Bit problems.

This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Sugarmouse Sugarmouse 3 years, 2 months ago.

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  • kate_hughes Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    My horse tends to mess with his head a lot and he can get very strong at anything faster than the trot. He is currently in an eggbutt snaffle but I noticed the other day he had these red marks on his tongue and the corners of his mouth where the bit lies. I’m thinking about switching him to a loose ring rubber snaffle, with bit guards of course, but I’m not sure if it will fix things or make things worse. He gets so strong and fast that I need a bit that will still allow some control but won’t be too harsh on his mouth. I’ve tried stronger bits before but they only made him flip his head and lean on my hands. Suggestions?

    rlueders rlueders
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 24

    I believe that a bit should never be used as a control device. It seems to me like you and your horse may have some underlying problems that are masked by pulling on the bit to get him to slow down. My suggestion is to try and figure out why he is pulling so bad at the faster gates and do more ground-work to get him to respect you and your aids. Doing exercises like counting strides (walk for three strides, canter for three strides, walk for three strides, etc.) may help to get him to listen to you better and will help him better pay attention when you ask him to slow down. Getting him to respect you and do as you ask without a fight may clear up the issues you’re having.

    As for the bit problems, have you looked at his mouth at all? Some of the problems you have may be because of discomfort with the bit or other tack. When you ask him to slow down at the canter, by pulling on the bit, it may hurt him and causing him to fitz with his head and speed up. If he has a low port, try switching over to a double-jointed snaffle. My horse loves her double-jointed snaffle because it doesn’t poke her in the roof of her mouth like a nutcracker. I would also suggest looking at all of your other tack. I rode a horse a few years back that did something very similar– sped up and got nervous at the canter. Lo and behold, I found out the girth rubbed her in a weird spot at the canter. Switching the girth fixed all of our issues. (:

    A saddle-fitter may be able to look at your tack a little better and be able to say if something isn’t fitting. Has she had her teeth floated/checked recently? I always look for pain issues as a cause for “misbehavior” before trying anything else. Good luck!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by rlueders rlueders.
    kate_hughes Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    He has his teeth floated regularly, he gets adjusted by the chiropractor every month, ive been using the same saddle on him for almost four years and the problems have only been getting worse recently. sometimes he gets in a mood and fights really hard, sometimes he behaves really well and there isn’t any fighting. The reason I want a milder bit is because I switched him from a kimberwick to an eggbutt snaffle when I bought him and it helped with his head flipping.
    The question was really have you ever used either a loose ring or rubber coated bit? I know we have problems and we take lessons every week to work on it.

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    I agree wholeheartedly with the above poster. A combination of your hands and his bit are causing a defensive reaction from your horse. In addition to all of those great suggestions above, I’d suggest training him to one-rein stop: Instead of pulling him back with both hands, try teaching him a one-rein stop involving your feet, a deep seat, and one firm rein only. Initially reward the half-halt (release the rein), and work toward a complete stop. Work at a walk until he has it and then increase speed until he will one-rein stop/slow at any speed. Then I’d work at training a seat/feet only stop. Ultimately the goal is that he will start paying attention to where you are in the saddle and what subtle changes you make that cue him long before you tighten the rein. If a horse requires hard cues, I’d work on training in areas where a light touch works better and use that, and gradually soften his responses. This doesn’t specifically address a type of bit because it’s possible to improve the situation by restricting the amount of pressure you put on him with your hands. The easiest or harshest bit in the world won’t help you until you can get him softer to the response, and with that, you need to be lighter/different in your cues.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Mapale Mapale.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Mapale Mapale. Reason: I needed to clarify

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    kate_hughes Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    Im not looking for advice about how to ride my horse. Im looking for advice on a particular bit. A rubber coated, loose ring snaffle bit. Will someone please tell me if they have had any experience with this bit as a mild bit? Im not just sawing on his face trying to get him to stop.

    The bit…what about the bit.

    rlueders rlueders
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 24

    I don’t think either of us were trying to be offensive, we were just offering our two cents. I used a loose ring, rubber coated snaffle and I found it to be no different than a regular snaffle. I tried this bit on my mare with the low port before I tried my double jointed snaffle, and found it to have no benefits over a regular snaffle to my horse. (and it was twice as expensive).

    If you really think the bit is a problem with his mouth, I can’t suggest a double-jointed snaffle highly enough. It has the same “leverage” as a normal snaffle, which you said you want, but doesn’t hit the roof of his mouth, which may reduce the head-shaking . Also try and get a thicker bit, if you’re bit is thin. This will reduce severity more than a rubber coating will, in my opinion.

    kate_hughes Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    Thank You! Thats what I’m talking about. We are working on his being strong, Im even riding him in his halter doing just flatwork for two hours. BUT, when I rode him the other day in his bit he was really fighting me so Im going to try a softer bit because he might not like his eggbutt snaffle. Now Im thinking of trying a double jointed bit because you said your mare preferred it and it didn’t have that extreme nutcracker action. Im working on just keeping light contact so he knows Im still there and I can control his striding through lines. However, in the meantime the bit might be the problem which is why I made this post.

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    Did you check that the bit is the correct size? If it is too small, it could be pinching. Also is it the correct thickness for what you want to accomplish with this horse? Thicker bits are less severe, thinner bits are more severe, but some horses don’t have room in their mouths for thicker bits. With a bit of hunting, one can usually find double jointed bits is almost every standard variation, but they do tend to lie on the horses tongue more than single jointed bits, which some horses just don’t like.

    kate_hughes Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    Well this post was a while ago and I already bought him a happy mouth, double jointed, loose ring snaffle that he does prefer a little bit better. I am however working to transition him to being completely bit less so if you have tips for going bit less or recommend a good bit less bridle that would be good too.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I use both a soft rubber bradoon and a loose ring French link snaffle (not at the same time). My horse also tends to toss his head, and what is working best for me (so far), is voice commands. He knows the words, and I don’t need to use the bit at all really, except to hang the reins on. The lightest possible bit that you can find is always, in my opinion, the best to use.

    It is never the horse's fault

    michelle_craven
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    You are in a very deep fundamental training issue, and the fact that you want to learn is commendable. It is our duty to be an advocate for our horse. All horses and riders have different balance points in their bodies. When they are combined, and in movement, the balance is constantly changing. So your speed, direction, terrain, etc will affect this. Some horses are stolic, and can tolerate many things. They “tune out” the extra “noise” (aids, pain, etc…), yet other horses have a threshold that they do not allow you to cross without making it clear they are unhappy. As I read down the string, my first thought was to remove the bit for a while and allow his mouth and mind to heal. I feel you have good instincts with the bodywork, etc, you are already doing with him. He probably has a defence mechanism with rein/mouth contact, so you need to let him learn that it does not hurt to have a soft contact. Please take the time and have an abundance of patience for him (and you!) to regain confidence. My personal suggestion would be the Micklem Multibridle for it’s great bitless design, and a good quality, medium thickness (16 mm or so, have your dentist or vet asses the fit) double jointed snaffle with a sweeter metal. You can literally tack up, lunge (brilliant ring on cavesson!), then ride in the bitless attachment and have a bit in his mouth the whole time without having reins attached to it. Eventually, when you both are ready to go back to a bit, the transition is seamless. There is an old saying out there: “Take your time, we are in a hurry”.

    kate_hughes Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    Wow, thank you that was really helpful. I really like that bridle. I like that it can have a bit on it too because I don’t think I’m allowed to show him bit less. I also like that it says its designed to avoid sensitive bones and nerves in the face. He really is a happy boy without a bit and I’m working on having soft hands but I haven’t tried him over fences yet without a bit. Fingers crossed.

    Sugarmouse Sugarmouse
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    I had similar problems with the head tossing and red marks at the corners of my horse’s mouth. I changed to a JP Korsteel copper oval link hunter dee snaffle. It’s a really mild bit – thicker with a fairly large copper lozenge in the center. I also bought it 1/2″ larger than his previous bit. The change in my horse’s behavior was immediate. He is much happier and the head tossing completely stopped from the first use.I personally don’t like single jointed snaffles because of the nutcracker action and I think eggbutts make the bit action “dull”. Loose rings work great but they can pinch without rubber bit guards. I have always found D rings work best.

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