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Bouncing off the over or side check


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#1 Jrchloe

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 07:49 PM

How do you get a horse to bounce off a check (side or over)? Is it the way it's attached to the surcingle or how the bit feels in their mouth? Or do you let the check be slightly loose and when the horse lowers it's head it comes off the check and/or you have timed a bump in the mouth so it learns not to lean on the check?
I have heard attaching the check to a small chain then the check ring so that it moves more. Is this something that really works? What are other ways to get the horse to wear a check?

#2 lkirby

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:53 PM

If you are starting to train a horse, then you want to attach the overcheck or sidecheck [preferable] directly to the snaffle bit that you are using. Having more than one bit in their mouths can distract most young or beginner horses. Keep the overcheck/sidecheck somewhat loose so that the horse can move their head. The purpose behind using the overcheck/sidecheck is to keep a horse in harness from dropping its head so low that it can begin to buck. Later on, the overcheck/sidecheck can be used to raise the head and neck position of the horse and can be moved to a separate bit.

Lorna G. Kirby, PE

When you have gone through fire, you won't fade in the sun!!

#3 Aelfleah Farm

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:00 AM

Going to assume you are talking harness here so if you aren't, disregard everything I'm saying :) .

Hopefully before the horse goes in harness, it has already learned to follow the bit and not lean on it. It can learn this with simple side reins or a chambon on a longe line. The horse needs to reach for the bit, if it has learned to lean instead of reach, so back and reinforce the difference until the horse knows to drive into the bit, not fall on it.

A young horse starting in harness needs a good bit of head freedom, but also needs some safety equipment. A sidecheck to a snaffle is a nice piece to use to prevent the horse from putting it's head down to it's knees, yanking the lines from your hands, or potentially getting bits of hardware stuck (shafts stuck on bit/bridle, bits stuck in boots, etc) while simply being silly and causing a wreck. If you are using a sidecheck to prevent bucking, then a kicking strap is a better option. I have never found a good use for an overcheck other than on already well trained horses - and they will be leaning some on the check though this is countered by the lines - and even then it requires a header to un-check and re-check the horse every time it stops and restarts. Keeping a horse in a overcheck is not conducive to teaching them to stand still. If you are driving in a snaffle, the check rein can simply go to the bit. If driving in a proper curb, the check rein needs to be on a it's own thin snaffle.

Tamara Woodcock, Scurry, Texas
BLUE STAR Arabians and Arabian-influenced Sportponies
Combined Training, Combined Driving, Dressage, Endurance, and Show Jumping

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