My four year old mare is pulling and tossing her head when I ride her. I’ve had her vet checked and her teeth,palate,tongue is fine. She’s in good shape and was not mistreated before I got her. I’ve tried a snaffle bit but it doesn’t change. I’ve used a bit with a shank and wire and was told I should try a curb chain as well as a tie down. This is my first horse and I know I am the one to blame for her "hard mouth". Any advice on what I can do? I don’t have a round pen.
I’m with Barefoot, Aleah, and everyone who says to get out of the horse’s mouth and do some TRAINING – for yourself first, then include the horse.
DO NOT use a tie down. They are a sorry substitute for training, used by the most ignorant wanna-be riders.
A four year old horse is a green horse, and properly called a colt or filly because they are still babies. It’s pretty clear that your filly never got a solid education in how to respond to the rein, so she can only react to the pain it causes her.
I don’t know what you mean about "a bit with a wire", but it frightens me to think what it might mean. Whether that wire is in her mouth, over her nose, or under her chin, it can only be abusive. Any bit with shanks needs a curb strap or chain in order to function correctly, and if it doesn’t have one it is actually more painful because it moves too much in the horse’s mouth.
There’s no need for a round pen! It’s a sad thing that the "natural horsemanship" movement has led so many people to believe if they just chase their horse around a pen all their training problems will disappear. A round pen is a tool that can be helpful IF used correctly, but the internet is a lousy place to learn such things. A RP certainly isn’t vital to good training!
Get some lessons so you can learn to ride effectively without hauling on reins. Get a trainer to work with your filly, to help you learn how to teach her how to respond to rein cues.
Get out of her mouth. A mild sidepull is great for teaching turning and flexing, and if you can flex your horse you can stop her. Many sidepulls have a lariat rope noseband and that can be very harsh. If you use one like this, you can wrap it with vetrap or something else to pad it a bit. I make my own sidepulls with a flat leather noseband or I untwist a lariat rope and braid it into a soft rope, then build the bridle around that.
A rope halter works well, too. I snap one rein onto each of the loops at the bottom. Be aware of the cheek piece of the rope halter. If the halter doesn’t fit snugly enough and you pull to the side on the bottom loops, it can pull the cheekpiece into the horse’s eye.