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Different bit needed

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    04-19-2013, 01:34 PM
Just a quick question. Went through Kroons old cart horse stuff, I confiscaated the bits when I took them over frm his previous owner because of the deplorable state they're in. There is 2 driving bits, but also a bit that I think is a homemade version of a ported pelham. I will be trying him in different bits and try and retrain him with a snaffle, but if this "pelham" was his bit, might a low port pelham be a good start when he does have to go out and work. I will attach rein connectors to his pelham, to at least try and lessen the curb effect. I know a pelham was designed to be ridden with two reins, but his rider does not have the skill for this. Now I just want to ask a quick question about rein connectors: I have what I believe is called rolled leather rein connectors , but I'm also looking to get another pair for my other gelding who also works in a pelham. Today I saw on a tack stores website what is called ring type rein connectors. Are they better/ worse/ equal to the rolled leather connectors?
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    04-19-2013, 04:22 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
I can't help you there, Sheepdog, since I do not ride two reined or in a pelham and have little knowledge about them except for the general way that it functions. Sorry!

Jaydee, I don't want to take over this thread with an entire dialog about Mech Hacks, but while you are correct about them being used in show jumping sometimes, they still are not good for direct reining because they use a curb chain and shanks. IMO and shanked bit should only be neck reined in, because otherwise they send very mixed signals, just like a jointed pelham with only the curb activated sends very confusing signals.
    04-20-2013, 11:22 AM
Perhaps go back to a snaffle and have the rider merely tickle the rein with a finger rather than pull the rein, for a response. My new shetland was somewhat like your horse altho I found she became quite response with rein tickling. If she moved her nose a teeny bit in the direction I wanted the reins were dropped like I'd just gotten burned.
    04-20-2013, 01:11 PM
Saddlebag, thanks. I think I might ground drive him in a snaffle, might borrow the pinto mares double link snaffle, myself a few times. I like to think I'm a little faster on the release than the riders. His rider is just like; "put a martingale on him" I would really prefer not to. If we have worked him in a different bit, ruled out all other physical problems (teeth were done less than six mths ago) and he still throws his head around I'll think about putting him in a Martingale for a while.
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    04-20-2013, 01:29 PM
Hey, just read through your posts, I was in the exact same situation!
I have a very large Belgian who was driven in a broken liverpool, with the reins on the third shank down - ouch!
I swapped him immediately to a ported kimberwick. He was good but a bit strong on the bit - just pulling against it and tossing his head when he wanted something other than what I asked.
So I brought him to my ring and just did a million turns. I made serpentines and circles and zig zags and figures 8s - I circled trees out in the field. Over a few short sessions he was anticipating what I wanted from my seat cues and doesn't hardly even need his bit touched. Then I gradually introduced speed transitions.
By changing things up constantly you're forcing the horse to really pay attention to you and anticipate what you're looking for. If you're careful to always start with the quietest cue (usually seat and leg cues) and gradually work up to the strongest - then an immediate release of pressure for the correct act - the horse will come leaps and bounds. I'm going to be switching my boy to a mullen mouth snaffle soon, he really doesn't need leverage anymore.

Good luck working out this issue :)

ETA: About bitless bridles. I use one on my other draft, she I trained from scratch. Bitless bridles have a completely different form of communication from bits. The pressure is in all new places. Mechanical hackamores are typically meant for neck reining and aren't ideal for direct reining. Other bitless options (dr. Cooks or indian hackamores) are more suited to direct reining. But because the communication is so different than a bit you will need to train them to ride in it like as if they've never had anything like it before. This means starting from the ground, teaching them to give to pressure left/right/back than practice slow walk/halt and trot/walk transitions and steering. Honestly I'd probably line drive in it before getting on too - to be sure they're confident in it. To change equipment so completely requires retraining the new communication. So your better off weaning him down to a gentler bit.
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    04-20-2013, 02:09 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Endiku    
I can't help you there, Sheepdog, since I do not ride two reined or in a pelham and have little knowledge about them except for the general way that it functions. Sorry!

Jaydee, I don't want to take over this thread with an entire dialog about Mech Hacks, but while you are correct about them being used in show jumping sometimes, they still are not good for direct reining because they use a curb chain and shanks. IMO and shanked bit should only be neck reined in, because otherwise they send very mixed signals, just like a jointed pelham with only the curb activated sends very confusing signals.
No neither do I but the English hackamore (same can be fitted on a german hackamore) does not have a curb chain it has a broad leather strap and much shorter shanks than the typical western hackamore. A well trained showjumper (or any horse) should never rely only on the reins to give direction but as much on leg aids and general seat position
British horses schooled to work in these have no understanding of neck reining so no confusion on mixed signals at all and I've taken horses with sore mouths that had only ever been ridden in bits into English hackamores temporarily with no trouble at all.
The action from the correctly fitted English hackamore is almost the same as a bitless sidepull
    04-20-2013, 06:14 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
PunksTank's idea is a good one. I was just doing that sort of thing with my mini mare today (ground driving) around cones, over hills, between cones, in spirals...it does wonders for 'loosening' them up because you don't have as conflicting of signals as when a so-so rider is trying to school the horse. Do you have any one else that can ride him better than his current rider, maybe with lighter signals and more patience?

Jaycee- Are we talking about the same hackamore? clicktoseegermanhackamore [click] englishhackamore

I really don't see how its even minutely possible for a german hackamore to act like a side pull, correctly fitted or not. Even with only a leather curb strap instead of a chain (the mare in the picture has a cord curb strap) the point of that strap is to help form the curb action, and the fact that the shanks are often 8-11" long, means that the leverage power is quite substantial. With an english hack, its somewhat less powerful because the shanks are short, but it still uses leverage, and thus it has curb type action. I'm not saying that a horse can not be trained to direct rein in a MH, I'm saying that its not a very good idea, and when you don't know what you're doing or the horse has problems with head thrusting, bobbing, ignoring signals, etc- the MH is absolutely not an answer and will only cause more problems. IMO the MH is the bitless equivalent to a Tomb Thumb. It can be used, and a horse may function ok in it, but there are better options out there.

IF I were going to use a mechanical hack, I'd go for a Little S. It is the closest thing to a side pull with metal involved, and does not have a curb strap. If I remember correctly, it is ok to ride with light contact on a responsive horse with this set up. clicktoseeLittleS
    04-21-2013, 12:35 PM
Super Moderator
This is all a bit irrelevant really as it doesn't sound to me as if the OP's horse is going to be ridden by someone with light enough hands for a hack. And is also not well schooled enough to work of leg aids.
The pic you linked looks much longer shanked than the typical german hack used in European showjumping - but then our ported bits like the Pelham and kimberwick are so much lower in the actual port they are barely a 'bump' compared to the US ported bits
The way you talk about direct reining gives me the impression of someone hauling on either rein to get the horse to turn/direct when in fact it should only require the lightest touch if the horse has been correctly trained - there are loads of videos on Youtube showing horses turning to leg aids only - many with no bridles at all
European hackamores have been used in showjumping for many years now and becoming increasingly popular at the highest levels where people do not neck rein and the ability to turn is vital in jump offs
    04-21-2013, 07:29 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Oh, I know that you shouldn't be hauling on an animal's mouth to be turning or stopping it, but unfortunately most people who use MH use them incorrectly, and do use quite a bit of force; thus making me wary of ever suggesting it to anyone. IMO if you and the horse are schooled well enough to use the MH correctly, there really shouldn't be a reason for you to put a horse in it in the first place.

I did not realize that American made MH and european made MH had different shank lengths though. That's interesting! I've never seen an american MH with shanks any shorter than the one on that Quarter Pony pictured above.

I stand by the fact that just because something is popular or used commonly, even by professionals, doesn't mean its good though. Twisted wire snaffles paired with tie downs are popular in most of the rodeo events and normal riding activities in my area, but that doesn't make them a great idea.

We seem to both agree though, it takes a certain skill set to even think about riding in a mechanical hack, so I'll leave it at that ^_^ sorry for getting things off subject guys!
    04-21-2013, 07:58 PM
Super Moderator
OP Also apologies for going off track
Either roundings will have much the same effect. Having someone ride him in 2 reins that doesn't know how to handle them could be worse than using roundings as they could as easily end up with all the pressure on the bottom rein. A Kimberwick actually has less 'curb' effect because it doesn't have the long shanks and the action on the reins is closer to that of a snaffle if you can find something like the one I'm posting a pic of.
The ideal is to get him back into a snaffle and to do this is probably going to involve going right back to the basics others have suggested so he learns the 'whoa' cue from the ground which can then be translated under saddle. Half the horses that end up in strong bits are that way because whoever trained them missed out that vital part of the educating process and think it can be taught by heaving away on the reins, the horse gets confused and the first reaction it has is to throw its head up to avoid the contact and/or pull against that pressure like a game of 'tug of war'
I don't have a problem with martingales used in these situations as a temporary tool though I wont ride in a tie down (standing martingale) as I like the horse to be able to have the ability to raise its head to right itself if I allow it should it trip or lose balance - something you can do with a correctly fitted running martingale
Endiku I know pretty much nothing about western shanked bits and some of them scare the crap out of me and I would be terrified to ride in one simply because I know nothing about them. There are exceptions of course and some bits were never meant to be used but to an experienced western rider on a well educated horse I'm sure the ones that worry me aren't as bad as I think they are
The length of shanks in European hacks even differs over there - probably so people have more choices. The UK has fallen into the same trap as everywhere else over the years where harder and harder bits are used to replace good riding and training skills, the problem is that quite often once a horse has been used like that its very hard to get it back to where it should be because they just get a harder and harder mouth.
Most of the showjumpers that use them do so because they find themselves with horses that have difficulties with bits for some reason or another. Given the success that people have with them I can't agree that they are wrong - the Olympic Silver medalist in London actually rode his horse in one - to be competing at that level you can't possibly risk having a horse that's confused - far too much at stake. If a horse can perform like this in one then it can't be that wrong
We will have to agree to disagree
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