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This is a discussion on Bits? within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • Kimberwick bit correct bucking
  • J r bit for horses

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    08-16-2010, 08:52 PM
Green Broke
^^ okay I was just making sure you didn't get the wrong idea.
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    08-16-2010, 09:17 PM
Originally Posted by PintoBean    
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?
I have to echo WildSpot in her questions...

In what ways is he unresponsive?

When does he start bucking, and do you know what triggers that response?

How do you try to pull his head up? What do you do when he acts unresponsive?

I agree with many of the others, in that you may not need a stronger bit, but may just need some help learning how to help him through his unresponsive bouts.

Perhaps try a full cheek snaffle, or maybe even a side pull, or short shanked hackamore.
    08-16-2010, 09:52 PM
In what ways is he unresponsive?

When does he start bucking, and do you know what triggers that response?

How do you try to pull his head up? What do you do when he acts unresponsive?

He is unresponsive with slowing down with a snaffle. He has bucked in all events, at one time or another, I don't know what triggers that response, because once we get through it then he is fine.

I show him mainly performance, and he is a doll. I can stop him by just exhaling, and steering with only my legs ( I can basically ride him bridle-less). Gaming is semi new to him, but we have been practicing the patterns for at least 6 months. He is calm in the show ring, I don't use spurs just a crop, which I just tap him with ( he doesn't need too much encouragement). I use a medium port curb in western and a low port kimberwick in English. I correct his bucking behavior as suggested by smrobs, and it works ( my horse isn't really a fighter).
    08-17-2010, 12:14 AM
A bit is only as harsh as the hands that hold it, that being said not every bit works in every sport. If he's resposive enough to cues (i.e. Side passing and neck reining and such) maybe try a hackamore, I had a horse that hated people being in her mouth, she runs best in a hack. She'd had her teeth done and everything. Or maybe a Jr. Cow Horse Bit , or Butterfly Bit. There short shanked bit (3 inch shanks with slight gag action) comes in any mouth piece. There good bits to go from a snaffle to.
Butterfly Bit
Butterfly Smooth Snaffle Gag Bit: Saddles Tack Horse Supplies -

Junior Cow Horse Bit
Junior Cow Horse Smooth Snaffle Gag Bit: Saddles Tack Horse Supplies -

Gag action is actually good, it gives the horse a second to react before the bit becomes engaged.

To Anyone I hate Tom Thumbs, and I'm not opposed to harsh bits at all. I ride my mare in a shanked, twisted wire dog bone, rope nosed, combination gag bit. But she can also be ridden in a halter, and she's almost automatic in barrels.

Gradually go to a bigger bit, if you suddenly just throw on the harshest bit possiable your problems will only surface again later.
    08-17-2010, 10:25 AM
Is using a hackamore any different than a bridle with a bit?
    08-17-2010, 10:42 AM
Green Broke
A hackamore uses poll and curb pressure, so in some ways it acts the same as a curb bit, only without the actual bit in the mouth, so any bar and tongue pressure is eliminated. Some people like hackamores and say they are more humane, some say they are more severe. Most mechanical hackamores are only good for neck reining and have no steer in them at all unless you neck rein. Others such as jumping hackamores and some of the knotted indian ones or bosals work differently. I have an indian knotted and it has a sidepull type action when you steer and then when you pull back both reins to stop it tightens on the poll pressure. You just have to be really careful with that type to keep light hands and stay out of the horses face.
    08-17-2010, 02:44 PM
I agree with smrobs about the twisted wire bits. Be careful. I use one on my top barrel horse but I only have to have a very light hand with her. I would suggest stepping back a notch and working on your basics again (walk/trot until you see god, then canter) Like smrobs said, there is no magic bit...also im not a fan of tom thumbs for speed horses (just my opinion and experience talking) but I have had alot of success with the o-ring snaffles, sliding gag bits, the wonder bit, and the "quick stop".
    08-17-2010, 03:36 PM
I tried the wonder bit on my horse and it was too harsh.How do the sliding gag bits, and the quite stop compared in severity? What is the "quick stop"?
    08-18-2010, 03:29 PM
Gag bits can vary as far as severity goes. Depends on the mouth piece. I have everything from sweet iron, single breaks to double break twisted wire...alot of gag bits work the same way the wonder bit does. Some have leverage and some don't. If the wonder bit is to much try something with out the leverage of a wonder bit but still has the ability to side pull well, something like pic 1. The quick stop is a very aggressive bit and I would only recomend it if your horse is already trained in barrels. Pic 2 is a picture of the quick-stop that I use on my 1D horse. Again keep in mind, my horse is very well trained and takes a very light hand. She also one rein stops so the side pull ability of the quickstop and wonder bit are essential for riding her well. I would recomend working your way up to something this agressive. The bit in pic 1 might be a better place to start than the quick-stop. Let me know how it turns out...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gag bit.jpg (41.9 KB, 152 views)
File Type: jpg quickstop bit.jpg (30.2 KB, 257 views)
    08-18-2010, 03:33 PM
JRL how do you feel about the jr cowhorse bit? In my experience, if you have to go gag, its a pretty decent low level gag.

barrels, bits, gaming, poles

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