Bit Obsession - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 20 Old 03-26-2012, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 5
• Horses: 0
Bit Obsession

I bought a new Tennessee Walker last weekend - a 7-year-old gelding, very laid-back - my kind of horse! The problem I'm having is that he goes along for a time (maybe 15 minutes) then starts to grab the shank of his bit with his teeth. I've tried a few types of bits (walking horse, curb, and now mechanical hackemore), and it doesn't seem to matter. He grabs the shank and begins to shake his head back and forth (not up and down). I need help figuring out how to break him of this most annoying habit! Thanks!!
walkinghorse2 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 20 Old 03-26-2012, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: In a barn.
Posts: 410
• Horses: 1
It sounds like he doesn't like the bit. May try riding him in just a plain old Snaffle, not to be confused with the Tom Thumb bit, which is cruel and should be outlawed.
Ripplewind is offline  
post #3 of 20 Old 03-26-2012, 04:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
Posts: 22,258
• Horses: 24
Originally Posted by Ripplewind View Post
It sounds like he doesn't like the bit. May try riding him in just a plain old Snaffle, not to be confused with the Tom Thumb bit, which is cruel and should be outlawed.
Ripple, while the TT is certainly a poorly designed bit and one of my least favorite bits on the market, they are a long way from cruel. The only thing that could make that bit cruel is if the hands attached to the reins are cruel.

OP, have you had his teeth checked to make sure that they aren't making him dislike the bit?

As for correcting the issue, I can't really help with that. I've honestly never had a horse that would try that and I can't seem to figure out how a horse can manage it on a well-designed bit if he's being ridden correctly.
SorrelHorse and busysmurf like this.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
smrobs is offline  
post #4 of 20 Old 03-26-2012, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 5,455
• Horses: 1
Get a bit with more curve to the shank so that he can't reach it.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
kevinshorses is offline  
post #5 of 20 Old 03-26-2012, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,332
• Horses: 2
I get tired of defending the tom thumb. Sure, there are probably better bits on the market, and I don't even use it myself anymore, but I still own a slew of them. There are a TON of bits out there stronger than the tom thumb.

Instead of defending the tom thumb, I need a less wordy line. Something like "if your horse hates the tom thumb your hands are too strong." I can ride my horses in almost anything, including a tom thumb. It doesn't mean it is the best bit for them, but if it were the only bit I owned, I could ride any horse I owned in a tom thumb.

As for the OP's horse, I don't know. Maybe try a regular snaffle or if you ride in a curb, a grazing bit with really swept back shanks. Thankfully it's not something I've had much personal experience with.
trailhorserider is online now  
post #6 of 20 Old 03-26-2012, 05:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: The sandbox
Posts: 5,573
• Horses: 0
^^^ cruel may not be the best way to decribe the TT, flawed, would be better. Someone with fast hard hands can make it cruel because their is no presignal.

To the OP, like mentioned above a bit with a "S" shank. An example would be the reproduction of US cavalry bit. Maybe try getting him a bit with a cricket/roller in it, that possibly might pacify him.
Posted via Mobile Device
COWCHICK77 is offline  
post #7 of 20 Old 03-26-2012, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 290
• Horses: 1
I agree with smrobs, get the teeth checked. Then you could try a different bit.

I too get sick of the bad rap that a tom thumb bit gets. I switch my bits from time to time so I have and use it sometimes. I have quiet hands so it isn't a problem. My horse does well with that bit like the other ones I use because she knows I'm not going to get rough with her. Don't blame the bit, hold the hands accountable.
karebear444 is offline  
post #8 of 20 Old 03-27-2012, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Missouri
Posts: 14
• Horses: 1
If this were my horse, and changing the bit didn't help, I would go back to a long shank walking horse bit. A young walker really needs it to get set in thier gait. And 7 is a walker that has just finished growing. The problem my be that the horse is bored or just testing you. I have had this problem and delt with it two ways.
1) having a bag of water ballons that I hit the horse in the head with everytime he started that... took about five ballons but much nicer that many other methods and this method also works well for a horse with a light front end (aka likes to rear up)
2) Not as fool proof but a lot of fun is to put one or two good sized jingle bells on the bridle. This is a TWH trick and alot of the horses really love to keep their own rythym and this my help.

It is important to keep off of the horses mouth too. Constant pressure on the bit can also make them do this. Get the horse set into his gait then back the pressure off by about 15%. This should hold the gait while making the horse more comfortable.
Jstrain1283 is offline  
post #9 of 20 Old 03-27-2012, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Palmyra, Wisconsin
Posts: 6,092
• Horses: 4
The horse has probably always done this to some extent. I'd try bit burrs if everything else appeared OK.
natisha is offline  
post #10 of 20 Old 03-27-2012, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Gloomy Indianapolis
Posts: 799
• Horses: 1
I do not agree that a Walker needs a long shanked walking horse bit. IMO too many gaited horses are shoved into long shanked or gag bits when they're completely unnecessary because people don't want to take the time needed to teach them proper collection. Part of the reason people think gaited horses need to be "set" in their gait is because they want to start them way too early and push them too fast. One does come across the odd gaited horse that isn't strongly gaited and needs a little work, but most are born gaiting and all they need is a knowledgable rider that can develop the natural gait through consistency and communication with the horse, and most of all TRAINING. Using a strong bit to crank their head up doesn't teach the horse anything, except to dislike it and maybe chew on the shanks?

Ok rant over, lol

OP, as mentioned above have the teeth checked, at that age if they haven't been tended to there could definitely be some impacted caps or hooks that need filed. I don't know how many bits you have access to, but MPO is that you should start with the mildest bit you can find and see how they go in it. Yes, it may take a little bit of adjustment on the horses part, especially if they've only been ridden in "walker bits" but I have found that the MOST needed is a very short shanked bit, but if that's the route you go please try to find one that has the shanks curved backward, this reduces the amount of pressure applied.
smrobs likes this.
Jacksmama 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
Clean Barn Obsession wannahorse22 Barn Maintenance 43 09-17-2010 12:32 PM
Obsession with the bit Lonannuniel Horse Training 5 02-09-2010 06:38 PM
Who else has a holiday obsession? Amba1027 General Off Topic Discussion 24 11-01-2009 10:10 AM
salt block obsession! seay54 Horse Health 1 05-14-2009 08:42 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