This forum has been so very helpful to me in the past that I am hoping you can help with this problem. I just got a new horse and he was ridden in a hackamore with 9" shanks and a tie down. Every horse at the stable was ridden in this type of equipment. I have read that hackamores can be harsh and I am worried about hurting him. I would like to change to a bit. The previous owner told me he didn't like bits so that why she used a hackamore. I am afriad of falling off and jerking the reins and hurting him. As I was untacking him yesterday he stepped on the hackamore and bent it somehow, it doesn't look quite right. I would have to wait a couple weeks for the tack store to order me another one but I think I would really like to change him to some kind of a bit. (I ride western) Today I put him in a thick mouthed snaffle that had shanks (not sure what the proper name is) and he gagged a few times and tried to spit the bit out but then seemed ok. I only rode him around the yard a little bit as we were working on getting him to stand still for mounting . Ok here are my questions should I try to put him in a bit or wait for the new hackamore to arrive? If a bit would be ok what would you suggest? And how would I know if it fit. The one I used today almost seemed too narrow for his face, the cheek pieces were right at the side of his mouth, not pinching but nothing to spare either. There were 1-2 wrinkles at the corners of his mouth but the next notch in the headstall made it too low in his mouth and he tried to spit it out. He does accept putting on the hackamore a lot better and fought me trying to put a bit in his mouth. I have light hands and he seems very responsive in both the hackamore and the bit.