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Bit for??

This is a discussion on Bit for?? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        10-08-2010, 08:07 AM
      #21
    Started
    Acire,

    Point blank, if you're going to show in dressage, your horse needs to be wearing a snaffle bit. Them's da rules. You could just ditch dressage and keep on pluggin' with the gag and the kimberwicke, which are not bad bits in and of themselves, but without a solid foundation of obedience and acceptance of the snaffle its unlikely that these harsher bits are being used as correctly and successfully as they could.

    Yes, horses are horses, and none of them behave perfectly 100% of the time. Push button horses are made, not born, and that's the rider's job. Going back to Anebel's piggyback kid analogy, your horse might not fall down if you lean over too far to the left, but think about how you would accomodate a small child... you would lean to the right! It isn't easy to walk like that for any distance, let alone jog, run, or jump. After a while of carrying the kid, it's going to hurt! If you carry that kid for an hour every day, after a while you're body will have some damage from not moving the way it should under a heavy load. The best thing that any of us can do for our horses is to learn how to have a good seat and sit in such a way that we don't interfere with the horse's ability to move as he needs to to get his job done.

    If you aren't "making static" in the saddle, the horse is freer to pick up on rein aids, and you shouldn't need a lot of metal in his mouth. That being said, it isn't the only fix. Horses aren't just hard in the mouth. Hardness in the mouth is a symptom of hardness somewhere else in his body. Fix the body and you fix the mouth. Rule #1 of dressage - the VERY LAST thing that its about is the head!!

    My advice: Step 1: Find a snaffle that works for you. I ride my greenie in a single joint eggbutt with a copper mouth - pretty bare bones mechanically. Your horse might prefer a French link due to his specific mouth conformation. A full cheek can give you a little clearer of a "turn your head" cue, and a loose ring can keep the horse from hanging on the bit, but there are very mild effects. Step 2: If at all financially and geographically possible, find a dressage instructor/coach to help you sort things out. He/she will be very able to help you find the holes in your horse's foundation and fix them, as well as helping your riding and his training as you both progress.

    If you're going for eventing, you may always want a little more bit in the XC phase, but I'll defer to the event riders on that point. Good dressage will help amazingly with your jumping, stadium and XC. Jumping in any form is just dressage with obstacles.

    By the sound of it, this will be a very different way of riding for you, and you may have a lot of work retraining yourself and your horse. It's something that I'm working on, too. The good news is that it is very worth it. And I left out the "magic" part... the more you focus on what you are doing, instead of what your horse is doing, the fewer problems he'll have.

    Good luck!
         
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        10-08-2010, 09:34 AM
      #22
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Acire    
    My horse is very spirited. And it's not like he'd fall over if I leaned far enough to the left like a person would with a kid on their shoulders.
    He's not 'push button', so he's not perfect.
    That is not the point. Surely you understand the importance of a balanced seat if you are jumping?
         
        10-08-2010, 09:54 AM
      #23
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Acire    
    My horse is very spirited. And it's not like he'd fall over if I leaned far enough to the left like a person would with a kid on their shoulders.
    He's not 'push button', so he's not perfect.
    Really? My horse too!! It's almost like warmbloods and thoroughbreds are purposely bred for athleticism and as a result are high spirited. But amazingly myself and millions of other riders around the world are able to ride them with snaffles.

    And I never said the horse would fall over. I said the horse would ignore your constant pulling, kicking and leaning. No horse is or should be push button, they respond the best to "natural" aids where the rider sits quietly and uses their weight to ask the horse to do things. Sit on any newly broken horse and if you use your weight, they will respond. You don't have to teach them anything.
         
        10-09-2010, 02:02 AM
      #24
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    Really? The horse doesn't listen?? It can flick a fly off of it's skin but it wont listen to a fairly large piece of metal in its mouth unless it's also attached to his poll. Interesting..
    @Anebel: It's a shame you find it necessary to be so snarky right off the bat, because I'm sure you have a lot of valuable information and advice to offer the OP. Try toning down the sarcasm a bit. If she knew it already she wouldn't have asked. Also, there is a big difference between a fly landing on their skin and them feeling the bit in their mouth. Think about it. What's more irritating, someone tickling you with the end of a feather, or someone putting constant pressure on you with their hand?

    @OP: If you are having trouble getting your horse to "listen" to your snaffle, I would suggest working with a trainer. I wish you the best of luck!
         
        10-09-2010, 12:11 PM
      #25
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snookeys    
    @Anebel: It's a shame you find it necessary to be so snarky right off the bat, because I'm sure you have a lot of valuable information and advice to offer the OP. Try toning down the sarcasm a bit. If she knew it already she wouldn't have asked. Also, there is a big difference between a fly landing on their skin and them feeling the bit in their mouth. Think about it. What's more irritating, someone tickling you with the end of a feather, or someone putting constant pressure on you with their hand?

    @OP: If you are having trouble getting your horse to "listen" to your snaffle, I would suggest working with a trainer. I wish you the best of luck!
    And this is why we don't use constant pressure on the bit!! The horse needs to stretch to it, but aids should take a fraction of a second so as not to dull him.
         
        10-09-2010, 12:42 PM
      #26
    Yearling
    I ride my extremely spirited, hot headed, hard to handle, Missouri Fox Trotter in an...eggbutt, I believe, snaffle. We walk, gait, canter, and gallop in it. He can be very, very difficult and spooky at times. It's just all in seat and the legs.

    On the same note, I have nothing against a 'harsher' bit. I completely intend on riding my dear Loki in a mullen mouth, short-shanked bit again. This is simple because I find curb bits attractive on horses, and he carries it just as well as the snaffle.
    Spade bits are extremely delicate devices, but in the right, trained hands, on the right horse, they can be incredible. Why? Because the horse and the rider slowly worked to the point where such a bit could be used. They don't just throw it on any ol' colt and say "Alright! Act like a Spade Bit Horse!" Nope. They start from the beginning and work their way up. Same goes for Dressage horses, you start in the beginning like everyone else, with your snaffle.

    Dressage is about training, obedience, and the connection between the horse and the rider. You must work for it, in your snaffle, without a temper. If your horse is difficult, he has a problem that must be worked through. He probably won't ever be the 'push button trail horse', but he can be completely controllable and a pleasure to ride.

    I had a push-button horse at one point. Sold it because I was bored out of my skull. I like my spirited, energetic get-up-n'-go horses. I hate those falls-asleep-walking-plod-alongs.
    Fine for lessons and kids. For me? Nu uh. I'd rather ride my spooky Loki in a snaffle then ride a pushbutton with nothing. Loki's more interesting. He's not a jumper, he actually hates jumping, but if I wanted him to jump, I could get him to jump. If I want him to walk over that tarp without freaking out, I will get him to walk over that tarp.

    In a snaffle, with gentle hands.
         
        10-09-2010, 12:44 PM
      #27
    Yearling
    To the OP, I definitely suggest a trainer. Yes, three years of working on it isn't enough, if you're not having the results you want. Even with my push button horse I had to get a trainer because he is the sort who simply won't go right if you're not riding properly.

    As far as arguing with Anebel about not knowing what it is like trying to get a "spirited" horse to listen is like, I'd suggest watching some of her videos. She is extremely talented and rides a very talented horse whom I suspect would go quite differently in less experienced hands. Heck, go watch videos of any upper level dressage rider and you'll realize it isn't about having a "push button" horse. It is about being an effective rider, not how much hardware you can put on the poor beast.
         
        10-09-2010, 11:31 PM
      #28
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    And this is why we don't use constant pressure on the bit!! The horse needs to stretch to it, but aids should take a fraction of a second so as not to dull him.
    *Sigh* I'm sure you knew what I meant. A fly landing on your arm would be much more irritating then someone laying a bit on top of it.

    Just because they can feel a fly on their rump doesn't mean they automatically know the cues the rider is telling them. It was an irrelevant comparison, on your part. I know you know what you're talking about, my request was simply that instead of approaching with all that sarcasm, you put your knowledge/experience to good use... and if you don't want to help the OP, then why bother posting at all? Just curious.
         
        10-10-2010, 07:37 AM
      #29
    Green Broke
    Umm Snookeys - Anebel did post helpful advice first. It was the OP who got all ruffled when they didn't hear what they wanted to hear. The fact is, that no matter if the OP's horse 'listens' or not, a snaffle is the only legal bit in dressage. Anebel said that, politely and without any sarcasm.

    And just a point - yes a horse's skin is so sensitive they can feel a fly land on them, and therefore your aids should be clear as day. If the horse cannot feel your aids, then quite simply, you are doing them wrong. You can't blame the horse and say they are 'dead sided' or 'not listening'. The horse is always listening - you need to make sure you know what you are telling them.
         
        10-10-2010, 08:59 AM
      #30
    Green Broke
    Grab a snaffle and go back to square one. Walk-stop-walk-stop-faster walk-slower walk-faster walk-stop-etc. Then, when your horse is responding perfectly, move up to the trot. Trot-walk-trot-stop-etc. Eventually you will move up to canter, galloping, and jumping, but only when your horse is ready and responding well. Don't rush.
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    dressage bit, gag, kimberwick

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