In the stable when tacking-up. • • • • • Suspicious attitude towards anyone approaching in the stable.
Avoids eye contact.
A ‘cat-like’ attitude.
Nervous behaviour. ‘Highly-strung.’ Panic attacks at the very sight or sound of a bit when about to be bridled.
For example, backing away from the handler, putting head in air, growing tall.
Clenching teeth, refusing to open mouth.
The determined resistance that some horses developed to being bridled with a bit resulted in long delays to the start of exercise and high stress levels in both rider and horse.
A few horses become so shy that they could no longer be handled anywhere around their mouth.
Others appeared to become shy when handled around the ears, in the process of drawing the bit into the mouth.
One horse refused to take the bit for the first time on day four of a seven-day trail ride and consistently balked at the bit thereafter.
One young Thoroughbred in training required two men to hold her when she was tacked-up.
Another Thoroughbred that reared up in the starting gate (possibly because of bit pain) refused to allow a bridle on its head subsequently.
Resentment to the touch of cold steel, especially in winter.
Flinging head in air.
Yawning and head tossing started as soon as the bit was placed in the mouth.
Champing on the bit.
Grinding of teeth Failure to show eagerness at the prospect of exercise (the horse equivalent of a dog failing to get excited at the prospect of a walk) During mounting • • • • Refused to standstill, much fidgeting and fussing Stood still but horse was tense, with ears pinned Took-off before the rider was properly in the saddle (with risk of accidents and perhaps a loose horse) Reared-up as soon as rider gathered the reins and prepared to put foot in stirrup • During schooling of a ‘green’ horse • • Comments in this section are of a general nature rather than referring to specific signs • • • • Slow progress with training.
Progress sometimes ceased altogether because of increasing bit resentment.
In many cases, schooling was unnecessarily prolonged because of the problems caused by the bit Problems caused by the bit seemed particularly likely to occur when schooling was commenced early in a horse’s life during the ‘teething’ period, anytime up to five years of age Conformation defects such as parrot mouth and bulldog mouth were reported to make horses especially unreceptive to being bitted Horses that owners believed to have ‘shallow arches to the roof of their mouth’ (the hard palate) and ‘large fleshy tongues’ were said to be more difficult to bit During exercise • Bad attitude to exercise overall.
In some horses this was expressed as an absence, slowness or hesitation in responding to the aids.
In others it resulted in ‘goosey behaviour’, a trigger response to the aids, and often a response that was the diametric opposite to that which was requested.
Even the slightest pressure on the rein, for example, resulted in a panic attack followed by high-speed flight.
Some horses were previously known as unrepentant ‘bolters’ or acted up so much in other ways that they were regarded by their owners as dangerous to ride A lack of any spirit of cooperation or sense of partnership between horse and rider.
Lack of trust or courage on the part of the horse.
Every ride involved getting into a fight with the horse.
Inevitably, this often turned into ‘yelling and cursing’ matches. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Read more about Parrot Mouth : In many cases schooling was unnecessarily prolonged because of the….: