My BF and I got my horses out and messed with them for a few hours earlier today. Gypsie and Dakota were filthy! I swear I've not seen them dirtier than what they were today in a long time... Mud was caked on them and everything... Yuck! Anyway, after we brushed Gyps and 'Kota, I filed Gypsie's front hooves down (I'm doing her back hooves in the next few days).
Afterwards, I decided to work with Dakota and see how he did with different bits, because I'm tired of using the bit I have for him on him because it's not even a real bit. It's a Pelham bit with the shanks cit off, so it's pretty much a straight, thick snaffle with a port (he loves it, though... I'm not sure why...). Anyway, part of the reason I want to get him into a 'real' bit is so that I can buy bits without worrying about how he's going to ride in them. The other part is because I feel that the Pelham-thing is too thick, because no matter how I try to go easy, and no matter how slowly I take it out of his mouth, he clenches his teeth down on it and jerks his head, causing the bit to bang against his teeth as he releases it and I don't want a headshy horse because of a too-thick, hurting-teeth bit.
I tried him in a hackamore again... Last time I had him in a hackamore, he nearly headbutted me three times in less than a minute and whenever I pulled back even a little bit, he tossed his head like an idiot. He did the same thing this time, so I've decided that hackamores just aren't for him, period. Though there was no problem getting it on him and off him, he was perfect.
Next, I put a regular, O-ring snaffle on him. I've had it on him before, and he tossed his head a little, but this time he did nothing like that... just 'chewed' on the bit a whole lot, though once I jumped up on his back, he quit chewing the bit and paid attention to me. He did perfect except for a little shaking of his head when I stopped him the first time. I stopped him quite a bit, every few steps, and even let him trot a few steps and stopped him with no headshaking. He was very easy to bridle with this bit, too... I just put it at his teeth and after a few moments he accepted it easily. Unbridling was a little harder, but he opened his mouth for me and, while he did grab the bit in his teeth like he's been doing with the other bit, he didn't jerk his head back and after a few moments he dropped it out perfectly with no crazy jerking or pulling or putting his head so high that I couldn't reach.
I think I'm going to start messing with him in the O-ring snaffle... He seemed to like it, and it's a good bit thinner than the Pelham thing... (Lol).
Do you think I should... Or is there another bit that you think I should try with him? I'm thinking about trying a sidepull one day, because my mare works well in a sidepull, and Dakota knows how to ride with just a halter too... but I dunno.
Oh, also, please note that I did NOT ride Dakota (who is a coming 3 year old) for any farther than from the barn to my truck, which is roughly 15 - 17 yards.