Trouble deciding upon the right bit. - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble deciding upon the right bit.

Hey guys.

I am currently in a bit of a dilemma with my bit situation.

As of right now, I am riding in a tom thumb bit (no criticism please. I am fully aware of how it works) While it allows me the stopping ability that others bits in the past have not (D-snaffles, O-rings) I am lacking in the ability to turn effectively. Opening and direct reining needed to ask more difficult monuvors (such as turning on the hind or forehand) does not seem to be communicated well.

I am new to western and typically used to an english snaffle. So I would assume my problem is resulting from the shank in my bit. I would love a little more insight and suggestions in picking the right bit for him.

I know the "ideal" western bit is a curb shank. However, when would that be appropriate to introduce?

Thanks for any advice!


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post #2 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:30 PM
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I had the same dilemma when I first started out-and my guy was trained with a snaffle, but for our first western show we had to have a shanked bit. That trainer put him in an Argentine snaffle. Perhaps you could try that. I am certainly no bit guru, and I was very very careful and gentle with that bit, as I pretty much am with any on my new guy. My old one, I wasn't years ago, and it is nearly impossible to go back once you get harsh.

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post #3 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franknbeans View Post
I had the same dilemma when I first started out-and my guy was trained with a snaffle, but for our first western show we had to have a shanked bit. That trainer put him in an Argentine snaffle. Perhaps you could try that. I am certainly no bit guru, and I was very very careful and gentle with that bit, as I pretty much am with any on my new guy. My old one, I wasn't years ago, and it is nearly impossible to go back once you get harsh.
Thanks for the advice!
Does the Argentine snaffle use the same mechanisms as a tom thumb? They look extremely similar.

He can be very strong willed and hard to stop. I am afraid if I were to go back to a non-leverage bit he would just pull through my hands, like he did before.

Does anyone know how a non-jointed shank bit communicates when it comes to direct and open reining? Like I said I would eventually like to get him use to those. For showing purposes.


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post #4 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:36 PM
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I am a big fan of the short shanked square swivel port. Also Myler makes a simiar bit with more tongue relief.
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post #5 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:39 PM
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The most important thing to remember when you change to a shanked bit of any kind, is to keep your hand soft. Go with as severe a bit as you need, but remember that in Western you don't have that same full contact as you do with English. Ideally, you work off leg and rein pressure on the neck, not the engaging of the bit.

I always suggest that you look for a bit with tongue relief. Mullen makes great bits for that. My boy likes a medium port with a roller.

I have found that it takes a horse four or five rides at least to decide if they like a new bit or not. My boy threw a hissy fit about the first dozen rides with his new bit... I was going to change it back to his old bit, but then I started having trouble getting him to wait until I was ready to put it in his mouth. Nowadays I have to make sure that I am holding the bridle at the ready before I get to him because as soon as it is in reach, it is in his mouth.
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post #6 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:40 PM
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Billy Allen Bits

I will always reccomend these as a transition bit. Maybe start with the shorter shanks though.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #7 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mselizabeth View Post
Thanks for the advice!
Does the Argentine snaffle use the same mechanisms as a tom thumb? They look extremely similar.

He can be very strong willed and hard to stop. I am afraid if I were to go back to a non-leverage bit he would just pull through my hands, like he did before.

Does anyone know how a non-jointed shank bit communicates when it comes to direct and open reining? Like I said I would eventually like to get him use to those. For showing purposes.
If he is running through your hands trying to stop...a bit change will be a tempoary fix. The problem is behind the bit. Work on that first before progressing bits.

Concerning a non jointed curb, that is were a square swivel port or similar style bit helps transition from the snaffle with direct reining. You can use each side independently without affecting the the opposite side sending confusing signals. That way you can use a direct and indirect and/or neck rein.
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Last edited by COWCHICK77; 03-10-2012 at 10:45 PM.
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post #8 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:43 PM
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Sorry-are you direct reining? I thought for some reason you were neck reining. My bad-they are very similar......sorry-told you I was not a bit genius-just know what works for me.

Your guy hard to stop in a ring or outside, like on the trails, X country? My old one was fine in the ring, but VERY strong X country. He was my direct rein horse. Even stronger if jumping was involved. Ended up with a Waterford snaffle on him, so he couldn't lean on it as much. It helped.

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post #9 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77 View Post
I am a big fan of the short shanked square swivel port. Also Myler makes a simiar bit with more tongue relief.
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Ok, why square instead of a more traditional port?

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post #10 of 39 Old 03-10-2012, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yadlim View Post
The most important thing to remember when you change to a shanked bit of any kind, is to keep your hand soft. Go with as severe a bit as you need, but remember that in Western you don't have that same full contact as you do with English. Ideally, you work off leg and rein pressure on the neck, not the engaging of the bit.

I always suggest that you look for a bit with tongue relief. Mullen makes great bits for that. My boy likes a medium port with a roller.

Yes the lack of rein contact is defiantly something I am getting used to. And it is a struggle with him being as high strung as he is. Attempting to get a nice sitting trot from him has become especially a struggle with this bit. He has yet to comprehend a half halt and our bit has made it more of a problem.

He was a summer camp horse before I got him, so he is used to kids yanking on his mouth. Which has unfortunately taught him to brace for the bit and open his mouth.

Does tongue relief just mean a port or in the English world we called them "horseshoe" bits


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