Is it time to transition to a curb?

       The Horse Forum > Horse Tack > Horse Tack and Equipment

Is it time to transition to a curb?

This is a discussion on Is it time to transition to a curb? within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

Like Tree8Likes

LinkBack Thread Tools
    08-02-2013, 11:24 AM
Is it time to transition to a curb?

I made a post not long ago about a transition bit from snaffle to curb.. I found this one which I thought may be a good choice BIT -TRAINING PORTED MOUTH But I'm mostly concerned on if my horse is ready for the transition or not. I get super conscientious over EVERYTHING, and I don't want the transition to negatively effect him.
So my horse just turned five, he's worked with since he was a foal, and ridden with a light weight rider since the age of three. In the past year, he's been showed once, and done several trail rides. I've been working on neck reining and responding off my leg for a year+ now, and he's been super. He's good with backing, stopping, etc. However, he can be somewhat impatient when standing still for long periods, he spooks easily, and SOMETIMES can be a little headstrong (If it's windy and he's away from the herd, for example). He does well in his snaffle, which is why I question the change of his bit, but I'd like to be able to ride him with one hand on longer rides (which I have a tendency to do because I ride other finished horses in curbs) and I'm considering showing him this next year where he will now require a curb. Please tell me your thoughts.. Do you think my horse is ready or not?
Also, is it okay to ride my horse on a relaxed rein with one hand, getting him to respond through my leg cues? I feel stupid asking, but..
Sponsored Links
    08-02-2013, 11:46 AM
Oops, I meant ride my horse in a snaffle on relaxed rein for the last question! Sorry for any confusion!
    08-02-2013, 12:00 PM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with riding a horse on a loose rein with one hand if he's in a snaffle. I ride all my greenies that way eventually when I'm working on their neck reining. I only ever pick up with both hands when I need to correct something that they're doing.

How I have the best results transitioning a horse up from the snaffle to a curb is I wait until the end of a ride when they are relatively tired and less likely to act up. I put them in the curb and take them to an area that they are very familiar with and comfortable in. I start on the ground, applying light pressure to the rein asking for bend to each side. Stay patient because they may take a couple of minutes before they can figure out the new pressures enough to give the correct way. When they do bend the way you want, release all pressure.

Work that on both sides for a few minutes before you even get on. Then, when you step into the saddle, work in small-ish circles each way at a walk, then at a trot, and finally at a lope.

Take your time and give him a chance to get accustomed to all the new pressure points and you shouldn't have a problem at all.

It's just a personal preference, but I really like the bits with the rein rings at the ends of the mouth like this

It doesn't happen often, but I have had it happen where a horse just couldn't seem to understand the new pressure no matter how patient I was. So, I put 2 sets of reins on that bit and use the rings by the mouth for the snaffle pressure that he was used to and I gradually introduced the curb pressure by slowly shortening the reins on the lower rings.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a bit with a mouth like the one you posted that has those rings . I've looked everywhere and just about decided the only option is a custom bit that will be expensive as heck.
Wallaby and ThatAppy like this.
    08-02-2013, 12:30 PM
Originally Posted by smrobs    
Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a bit with a mouth like the one you posted that has those rings . I've looked everywhere and just about decided the only option is a custom bit that will be expensive as heck.
Myler may have some options like that. I know I've seen some #33 mouthpieces in a pelham shank that would be similar to what you guys are talking about. But they aren't cheap either unless you find a used one on eBay. Sometimes I find them in the $50 range used.
smrobs likes this.
    08-02-2013, 12:46 PM
The bit you showed looks very similar to the one I've used with Mia for the last 6 months. I've been pretty happy with her response.

Food for thought - because Mia is the ONLY horse I've transitioned to a curb, so take this with a Big Steaming Cup of FWIW - when we made the transition, the first bit I switched her to was an elevator bit like this:

J.P. European Elevator Bit - Quality Tack at Outlet Prices - VTO Saddlery

It introduced her to pressure on the poll, but it doesn't have a curb strap and the leverage can easily be varied from none (big ring) to some (1st small ring) to medium (2nd small ring). With the reins clipped to the large ring, it was essentially the same bit she had used for some time. For my purposes, the only ring I used was the first small ring.

After a month, I tried this bit, which looks to me like the one you are looking at:

She did NOT like the feel of the curb strap tightening, but I walked beside her while playing with the reins, and then we did a couple of rides where I was very cautious about how far I pulled, so the curb strap wouldn't kick in more than a couple of times a ride. She quickly realized that SHE could respond before the curb strap applied pressure - snatching the reins has always been a no-no apart from emergencies.

Although it wasn't intentional on my part, what I like about transitioning this way is that it introduced pressure on the poll and had her used to that before she encountered a curb strap. She has a nervous temperament, so smaller steps are always good when training her.

Mia was still learning neck reining when we started the transition. However, both of the above bits work fine with an opening rein. They will also work OK with direct reining. I'm trying to get used to riding with one hand, but I seem to be an even slower learner than Mia...
ThatAppy likes this.
    08-02-2013, 01:22 PM
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
Myler may have some options like that. I know I've seen some #33 mouthpieces in a pelham shank that would be similar to what you guys are talking about. But they aren't cheap either unless you find a used one on eBay. Sometimes I find them in the $50 range used.
Yeah, I've seen some of the Mylers, but all of them seem to be $150+ and I've never seen one used that I really liked. Plus, some of the places where I've priced customs, I can get what I'm wanting for $125-$150 LOL...
    08-03-2013, 11:45 AM
Thank you everyone for the great information!
    08-03-2013, 01:07 PM
I don't know much about anything, but I went with my 3 yr old from a snaffle to a mechanical hackamore to this:

He rides really well in it except for one thing.....he doesn't flex well, like say for a one-rein-stop. I don't know if I should go back to the hackamore (which is turns and flexed in better than this) or go back to a regular snaffle (which I hate) or go to something Myler-esqe like you guys are talking about.

I have have tried him in one of these earlier this spring but he couldn't keep the shanks out of his mouth:

What would give us some flex and still be very mild?

The reason I hate a regular snaffle is that I feel like I have a lot of play between my hands and the horse's mouth and it seems like it encourages them to raise their head instead of drop it. The first time he spooked and bolted and dumped me we were riding in a snaffle and I felt like I had little control. I wasn't in a situation to one-rein-stop because I was loosing my balance and probably would have come off anyway, but it was at that point I lost faith in the snaffle. I hate snaffles anyway, I have never liked riding in them or had a horse that didn't do better in something else.

So what do you guys think.....go back to the snaffle? Try a Myler-type bit? Maybe go back to the hackamore? (It's similar to a "little s" with a flat leather noseband). I would keep riding in that pudgy little curb but I can't seem to get him into a one-rein-stop as easily as before. And I kind of need that option if he spooks.
    08-03-2013, 03:00 PM
THR, there is no reason that you can't get good bend in your mullen mouth bit. He just has to learn the proper way to respond to the pressure from one rein.
    08-03-2013, 03:16 PM
Do you guys think this bit would have a milder effect than the first bit I posted? It's a dog bone mouthpiece, but I'm worried that it may give the 'nut cracker effect' like tom thumbs? Or would the roller prevent that?

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Transition bit~Snaffle to curb ThatAppy Horse Tack and Equipment 4 07-11-2013 10:27 AM
Suggestions for a curb bit please, just because Emmy will need a curb to show Golden Horse Horse Tack and Equipment 13 04-20-2013 05:11 PM
transition to curb SlideStop Western Riding 8 05-03-2012 09:07 PM
Hunter to Eq Transition kathryn English Riding 1 08-11-2010 05:06 AM
Transition to barefoot TbLover Horse Health 12 08-05-2010 09:54 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:10 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0