Bit problems... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-09-2009, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Bit problems...

A little bit of her history: I have a 2 year old standard bred TWH cross filly that I bought several months ago. She had already been ridden quite a bit by the people I bought her from, but I thought she needed to grow more before I started riding her. So I gave her several months off, and recently started riding again. However, after getting some advice in this forum, I have decided to give her more time before extensive riding and have started focusing on ground work stuff. She has a great attitude, very laid back, calm and ready to learn.
The problem: While I was riding her, she constantly "played" with her bit. I have a snaffle bit and another bit that was suggested by some other gaited horse riders. I think it is called a pleasure horse bit with a 4" shank? She doesn't do very good with either bit, and gets pretty frustrated with it being in her mouth. I thought this would be a good thing to figure out to prepare for riding next year, something that I can work on from the ground. What should I do? Is it the type of bit, or is it her simply not accepting it?
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-09-2009, 05:08 PM
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Use the snaffle bit and put it in her mouth and don't worry how much she worries it. You can't control what she does with her mouth. Get good control of her feet and you'll notice the head will come down and the mouth will quiet. Get the feet and the rest of the horse will come along too.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-09-2009, 06:06 PM
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Definitely don't use the shank bit on her. Is your snaffle a single jointed snaffle? If it is, she might not like the nut cracker effect, which a lot of horses don't. You might want to play around with snaffles with rollers or a link in the middle to make it more comfortable for her.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-09-2009, 06:30 PM
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No need to use a shanked bit yet. Stick with the snaffle. Especially with her being so young.

Most people are like Slinkies; they serve no real purpose, but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-09-2009, 11:51 PM
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I agree, I'd wait on the shanked bit, especially since she is apparently not even comfortable with a bit.

I'd try a snaffle like a French Link, or one with copper rollers in it.

If she doesn't stop, You can always try using a cavasson on her for awhile too, and see if it's just a habit. I've had horses who would play with the bit, just to play with it, but after a few rides with a cavasson, they stopped. Put the cavasson on loosely enough that you can get 2-3 fingers under it, that way she still can move her jaw when she needs to.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-10-2009, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Its a linked snaffle. Thanks again for the advice, this forum is awesome =D
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-10-2009, 10:32 PM
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Snaffle all the way. I'd recommend trying a french link. I am also much in favor of the contoured JP snaffles, as they really seem to fit the horse's mouth well. I ride my QH in a french link loose ring JP, and my friend rides her TB Flicka in the same one. Flicka had a bad head tossing problem with single-jointed snaffles, even if they were contoured, and with the JP she barely ever does it anymore.
The JP bits aren't too expensive either. :)

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post #8 of 8 Old 09-10-2009, 10:53 PM
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have you checked her teeth? she should be floated once a year. if not, then sharp edges and the wolf teeth which some mares get at 2 or 3 can bug her with any bit in her mouth

and I agree with the talk about using a snaffle instead of a shank.

I'm training a couple of gaited horses and I use a plain snaffle bit (the mylar type that doesn't break all the way in a "V" shape in the middle) and that works just fine.

Yeah, the horse will hold the gait easier (when she's used to the shank bit later on) with the shank, but you are better off starting her with a simpler bit as the shank bit has all kinds of pressure points meant to hold the vertical and a green horse might get scared/frustrated/aggitated with that many different pressure points, where as the snaffle is plain and simpler.
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