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This is a discussion on Bits within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        02-19-2010, 11:20 PM

    I'm sure this has probably been posted and discussed a hundred times on here...

    I have a 4-year-old off the track Thoroughbred gelding, I got him around June of last year. I have mostly been riding him with a run of the mill D-Ring Snaffle, but he acts like he can't even feel the bit in his mouth, actually I think I have better luck riding him in a halter and lead rope lol! Anyway, I was wondering what legal, lower level Dressage bit I could use to get a little more control over him. I was also wondering if anyone had ever used the training snaffles with the keys in the center, and if they were legal in lower level tests? Or maybe the happy mouth bits?

    I've rode him in a Kimberwick a couple of time, but I feel like that bit is just way too much bit for him, he's not a wild horse, he's really lazy, and there really isn't a reason to use it except it's the only strong bit I have and if he decided to run away with me, I'm not sure I could stop him in the D-ring. I don't make a habit out of riding him with the Kimberwick. He definitely responds well too it and really gets "round" when I ride him with it, but it just seems too harsh, especially since he's still, technically, a baby.

    Thanks for your help
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        02-19-2010, 11:44 PM
    I ride my 12 y/o OTTB bitless. He's much more fun to ride when he's bitless (supports himself, no annoying habits of gaping & stretching, doesn't fight me as much). However, not all OTTB's can be ridden bitless--some of them freak out over the pressure on their face. I'm just not willing to spend hundreds of dollars finding the right bit for him, TBH when he goes fine without one. However, I did have more luck with a french link/3-piece snaffle than I had with a regular jointed snaffle.

    I say if you have light hands and he honestly is responding well to the kimberwicke, rather than just trying to evade the pressure by tucking his nose in, just ride him in it. There is no set rule that says only horses age __ and up can be ridden in ported bits. Its really all about your horses preference. However, I would also look into some Myler bits or Myler knock offs, and see if he's really just looking for some tongue relief.
        02-19-2010, 11:48 PM
    I wish I could ride him with the Kimberwick all the time, he just does so well in it, but it's not legal in lower level dressage, I don't know if it's legal in any dressage tests come to think of it.

    I love riding him in a halter in lead rope, but again, I don't think I could get away with that at a show hahaha!
        02-20-2010, 02:29 AM
    Sounds like he is just backing off the pressure in the kimberwick. Making him seem 'round' and 'light'.

    He needs to learn to react to a snaffle. Being ott they do not understand about how to respond and soften to a bit as they are taught to lean on the bit to balance when racing.

    There is an excellent post in the training section about an ottb's head set. Dantex (sorry I can't remember the last bit of their username!) wrote out a superb description of re-training a tb and getting them accustomed to the life of an english horse rather than a race horse.
    Go and have a read of that then if you have any more questions come back and ask ;)

    But please don't just try and keep changing the bits and going to harsher bits than a snaffle. One of my pet hates is seeing ottb's in harsh bits and gadgets up to their eyeballs to get them 'round'.
        02-21-2010, 06:18 PM
    I have an of the track horse too, and it seems to harder I pull (for example she gets hot in the canter and a half halt just doesnt cut it) the faster she goes. She rides really nice in soft hands and LOVES being ridden in my bitless or my halter. I ride in a really soft bit and just take the contact as I need to.

    Also , if he's recently from the track, he will need about 6 months to cool down. My mare was having problems then she injured her stifle, it took about 6 months of gentle lunging and lots of loving to get her quiet. Now, we don't have fits often.
    Hope this helps!
        02-21-2010, 06:44 PM
    I have my OTTB in a french link. He likes to play with the middle piece and he stays very soft with it. He's responsive to it, and I can stay out of his mouth for the most part. On the occasions where he does get a little strong, it's still enough bit to be affective.
        02-22-2010, 09:10 PM
    We had an OTTB at school, and they used a snaffle with the keys in the center for him to play with, I was thinking about trying that. Then maybe he'll like the bit a little more. I don't know anything about a 6 month cool down period, he's been pretty good from the beginning, although I think his actually race record, is pretty short, 5 races at most maybe...
        02-24-2010, 09:52 PM
    Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
    I have my OTTB in a french link. He likes to play with the middle piece and he stays very soft with it. He's responsive to it, and I can stay out of his mouth for the most part. On the occasions where he does get a little strong, it's still enough bit to be affective.
    Agreed!! I have my 5 yo OTTB and my 16 yo TB in them, they work really welling in it.
    If he's lazy then you need to get lessons to get him to work through his back or he's going to hollow out. I know, my 16yo was hollow for 4 years, he's FINALLY on the bit and in a proper frame! Now he luvs to work. You need to work on suppling into the bridle and the forwardness will follow. My horse I can bearly move at the start of the lesson but once we start lateral work he's fine
    I ride in spurs by the way

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