Just a question.... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-14-2009, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Just a question....

So, I posted a thread about getting my OTTB to lower his headset. Some three pages later, the debate in the thread was settled that he just needed to improve his balance and his head would quit shooting up/cranking back every time we changed pace. Wonderful, thats all I needed to know.

However, what unsettles me is that no matter how many times I posted it, everyone seemed to suggest that I put a bit in my horses mouth....as if the metal in the bit would magically make him learn something. I ride him in a hackamore, and he is perfectly responsive in that. He doesn't balk, ignore it, keep his nose up in the air as hes running or tuck it in to his chest. For a horse who probably never even seen a hackamore before I put one on him, I'm actually very pleased. I've ridden horses in bits before, and have no problem with horses who work in bits...I don't think they're being forced in to doing something or whatever other crap there is out there. Further more, when I said that he didn't like the bit, that just spurred on a debate that I must have trained him wrong or something. What gives?

I think in the end, the horse chooses what you work with. He chose the hackamore, and so that's what I work him in. If he would have not worked very well in that, I would have tried other things....but as it was the bit he did not like was a plain D-ring broken snaffle....a relatively mild and good training bit as far as I'm concerned. In my case, I actually have to force my horse to wear the bridle if he sees a bit on it, and I suspect its always been this way since they pretty much put up with anything on the track. So what's your opinion? Do you think a bit is better, and why?
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-14-2009, 07:49 PM
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^^ I agree that some horses just can't cope with having a metal bit in thier mouth. My old OTTB had the same problem, he hated the bit and refused to work properly with one in. However, because of his submissive personality, I was able to finally have him accept and even like the bit.

I don't think you should stuff a bit in your horse's mouth if he goes just fine with a hackamore, why fight a battle that doesn't need to be fought? So many horses go excellent with a hackamore, why do you think a "bit" like that was invented? Look at some of the top showjumping horses, they go in a hackamore and they are freaking doing 5 foot jumps. They are controlled, athletic, extremely well trained horses. I think it's rediculous that people will say that a horse is not properly trained if they won't accept a bar of metal in thier mouth. Horses are like people, they like certain things and dislike certain things. Just because a horse has a different preferance than most horses, doesn't meant they are poorly trained or something is wrong with them.

My opinion on bits is that if a horse goes it's best in one, fine. Use it. If they prefere a hackamore and go just fine in that, I'm all for it. It's really dependant on the horse. It's our job to do whatever is most comfortable for our horses, they are letting us ride them in the first place. :]

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post #3 of 5 Old 12-14-2009, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, maybe thats what I was missing in all of those posts? Ice has an extremely dominant personality, and an explosive one.....He was racing for nine years and was in the money 60% of the time....so he knew how to put up a pretty decent fight. LOL, the one thing I've learned about him is that you have to pick your battles.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-14-2009, 08:44 PM
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are you planning on doing any dressage shows? If i'm not mistaken I believe hackamores are forbidden. I know they are if you show him in the hunters.

i think it's important to find what works for you and your horse and what you plan on doing with him. if he's happy in a hackamore and it continues to go well and you don't plan on showing, congrats. sounds like you found a great solution. some horses just don't go as well in a bit. but if you're interested in showing in a discipline that requires a bit i'd keep working through it. i didn't read your post, but if he's raising his head because of balance/strength issues (as is often the case) the problem is going to "rear it's ugly head" (haha, sorry ) again.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-14-2009, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, no. He's ridden Western, and the most I ever plan on doing with him discipline wise is training him in barrels....whether or not we do shows I guess will depend on next year (our local rodeo runs from Sept-Dec)!

I miiiight take Dressage lessons, but the trainer at my barn knows Ice pretty well, lol and since I wouldn't be showing, it wouldn't make much of a difference.

We are definitely working on the balance issues, and previously when I had been going out to ride him 5 or 6 days in a row for almost a month (it was the off season at work, lol) he had almost completely stopped tossing his head up....so it was really just proof that he needs practice!
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