I have a question for all you TWH owners out there. Do TWH always have to be ridden in a walking bit because they are gaited or can they be ridden in say a snaffle as well?? Now, I know all horses are different, but I just see so many of them in walking bits and was wondering if that is just what they have to be ridden in and what is the reason for a walking bit? How is it different from other regular bits? Thanks a bunch!
I've never used a walking bit on a TWH. Those shanks can be awful. I'm not sure, but I think the point of them is to get the horse's head high, so it can gait better (?).
If you're going to use a shank, I'd use a mild tom-thumb bit.
They're not awesome, but they're MUCH less severe than a Walking bit.
I have heard many not so good things about the Tom Thumb bits. I have a walkers bit that actually is very mild, more like the Imus comfort bit I use. It all depends on the training of the horse if they have a hard or soft mouth. Each horse is an individual and you should use whatever your horse is most comfortable in.
My old walker was always ridden in a TWH bit but that's the bit he came with. We used it forever. My new walker rides in a TWH bit and any bit really. The thing is, when she rides in a snaffle, she carries her head lower and doesn't quite shuffle the way she should. With the walking horse bit she carries her head higher and shuffles. If you aren't showing and you don't care about "proper TWH head carriage" then the bit doesn't matter as long as they respond to it.
You can ride a Walker in any bit you train them to.
Many laterally gaited horses seem to prefer riding in contact. This is a strong argument for the snaffle bit. I'm not a "snaffle bit Nazi" but don't see much need for a curb unless the discipline or some chacteristic of the horse demands it.
I've always ridden my horses in a snaffle, but I've never had a gaited horse, but am planning on buying a TWH in the future. All I am going to be doing is trail riding and some parades, that's it. No showing or anything, so head carriage is not a big thing to me. I just never agreed with those walking bits, they look painful! I excersised a couple TWH after I sold my arab, and they were both ridden in walking bits and they were just so awful looking with those long shanks and heavy too! And what got me was both of the horses were very soft and responsive in the mouth, and I didn't see the need for such a harsh bit, but that was my opinion, they weren't my horses, so I really couldn't do anything about it, but everytime I rode them, I felt so awful having to use those bits. Now,one more question, if I buy a TWH that has been ridden in a walking bit, can I transition to a snaffle or will the horse not respond as well?
Well, the bit that came with my horse looks like something from a torture chamber, and he responds beautifully bitless. The prior owner used it with him because it was the "proper" bit for a TWH, turns out he is a great horse without it. I am new to riding gaited and wonder if the hackamore will enable me to set his head when we are at that stage.