Date: April 2001
Q: I totally agree about Teke being comfortable to ride. But could you at some
point say more about how you do get them to work on the bit? I have a new
trainor at the moment who is very keen on training aids - she tried xx in
draw-reins first and then lunged in a chambon. Chambon worked quite well but
draw reins did only for a couple of sessions. Then he started to fight them and
possibly strained a muscle.
Last time the farrier came I was discussing training aid with someone on the
yard and the farrier grinned and said: How do you get a horse with this
conformation to work on the bit anyway?


A: Some horses are easier to collect than others, that is normal for all
breeds.
There are several ways of teaching a horse to always work in the form that
is best for him and for what he is asked to do.
I do not agree with your farrier on that the teke conformation is
contradictory to work in very high form and collection. The tekes have the
best features to do so a high set and a long neck, long sloping shoulders
and very light and free movements.
The tekes do not though, have the same amount of what we call workability,
a term connected with the warmbloods.
Here you must have this extra skill or ability to read your horse to make
it perform as you want to.
Many of the methods used for the average warmblood is not applicable for
the Teke, but that is not the same as they do not have the ability to
perform on the same level as the warmblood.

When we work our tekes here we teach them to only work on the bit and to
activate their backs and hindlegs to be able to carry the rider and train
for dressage/jumping. We do not want to teach them to I use a Swedish term
here "to crack their necks", this is when the horse bends his neck in
without engaging his back or hindpart.
The green horse or the horse that must be retrained we prefer to teach from
the ground parallell with riding.
We use the rubber band which I think is the perfect guide for the tekes, it
is a long rubber band that goes over the neck, through the bit rings and is
atteched to the saddle girth between the front legs, I will ask Todd to
take a picture of one of out Tekes with a rubber band to illustrate.
The horse is then lounged with the rubber band which is a very nice aid
that encourage the horse to lower and forward his nose while softly chewing
on the bit, he will engage his back and use his hindlegs to free his
shoulders. This is what you want the rubber band to help the horse to
understand and to strenghten the muscles for working in that way, after a
while the horse is strong enough to feel comfortable working there. when
lounging we change the tempo a lot and do many halts to reinforce the
effect of the rubber band.
You can also use the rubber band when you ride, but it is usually not
necessary.
When lounging you want your horse to be relaxed and comfortable and not
fight the rubber band or being stressed as stress blocks out all training
methods.
I think the rubber band is much better than chambon, I do not understand
the term draw- reins. But if they are the leather straps attached to the
side of the horse I do not recommend to use them until the horse works
comfortable on the bit. You can never force a horse to work in the right
form, you must guide him there with a mild method.
Otherwise the horse will fight the reins, being tense, he will lock his
back and shoulder and eventually destroy his front pasterns and back.
Many, many horses do have navicular disease for this reason. And instead of
retrain and give them a long time of rest and rebuilding we put them down
or nervectomise them.
 

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