Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
I think you should stick to a snaffle bit of one sort or another. A few reasons for this: Firstly, you said that the horse has been checked out by a vet and gotten the OK, so we can PROBALY rule out any physical problems for you horse. Second, get a bit that fits, if it is too small it is going to cause problems, like someone else said it would be like you trying to run about in shoes too small. Thirdly, shanked bits are for finer communication but have the drawback of potentially putting much more force onto the horse’s jaw if you don’t know how to use one, if you are a beginner, and don’t know exactly what any particular bit is exactly used for, don’t use it.
So my recommendation would be to get a snaffle bit that fits and forget any shanked bits for the time being. Mainly because if you are a beginner, and no offence meant here, I doubt you have the seat and hands to ride with a shanked bit and not be in danger of hurting the horse’s mouth (hell, heaps of people hurt their horses mouth in a snaffle bit hauling on the reins trying not to fall off much less a shanked bit). That’s not to say that one day you will, but for now, keep it simple. If the horse is still throwing its head once you have a snaffle bit that fits, and since the vet has given the all clear, I’d then be thinking of looking at what you are doing with your hands, this is what I personally think is the biggest cause of horses “not liking bits”. It’s my opinion too many people want to offset their responsibility to have good hands by telling themselves the horse doesn’t like a bit. That’s not to say horses might not like a bit, but in every case I have ever seen to date o a “horse not liking the bit” it has been what the person was doing with it, or what someone else in the past had done with it, that the horse didn’t like, not the bit. Bits will never be a substitute for learning to handle the reins properly.