bridling Your Horse: Our Gentle Approach
Why is having your horse accept the bit so important? Teaching your horse to accept the bit with their head down and relaxed will make the start to every ride more pleasant. This skill will also serve your horse well if you ever sell or lease him as new horse owners appreciate horses who are safe and easy to tack up.
Here are some common bitting problems that our bridling approach solves or prevents:
- Your horse jerking their head away as you attempt to bridle them.
- The bit falling out of your horse’s mouth because you can’t pull the bridle up fast enough.
- The bit painfully hitting your horse in the teeth.
- Your horse refusing to part their teeth to accept the bit.
As we reiterate, teaching your horse begins with building a relationship. It requires patience, consistency, and respect. As part of our Easy Horse Fix library, we’ve created a video that provides a tutorial on how to to Teach Your Horse to Take the Bit. You can either access this video by becoming a member or by renting the video individually.
As you will see, our approach is slow, gentle, and methodic. We will show you exactly where to place both of your hands, how to hold the bridle, and how to cue or encourage a horse who is slow to open their mouth for the bit.
This method is the encouraged way to teach a “green” horse how to accept the bit for the first time. However, this method is also perfect for the more experienced horse who has always been a bit difficult to bridle.
Horses in lesson programs, those ridden by beginners, and those ridden by kids should absolutely be trained to accept the bit calmly. Plus, if you ever have to re-bridle your horse on the trail, you’ll be able to do so more safely. Before long, you will feel confident using this approach to bridle your horse..
Overcoming Common Horse Issues
Teaching your horse to take the bit is, of course, only one aspect when it comes to overcoming common horse issues. This is why we have put together a full library of resources such as this one that guide both the horse AND you to have a stronger relationship and better habits. To access these videos, become an Easy Horse Fix member by choosing one of our plans HERE.