should i change bits?

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should i change bits?

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    08-09-2011, 02:21 PM
should i change bits?

I ride a 10 year old QH/ Appaloosa in barrels. This is his first year doing it and he's coming along great. Im finally getting him to run around the barrels instead of trotting around them. I am currantly using a Tom Thumb bit on him. He does great in it while walking and trotting. But he doesnt really like to turn right. Sometimes he will fight a little when I ask to turn right but it doesnt take long for him to give in. He's getting to where he almost never hesitates when ask to do things.
The problem is when im cantering or running (galloping or whatever you prefer to call it lol). When im going anything faster than a trot I have to force his head to the right just to turn. There are no problems turning to the left. When im running barrels I have to pull his head around the first barrel (i take him right, left, left) he resists and so I have to pull harder and he resists more and he also throws his head and opens his mouth.
Is this because of the tom thumb bit? I've heard that they do the nutcracker effect but I've never had any problems except for when I turn right on barrels. My horse needs the shank for control but I think it hurts him when I pull too hard when trying to go around the first barrel. Going around the other two barrels he is perfectly fine. Its just the first one.
I also think that because of me having to pull him around the barrel he thinks of the first barrel as a spot of pain so he hesitates making me pull to continue on.
This is the bit that I am using now:

I've heard of using a 3 peice bit and im interested with trying one of those. I've heard it has shanks for control but no nutcracker effect. Im looking at this kind of bit:
I don't want to ruin his barrel racing career by making him think of pain everytime we run barrels and I don't want to mess up his mouth either. So what do you think and what would you suggest?
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    08-09-2011, 02:22 PM
Also do you think it could be a rider mistake too?
    08-09-2011, 02:34 PM
Maybe it's not the bit, it could be rider error. I don't want to sound mean but it could. Also maybe he just needs to be softer in the mouth?
    08-09-2011, 02:35 PM
I don't ride barrels, never have, so take my opinion in that context. I think that when a horse has difficulty turning one direction it isn't because they don't want to turn that way. It's always a physical reason. There is some pain or stiffness that makes it hard to go that way, so it's not them being stubborn or bratty, as some would say.

Therefore, I would go away from the barrels and work on getting him supple and comfortable turning both directions without the pressure of the barrel race.

As for the bit, I have used a tom thumb, just like the one you posted, and I really didnt' like it at all. I found that it was hard to do any sort of direct reining in it and it encouraged my horse to come behind the bit and then just plow right through my hands. So, instead of having more control, I had less.

What sort of bit is most commonly used for barrel racing? Do most barrel racers direct rein or neck rein? I am not sure what bit to advise you on,. But I think working on plain and simple suppling him to the right OFF the barrels would be a good idea.
smrobs likes this.
    08-09-2011, 02:51 PM
Almost forgot...

I barrel race but just gymkhana. I use a Sherry Cervi bit that looks like this.

Bit if you don't want a snaffle that has a twisted wire this is a regular snaffle with a short shank, they also have long shanks too, depending on how your horse is and what you want.
    08-09-2011, 03:05 PM
Can you tell me how that bit is different from the Tom Thumb? I see fundamentally the same sort of bit, though the curves differ a bit and the twist is different, of course.
    08-09-2011, 03:07 PM
When I am at home just practicing I use a simple D-ring snaffle. I have found that getting my horse soft and supple in that will really help when I run him. When I compete, I use a short shank combination bit. Basically, don't be afraid to try several different bits to find one that works with your horse. If he is telling you that he doesn't like it or is uncomfortable, try a different one.
Horserider33 likes this.
    08-09-2011, 03:10 PM
Oh oops I misunderstood what she was asking I thought she said she had the three pieced bit not the tom thumb oops I apologize for that.
    08-10-2011, 02:54 AM
I can't say that im SUPER soft in the hands but im definitely not rough handed either. Also I have only just started barrel racing in the last year or two so im not an expert. That's why im asking advice. And I the most I work with is turning, collection, and control walking before running. He is actually right footed so he isnt unable to turn right while running. He prefers the left for some reason but maybe sometime in his past his rider hurt him going to the right so he doesnt like it as well and hesitates. Im not sure. I've only had him for about a year and a half now. I have 7 other horses but he is my barrel horse and I just want suggestions on which bit would be best to use or try.

The only kind of bits I own are a couple snaffles and the rest are tom thumbs. (oh and a hackamore) and that's all the choices I have to try from without buying more bits. He doesnt work well in the hack and the tom thumbs don't work. I can use a snaffle and its works fine but sometimes he needs more control than a snaffle gives. I don't want to waste money on several bits but I want my horse to be comfortable in the mouth and im not very knowledgable on bits. I want something that has control but also gives and wont pinch his mouth like I think the tom thumb is doing

Also my horse doesnt neck rein (in training on that) so the bit isnt just sitting there to look pretty lol it has to actually work with him
    08-10-2011, 03:31 AM
Originally Posted by DustyDiamond    
Almost forgot...

I barrel race but just gymkhana. I use a Sherry Cervi bit that looks like this.

Bit if you don't want a snaffle that has a twisted wire this is a regular snaffle with a short shank, they also have long shanks too, depending on how your horse is and what you want.
Please don't use these bits. They won't help any horse turn or run better. The function of these type of devices is to seperate a fool from his/her money. If horses could have nightmares these bits would be in them.

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