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HOW CAN I TELL WHEN MY DRESSAGE HORSE IS ON THE BIT? - Jane Savoie

Yesterday I gave you several ways to “see” when a dressage horse is on the bit. Today I’m going to give you some tips on how to “feel” when he’s on the bit.

When your dressage horse is on the bit:

  • You can sit the trot because his back is relaxed.
  • His body feels like an organized unit that’s easy for you to maneuver rather than a mess of disconnected pieces.
  • In trot, he swings.
  • In canter, he springs.
  • In both trot and canter, he feels like a bouncing beach ball.
  • His back doesn’t feel low or tight. The area just behind the saddle is up and oscillating.
  • His impulsion is self-perpetuating.  The energy comes from behind, over his back and gets recycled back to the hind legs. So you don’t have to constantly add your driving aids to keep him going.
  • And if he’s truly on the bit–not just posing with a fake, arched head and neck–you feel like your dressage horse can do anything in the next step. For instance, he can immediately do a transition from the trot into the canter. Or he can easily move from tracking straight ahead into a lateral movement. Or he can promptly go into an extension. If you’re not sure, just ask for one of those transitions. If he can do them easily and willingly, he’s on the bit.
  • Click here for more info on putting a horse on the bit.