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?