Horse throws her head around - Bit questions. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Horse throws her head around - Bit questions.

I recently started leasing a 5 year old mare.. right now she is being ridden in a full cheek snaffle bit.
... But she does a lot of wierd stuff with her head all the time and it is becoming annoying.

She always has her head raised really high at trot and canter (I ride her in a running martingale to help with this).. but I don't have so much of a problem with that right now... what I have a problem with is:

She keeps pulling her head down.. at first she only did it at a halt.. so I just put up with it.. then she started doing it at a walk... which became very annoying... and now she is doing it at a trot as well... she is doing it stongly enough that she could unseat me... I am now scared to ride her at a canter.

..... When she does it, I try to stop the motion immediately and tug up... but then she throws her head up (usually coming very close to knocking me in the face!)

..... I'm fairly certain that she holds her head up just because she is a green and excited horse....

but I am wondering why she would be tugging down so often? Could it be that her bit bothers her?

She is a veryyy sensitive horse... doesn't need much in the way of leg or rein to get what you want.

... Can you suggest a good bit I could try her on or anything else that might help with all her head issues?
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 08:28 PM
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What kind of bit itself is that? Personally I'd try double jointed loose ring snaffle. Loose ring doesn't let them go on bit. I'm talking about something like this:

JP Korsteel Oval Copper Mouth Loose Ring JP Korsteel (Equine - Horse Tack Supplies - Bits - Working
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 08:49 PM
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Have her teeth checked?

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post #4 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 09:39 PM
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Usually a horse who doesn't like the bit will invert (carry their head high). A lot of horses don't like single jointed snaffles because of the nut cracker action and how it pinches their tongue and bars. It's very uncomfortable.

And usually a horse will put it's head down like you are describing to try to escape the rider's hands, usually because the rider is using too much pressure on the reins. It's like their saying "Get out of my mouth!" And the more the rider pulls and tugs, the more fight the horse will give. However, it might be a bit issue as well.

I would try the JP by Korsteel bit that is in kitten val's post. I have that bit and LOVE it. Just try something with a link in the middle to eliminate the nut cracker action and be sure your hands are very very soft.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-21-2009, 11:27 AM
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I would ask the owner about having a vet look at her teeth. Have the rasped as needed and have the vet PULL any wolf teeth that have grown in.

Next, before blaming the bit, I would look at the saddle fit. If you have one near you, have a saddle fitter out or a chiropractor to check her back and saddle fit.

If your saddle fits and her back checks out, I would try riding her in just a halter with reins snapped to the sides. Have the halter adjusted so it fits snug on her face. Don't use a running or standing martingale. See how she acts at the walk and trot. If she is improved, then I would look in to other bits. Try a french link or bean/oval mouth snaffle. Try a baucher or other type of side piece from what you are using now.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-21-2009, 03:06 PM
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Have her teeth checked and talk to the owner. make sure the bit fits properly. but she is jsut a baby i would recommend going to www. and ordereing an indian bosal. i have a 10 yearold arabian gelding who hates the bit. i ahve had his teeth cheeked even got one of those bit sizeing things to make sure my bit was correct nothign worked until I bought the indian bosal. its made a huge difference.
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-21-2009, 05:34 PM
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I've switched to a JP Korsteel Full Cheek snaffle. Toby won't go nicely in anything else.

JP Korsteel Full Cheek Eggbutt Snaffle JP Korsteel (Equine - Horse Tack Supplies - Bits - Working)

"When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age, you splatter." -- Roy Rogers
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-21-2009, 05:41 PM
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I had almost the exact same problem with my 6 year old TB mare a couple of weeks back. it got dangerous because we would be jumping and she would fling her head up and down! I had her in a simple french link snaffle and my trainer said that she may be feeling uncomfortable with the jointed mouthpiece and suggested a Nathe bit. I had never heard of one before but she gave me one to try out and it has fixed the problem completely. A Nathe is a straight bar snaffle that is entirely flexible rubber. No metal on the mouthpiece at all and the sides are o rings.

here is one, yes they are a bit pricey but this is Smartpak and you can find them for much cheaper elsewhere
Nathe Loose Ring Snaffle from SmartPak Equine

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post #9 of 13 Old 09-21-2009, 05:42 PM
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sorry to double post. Meant to add... Nathes ARE NOT Happy Mouths. HM's are much harder and have texture... not good for sensitive horses

Look like a SUPERSTAR, Ride like a FOUR STAR, Win like a ROCKSTAR
Eventers: Making BAD Dressage look GOOD!
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-21-2009, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I am going to talk to the owner and see if she's had her teeth checked, although I'm under the impression that her head tossing has been something she's done all her life. I will also talk to the trainer about bits and what she thinks since I got quite a lot of suggestions on here as to what would be good. I was kindof thinking a long the lines of double jointed anyways so I will explore that.

I've been told her saddle fits her, however it is a cheap saddle.. a supra or something like that.
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