Heavy On Hands

Hi there,
I have a THB who begins work with his head up in the air and after a while accepts the contact but then becomes super heavy and I battle to support him. He doesn't lean down, he still sort of works on the vertical but my word do my arms ache! He is currently in loose ring dressage control plate. Today we tried a fixed fulmer snaffle copper roller and although he didn't work down and round as nicely as before, he was no where near as heavy. My thought is an elipitical loose ring fulmer? Actually I'm not too sure and your help would be greatly appreciated!

Posted in Starting Young Horses, asked by Maxine Spalding, 3 years ago. 969 hits.


Hi Maxine,

Your horse is showing signs of resistance to the bit. He is unhappy with where the bit is placing pressure in his mouth. The Elliptical is unlikely to make a big difference, because it places pressure in the same place as the Dressage Control, the Elliptical is just a little stronger. That little bit stronger is likely to make he resist even more.

My suggestion is to try a Loose Ring Lock-Up. The Lock-Up distributes the pressure evenly on the horse's tongue, as well as eliminating the nut cracker effect of a normal Snaffle.


Claire @ Bombers
3 years ago


Hi Claire,
Thanks so much!
I tried the loose ring elipitical and although he was better on the flat, he was terribly strong in the jumping. I have now gone to a loose ring French link for the flat and the work seems much better but hes still heavy? I suppose I'm going to have to get two new bits - one for flat work and one for Showjumping (he events). I tried the copper roller again today and he jumped beautifully but with his head up between jumps and to be honest, the nutcracker action terrifies me! Would you therefore suggest a loose ring fulmer lock up? I think he enjoys the fulmer action but hates the nut cracker which is causing his head to go up? Would this bit give me abit of breaks because he tends to get strong at times?

Maxine Spalding
3 years ago
Hi Maxine, We very often find that horse's are worse in the jumping than on the flat. Jumping is more exciting and the pressure is higher, this causes the resistances to show up bigger. The Snaffle is designed to ask the horse to raise his head, so he was listening well to the bit. The nutcracker is not necessarily a terrible bit, the biggest problem is it is often contradicting what we are actually asking our horses. How strong the bit is, is not the important component. If the horse accepts where the bit places pressure, then even the lightest bit will be enough, because the horse is willing to listen and is not resisting.. The Fulmer Loose Ring Lock-Up would be a good place to start! Regards, Claire@Bombers - Claire @ Bombers 3 years ago
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