Eventing maestro Mark Todd talks about his favourite bits for a horse that is strong on the cross-country

Q: My horse is becoming progressively stronger across country. We bowl along uneventfully and then halfway around my problems start when he becomes very strong, resulting in some fairly hairy moments at combinations. Do you have any suggestions?

Mark Todd replies: This is difficult to answer without seeing the problem. My first suggestion is to experiment with the bit. You need something in his mouth which he will listen to when you ask him to slow down but not so strong that he will not go forward or is afraid of it.

Some of my favourite bits for strong horses are the vulcanite pelham, twisted snaffle, rubber or metal gag or three-ring KK bit.

The second suggestion is that you do a couple of events without worrying about the results. Start off slowly and do not let your horse get faster.

If he does, pull him up firmly to a halt and then continue. Keep doing this until he listens to you.

  • Read more expert advice from Mark Todd in Horse & Hound (17 January 2002), or click here to subscribe and never miss another issue. To purchase a back issue contact (tel: 020 8503 0588).
  • Click here to read Mark Todd’s top tips on cross-country schooling.