I don't like the idea of riding a horse in a halter, even if they go perfectly. It makes me feel uneasy. What kind of a bit would you use on a horse who absolutely despises a bit of any kind? I've been told before this horse was sold it was a trainer's horse, but she will not tolerate a bit of any kind. I think it could be solved with a little bit of starting over. Any advice?
I don't like the idea of riding a horse in a halter, even if they go perfectly. It makes me feel uneasy.
Why does it make you uneasy? If the horse is doing what your asking what's the problem? A bit will not make make up for the shortcomings of a rider. The nerves across the top of their nose are very sensitive. There are alternatives to a halter.....
What this horse is being lounged in is what I ride in. It's called a jumping hackamore or jumping caveson (sp).
Horses don't hate bits. What they don't like is if you put something in their mouth that doesn't fit their mouth, causes pain or discomfort.
First, the horse needs to have his mouth checked by an EQUINE DENTIST. A good one. To absolutely make sure there are no cracked/broken teeth, there's no uneven wear on the teeth with one side being higher than the other, that there's no abcesses, hooks, etc... and to put in a proper bit seat...which so many vets do not.
The dentist should also be able to tell you about the horse's mouth conformation. Is the mouth short, is the tongue fat, does the horse have a low palate...all of these things will determine the kind, size, shape and thickness of the bit you choose.
I start everything in a hollow mouthed eggbutt and then move from there if I have to. Most stay in that bit, a few have to move onto something else depending on any number of circumstances. I switched my most recent horse to a fullcheek french link after almost two years in the eggbutt.
French link anything is usually quite nice as it allows for independent rein aids...a snaffle or straight bit does not allow for that.
I'd say definitely try a french link snaffle like you suggested.
That bit looks like it either is or is very closely related to a Tom Thumb which could explain why the horse hates "all" bits, since Tom Thumbs are super confusing to horses. Here's a link that explains the whole deal with Tom Thumbs, if you haven't seen it before. =) Trouble with Tom Thumb
I agree entirely with Mercedes post. There are also other things that can contribute to a horse not liking a bit, such as spasms in muscles in the neck, such as the multifidicus. Another very common thing is just the hands on the other side of the reins.
I actually agree and disagree with Mercedes. My friend owns a horse whom she had since birth and she desensitized it to everything. Lo and behold when she put the bit on the horse would freak out, never lower his head to put it in, throw his head and the whole nine yards. When she was riding him he always threw his head and chewed on the bit (it had it's wolf teeth removed). She had the vet and the equine dentist out MANY times, they went as far as taking x-rays, among other things. They couldn't find one thing wrong with that horse. Finally she went to a well known trainer and the trainer said, "some horses just don't like bits". They are individuals and what one horse likes another one doesn't.
Try a hackamore.
I agree with equestriun. I used to ride a mare that was once a reiner. I did english western everything with her. At barrel and pole shows I used an english happy mouth eggbutt snaffle but she always went better with less. If I was giving a lesson on her she got a bitless bridle. If I was riding her, I either used a halter and lead or nothing and steered with my legs.
Nothing was her favorite. She would jump a 3'0" course with nothing on her head better than jumping a crossrail with the bitless bridle. I mean, she accepted the bit but it was quite obvious she didn't like it much.
Personally, I love snaffles. I train everything in a snaffle and I have never given a horse back to its owner with anything but a snaffle in their mouth, even if the owner used to use another one. A flavored happy mouth snaffle might do the trick with her. I met a mare that sucked on the rubber and that calmed her down. Some horses hate the feeling of metal. I know I would:)
P.s. I know other bits can be used and some people consider them better, but I like the simplest bit possible.