What type of bit/headstall to use? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 06-16-2013, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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What type of bit/headstall to use?

I'm about to start backing my 3-year-old horse that I will be later on using for barrel racing, and wondering what type of bit/headstall I should use? He does not like bits in his mouth; I've tried it multiple times. I currently have a bitless bridle, but he has a sensitive poll so I'm not sure that would be the best option. Would a hackamore/sidepull/bosal be better? Also, should I be using something for his training, then later on switching to something else?
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post #2 of 3 Old 06-17-2013, 02:06 PM
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I like to start in a halter or sidepull, but be careful of rope-nosed sidepulls, they can take hair off the nose. I think they're a really good way to teach the basics of steering and stopping before you put metal in their mouths. Horses are often less intimidated by them since they should be used to that kind of pressure from a halter. You can introduce a bit later (or not) once having a rider is less new to the horse.

In terms of bits, have you tried a three-link ring snaffle? The extra lozenge link in the middle makes it a little more gentle and can help if your horse has a low palette. You can get that mouth with different cheek pieces too if a ring snaffle doesn't work well for you. If you have trouble with snaffles pulling through, maybe try a full cheek with that mouth piece.
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post #3 of 3 Old 06-17-2013, 03:27 PM
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First, have your horse's teeth checked to make sure that isn't the cause of him not accepting the bit. He could have caps that need to be removed.

I usually start ground driving with halter or sidepull for a few weeks, then move into an o-ring snaffle. Once they are steering and stopping well, I'll hop on in the sidepull (with a few layers of Vetwrap around the rope nose to minimize rubbing.) If you use a sidepull remember the name tells you how to steer - SIDE PULL; if you pull straight back, it's just going to slide up his nose. After a few rides in the sidepull, and when they are less likely to tense up/brace/spook, I move into the snaffle.
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bits , bridles , headstalls , young horse

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