training and bit types - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 05-06-2014, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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training and bit types

I just bought my 4th horse and he is a bit harder in the mouth than most. I started him in a d-ring snaffle and he was decent but he did not respond very well to the bit. I then used my friends twisted snaffle that's used on one of her horses and he did not respond to it at all. I have several bits here with me and I am wondering which one to put on his Bridle. I really just know the basics about bits so I'm not very in tune with "bit talk" I would like some different training techniques to maybe soften up his mouth and a opinion on which bit I should use. I have a wonder bit, a training bit, and a curb bit.
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post #2 of 3 Old 05-06-2014, 01:53 AM
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Stick to the snaffle and work with him on softening to it. It will take time, but reward even the smallest give to it. Also, don't pull continuously to cue him, but give him little bumps until he listens to the cue.

My old gelding was dead-mouthed from being ridden with heavy contact in a twisted wire snaffle. After working with him for quite a while as I stated above (bumping instead of continuous pulling and rewarding even the smallest give), he got to where he could be ridden with light contact in a French link eggbutt snaffle.
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post #3 of 3 Old 05-06-2014, 02:16 AM
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Go back to the smooth snaffle, correct training will get him to soften up. Lots of horses don't like a single jointed snaffle and will prefer a french link. Other horses are fussy with the cheek piece, I know quite a few horses that don't like loose ring snaffles as it moves around to much and prefer the stability of a D ring or even a baucher. Training comes first however. Switching to harsher bits doesn't work in the long run as over time you'll need to keep moving up as the horse learns to evade that. Even switching to a different kind of mild bit isn't going to show you much in the way of a result, training comes first. Then if you notice somethings could be better, try switching something up.

When switching bits have two bridles set up. Ride in your old set up for half the ride then the second bit the next half. This will eliminate any variables on your horses mood or behavior between days.

Training wise, start with lateral flexion and offer softness. Go with your horse if he moves his head around and the moment he softens and puts a little slack in the lead rope (I teach this on the ground first), release.

When teaching a horse to give to the bit, you always want to ask with the smallest amount of pressure. A horse will be more inclined to pull and resist if you ask harshly or can learn to be intimidated by the bit and 'hide' behind the bridle with bumping. On a horse that knows better, sure bump away if he's ignoring you, but you always want to start with the softest cue possible. Starting softly will teach a horse to respond to that, if you start with a heavier hand, the horse will never respond to less than that as he doesn't know to do so.
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