Day 2 Jeff Sanders clinic At Steve Halfpennys

By , April 8, 2017 11:16 pm


The inside of the horse’s mouth is as unique as the outside of the horse.

For bits, copper and sweet iron will help produce saliva. Stainless steel will not help to generate saliva. If the bit touches the roof of the mouth, the horse will put his head up to avoid it. To see what type of bit will suit your horse to have to look inside your horse’s mouth and see what you have.

Last year Jeff saw 20 horses at clinics who should not be ridden in a flexible / jointed snaffle bit.

When you ride your horse you need to be able to feel the bit touching the tongue when you pick up the reins.

If your horse is playing a lot with the snaffle bit it could mean that the nutcracker part of the bit could be jammed into the crevasses / ridges in the roof of his mouth, and your horse is trying to unjam the bit.

A dentist noted that most horses have damaged bars of their mouths due to too much bit pressure on the bars of their mouth. A hackamore horse is working 90-95% off your seat and your weight.

When riding in a snaffle you should be able to feel your horses tongue. Snaffle bits are inconsistent, and move around in horses mouths. This leads to inconsistent signals for the horse which you don’t want.

If the bit creates any compression of the tongue you will get mental tension, and a decrease in the ability for your to move and collect, as the touch is connected to the hyoid which is connected to various ligament etc which actually run through the horses whole body as everything is connected. Jammed up tongue = jammed up horse’s body. Not what you want.

If your dentist pulls your horses tongue to the side too far, they can damage the hyoid bone and this will really mess up your horses ability to move his body properly.

If you restrict the tongue, it restricts the freedom of movement and will shorten the stride. Horses trained in a hackamore from day 1 have a different quality of movement.

Dental work – does your horse have ramps? You may need power tools.


For the warm up, I did shoulder in on a circle with Kola, then an extra 2 hind quarter steps then powered out of it, still with engagement. Kola was amazing.

I played with using a little more weight on one seat bone to change the bend. I noticed that the more weight in that seat bone, the more bend in the horse. SO COOL!

I paid attention to weighting one seat bone, coming back to neutral, and then weighting the other seat bone.
Pick up the reins. Feel when the pressure is being put on the tongue by feeling it.

Do a straight line. The horses front legs are to stay on the straight line. Move the HQ to get the shoulder in both ways. Look at a specific point and ride to it. VERY important to look at this POINT!


Do a straight line then:

– Shoulder in
– HQ in same bend, just change your legs
– HQ in different bend
– Shoulder in
– LOOK at a point, if the only way you won’t drift around.
– Get my weight right and my shoulders level.


Do lots of movements, but in between each you have to change direction. This is a genius exercise to keep things fresh and also to build muscle memory for me in terms of where my weight and legs should be.

– Shoulder in both ways
– HQ in both ways
– Pirouette
– Roll backs are very good
– Leg yields
– Circles
– Leg yield on a circle
– Mix it all up together!

The advanced guys then did the last exercise, but instead of using a static point, they used the other moving riders as points to ride towards.

On a bend, think about the right and left rein pressure. On a circle, have you given your horse a neutral pace to be in? Is your outside rein too tight?

The more relaxed your horse is the easier it is to collect.

This morning Kola was a legend but I needed to have a little more forwards and energy. This was our plan for the afternoon!


Walk and do a turn on the forehand, then take a few steps backwards. The goal is to keep the horses weight on the hind end.

Walk and do a turn on the forehand, then do a turn on the hind end, then power out of it.
For the hind end, look over my shoulder the way I want to go and also put some weight straight down in my inside foot to make sure my posture is ok. You can do this inside foot weight to have good posture also in half pass.
Walk and do a shoulder in on a circle. Then do 2 extra steps of hindquarters and power of out it. Think of it like a bull or cow is coming straight for your leg. So you need to get your horse’s ass out of its way. Just doing a normal circle won’t be enough as a bull will just follow you on a circle.

Today was a magic day.

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