Embarking on the rewarding journey of equestrianism introduces riders to the fundamental concept of "getting your horse on the bit". This term signifies more than just a physical position; it's an emblem of the bond between rider and horse, a state of harmony and connection. Through this guide, you'll uncover methods and tools essential for achieving this sought-after state. Before diving deep into the techniques, it's crucial to grasp the basics.

Understanding the Basics

HY Training Roller - A strong adjustable lunge roller

Being "on the bit" doesn't merely refer to the horse having the bit in its mouth. Instead, it signifies a horse stretching through its body, accepting the pressure applied from the rider, and maintaining a rounded neck while propelling itself using its hindquarters. This state allows the horse to carry itself more effectively, providing greater focus and responsiveness to the rider's instructions. Dressage experts often emphasize the significance of this position, not as an end goal but as a result of proper training and connection.

Common Misconceptions

Many novice riders assume that a horse is on the bit when its head is down. However, this misconception can lead to forceful techniques trying to achieve a specific head position, which might harm the horse and hinder training progress. The goal is not to force the horse's head down but to encourage it to stretch forward and down, accepting the bit willingly. This acceptance is achieved more from the horse's hindquarters' engagement than from pulling the reins. Tools like the HY Training Roller can assist in developing the correct posture without exerting undue pressure on the horse's mouth.

The Role of Equipment

Rhinegold Training/Breaking Set

Quality equipment plays a vital role in achieving the desired posture and connection. One such tool is the Rhinegold Training/Breaking Set, which offers a comprehensive solution to training or breaking needs. This set not only provides the essential components but also ensures the comfort and safety of the horse during training sessions. However, always remember, while equipment can aid the process, the foundation lies in building trust and understanding between the rider and the horse.

Mastering the Techniques

Training a horse to respond harmoniously requires patience, consistency, and knowledge. The journey to get your horse on the bit is filled with nuances that can make a significant difference. Here are some tried and tested methods:

1. Building Trust Through Groundwork

Shires EquiKind Mullen Full Cheek Snaffle - Tasty apple flavoured mouth bit

Before mounting, spend quality time with your horse on the ground. Groundwork strengthens the bond and understanding, laying the foundation for the rider-horse relationship. Tools such as the Shires EquiKind Mullen Full Cheek Snaffle, with its apple-flavoured mouth bit, can make this process smoother by making the bit more palatable for the horse.

2. Prioritize Relaxation

A tense horse will never truly be on the bit. It's imperative to ensure your horse is relaxed before, during, and after training sessions. Simple methods, like equine massage, can be effective in calming a nervous horse.

3. Effective Rein Use

Reins are not just for directing; they're tools of communication. Light, consistent contact with the horse's mouth is essential. Pulling too hard or inconsistently can lead to resistance or discomfort. An understanding of rein aids and their application is crucial for achieving that ideal posture.

4. Train in Phases

Shires Loose Ring Copper Lozenge Snaffle

It's beneficial to phase the training process, focusing on different aspects progressively. Start with simple flexing exercises to promote lateral flexibility. As the horse becomes more comfortable, you can introduce more advanced equipment, such as the Shires Loose Ring Copper Lozenge Snaffle, which discourages leaning and encourages mouthing.

Importance of the Right Equipment

While technique is paramount, the right equipment can significantly enhance the training process. It ensures the horse's comfort and enables more effective communication between horse and rider.

Lunge Lines and Rollers

Shires Wessex Soft Feel Lunge Line

Key tools like Shires Wessex Soft Feel Lunge Line can be invaluable in early stages. Lunge lines help in developing balance and rhythm without the weight of a rider. Paired with a good lunge roller, it provides an effective groundwork setup.

Rider’s Gear: An Essential Component

Often, the emphasis is placed heavily on horse equipment, but a rider's gear is just as essential in the training process. A well-equipped rider can ensure smoother communication with their horse, leading to better training outcomes.

Jodhpurs and Riding Boots

For optimal control and safety, riders must wear snug-fitting jodhpurs and durable riding boots. These ensure grip and prevent potential slips or accidents.

Accessories for Comfort

Comfortable riding gloves offer a better grip on reins, and socks can prevent blisters during long training sessions. It's all about creating an environment where the rider can focus solely on the horse and training.

Additional Tips for Holistic Training

Nutrition and Supplements

Like any athlete, a horse's nutrition plays a crucial role in its performance. Considering everyday horse vitamins and supplements can make a notable difference in your horse's energy and responsiveness during training.

Care for the Hooves

Never neglect the hooves. Ensuring they're well-taken care of with products from the hoof care & boots collection will prevent injuries and ensure your horse remains on its best form.

Consistent Training and Patience

Last but not least, remember that training a horse is a continuous journey. With patience, consistent effort, and the right bridles and equipment, achieving that perfect posture and responsiveness is attainable.


Training a horse to be on the bit isn't just about posture; it's about building a trusting relationship between the horse and rider. Through proper techniques, the right equipment for both horse and rider, and a holistic care approach, the journey becomes enjoyable and rewarding.