Bit Problems - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Bit Problems

I have recently been doing alot of dressage with my fjord, he bends, collects, and is very soft in the mouth,the only problem is that he's in a hackamore.When I put him in anykind of bit he refuses to turn,bend,collect, and stop.I have been trying to bend him at the walk in a loose ring snaffle with little results, I've also been working with a FEI dressage instructor and he's made tons of improvement only in the hackamore.We have a trail coming up next month and I was wondering if anyone had any advice about what bit I could use or things I could do to help him.Its an intro A test
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 10:43 AM
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I think it's great that he is going so nicely in the hackamore!

Just a few questions for you.

When was the last time he had his teeth checked?
How old is he, what level of training is he at?
Has he ever been ridden consistently in a bit before?

It could be teeth. It could be that he just needs to find a bit that he likes and needs some consistent time to get comfortable with it. Have you tried longing him with a longing cavesson while wearing a bit just so he can get used to the feel without any contact on it? Or even just hand walking him with his halter and lead rope while wearing the bit underneath not making any contact with it, just letting him get used to the feel of it?

Is your loose ring snaffle a single joint or a frenck link? A lot of horse's prefer the french link. What types of snaffles have you tried and have you noticed any kind of change from him in any of them?

I see you are working with a FEI dressage instructor, I'm curious to hear about her/his thoughts.
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 10:53 AM
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Agree 100% with above!

Get teeth checked, and get something for him to play with, perhaps a sweet iron bit at first, so he accepts it.

Not only that, but have you thought about the thickness of the bit you are using? They have fairly small mouths, and a thick bit may be too intrusive for him.

Best of luck!
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 10:58 AM
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I would attempt to try a full cheek, it will give you a bit of extra steering umph. Put the bridle on but still ride in the hack so he gets comfortable with the bit. Then I would attach a second set of reins to the full cheek (hack still on) and ride with light contact on the bit. Gradually increase the pressure until you no longer need the extra guidance of the hack.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 11:56 AM
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Fjords are short stocky horses with thick necks. This is not a criticism. My last horse was half fjord. Its a fact of life that they are not as supple as some other breeds and it is harder for them to bend. Mentally, the Fjord can have a persistent stubborn streak as well. They were bred to be a small pulling horse, after all and are often not initially quick to respond because they do have some cold blood in them. Once you get them where you want to go they are wonderful, consistent horses. The snaffle, any moderate type of broken mouth ring type snaffle is the bit of choice for lateral work. If your horse is not bending well you shouldn't be using any other bit. The snaffle should also be the first bit that you put into your horses mouth. You need to be doing a lot of circling, figure eights, and other bending exercises always bending your horse around your inside leg. It sounds like your horse is just not accustomed to the bit yet which is not unnatural. Don't expect instant results. It takes some time. My green horse ground drives beautifully in just a halter. As soon as I put a bit in his mouth his tongue is everywhere except where it should be. I don't want to encourage a very bad habit so I am awaiting delivery of a flash nose band before proceeding further with the bitting process. You just have to take it one step at a time and be patient.
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 12:58 PM
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sounds like he just needs time and adjustment to working with a bit. i agree with sticking with a soft snaffle (perhaps a myler or something with a smaller mouthpiece as someone mentioned fjords tend to have smaller mouths) and doing basic things until your horse shows that he understand this new way of communicating.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 01:15 PM
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Try teaching him to be soft in the snaffle from the ground. Stand facing his shoulder and draw his nose around toward your hip. He may be resistant at first but just keep asking with little tugs. When he comes around as far as he can pop a treat in his mouth. I'd go use a loose ring snaffle as the mouthpiece is more suited to a shallow mouth.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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When was the last time he had his teeth checked? he had his teeth floated in september

How old is he, what level of training is he at? He is 8 years old,his old owner did eventing at beginner novice and mounted games with him

Has he ever been ridden consistently in a bit before? He was ridden in a bit till about 4,his old owner then put him in a hackamore for eventing and games.I put bits on him for roughly 2 weeks at a time to keep responsive,normally a kimberwick

I have put many bits on him:
D ring (french link,single joint, and copper rollers)
Kimberwick on second ring with chain
loose ring single joint
elevator with 2 rings(only used for xc as he likes to buck)
Full cheek single joint with/without keepers(he will need this for a horsemanship camp we are atending this summer and this is all he can use)
english hackamore

I lunge him in his bits and do alot of bending on the ground and off. I can even ride him bareback and bridless and he stops,turns,circles, and even jumps,just wolnt do it in a bit. I know he's not uncomfortable though,he he doesn't mouth the bit,and if a give him a loose rein he turns,but with a loose rein it makes it hard to collect him.I know its not my hands either,at my old barn I rode the really hot tbs and arabs so I have very soft hands.
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Oh also he is a light medium buid,not the bulky draft kind,if that helps
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-19-2012, 02:46 PM
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Good answers! :)

I'm not an expert here, and there has been lots of good advice given here so far by everyone. I'm thinking he really needs to go back to basics with a mild snaffle. I really like french links, doesn't really matter too much if it is loose ring, eggbutt, dee or full cheek sides, but the loose ring gives the bit a bit more movement and can encourage him to mouth it more. I'm thinking he needs to learn to mouth the bit more and soften to it to become responsive to it. I wonder if a double joint with a copper roller in the center of the joint might get him mouthing it better?

I don't know! Just some thoughts to play around with!
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