D-ring or shank snaffle? Help!?

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D-ring or shank snaffle? Help!?

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    06-05-2012, 11:59 AM
Question D-ring or shank snaffle? Help!?

I'm not savvy on tack but I'll try and explain it correctly. I have an 8 yr old mare I trail ride. I use a snaffle bit. My farrier said to get a D ring snaffle. I've always used the snaffle with the shanks on the outside of the mouth of which he said was too severe for an experienced horse. What's the difference and why is one used over another? Also, do I use a chin strap with the D ring? The farrier said I didn't need to. Any advice would be appreciated.
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    06-05-2012, 12:08 PM
What is it you're asking? Your trainer is right, you don't want to use a chin strap with that bit.
    06-05-2012, 12:18 PM
D ring snaffle or the snaffle that has the cheek shanks? I don't know how to ask the question I guess. What's the difference? Thanks on the chin strap.
    06-05-2012, 12:53 PM
The picture you posted is of a D-ring, I can tell because the pieces on either side of the horses mouth where the headstall and reins attach are actually shaped like capital D's. I'm on mobile so I cannot find a picture of a shank for you to compare, but they appear long and somewhat curved on each side of a horses mouth.

A plain D-ring snaffle is a bit milder then a bit with shanks (also referred to as a curb bit) since the shanks create more leverage and pressure in your horses mouth. They're typically meant to be ridden in lightly and even mostly when neck reining.

Farrier is right that a D-ring requires no chin strap, curbs get some of their leverage/pressure from the strap and to put it simply and D-ring doesn't need this pressure. I've never heard of a curb snaffle being too harsh for an experienced horse as long as the rider is experienced as well. It goes along with the adage that a but is as harsh as the hands riding with it though.

Who is your farrier to you, besides his obvious job, that you're taking not advice from him? Do you have a trainer?
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    06-05-2012, 12:58 PM
Ok, first thing to know is, anything with shanks is considered a curb bit, even if it has a broken mouthpiece. Bits are defined by the type of action they use. If it has shanks it's working off of leverage and therefore it's a curb bit. Snaffles work off direct pressure and can also have solid mouth pieces, some even have ports.

No you don't need a chin strap with a D ring. Some people will put them on an O-ring to keep the bit from sliding through the horse's mouth, but It's not really necessary with the D. The purpose of using the chin (sometimes called curb) strap with a shanked bit comes back to the leverage action of the bit. When you engage the curb bit, the strap puts pressure on the horse's jaw and pole.

If you are just trail riding, there's no reason to ride in a curb unless your horse is responding better to it. The bit you're describing as a shanked snaffle sounds an awful lot like a tom thumb. There have been several threads discussing that bit and why its typically not the best one to use. They have some great information on curb bits in them if you want to check them out.
Wallaby, smrobs, CJ82Sky and 1 others like this.
    06-05-2012, 01:57 PM
Thanks. I guess it was a curb bit I was trying to describe which is what I was riding her in prior to buying my own equipment. It had a small ring for the bridle with about 5 inches to the end of another small ring at the bottom that held the end of the reins. It took the amish about 6 weeks to make my bridle, breast collar and saddle so I borrowed my BO's tack.

My farrier was riding western pleasure, flat track and gaming for 40 years and had 3 horses and did quite well. While he was at the shows he would farrier horses who needed it for extra money since he was also trained as a farrier. He has 15 horses a week he takes care of now and is WELL known in this area for his horse knowledge. Now he does nothing but farrier and trail rides with me. He is my friend too.

I ride with a loose rein, use verbal and leg cues and only use the bit at the moment she doesn't respond to the first two cues. All she needs is a very slight nudge on the rein to respond to the bit. So I guess given that maybe it doesn't matter what I use. The ex horseman now farrier said that my horse and I were riding so well that he said move from the curb bit to the D ring so I did. I can't tell a bit (ha, no pun intended) from the curb to the D ring in riding her. She's just the same either way.

So, I was just wondering what the heck the difference was if I or the horse didn't experience anything different that was noticeable??

So thank you all for the clarification!! I did a search for a bit thread and only one post came up before I made this post. Maybe I need to know how to search a thread subject too!
    06-05-2012, 02:48 PM
If she's going the same in both I would just opt for the D since it will be gentler on her mouth when you do have to use it.

I absolutely love your tack set! It looks so flashy on her
    06-05-2012, 04:46 PM
Thanks Ink. I just got it all a few days ago. Saddle, bridle, halter and matching gun holster for 956.
    06-05-2012, 05:32 PM
Yes, your farrier is correct about everything. Just so you can read through some of the threads if you wish....

Tom Thumb bit.........
    06-05-2012, 10:18 PM
Thanks smrobs! Off to read now!

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