The difference a bit makes...

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The difference a bit makes...

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  • Difference bit makes for horse
  • Hack combo bit mouth peice differences

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    09-10-2012, 10:32 AM
The difference a bit makes...

I bought my gelding a new bit the other day. I've been in the market for a new bit because he'd started acting up and not listening to me very well with his old bit...

I had origionally wanted a Kimberwicke, because that is very close to what his old bit was (a Pelham with the shanks cut off), but I decided to go instead with something totally different.

Here is what I have been riding him in since he was trained at two years old: (I took the curb strap off for picture purposes). With this bit (which I used on him because he hated my O-ring snaffle, but liked this one) I have had issues with unbridling him... he'd want to snatch the bit in his teeth and jerk backwards as I took the bridle off... but otherwise he usually behaved very well with it. Only recently had he started head-slinging and not listening to my cues with this bit. (Upon further inspection, I realized that this bit is too small for his mouth... it's 4 and 3/4ths inches... Dakota needs a 5 inch bit).

So, I bought him this bit: (I took the curb strap off for picture purposes). With this bit, he's so soft and light in the mouth, no head slinging from the bit, no gaping wide open mouth, he responds to my cues very well and I barely have to touch the rein to the side of his neck (and he's not the best a neck reining), and, above all, his attitude when riding is totally different... he's much happier and calmer. I'm not worried about hurting him in this bit because I keep my hands really soft when riding him. I rode him all afternoon yesterday with an extremely loose rein and he did perfect! Usually I have to keep his reins a little short, but with this bit he's so different... He's even easier to unbridle! I think he likes the double joint...

But yeah, this bit has definitely made a difference...

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    09-10-2012, 10:40 AM
MicKey73 likes this.
    09-10-2012, 10:50 AM
Super Moderator
Sorry but this is going to offend you for sure but I'd see that as a seriously harsh bit and would feel that I'd somehow failed my horse if I'd had it from a 2 year old and was needing to use something other than a very mild snaffle
kitten_Val, Eolith, AlexS and 6 others like this.
    09-10-2012, 10:56 AM
I gotta say... a bit like that would never be my "happily ever after" bit. In extremely select circumstances I might use it as a temporary method of getting the horse's attention enough to work on developing their responsiveness, but I would follow that with stepping back down to a smooth mouth. Light hands are all well and good, but the ideal is to have light hands with a light, responsive horse... not light hands on a harsh bit with a horse who would otherwise be yanking your arms off, flinging his head, and doing as he pleased.

The twisted wire is really quite harsh. You started using this bit because he wasn't as responsive in the original bit -- so what happens if the "newness" of this bit wears off and he becomes unresponsive again? There's really nowhere else you can go after this bit (within the bounds of still being considered humane).

He's your horse... it's your choice to make. I just can't say that I am in agreement.
    09-10-2012, 10:59 AM
No offense taken. I know my horse well enough to know that he likes the new bit, and it's only harsh if the rider is harsh handed, which with the new bit, i'm being extremely careful to not be, not that I am heavy-handed anyway.

Dakota is going very well in this bit, much better than he has in his old bit, so I'm happy and so is he. It wasn't a respect issue that made me get this bit, he's still respectful to me and I can ride him easily with a halter. This bit has all that I wanted... a double joint so there's no 'nutcracker' action (which Dakota doesn't like at all), small shank pressure if I ever needed it (which so far there's been no need, even when cantering, Dakota stops by voice and seat commands/cues and barely needs a twitch from the rein), and it's thinner, which is good because the other bit was really thick and after getting home and looking at the other one in his mouth, it didn't really give him enough tongue room, and this one does.

I don't see it as a harsh bit unless it's in harsh hands, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm the only person who will be riding him in that bit. If anyone else wants to ride him, it will be in a different bridle (not that anyone else really even likes to ride him, lol).
gunslinger and boots like this.
    09-10-2012, 11:02 AM
If I can find a nice Kimberwicke or something with either a straight bar or a double joint at an acceptable price, I might get something else in the future, but I don't see a point to try to 'fix' something when nothing is broken at the moment.

He's happy. I'm happy.

I would have gone with a hackamore like my mare rides in, but from past experiences, I know he doesn't like a hackamore and the hack, in my opinion, has too much shank power.
    09-10-2012, 11:59 AM
A bit is only as harsh as the hands using it.

And yeah. Everyone here wants a normal Snaffle in every horses mouth.
But there's some that simply don't like it. And what your horse might think is harsh her horse of probably totally comfortable in.
my Peruvian paso doesn't like a simple Snaffle.
He actually rides in a twisted wire/hack combo. I ride on a loose rein. I use my seat and legs. He also neck reins.

Anyways, I'm glad you found a bit he is comfortable with.
Britt, texasgal, PintoTess and 4 others like this.
    09-10-2012, 12:16 PM
I have never used a twisted wire mouthpiece, but I was surprised at how much Mac liked the simple snaffle I got him that was quite thin and made of sweet iron.

So, a bit can make a huge difference, which was your original point.

It might be interesting to try a simple , double jointed bit sometime and see if either the twisted part or the short shanks are what is making that bit more acceptable or if it's really the doublt jointed, sweet iron part.
Britt likes this.
    09-10-2012, 12:22 PM
Originally Posted by jaydee    
Sorry but this is going to offend you for sure but I'd see that as a seriously harsh bit and would feel that I'd somehow failed my horse if I'd had it from a 2 year old and was needing to use something other than a very mild snaffle
Actually there is no failure. Horses mouths are very different. Add in the hands and the disciplines and we need to give serious thought to the bit - as I see Brit did.

Most people follow the bit industry 'standard'. I ride 5 different horses on a regular basis. They all have different bits for different needs. I do have a mare that does NOT like a snaffle. I've tried $$ snaffles and cheap arse snaffles. She is much quieter and more responsive in a junior cow horse. I've had her since before she turned a year. I start all of my horses in a halter and go up from there.
Britt, texasgal, boots and 1 others like this.
    09-10-2012, 12:28 PM
Similar here with Phoenix mls. In a snaffle you would think she has never been trained, in pain or whatever. She always has her mouth gaping wide open in "simple snaffles"

Her favorite bit that she is soft, happy and comfortable packing? This -

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