Bit help? Difficult horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Bit help? Difficult horse?

I cannot for the life of me find a bit that my gelding likes. I've tried almost everything and I really can't think of anything else. I've even tried a mechanical hackamore and a bosal and those didn't work at all. He needs retraining and it's not going to happen bitless.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with his teeth. If he is in pain, it's for some other reason.

Does anybody have any ideas?
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post #2 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 08:42 PM
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what are some of the bits youve tried ? Have you also played around with different thicknesses/metals/rubber ?

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post #3 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 08:44 PM
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My first questions are:
- have you had a professional check your saddle fit?
- have you had a chiropractor out to rule out any bodily discomfort?
Both of the above can manifest itself to look like a bit problem, when it's not. Denny was locked up through the jaw and he couldn't flex to the right. I attributed it to a bitting problem, and was heartily embarrassed when his dentist (who is also certified as a chiropractor) told me that his entire jaw was locked up. I mention this because:

Quote:
If he is in pain, it's for some other reason.
This tips me off that maybe (just maybe, not trying to assume anything here :) ) there might be another issue coming into play?

What kind of bits have you tried?


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post #4 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 08:44 PM
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Firstly, what does he do to show he doesn't like the bit? Get nervous, chew, shake his head, etc.?

Have you tried a Baucher/Hanging snaffle? It's meant to sit really still in the mouth, he might like that sensation.

Have you tried bits with rollers/keys for him to play with?

Tried a myler/billy allen mouthpiece?

Ports?

Gag action? - A friend was having the same issues, and has found a snaffle with a slight gag action is his favourite so far.

Tried a flexible mouthpiece - I.e. Leather, or a waterford?

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post #5 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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I won't be able to remember all of them, but I'll try...

- Imus bit: http://doubleoranch-tack.com/images3/Bit24300.jpg

That's the bit I've used on him for 2 years. A few months ago, he decided he didn't like it anymore.

- Plain D-ring snaffle
- Plain O-ring snaffle
- Single-jointed Tom Thumb
- Twisted dogbone snaffle
- Straight bar kimberwick
- Straight bar pelham
- Curbs of varied port heights
- French link snaffle
- Low-port grazing bit

I've tried both sweet iron and copper. I was planning on trying a bit with a rubber mouthpiece, but I couldn't find one at any tack shops around here.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
My first questions are:
- have you had a professional check your saddle fit?
- have you had a chiropractor out to rule out any bodily discomfort?
Both of the above can manifest itself to look like a bit problem, when it's not. Denny was locked up through the jaw and he couldn't flex to the right. I attributed it to a bitting problem, and was heartily embarrassed when his dentist (who is also certified as a chiropractor) told me that his entire jaw was locked up.
He has a bad back and gets a visit from the chiropractor every 6 months. She's actually coming out next week. I asked my vet about it when he floated his teeth and he didn't see anything that could be causing bit pain.



Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post
Firstly, what does he do to show he doesn't like the bit? Get nervous, chew, shake his head, etc.?

Have you tried a Baucher/Hanging snaffle? It's meant to sit really still in the mouth, he might like that sensation.

Have you tried bits with rollers/keys for him to play with?

Tried a myler/billy allen mouthpiece?

Ports?

Gag action? - A friend was having the same issues, and has found a snaffle with a slight gag action is his favourite so far.

Tried a flexible mouthpiece - I.e. Leather, or a waterford?
He shakes his head, holds his mouth open, bares his teeth, curls his lip, and sticks his nose out. He will still collect, but there are certain times when he acts like he's in pain (mostly when I stop him, slow him down, or back him up). The weird thing is that I have given him many opportunities to be free of bit pressure and he won't take advantage of them. I mentioned he needed retraining... the main things I'm working on are not jigging and stopping with a voice command. He's not a big fan of walking, and when he starts jigging or trotting I pull back - softly, but firmly - and immediately release. He acts like it hurts, but when I release him he starts jigging again after a few steps! He knows exactly what's going to happen but he does it anyway. The same thing with the stop... I tell him "woah," give him a second to stop, and then I use the reins to stop him and I back him up. Same thing - he acts like that hurts and then refuses to stop again. He knows FULL well what I want him to do.

Anyway... I've gone off topic.

I haven't tried a hanging snaffle, but that sounds interesting. I've tried rollers, ports, and gags.

Myler and Billy Allen I think are similar to what I was using before.

I haven't tried a Waterford. I think my trainer might have one that I can try.
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post #6 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 09:24 PM
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Have you had the saddle professionally fitted? In a downward transition such as stopping, and thanks to Newton's laws, a lot of the forward motion is transferred forwards. If this horse has a history of back problems, that could be your culprit.
I strongly suggest getting the saddle checked out - not just while the horse is standing, but while in motion as well.


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post #7 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
Have you had the saddle professionally fitted? In a downward transition such as stopping, and thanks to Newton's laws, a lot of the forward motion is transferred forwards. If this horse has a history of back problems, that could be your culprit.
I strongly suggest getting the saddle checked out - not just while the horse is standing, but while in motion as well.
Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention that. The chiropractor has already checked his saddle and she said it was fine. He threw out his back after he fell in the pasture and ever since then his back gets sore every 6 months or so.
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post #8 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 09:31 PM
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I have an idea. Have you ever heard of a Nathe bit? It's entirely rubber. It's like a Happy Mouth but it doesn't have ANY metal in the mouthpiece. My horse had a head shaking problem before I put this in. Now, she's amazing! My horse has a very sensitive mouth and metal just makes her mad.

Nathe Loose Ring Snaffle Bit

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post #9 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 09:34 PM
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How long did you give him to get used to it? It may take a week or two to for a horse to figure out how to carry it comfortably in his mouth.

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post #10 of 28 Old 03-04-2010, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eventerdrew View Post
I have an idea. Have you ever heard of a Nathe bit? It's entirely rubber. It's like a Happy Mouth but it doesn't have ANY metal in the mouthpiece. My horse had a head shaking problem before I put this in. Now, she's amazing! My horse has a very sensitive mouth and metal just makes her mad.

Nathe Loose Ring Snaffle Bit
That sounds really nice. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks : ]


Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
How long did you give him to get used to it? It may take a week or two to for a horse to figure out how to carry it comfortably in his mouth.
Do you mean get used to a bit in general? Like, for the first time?

I've never heard of a horse having to get used to a bit for that long... especially when they react as if they're in pain, and not just weirded out.
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