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  1. Hi this email is from GB I have a young pony who was in a bad carriage driving accident before I bought him, he will now not accept a bit without becoming tense, I have been using a hanging snaffle but I am not sure that he likes the poll pressure, should I go back to the start and use an eggbutt/dring snaffle. I dont want to strap his mouth shut to stop him evading the bit . Your article is great and any help and advice would be gratefully received. Thank you

    1. HI GB:

      Of, course, I am not an expert in carriage driving. If you are correct that the accident caused this problem (and not just making an excuse for bad behavior and lack of respect), some general psychology might work. It doesn’t seem to be “the bit” that is the problem, but the trauma surrounding the “Bit Usage”. Therefore, re-introducing the old bit may help. Bridle him without driving at all. Let him carry his bit around his paddock in a stress-free environment for a few hours each day for a few days until the trauma subsides and the bit just becomes a piece of his life again. Then do some ground exercises wearing the bit for a few more days. When you are satisfied that he is calming down when wearing the bit, introduce the carriage again. If he tenses up again, it is the carriage, not the bit and you need to start re-introducing the carriage. Let us know.

      PS: Did he have a good mouth and dental check after the accident? Is it possible that the accident caused mouth damage that plagues him still?

    1. Spooking is just a symptom of a deeper problem. A spooky horse is not trusting you as a leader. He doesn’t know what to do when something frightens him. Of course, I am going to tell you to go back to basics. Teach him to “join up”. Take control of his feet and teach him to stand still when afraid. Then go through the de-sensitizing exercises.

      For a quick answer, this question really belongs under the “De-sensitizing” category. Start there. See the index to the right under Horse Training Exercises.

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