Which bit should I use? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 08:21 AM
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Ah, I'm sorry for my misunderstanding, David. That clears a whole lot of things up .

In that case, something like what bsms posted would be perfect.

You might browse around on Amazon.com. They ship to Europe and have a very wide selection of nice, affordable bits. Here are a few of my favorites I've found on there and I think just about any of them would fit your needs. They are all mild with short shanks.

I've got one of these and both me and my horses really like it

I've never used one of these so I can't speak of quality, but I like the looks of it

I've never used one of these either, but I really like the looks of it too

This is the same basic style as one of my favorite bits in the world. I've yet to come across a horse that didn't go well in one like these


And don't let the price of this one fool you. I've used one of these for years and wouldn't trade it for anything.

And if you think your horse might like more of a mullen mouth instead of a port, there is always something like this

Also, Amazon does sell most of the Myler bits (the one that you were using before), but, like bsms, I just can't seem to bring myself to spend $100+ on a bit that isn't custom made.

Last edited by smrobs; 07-27-2013 at 08:23 AM.
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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One hand on the reins is 'correct' western riding with a shanked bit. I started off English and used two hands for the first 5 years. I'm now trying to get used to using one hand, but it feels strange to me. My balance is used to having the weight of my second arm in front of me, not by my side.

Our geldings both neck rein, but my favorite horse is Mia...and she is a slow learner. The good news is that when she finally DOES learn something, it sticks in her mind like glue. I didn't know how to ride when I bought her, so her slow progress is also due to my inability. As she slowly picks up neck reining, I think we'll do OK with one hand at some point in the future. I'm trying, but I'm pretty sure no one is as slow to learn riding as I am. Starting at 50 doesn't seem to have helped, either...

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-28-2013, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the picture of the bit that she really didn't like. My concern is that it looks similar to some of the bits very kindly suggested, except that it has a link in the middle (is it a western snaffle?). The bit shown here is 5 inches wide.

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post #14 of 16 Old 07-28-2013, 04:28 PM
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That bit bends in the middle, and can poke the horse's mouth. Most of the others shown do not bend in the middle. They can rotate in the middle, but will never poke the horse's mouth.

BTW - regardless of what a catalog says, a snaffle doesn't have shanks. Lots of western riders use snaffles that are identical to English bits. I do with both of my geldings. After trying lots of different snaffles, I switched my mare to a curb bit because she relaxes more and acts better balanced in one. I don't know why other than horses get a vote in what they like or dislike.

I tend to avoid terms like harsh, because the analysis used is often simplistic, and doesn't take into account the complexity of a horse's mouth & a rider's hands and style of riding. A horse with a thick tongue will respond differently to a bit than one with a thin tongue. Riding with slack in the reins can make a difference, but what about a horse who sometimes insists on some contact? With training and the right rider, a spade bit is arguably the gentlest bit around, but it would be a holy terror in the hands of a so-so rider, or in the mouth of a horse that wasn't specifically trained to use one.

A lot of horse owners end up with a lot more bits than horses. That fits me - I've got a box of bits I will probably never use again. Trooper, meanwhile, behaves fine with any bit you stick in his mouth. Mia, OTOH, has been known to look at me as if to say, "What in the HELL did you just stick in my mouth?!" Good luck, and congrats on deciding YOU are responsible for your horse. Well intentioned advice is endless, and often useless as well...
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"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-28-2013, 10:40 PM
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I don't know why that particular style of bit is so common and so popular. I've never liked curb bits that have a broken mouth. They are overly harsh and can be incredibly confusing. To me, they just don't have a good feel. And, while I did have horses that would go well in them, they always went better in something else.

That bit is nothing like the ones that I linked for you (I hate bits like the one you posted that your mare hated too). The ones that I linked are solid and will not collapse on the horse's face. They have an action that is almost identical to the combo bit you were using on her before, just without the gag action and the noseband.
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-29-2013, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both so much for your helpful advice over these past few days. I am definitely coming away from the Hackamore, and for starters I am going to put her back in the combination to try to 'unconfuse' her mind, hopefully with a lot of groundwork over the next few weeks. I have a vacation for a week (we call it a 'holiday') then when I come back from that I will decide which bit to put her in but I think it will be something along the lines of those suggested by yourselves.

Thanks again.
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comfort snaffle , hackamore , pelham , snaffle trouble

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