Originally Posted by Crimsons Clover
in my honest opinion if you can't do it in a snaffel on a loose rein you shouldn't be doing it. Work on training (natural aids) rahter than utilizing forceful artificial aides(curb bits etc.).
But remember, every bit can be soft or harsh depending on who is on the other end of the reins.
I agree with this ..... to a point.
I want all of my horses to always be able to ride in anything
. From a halter, to a snaffle, to whatever. I see the bit as being an "alternative aid" that is complimentary to your legs, seat, and body.
So even though I will use more advanced bits for their specific purpose of refinement and better cues (which is their purpose), I like knowing that I could toss on an ol' snaffle and still be able to do everything. Maybe not as refined as with the speciality curb bit, but still can.
To the OP:
Bits can be so confusing, and my new mare I got to find a bit for. I will be starting her out in an Jr. Cowhorse Bit, and she is really soft mouthed and listens to leg cues. She was trained in an barrel low ported curb for western pleasure. I have also used used an halter on her, but donít think it would have stopped her if we started loping. What bits do you use? How is you horse to handle? Iím trying to get ideas of bits? With want I said could you give me an hint of an good bit for her?
I use a Jr Cowhorse on my barrel horse right now for competition and he works well in it. He is very naturally ratey and mostly just needs help in his turns. For normal riding, I use a short shanked curb with a broken dogbone mouthpiece. But as I alluded to above, I could ride him around in a halter. Or a snaffle. And stop him at any time, no problem. But he works better in the bit I do ride him in. So I use what works better.
The only thing I could work on him is riding with a piece of twine around his neck ..... bridleless! I have done it before, goofing around, and he'll stop from a walk but I doubt he'd pay attention if we really "get going". Once I get done with school and get back home, I'd actually like to work on that with him. Something fun to do and will make him more responsive.
So on that note, just a thought on not being able to stop your horse in a halter, do you have an arena or safe enclosed area you could practice that and teach your horse that? Wouldn't hurt.
Of course I wouldn't want you to go galloping around the countryside in a halter if she indeed wouldn't stop with it. That wouldn't be safe. But it certainly won't hurt anything except potentially make your horse pay attention to you better.
But go ahead and try the Jr Cowhorse. YOu never know how a horse is going to take to a bit until you try it. And it may not work -- who knows! You may have to try several bit designs until you find the one the works the best for the both of you.