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What bit would you suggest? Currently use a Wonder Bit

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  • What bit to switch to when your horse hates a wonder bit

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    03-12-2013, 02:10 PM
  #21
Green Broke
You can have your favorite bits for your horse, but NO BIT will train your horse to break at the poll, or give to pressure. Horses with training will often prefer a bit and work well in it, and give you the impression that the bit is the reason, when it is just a matter of what the horse is used to.
It is often easier to stay with a bit that "works" for your horse. I do not care for the "Wonder Bit." It is a type of elevator or gag bit. I believe that any apparatus that forces a horse's head in one way of another is inviting some kind of fight or refusal when the horse is stressed. I prefer my horse to understand that he has a correct way to react to fear, and I train them to be able to shy away when frightened and then stop, but not feel restricted and react by bucking or rearing or bolting. Any bit that pulls on the poll restricts movement and we know that a horse will lean against anything that restricts him when frightened, like pulling to the end of lead when frightened and tied.
I was impressed when watching a program with the early training of a "Mustang Challenge" horse that had learned a good "whoa" very early, done with long lining and a halter.
Btw, I like that correction bit.
     
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    03-12-2013, 03:10 PM
  #22
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
You can have your favorite bits for your horse, but NO BIT will train your horse to break at the poll, or give to pressure. Horses with training will often prefer a bit and work well in it, and give you the impression that the bit is the reason, when it is just a matter of what the horse is used to.

It is often easier to stay with a bit that "works" for your horse. I do not care for the "Wonder Bit." It is a type of elevator or gag bit. I believe that any apparatus that forces a horse's head in one way of another is inviting some kind of fight or refusal when the horse is stressed. I prefer my horse to understand that he has a correct way to react to fear, and I train them to be able to shy away when frightened and then stop, but not feel restricted and react by bucking or rearing or bolting. Any bit that pulls on the poll restricts movement and we know that a horse will lean against anything that restricts him when frightened, like pulling to the end of lead when frightened and tied.

I was impressed when watching a program with the early training of a "Mustang Challenge" horse that had learned a good "whoa" very early, done with long lining and a halter.
Btw, I like that correction bit.
I agree that proper TRAINING is what makes the horse; not the bit. However, I also don't want to "under-bit" him or use a bit that doesn't maximize what we can do together. I feel like a horse will become just as dead-mouthed if you've got to pull-pull-pull on a snaffle to get a response than if you slapped on a bit that was too harsh for them with harsh hands. But I am all about trying to find the bit that works best for him for barrels. And find the bit that works the best for showing. And find the bit that works best for normal trail riding. And that does not necessarily mean a harsher bit for any of those things. Just one that works the best.

I should do more ground work with him as a regular routine than I have been doing, and am going to make it a regular part of "riding" for this year. However, he has never once pulled back when tied, pulled on me when lunging, or anything of that nature at all. I have only had him since May, but whoever started him under saddle did a good job with ground work. I like to use Clinton Anderson's methods, and Red will back up with the simple jiggle of the lead rope, he will disengage his hindquarters (when paying attention well to me) just by me "glaring" at them, etc. I can move his body wherever I need when I do ground work. And he stops on a dime when I say the word "whoa". I just need to make it a regular thing, rather than only doing it when I suspect a problem with something. But overall, he does very well at ground work. I (as the rider) am still trying to figure out how to get that to translate perfectly to our riding.

I tried to teach him to break at the poll with a snaffle. He didn't understand it. It's not that I don't know how to train it per se, because every other horse I've shown how to do has understood it no problem, but he just such a different horse that I know that he needs me to ask it in a different way --- I'm just not sure how. (I already mentioned this, but that's why I am going to take him to a reining trainer. He would already be there, if he hadn't gotten hurt and is needing doctoring.) But when I tried the Wonder Bit in combination with the martingale, then he finally understood what I was asking. Now, I can get him to break at the poll in any bit, but of course he does it the best with the wonder bit and the martingale. He most certainly could be breaking at the poll better than he is, but from what we started with, I'm pretty pleased with him at this point. Baby steps, one at a time.

I think my #1 problem to overcome with him is how I can get him to focus on me, because he's so scatter-brained. He reminds me of the dog "that could talk" on UP! Where on the commerical he goes "Squirrel!!!!!". That is exactly Red. We'll be trail riding along, and all of a sudden, he'll stop dead and be convinced something is going to eat him. Granted, he does NOT bolt on every single ride, maybe only 2 or 3 times a month, but that is still much more than I want to happen. Again, he's getting better at what I've been doing lately (trying to get his attention back to get him to move his feet and not be stuck there), but it still could be better.

And yes, that's not something a bit is going to correct. But I would prefer to be using something other than the Wonder Bit. Of course, I am going to ask the trainer what bit she would recommend when I finally get him there in about a month, but I do value the opinions on here too so I figured I'd ask.

Yes, I absolutely could go ride him in just a halter. He knows how to give to pressure (when he's paying attention) ......... Interesting how almost everythiing is "when he's paying attention" ...... gah, ADHD Red! But, of course, he is going to ride BETTER in a bit that compliments him. Long-winded story short!!
     
    03-12-2013, 03:28 PM
  #23
Green Broke
You misunderstand. I've only ridden 3/36 horses I have owned in JUST a halter, and they were both dead broke, in their teens, and used in about 7,000 hours of lessons in my riding academy when I taught with them.
You have a problem if your horse doesn't pay attention to you. How about "telling him to give you two eyes?"
Yank that halter and get him to pay attention!
IMO you are not asking for perfect behavior, every time with what he already knows.
Hate to repeat, BUT,
How, when & what do you reprimand for?
Horse not moving when leading. How to fix?
     
    03-12-2013, 03:56 PM
  #24
Started
I think getting away from the singlt-jointed mouthpiece is a good place to start.
I have two ADHD mares and they both are madly in love with any bits that have rollers.
I'll make a bet that Red would like a bit with a dogbone and roller! It's just the shanks that you'll have to decide on.
     
    03-12-2013, 05:02 PM
  #25
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
You misunderstand. I've only ridden 3/36 horses I have owned in JUST a halter, and they were both dead broke, in their teens, and used in about 7,000 hours of lessons in my riding academy when I taught with them.
You have a problem if your horse doesn't pay attention to you. How about "telling him to give you two eyes?"
Yank that halter and get him to pay attention!
IMO you are not asking for perfect behavior, every time with what he already knows.
Hate to repeat, BUT,
How, when & what do you reprimand for?
Horse not moving when leading. How to fix?
Okay, I've read through the both of those.

Red is a VERY personable horse. He was indeed spoiled by his previous owners and he will crowd your personal space on the ground if you let him. I do not let him. There is a time when I will invite him into "my bubble" but he is not to be in my bubble otherwise. Period. That's not an issue anymore. I used to carry my carrot stick with me when ground handling him, but I don't need to anymore because I've taught him not to crowd me.

Red also doesn't rush through the gate. I open the gate and when I'm ready to ask him to walk through, I will direct him with my hand and "send him".

He is not allowed to lick me or bite me. He tried it a couple times when I first got him last year and he quickly realized that wasn't going to fly. He hasn't tried it since.

He is not allowed to rub his head on me. Ever. I know that his head is itchy after a ride when I take the bridle off, so after he has been haltered nicely, I will be the one to scratch him (because he likes it). But not the other way around. I'm not a scratching post.

He still doesn't stand nicely when I re-check the cinch before I mount. I haven't been able to "figure him out" on this one yet. He's gotten much better, but he can still improve. He will, however, stand nicely after I mount and is not allowed to start walking until I say so.

He tried to buck 2 or 3 times when I first got him, when I would ask him to gallop circles. But basically, his previous owners never made him do any real work. He quit trying to buck after I made him gallop harder and work harder, and he hasn't tried since. He knows he can't get away with it.

........

Anyway, I just give all these different examples because I am not letting him walk all over me.

But I am for sure still trying to figure out how to get his attention on me for those times when we are riding and he does chose to ignore me.

He has never balked and bolted when handling him on the ground, like the times he has while riding. As I already said, I can't even recall him even pulling on the lead the handlful of times he has spooked or something on the leadrope. There's a big disconnect between his riding and his ground manners.

And maybe I should have worded my ground work differently. But I'm NOT going to yank on his halter, simply because he didn't notice my "glare" cue to ask him to disengage his hindquarters. But I am going to start tapping progressively harder on him with my carrot stick, or twirling the end of the lead rope, to make my request stronger until he gives me the correct response. I am going to give him a chance to respond and an opportunity to respond and not just YANK on him immediately. I won't do that. And I don't stop asking him until I get the correct response. It usually only takes using the carrot stick or the end of the lead rope once, and then he'll do it with a glare (disengage the hindquarters). So even though he may not focus on me right away, he is NOT getting away with it.

But when riding and he loses focus on me, are you then suggesting I YANK on his mouth? Or kick him in the belly? Or what???

Because that will NOT work with him. He is very, very, very sensitive. I carried a whip one time to help prevent him from "drifting" on one side of his loping circles, and he about came unglued and all I did was barely tap his shoulder a time or two. He bred to be a barrel horse. He's very sensitive and very reactive.

I also spent most of the summer getting him to travel at a relaxed pace, instead of galloping faster and faster (for example.) He is a go-go-go type of horse. He would fall over dead before voluntarily slowing down. I've spent a lot of time doing serpentines with him to get him to slow down, rather than constantly hanging on his mouth.

So it's really an opposite problem for the times he balks and then bolts. I don't want to start yanking on him or kicking on him to get his attention back, because it's just going to further scare and unnerve him. I don't want to make him any more upset than he already is. Hence why I try to somehow get him to move his feet, and it's been helping, but again, hard to grab his attention without making matters worse.

And maybe I'm not explaining his personality right through my words. He is just one unique individual. (And as I've already said, but I'll say it again before anyone tried to suggest it, I already am set up to take him to a trainer to help me figure him out.)
     
    03-12-2013, 06:04 PM
  #26
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    
I like both of those bits well enough, but to show in I still prefer a billy allen bit over the un covered single joint. I don't normally use a single joint shank anything, regardless, but there are exceptions.



That's the billy allen that I show Selena in. I avoid the nutcracker action at all costs.
I like the looks of that bit.

But here's where I am bit illiterate.

Can someone explain the difference between this bit SH posted, and the difference between my bit? As in, what pressure points it places on the inside of the mouth when engaged. I am familiar with the term "nutcracker effect" but maybe after I have it explained to me the 100th time I'll maybe start to remember details.....


     
    03-12-2013, 07:29 PM
  #27
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159    

COWCHICK77: So please tell me when you have met Red because you just described him perfectly!!!! LOL. Yes, I do think that is part of the problem, in that I am still trying to figure him out. He is just so different from any other horse I have ever had, so he's certainly been a (good) challenge. Hence why we have been going very, very, very slow on the barrels, or he would be the type of horse that would be a blow-up nut job at a barrel race.

He does have some bolting issues too, that have been getting a little bit better as I am slowly figuring him out. For example: We'll be out walking in the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden, he'll stop, head high in the air, eyes wide, staring at something for a few seconds (half of the time, there's never anything there and I can't figure out what he is looking at). At that point, I cease to exist on his back. Then he will panic, turn, and bolt. If it gets to that, he will 100% ignore the bit in his mouth, and ignore my body cues. So lately, what I have been trying to do, is immediately try to get his attention back by doing serpentines or rollbacks or just something to get his feet moving again, and out of that frozen staring stance. It's been helping. He isn't bolting as hard, since I've kind got his attention back again, and get his focus off of the scary horse-eating invisible object.

And yup, he will lope himself to death before stopping. He is the energizer bunny and he can't be tired out! But he's also the type that I can't do too much with drills or concentration exercises either, because he gets wound up when I "pick" at him.

So I am still trying to find that perfect balance with him and figuring out his quirks.

If he hadn't gotten himself hurt in January, he would actually be at a reining trainer at the moment .... but I'm hoping I can still get him there eventually, to help me figure him out more!

And he certainly seems to enjoy working cows. Pins his ears and actually focuses on them!! So I'm hoping to do alot more of that this year too with him.

LOL! Well you describing him since you got him and even the pictures you post of him, look and sound like this filly! Its uncanny.
I had quit before I got a whole lot accomplished with her and the owners were irritated(they didn't know which end the hay went in and the sh!t came out of) that I had took her off the barrels. They thought she should be worked on them EVERYDAY; how else she supposed to become a barrel horse! *head desk*
Anyhow what progress I had made was slow. We would a have couple of really great days and made leaps and bounds, then back to where I started. The inconsistency was the most frustrating part. I had found that not picking at her but rather keeping her thinking and occupied if I felt her tense up was the key to NOT getting her worked over doing some drills rather than peeling out because she thought she saw something. I wouldn't let her look just at the same speed I was at do something more thought provoking but not in a "get after her" kind of way. But I would get after her if she did peel out and ignore me.

I also understand your bitting dilemma. I didn't want to keep bitting up and she was nowhere near being able to handle a shanked bit. I did A LOT of switching between snaffles. On her good days a smooth snaffle, or a french link on the not so good days I would hang a twisted wire on her. But as soon as she backed off I would switch back to a smooth mouthpiece of some sort. There were days where I might of wsitched her head gear 2 or 3 times. When I rode her I packed a bridle rack with me! LOL! I have no issue with switching bits, its never welded into their mouths forever!
That's great that he seems to enjoy working cattle, I never got the opportunity to work this filly(she was bred for it) I think it would of put meaning to what I was asking of her. I think that will help, I really believe in it. Hopefully after he he heals and you ship him off your trainer will give you some more insight And you are making progress so that should be an indicator that you thinking right :)
     
    03-12-2013, 07:44 PM
  #28
Started
The nutcracker effect:


It jabs the palate and pinches the tongue.
beau159 likes this.
     
    03-12-2013, 07:47 PM
  #29
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
I had quit before I got a whole lot accomplished with her and the owners were irritated(they didn't know which end the hay went in and the sh!t came out of) that I had took her off the barrels. They thought she should be worked on them EVERYDAY; how else she supposed to become a barrel horse! *head desk*
Oh God. I can't even imagine if he had fallen into the hands of someone who didn't realize his personality. He would definitely be the type to be rearing, snorting, and running in full kilter totally out of control, if he was taken too fast to the barrels.

He's bred for speed.
Saltys Red Rock Quarter Horse
I just have to figure out how to get it only when I want it for barrels, and not the rest of the time, LOL


Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
Anyhow what progress I had made was slow. We would a have couple of really great days and made leaps and bounds, then back to where I started. The inconsistency was the most frustrating part. I had found that not picking at her but rather keeping her thinking and occupied if I felt her tense up was the key to NOT getting her worked over doing some drills rather than peeling out because she thought she saw something. I wouldn't let her look just at the same speed I was at do something more thought provoking but not in a "get after her" kind of way. But I would get after her if she did peel out and ignore me.
Yea, that's kind of what I have been trying to do with him when he does his stare, balk, and bolt. Get his eyes OFF the scary target, and get his feet moving, but without picking on him, or getting him more nervous/upset.

And it's been better.

But some days (that inconsistency) he's just like "that rock on the hill 1/4 mile away is going to eat me. I'm gone!" ***facepalm***

Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
I also understand your bitting dilemma. I didn't want to keep bitting up and she was nowhere near being able to handle a shanked bit. I did A LOT of switching between snaffles. On her good days a smooth snaffle, or a french link on the not so good days I would hang a twisted wire on her. But as soon as she backed off I would switch back to a smooth mouthpiece of some sort. There were days where I might of wsitched her head gear 2 or 3 times. When I rode her I packed a bridle rack with me! LOL! I have no issue with switching bits, its never welded into their mouths forever!
Strange, because half of the time, that's what I end up doing.

I'll use his snaffle for a while. Then I'll go to the wonder bit. Then back to the snaffle. Then the Little S hack. Then add the martingale to the wonder bit. Then back to the snaffle. And I guess that works okay for him on the variety, but of course it would be much simpler to find ONE that works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
That's great that he seems to enjoy working cattle, I never got the opportunity to work this filly(she was bred for it) I think it would of put meaning to what I was asking of her. I think that will help, I really believe in it. Hopefully after he he heals and you ship him off your trainer will give you some more insight And you are making progress so that should be an indicator that you thinking right :)
Oh he is SO cowy! I didn't have the opportunity to take him home to my parents to help move cattle because I didn't have a trailer last year (I do this year! Woo-hoo!) but I do have a neighbor down the road from where I board that has an arena and has some steers. Super nice guy! He went and brought the steers in for me one day, and I just tracked one around the pen one day. Red was actually, somewhat focused!!!! Pinned ears and all, and biting him when he got close enough. So I am going to do as much cow stuff with him as I can, but he really seemed to do well with it, just that one exposure.

His wound is looking awesome, slowly but surely. I have a barrel racing clinic in the middle of April which will be very good for him, and then I'm hoping I can send him off (with unlimited lessons for me too) right after then!
COWCHICK77 likes this.
     
    03-14-2013, 12:24 AM
  #30
Green Broke
I am glad you made sense of my post...geez, I hate typing on my phone...LOL!

I agree it would make things much simpler with one bit but until his brain gets on center, focuses and stays there that is going to be tough, I think. I was really hoping someone with some great wisdom would swoop in and suggest how to get in these types of horses heads rather than over bitting or under-bitting.

That is awesome he loves cows, it sounds like a good outlet for him(and you) to practice barrel maneuvers without the barrel pattern itself. He sounds like a great horse if you can get all that horse focused! Some of the best horse have been the hardest to deal with ;)
     

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