Question # 194: My horse has become very heavy on the forehand. I have worked with 2 trainers, 1 dressage, 1 H/J and each has tried to show me different ways to stop her from pulling. One tells me to pull when she pulls back, the other says to hold...

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...Now she has become SO terribly irritated that I can't even ride her at the walk without her pulling on me, chomping, and pinning her ears. It has come to the point where I don't know what to do. Just last week the H/J trainer put a flash noseband on her to keep her from putting her tongue over the bit and resisting, but now she has started rearing, grinding, chomping and pinning her ears when I put ANY pressure on her mouth. Or if I ask at all, she almost pulls me out of the saddle. I realize that it is MY fault that I have listened to trainers telling me to pull, jerk and see saw but now I don't know where to turn. So finally after all this, my question is what should I as a rider do? Or is it too late.. If you need more of an explanation please let me know. Thank you. P.S. her teeth were just examined by the vet, and she goes in a loose ring french link snaffle. (Anonymous) 

Barring any possible physical issues (which would be a good idea to rule out by having a thorough check up performed by good lameness vet), it sounds like your horse has gotten to the point where she has become very defensive about contact with the bit. And I am not too surprised, since you have been told to pull on her when she starts to pull. This will cause an endless and frustrating cycle of tug of war. Read this article for a great little exercise off of the horse, that will show you exactly what you need to do when your horse tries to pull on you. And this one, for an exercise that will show you whether or not you are pulling on your horse, even when you think you are not. 

Many riders instinctively pull back on the reins when they feel their horse becoming strong or heavy. And it is really sad to hear that you have actually been told to do so. All that will do is start a fight. As far as what to do at this point - it might be best to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)

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