Racks Better in a Curb Bit?

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Racks Better in a Curb Bit?

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    09-06-2011, 12:25 AM
Green Broke
Racks Better in a Curb Bit?

This weekend I was talking to the owner of a pretty little SSH gelding. She was competing in the division above me, so I was asking for some advice. Conversation got back to my horse and how she was doing. I said I now had her working constantly on a lose rein and was thinking of moving her up to a curb bit so I could ride one handed more effectively.

The lady said putting her in a curb would also make her rack better. "Light contact in a curb helps them use their bodies better in that gait."

Is that true? Never heard that before. I believe racking horses are suppose to be shown in curb bits... Maybe that's the reason...
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    09-06-2011, 12:37 AM
Green Broke
I'm not a gaited expert - not even close, but I've seen gaited horses rack just fine in everything from a curb to a simple side-pull. I'm not sure how a curb would help?
    09-06-2011, 12:44 AM
Nor am I a gaited horse person, but every racking video I've ever watched has shown riders hauled back on the reins of some long-shanked bit. Which, to an extent, makes sense. You want them kicked out in the neck, nodding their head, to balance for the gait, and they can't do that if there's nothing to brace against. That's how a lot of them are trained. But at the same time, that's a lot of force and leverage on a horse's mouth. However, a curb would distribute the pressure of the reins to different areas, whereas a snaffle just pulls at the corner of the lips or on the bars/tongue, which is a different action entirely. And to summarize: I don't know. It's hard to balance the desired headset and gait action with proper bitting and the avoidance of placing excessive pressure on the mouth....
    09-06-2011, 02:09 AM
I'll ask my trainer on Friday. He'll know. I *kinda* know, but I'll just end up not making any sense.

Or~ you can bring her up here and work with my trainerrrr. ;'D -nudge-
    09-06-2011, 02:22 AM
Green Broke
Thanks for the replies! I'm not sure how a curb would help either. Whether is does or not is up to the experts.

After riding Rocky all this weekend, Baby Girl's comparable lack of smoothness is more annoying than ever. Come down my way and ride her... You can sleep in my attic.
    09-06-2011, 02:52 AM
People who do not know how to truly get self carrage from a gaited horse will say this. What a curb bit does is help to artificially elevate the front end and get them back on their hocks which will make many horses rack better in a straight line. It also can help tuck a horses nose in which makes for a prettier picture. The problem is that it makes for a stiff horse that learns to brace against the reins and couldnt bend his ribcage if he wanted to under saddle because his spine is so stiff. I've retrained a bunch of them.

Id rather supple my horse, teach him to move laterally off my leg and build his frame and carrage just like a dressage horse. This way he learns to use himself and gain rhythm and real elevation to help him gait better, but I don't just care about show ribbons either.
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    09-06-2011, 10:50 AM
Define "gait better."

If you mean more smoothly then the answer is probably not as each horse will have a place on the gait contiuum where they will move the easiest (giving the rider the easiest ride). This point can usually be found with or without contact. If you push the horse outside this point then you must do other things to help them out.

If you mean get more ribbons the answer is a definite yes. That's why show/saddle seat riders use them and ride the way they do. I make no judgement, for this purpose, on that practice.

So make a clear distinction what you mean by "best."

For me, I ride in contact almost all the time (ring, trail, formation, etc.). If find that works the best, accross the board, for me and my horse and what we do. But I also follow the path laid down by the old Cavalry School at Ft. Riley. When riding the "military seat" all horses were always ridden in contact. This works extremely well for gaited horses and I highly recommend it. The program is clear, concise, and without "bells and whistles."

    09-06-2011, 11:23 AM
Or speed racking. There's no way to get speed racking on a collected horse, or really one on a loose rein.
    09-06-2011, 02:00 PM
Originally Posted by Brighteyes    
Thanks for the replies! I'm not sure how a curb would help either. Whether is does or not is up to the experts.

After riding Rocky all this weekend, Baby Girl's comparable lack of smoothness is more annoying than ever. Come down my way and ride her... You can sleep in my attic.
But I be so lazy! A 9 hour trip doesn't suit me at all. ;) Besides, you haven't ridden smooth until you've ridden one of the ponies here. Trainer's already said that you can trailer BG up and he'll give you some pointers before you send her up for training!

I'mma TRY to explain why *we* do it, but I'll probably fail miserably. As I said, I'll ask my trainer and relay what he says.

We use it to support the front end. Can our horses gait without contact? Sure. We are asked to in our shows. But it's an icky thing. We actually drop contact to ask for a pace or trot-- even these gaits have a purpose. It's a difference in signal.

However, this DOES NOT seem to work on an unfinished horse. Hands high in a curb will trigger a pace in some horses. Like The Cow. She'd hollow out and pace. I have a feeling that, since BG's issue IS hollowness, that she will just Nighty all over the place.
    09-06-2011, 07:14 PM
Originally Posted by bubba13    
You want them kicked out in the neck, nodding their head, to balance for the gait, and they can't do that if there's nothing to brace against.
Horses don't nod their heads at the rack - you're probably thinking of a running walk.

In theory a curb bit helps if the horse is "trotty." If they're pacey it could make them worse.

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