Advice on switching from snaffle to curb bit? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Cat
  • 1 Post By Elana
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 06-19-2013, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 92
• Horses: 1
Advice on switching from snaffle to curb bit?

My horse does very well in a regular D-ring eggbutt sweet iron snaffle. However, I've heard talk that snaffles can be harsh on the horse and an ineffective means of communication, less so than, say, a curb bit. Does anyone have any recommendations for what curb/gag/elevator bits I should try out first? Also, if what the purpose of a curb strap/chain is and if you believe we'll require one?

If it matters, a few more details:
We ride western style.
He's been trained and ridden in both snaffle and curb, not elevator or gags, but not ridden in curb for the past year or so.
We haven't had any problems from this particular snaffle bit, no pinchings or cheek-catching.
We neck-rein.

Or should we even switch at all?
Thanks for the advice! And sorry if my english is a bit off, I'm not a native speaker!
Kilokitty is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 06-19-2013, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 9,532
• Horses: 4
Don't fix what isn't broken. I have 3 horses. Two use snaffles. The third uses a curb. The horses using snaffles are confident and relaxed in them, so why would I switch? The one using a curb would sometimes fight a snaffle - and there was nothing subtle about it. After about 3 rides (and with some ground training), she relaxed in a curb.

I would always start with a snaffle. If the horse is fine in one, I'd leave them in it. If there were problems, I might try an elevator or curb bit to see how the horse responded.

There is nothing harsh or ineffective about the communication with a snaffle. For many horses, they are great.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
bsms is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 06-19-2013, 11:05 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: South of No-where
Posts: 2,693
• Horses: 4
I've only moved a couple horses to a curb (but I love riding the ones that respond to a curb well) and what I did was make sure they knew the basics of neck reining before moving up to a short-shanked curb with loose cheeks so I could still reinforce with some direct rein if need be.
bsms likes this.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

Cat is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 06-19-2013, 11:46 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,045
• Horses: 0
when the horse was moving balanced.. responding well to leg cues and to hands.. when the horse would neck rein decently.. I would move up to a curb bit.

However, I used a curb with relatively long shanks and a mouth that was the same shape as the horse's mouth with a low sweeping port that followed the shape of the horse's tongue. My curb also had a good curb strap placement slightly above the bit.

The harshness of a curb bit is largely based on shape of mouth piece combined with length of shank combined with the placement of the curb strap combined with the curb strap adjustment. A short shanked bit with a tight curb chain is more severe than a long shanked bit with a looser curb chain.. and the placement of the chain (higher or lower) can change the severity.

The second requirement to getting a horse in a curb is the rider. You need to have quite hands, a light touch and an independent seat. The curb bit allows very subtle signals to the horse on a relatively loose rein combined with seat and leg signals. This means you can't sit on the horse like a sack of potatoes.. you need to have your weight in your heels and be light in the saddle so you can communicate to your horse and you can stay in balance to help him balance and respond to your slight signals both through your hands and your legs and seat.

I loved a horse that was on a curb bit. It mean he had reached a level of training that was a joy to ride to. It meant we could go out on the trail, in the ring or on cows and all I needed to do was think about what we needed to do next and we did it.
bsms likes this.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
Elana is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Switching from a mechanical hackamore to a snaffle bit! morganandme Horse Training 15 03-11-2013 11:15 PM
snaffle bit -curb strap horsecrazygirl13 Horse Tack and Equipment 24 12-23-2012 12:06 PM
Curb Bit or Snaffle Bit for Western? KaleylovesCharm Horse Tack and Equipment 4 02-19-2012 02:25 PM
Westen Riding... Snaffle bit, reins in front or behind the curb strap... And why? yukontanya Horse Tack and Equipment 4 03-27-2011 07:52 PM
Switching Lenox from snaffle to curb? equiniphile Western Pleasure 13 02-04-2011 08:16 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome