light bulb moment about bits!

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light bulb moment about bits!

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  • Horse mouth melanoma bitless

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    10-09-2010, 06:03 PM
Super Moderator
light bulb moment about bits!

For the last year or so I've been riding Lacey bitless and she's done amazingly. The other day I decided to try riding her in a bit again because I really like the way curbs look and since she now neck reins perfectly, I figured I might give a snaffle a try again in hopes of moving up to a curb soon.

Well, I got her in the snaffle and while she was fine with it in her mouth, as soon as I started asking her to move she started getting very anxious. Reverting back to her old spooky, balky, rearing ways, so I got off and started thinking about what might be causing her to be this way.

And then I realized something! I remembered back when the vet came out to do a check up on her, the vet had checked over her melanomas (gray horse tumors) and showed me that another common place for the to happen is the corners of the mouth and that Lacey had a few there.
So I decided to check them, and I discovered (I had never actually felt them before) that the corners of her mouth are literally rock hard from the tumors.
My guess is that when she has a snaffle in her mouth (she was actually a lot better when I rode her once in a curb which kinda makes sense) she can't feel the pressure on the side of her mouth before the bit pokes her in the rook of the mouth because "she's not responding," when in actuality, she can't feel that any response is necessary! Which then causes her to be nervous because she isn't sure when she's going to to poked "for no reason."
It makes sense that a solid curb would not get the same reaction since a curb doesn't rely so much on the corners of the mouth, like a snaffle does.

But anyway, that made me feel a whole lot better becuase I had been feeling like a failure of some sort since I can't keep my horse calm in a snaffle, the "gentlest" of bits for heavens sake!

I guess the moral of this story is that horses really do behave certain ways for a reason and that sometimes it's not something that can be trained out of them.

I thought I'd share because maybe there's another gray horse rider out there struggling with the same thing. :)
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    10-09-2010, 06:28 PM
That's great that you figured it out. If you want to give a snaffle type a try, you might look at a mullen mouth snaffle, that way it works mostly off tongue pressure instead of lips and bars. Poor Lacey, that just stinks. I hate the curse of the gray horse.
    10-09-2010, 10:56 PM
Super Moderator
Good idea! I was actually thinking about just getting one of your favorite curbs and giving that a try since my wishful thinking plan is that she'll eventually move into a curb. She's basically a perfect dream in the bitless contraption so she might transfer well, I hope. And then if she doesn't, well there's no rule that says she ever HAS to be ridden in a curb. :P

The curse of the gray horse does stink! It's too bad that grays are my favorite color. It's just lame.
    10-09-2010, 10:58 PM
It wouldn't hurt to get one of those. One thing that I really love about them is that they are cheap enough to just have an extra hanging around and buying one won't bankrupt you. If she doesn't like it, your next horse might .
    10-09-2010, 11:02 PM
Super Moderator

My poor next horse, she (or he, I'm a mare person, but I suppose that if the right gelding comes along...) is going to have a lot to live up to!
    10-09-2010, 11:05 PM
That's okay. Horses are a lot like guys. If you have high standards, you'll usually end up with a good one .

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