Barrel horse nee a new bit...Help please! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-22-2011, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ashland, OR
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Barrel horse nee a new bit...Help please!

EDIT: Ehhh title typo....xD

So this horse is an 8 year old barrel mare that I'm leasing for my equestrian team. When I first rode her I put her in a twisted wire snaffle. Sometimes she was pushy, but not bad. Then the owner wanted to bit her up and put her in a gag bit, which she is very responsive in but when I take it off she pulls back BADLY. To the point she's throwing her head, rearing, scared of it and trying to get away.

I took my "Baby horse" snaffle and she still tosses her head but she doesn't pull back. But I have virtually no contorl if she's trying to be pushy.

So I'm looking for a new bit thats gentle enough on her teeth if she tosses her head, but stil has some bite when its in her mouth.

I'm not very good with choosing bits....I'm trying to learn more but I'm not quite there yet :P The gag bit we're riding much as I'm ashamed to say it, I don't know what it is xD It has these cheekpieces but it has what looks like a dogbone mouthpiece. I don't have much experience with it...

Sorry if I'm not very helpful. I just want to make the owner happy by bitting her up a little but also make me happy by putting something a little easier on her in her mouth.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.

Last edited by SorrelHorse; 07-22-2011 at 08:13 PM.
SorrelHorse is offline  
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-22-2011, 08:15 PM
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So some kind of Wonder bit? Does she really need that much gag?

The pulling back when being unbridled thing...that's not because of the bit, it's because a) she's had a bad experience b) someone is taking it out of her mouth the wrong way, so it's hitting her teeth c) she is headshy/spooky in general or d) she has dental problems that need to be addressed.

Why does the owner want to "bit her up" if she was working well in the snaffle?
bubba13 is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 07-22-2011, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Bit Information (Curb and Western type bits and hackamores)

Bit Information (Snaffle and English-Type Bits)

Hope this helps.

The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography
JustDressageIt is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 07-22-2011, 08:36 PM
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Read JDI's links! They're extremely informative! I now have my guy in a RUBBER Mullen Mouth. The sofest bit I could find! The only two troubles I have with it.. 1 - if he decides to get pushy he drags me around the ring. There's no nutcracker action. 2 - there is no metal in it, if he chews it long enough it may snap. So far there has been no chewing. We put my mom's horse in a rubber snaffle. He did fine in it.

I'm a fan of rubber bits..
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-25-2011, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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I think the owner is just bitting her up because it's what she's done for such a long time she does it without even thinking out of habit....And the thing is, the mare is so bipolar one day she's doing SO GOOD in the snaffle and the next she's just an abolute freak to the point I'm seriously scared to get on her back. When that happens I work on slow work to keep her patterned effectively. I don't think the owner is doing it to be mean to Bails, I think its just a habit.

And as for the head thing, she's kind of a freak all around. xD Spooks at the wierdest things, jumps around just cause she's playful, and just in general does stupid stuff. Those hot barrel horses, I swear.....

Thanks guys, I'll look into those sites and see what I can do to help my girl get a new bit in her mouth :)

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
SorrelHorse is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 07-25-2011, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southern Cali
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My boy sounds a little similar. He can be extremely soft on the bit, then soon as he gets in a bad mood he's pulling my arms off. I have tried various bits to see if he was happier or less happy in them. Tried harsher, softer combinations, gags......honestly nothing changed it, he pulled just as hard in all the bits. The harsher the bit the more he just cut himself up (Sores under shin strap and corners of the mouth). So I stuck with simple. The only thing I could do was to do all I could to keep him from getting frustrated or pissed off at me. It took a lot of time to work on avoiding the fights.

I suggest only fighting with one rein as well, if they get hard on the mouth when you apply even pressure on both reins is to pull up and back with an inside rein and dig your inside heel in. Keep very light pressure on the outside rein. You want to tip the nose in but not over bending. Soon as the horse relaxes into it, give slack in the reins and continue as if nothing happened. This is honestly taking away all the fight out of my horse. At first he fought this method, but I just held firm and now when he starts to be a pain in the rear on the bit, I'll raise the inside rein, put leg pressure and he softens up quickly.

As fore the pulling back, the wonder bit (the one pictures above) has a curb strap on it, which makes it harder for the horse to spit out because it is restricted from moving up. She could be feeling constricted in the mouth and it could be hitting her lower teeth. This is the most plausible explanation I can think of. Try removing the curb strap first then the bridle and see what happens. Otherwise she is being headshy / having general bridle problems.
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