Bit Advice Please?

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Bit Advice Please?

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

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        05-24-2009, 05:42 PM
    Thumbs down Bit Advice Please?

    Any bit experts about? I currently have my gelding in a dutch gag, in the last hole, mainly for control as, as he has developed his muscle he's been getting a handful. He has been going perfectly in it except every five or six days he acts up badly and I find cuts at the sides of his mouth. He was in a D ring before and have tried putting him back into it but I struggle to control him. I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas or suggestions for me :)
    All will be appreciated greatly!
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        05-24-2009, 05:47 PM
    It sounds like to me that he needs some retraining more than a stronger bit. No matter what bit you put him in, it will only be a matter of time before the old problems show up again and many times get worse. I would suggest you put him back in the d-ring and start over on training from the ground up. Just because he has strong muscles, that shouldn't make him harder to control. Work on lots of small circles and serpentines, lateral and vertical flexion, and one-rein stops are always a useful tool. Get him soft and supple to the bit and always remember that soft hands make a soft horse.
        05-24-2009, 05:55 PM
    I have been getting flatwork lessons with him and he was improving but he was pulling my shoulder out in the d-ring and I had little to no control when jumping, it was my instructors idea to put him into the gag. I've had him 6 months and he's came on loads since then although I do try to alot of flexion ect with him and have light hands but he tends to run off if they're 'too' light.
        05-24-2009, 06:02 PM
    If it's cutting his mouth - remove it. You don't want your horse responding to you simply out of pain. Don't you think if it's cutting him when he acts up, it's hurting him during normal riding? I understand that your trainer recommended the gag, but you may have to respectfully disagree because it's hurting your horse.

    You say he's running off because your hands are "too light" - could it be that he's trying to outrun the pain in his mouth? Many horses do this.

    Try a double jointed snaffle, like a French link, and work him from the ground up, and make sure you're not just riding with your hands.

    It sounds like you need to get him finished on the ground and on the flat before you begin jumping again.

    I am not trying to be harsh - but I disagree with having ANYTHING painful in your horse's mouth. That's only going to cause him to fear riding, and in turn, fear you.
        05-24-2009, 06:08 PM
    He's in a french link and its exactly why i'm posting :P
    I have no idea what to try in him and I need to keep up his jumping because if I don't jump him every few days he gets very over excited and dangerous when I try to jump him again.
    Some people have suggested a bitless bridle, but I don't really know anything about them.
        05-24-2009, 06:08 PM
    Thank you Leah, you saved me some typing.
        05-24-2009, 06:18 PM
    No problem, smrobs. :]

    Well, in my completely honest opinion, I would take him back down to ground work and try to find the root of the problem - why isn't he responding to snaffle?

    I'll be the first to say that some horses - just don't like a certain bit. I know that first hand, and I got a bunch of fuss about it on this forum for asking about bit suggestions for a mare of mine who had not been responding to a plain loose ring snaffle. BUT I had already gone back to the ground and worked with her from there, and ruled out pain as an issue BEFORE deciding to switch to a new bit. Then I tried LOTS of snaffle variations.

    Have you ruled out an ill-fitting saddle? Have you had him checked for soreness?

    Those would be good places to start finding the root of the problem.

    If you have ruled out all other causes, then it may well be that he dislikes the bit. You just sometimes have to play around. Some horses just need something to with their mouths, like play with copper rollers, others need tongue relief, etc.

    Sorry I cannot be of more help suggesting bits - just personal experience here.
        05-24-2009, 06:28 PM
    Thanks for the suggestions :)
    I'll try going back to ground and very basics and see how he goes from there and I hadn't thought about his saddle, its a good idea to get it checked.
    Thanks again :)
        05-24-2009, 06:35 PM
    Yeah go back to the snaffle and work with him. A bigger bit is not the answer.
        05-24-2009, 11:42 PM
    No problem - very often ill-fitting tack is the root of your problems. :]

    Hope you get everything worked out, keep us updated!

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