October 28, 2020 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: Does your horse have brakes?

Just wondered if I could ask your advice please. My horse is ridden in a loose ring snaffle (she’s also got a full cheek French link snaffle). She’s 26 and good as gold riding out on her own but when she’s in company she’s really hard to hold, she won’t walk, she just trots, then she bolts with me and throws me off. It’s just like she gets way too excited. I’ve had her 10 years and her previous owner said it was as a result of hunting and fun rides. Others from the yard have asked me to go with them and I’d love to but I need more brakes before I do. Which bit would you recommend I try? I also have a martingale if you think that might help? Do you have any other advice? Thanks!

Monty’s Answer:

Thank you for your question. A 26-year-old horse that has enough energy to trot and pull is, in many cases, a dream come true. Many horses have no energy by the time they are 26 or don’t even make it to 26. I recommend a shank bit with a leather curb strap and some tongue relief, not a straight bar Pelham. I am referring to a bit with a 5”- 6” cheek for leverage. Ride your horse in an inclosed area and school your senior mount to stand still. Standing still is achieved by stopping, lowering the hands to release any pressure, and then allowing 2-3 steps from the energetic horse.

After taking 2 or 3 steps, stop with as little pressure as possible and back up a few steps. It is quite possible that this horse will not back up. In that case, teach your horse to back up by getting a reverse step or two and then release and give a rub. If there are forward steps, only let it be 2-3 steps and stop again. Don’t ride your horse in the open country with company until you have complete control with the curb and the leather chin strap.


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