Critique me and my (kind of) green horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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They like him because he makes me happy, but my mom is all about some chestnut horses. Haha. He is a porker isn't he?!

I just asked my trainer what type of bit she has him on. I know it's nothing wild because I would remember what it looked like. I know it's jointed and doesn't have anything long or pointy on the sides. I really don't think it's a harsh bit but I will let y'all know when I get her response!

It's ok eventer, thank you for replying!!
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post #12 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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OK, my trainer just messaged me and said it is a tom thumb snaffle. LOL weird right? I knew it wasn't anything harsh. This horse does need his teeth floated pretty bad, would that have something to do with his head tossing?
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post #13 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 06:30 AM
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^ That most likely has EVERYTHING to do with his head tossing.

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
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post #14 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 07:06 AM
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Ok... here we go.

The key is not to get nervous, especially on a green horse. So I know it might be hard at first to think about letting the reins loose, but trust me, it will help out in the long run, and he will be a lot easier to ride. So... Loosen your reins!

Start out cantering straight on the rail or in a large circle. Then, slowly release your reins more. It obviously doesn't have to be a huge drape, just enough that there is actually visible slack in the reins. Now as soon as you feel him speed up without you asking (which will probably be instantly the first few times), start the spiral... which is just like what it is. Pretend there are lines on the ground creating a spiral. Start out in a big circle, then every time you go around, make the circle just slightly smaller. Do this until he is going into the smallest circle you are comfortable with, or that he will do without breaking gait (don't let him). When you have come to the center of your spiral, slowly work your way out again, making the circle slightly larger every time you go around. Eventually, you can go back to the rail and try again. Enough spirals will cure the problem. lol. And it is also great for getting them to work their hind end if they tend to be more heavy on the forehand.

As for the head tossing, I see 2 huge problems...

1. He needs to get his teeth floated asap.
and 2. (which I believe is the biggest problem) Is the bit.

It is only my opinion, but I HATE Tom Thumbs. And it amazes me how many people use them. I used to do mobile training, and almost every owner stuck one of those bits in their horse's mouth. It's like... "No wonder you have having problems with him/her..." Then I tell/show them how every time you stop or turn using direct pressure, it stabs their horse in the roof of their mouth. That seems to make them flinch and understand very quickly. And then I put a plain 'ol snaffle in the horse's mouth and the watch me get the horse do everything perfectly.

Sorry... Kind of went on a tangent there... I really, really dislike those bits. I believe almost every horse can work in a snaffle, at least in the arena.

So... You know what I'm going to say next as a response to your "which bit should I use?" question... lol. A snaffle! I personally love the western-style dee ring snaffles with a sweet iron mouth and copper inlay like this...

Kelly Western Riding Horse D Ring Snaffle Bit - eBay (item 390089587207 end time Sep-09-09 15:07:57 PDT)

You almost HAVE to be riding in a snaffle to do things like spirals, you will be direct reining, and you just don't get the same flexion/feel with a curb or shanked bit. But if you really need something with a shank to keep you comfortable, get something with a short shank, still with a broken mouth. Like an argentine snaffle...

NEW ! Argentine Copper Wrapped Snaffle Bit with silver - eBay (item 350250058222 end time Sep-10-09 19:25:15 PDT)

I hoped this helped! And let me know if you have any questions or if he won't slow down, I have a few other things you could do. =]
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post #15 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for all the info!!

The thing is, this is not my horse just yet... He won't be until christmas, if I even decide on him. I would feel off asking my trainer to float his teeth for me and him RIGHT NOW without making any promises to buy him.. his teeth don't look horrible, but it def. needs to be done. IDK what to do in this situation?
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post #16 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 08:27 AM
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I would definitely change the bit. I have nothing against the American Tom Thumb as a bit, for the right horse and situation they can be decent. I rode my well broke trail horse for years with one, and never had a single issue. That being said, that was a seasoned horse who was very well grounded and understanding of rein cues, and he was almost always neck reined on a LOOSE rein. With my new horse, though, I would never put the ATT in his mouth. He's too green, he would get confused, and he doesn't neck rein (yet... he will learn eventually. Every English horse should know the basics of neck reining, every western horse should be able to carry himself over a low jump, my 2 cents) Rule #1 of ANYTHING with a shank: Neck reining only. To direct rein, two handed, in a shanked bit is to confuse/cause pain. Unless you are showing and he's over 5 years old, you don't need a shanked bit anyway. If you are showing in over 5 y/o classes, I would look for a bit like this: Abetta Billy Allen Snaffle Bit-Blue Steel-5'' - eBay (item 350246291057 end time Sep-28-09 13:40:32 PDT)
Or something similar. The Billy Allen has a "broken" mouth, like the ATT, but with a much milder action (no nutcracker). The hinged shanks allow for some "feel," but are attached in such a way that there won't be any pinching for the horse. A similar bit with either a mullen mouth or a low port could serve equally well. You can continue to use the ATT, but be aware of how to ride it safely and correctly, and what can happen.

Give this article a read, there's some good info here, especially about the ATT. Bits and their Proper Use There are other threads on this site as well dedicated to the pros and cons of the ATT.

The teeth likely have a lot to do with it. Not knowing your total situation as far as whether you will actually buy the horse or not, that's all I can say. Whoever owns the horse now, maybe you can put a bug in their ear. No matter who owns him, his teeth probably still need attention.

Good luck, and have fun! Your horse is a beauty, BTW!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #17 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 10:21 AM
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I don't think it looks all that bad! I actually don't think you have a death grip on his reigns. I think the problem is more that he is green and rides very much on his forehand. He's unbalanced and by you maintaining a light contact on his mouth, he is using your grip as a 3rd leg. That being said, your very unsteady in your hands and you end up popping him in the mouth quite a bit (hence the head tossing and gaping mouth). I'd probably put him in a snaffle and then what I personally would do is not use the entire ring.

I'd do smaller circles, serpentines and only canter a few strides at a time. You want to get him using that rear end so you'll want to canter about 5 strides and halt or come back to a trot for a while and then canter a few strides, halt back and/or trot... He's not giving you his full attention which is another issue. He's green. He seems like he's a fairley sweet boy though and he is a pretty boy. You don't look that bad either. You guys are going to be cute together! I can't wait to see updated videos in a month or so...

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #18 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 12:54 PM
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Well.... Maybe ask her the next time a vet is coming out? haha... like.. give her clues... her being a trainer should know if he really needs them done at this very moment or not.

I personally think that just changing the bit would make a huge difference. Will your trainer let you do that?
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post #19 of 20 Old 09-09-2009, 01:10 PM
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I had the same problem with my horse, and it seems hard to believe that if you let them canter on a loose rein that they will get it. I am in the middle of this process, it does seem to work. Although right now it is only working in the arena, while trail riding, he stills want to pull out in front of other horses. So I tried to ride with people that don't want to canter. All of the post are things I have heard, and think they are legit. I used a harsh bit, each time, I would get a harsher bit. Then someone recommended the ez rider bit, website, (I think), you can do a search and find it. Anyway, it is supposed to be one of the most humane bits made, so I thought how can that work. Well I bought it, expensive though (140.00), it has a 30 day guarantee, so didn't think I had much too lose. Some of the testimonials sounded just like me, I even called one that lived close to me, and she confirmed. The first time I used it, he stopped on a dime with barely any pressure from my hands, (didnt' mention, he didn't like to stop when he wanted to canter), the next time was even better. I recommend it highly. Also, my horse doesn't like his ears touched, so I had to use a snap bridle, and take it apart, sneak up behind his ears, and then put the bit on. Second time using the new bit, he took the bit, and we did a normal bridle job. So much I threw the snap bit away.........well worth the money to me. Think about giving it a try.....and good luck.
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post #20 of 20 Old 09-10-2009, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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thank you so much scout for all the help!! that was a ton of information! & thank you, he is so cute to me :)

farmboy, your post really made me smile big! Sometimes it is so nice to hear some encouragement like that. Right now it is a litttleee hard to get him to do tighter circles because he is SO fat and SO out of shape. He seriously was a lawn gnome before I came along.

Domino, what is so awesome about this deal, is that Erin will more than likely let me do anything I want with this horse. I direct the direction of the lesson, and she helps me if it is appropriate for the time. I could buy a bridle tomorrow with whatever bit I wanted (within reason) and put it on him. I like this situation because I pretty much get a free trial on him until christmas.

Dona that sounds like a GREAT bit! However, 140.00 just is not doable for me right now on a bit :(

Sadly, I got into a horrible aweful car accident since last time I posted. A van turned infront of me and I hit him dead on at around 50-55 miles per hour. My car is totalled, I was rushed to the hospital and now have potential back problems. I don't know how long it will take to feel OK again. Could be next week, could be a month or two. The good thing is, though, the value of my car (around 15k) my dad has distributed to 5k for my horse, 5k for a cheaper used car, and 5k to pay for my college. So I have options opening up.
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