I have an 18 year old Quarter Horse that I have been riding with a twisted wire snaffle bit since I started riding her 16 years ago. Due to a combination of moving off to college and starting a career, as well as not living near my horse, she hasn't been ridden regularly over say the last 5-6 years. My boyfriend and I recently bought a house and a little bit of land, which is allowing me to be able to start riding again on a regular basis. (Boy did I miss it!) My horse seems to not be responding as well as she used to to the twisted wire snaffle bit that I'm currently riding her in. Back in the day, I did do some showing at the local & 4-H levels, ran barrels and poles a little. At this point in time, I'm not going to get back into that, just be doing some trail riding and going to some field trials with my boyfriend. Since I'm not savy to which bit I should look for, I thought I would ask if anyone had any advice out there which one I should choose. Or at least steer me in a general direction. I don't think that it needs to be a real severe bit, just something different than a snaffle. Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
Well.. what exactly is she doing [or not doing] with the twisted wire?
Maybe not being ridden as much has made her mouth a little sensitive and the bit has become to harsh?
Try her in a loose ring french link... the ones with the bean in the center.
It's not a normal snaffle, and french links are nicer on their mouths. And, since you don't intend on doing and hardcore riding, I think you could downgrade her to make her more comfortable. But again, let us know exactly what she does with the twisted wire. That way we can tell if she needs a nicer bit or a stronger bit.
She tends to toss her head when pulling her up to a stop. Which (and maybe I'm wrong here) makes me want to believe that she needs a gentler (?) bit. (??) Or, maybe she is just being a brat because it's been such a long time since she has been ridden regularly. But, when loping (say through a field) she seems to not want to pay much attention to it when trying to get her to stop. Almost as if she is "running through" the bit. Which makes me think that she needs a harsher bit. (??)
When I started riding her, I started her in the twisted wire snaffle. It worked well, so I continued to ride her in that. I'm thinking maybe she is getting grumpy or sassy or picky in her "golden years". She is still a great mount and has tons of energy.....I just need to figure out if she needs a different bit and suggestions for a new one so that our rides are pleasant for both of us. :)
Getting a harsher bit is never the answer. It would usually have to do with a training issue.
If she hasn't been ridden in a long while, she'll need a refresher course. Treat her (for a while) as a young horse that has to learn all the cues. She will pick up on everything extremely fast because she's done it before.
You could try a french link snaffle and see how she does. Since it is double jointed it doesn't have the nutcracker effect, which could be why she's tossing her head. Though I don't know how the twisted wire bit is.
My mare used to toss her head and run through the bit, until I changed her bit to a double jointed bit. Now she doesn't toss her head and she listens.
I would say she is just being a horse and being a bit stubborn. I mean, if you weren't exercising frequently for 5-6 years, wouldn't you protest a bit if you were going back into an exercising routine? I would, lol. I say start with a very soft bit (snaffle of some sort) and start training from scratch almost - like a refresher course. I definitely don't think that a harsher bit is the answer. In fact, I think on top of being stubborn, this bit may be too harsh for her.