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This is a discussion on Bits? within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category

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    08-16-2010, 02:49 PM

So I have started gaming with my horse. I first used a snaffle, but he was not very responsive, so I switched to a kimberwick ( I have no other bits).He is fine unless he is grumpy, which happens quite a bit, then he puts his head down and bucks. I try to pull his head up but it doesn't work. I don't want a harsher bit, but one that encourages him to keep his head up.

Does anyone have any recommendations?
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    08-16-2010, 03:01 PM
Green Broke
You could try a twisted snaffle (people frown upon those, but it's only harsh if you make it harsh) or maybe a "Wonder Bit". It's a large-ringed snaffle with really short shanks, which ads leverage.
My friend just started using it with her horses at gymkhanna & she loves it.
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    08-16-2010, 03:36 PM
Green Broke
I just use a shank bit I believe and my horse is fine with it.
    08-16-2010, 04:04 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Cheyennes mom    
I just use a shank bit I believe and my horse is fine with it.
Exactly. Just try something with shanks (wonderbits, tom thumbs, curbs, etc). Leverage can be a magical thing lol. Chin straps are good as well. Some just use leather, but certain horses do better with the chains.
    08-16-2010, 04:09 PM
Green Broke
^^ yes I use a chain chin strap with mine and it works great!
    08-16-2010, 05:13 PM
I had that problem with my thoroughbred. I switched to a tom thumb and it helped.

If your horse has enough rate you could also try a hackamore with better lift. Keeps you out of their face, but in control still.
    08-16-2010, 05:21 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by jtmdah    
I had that problem with my thoroughbred. I switched to a tom thumb and it helped.

If your horse has enough rate you could also try a hackamore with better lift. Keeps you out of their face, but in control still.
I ride my horses in tom thumbs as well (although my arab is currently in a slightly thinner tom-thumb-type bit because she can be impossible to stop when you get her going!)
Also,my friend's boyfriend owns a mare (hasn't ridden her in 4 years, though) that he had for years & she had the dangerous habit of putting her head down & bolting. They put her in a hackamore & that seemed to help quite alot. It put more pressure on her face instead of her mouth.
    08-16-2010, 05:45 PM
I've tried a wonder bit and that was too harsh, but I may try a twisted snaffle. Do you have any tips for using one? Thanks for your advice!!
    08-16-2010, 06:19 PM
Yes I use a tom thumb short shank with chain chin strap on my thoroughbred race/pole/barrel horse and she does great with it
    08-16-2010, 06:25 PM
TRAINING! Only the most experienced and talented horsemen can pull off using a twisted wire bit without ruining a horse's mouth with it so please stay away from those. There is no magic bit that will get rid of all your problems. You should maybe try more slow work in a snaffle; get him solid with your cues at the walk and trot before trying anything more difficult. If he wants to buck, never ever pull on both reins. That gives him something to brace against and helps him keep bucking and buck harder (think of the bronc halter on saddle broncs). When he tries to put his head down and buck, take one rein, tip his nose to the side, and bump him with the inside leg. Get him to disengage his hindquarters and then keep him circling in that tiny circle for a minute until he is breathing hard. Do that every time he acts like that and he will likely stop within a few days. Of course, however, you cannot do that successfully in a shanked bit, only a snaffle.

barrels, bits, gaming, poles

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