Bit transitions
 
 

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Bit transitions

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  • Can i put a young horse in a one am bit
  • Good transition bits from the snaffle

 
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    10-16-2010, 01:55 PM
  #1
Foal
Bit transitions

I have a three year old QH who I've been training for reining. She's been wearing a loose ring snaffle since the start, but I'm looking to up our game and also the bit. I have a swivel curb and a transition curb... How do I use it effectively on the horse, and also is it the right type of bit? I also have another young one who is mighty hard on the bit. I'm considering getting a twisted O ring snaffle for her...
     
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    10-17-2010, 02:26 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Western    
I have a three year old QH who I've been training for reining. She's been wearing a loose ring snaffle since the start, but I'm looking to up our game and also the bit. I have a swivel curb and a transition curb... How do I use it effectively on the horse, and also is it the right type of bit? I also have another young one who is mighty hard on the bit. I'm considering getting a twisted O ring snaffle for her...
When you say "up our game" what exactly do you mean? In my opinion, it is perfectly acceptable to continue to ride a 3-year-old horse in a smooth snaffle bit because they are just a young horse and are still learning.

The fact that you're not sure how to use a curb bit on a horse has me questioning if you are qualified to be training such a young horse. It also would be better to find a picture of the bits you do have, because it is too broad to say "swivel curb" or "transition curb". It could be any number of bits.

For the other horse who you say is hard on the bit, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go to a more harsh bit with twisted wire. You are not fixing the root of the problem. Putting a more severe bit into the YOUNG mouth of a horse does absolutely no good whatsoever.

You need to teach her to get soft in the bit, using a smooth mouth snaffle. And start teaching that from the ground. With the horse saddled and bridled, ask her to give her head to one side or the other. To do this, stand at her left side (we'll ask to bend to the left first) and firmly put pressure on the left rein only. Do not pull harder, but just hold your hand steady with pressure. Do not release pressure until she responds correctly. But the instant that she gives her head to the bit and releases the pressure, you must immediately must let go of the rein and reward her. Start with small accommplishments and work your way up to larger ones. Eventually, she should bring her nose all the way to her side softly and gently. Make sure you evenly work both sides.

Right away, it is okay if she moves her feet when she is trying to figure it out. But in the end, she should stand still and give her head either way.

You can then try to "fool" her by standing on her left side (for example) but reaching over the saddle to ask her to give to the right. She'll think you want her to turn to the left because you are standing on her left, but she needs to learn to follow the rein cue and give to it.

You can also do backing from the ground. With your hands up by the saddle horn, as if you were riding, evenly put backward pressure on both reins. But pulse the pressure, rather than holding it steady. You can also accommpany the rein cue with a verbal "back.....back.....back...." with your voice. Once again, the instant she takes one tiny step backward with any foot, let go of the pressure and praise her. Once she can consistently back up one step wiht one foot, start asking her for 2 steps. And so on.

When you can do all this from the ground, only then should you try to go it from the saddle while riding. And the principle is the same.

She will learn to be hard on the bit if you do not release the pressure immediately when you are supposed to.

She will be soft in the bit if you release the pressure at the correct time.

Either way, it sounds like you could benefit for a few lessons yourself on training a young horse. More knowledge never hurts a person, especially if you think you know it all.
     
    10-17-2010, 09:05 AM
  #3
Foal
I agree with Beau....Do NOT go to a more severe bit, it is not going to solve the problem correctly. Also, if you could get us pictures or videos of how the horse is going under saddle, and the bits you have, that would be very helpfull.
     
    10-17-2010, 12:06 PM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159    
When you say "up our game" what exactly do you mean? In my opinion, it is perfectly acceptable to continue to ride a 3-year-old horse in a smooth snaffle bit because they are just a young horse and are still learning.

The fact that you're not sure how to use a curb bit on a horse has me questioning if you are qualified to be training such a young horse. It also would be better to find a picture of the bits you do have, because it is too broad to say "swivel curb" or "transition curb". It could be any number of bits.

For the other horse who you say is hard on the bit, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go to a more harsh bit with twisted wire. You are not fixing the root of the problem. Putting a more severe bit into the YOUNG mouth of a horse does absolutely no good whatsoever.

You need to teach her to get soft in the bit, using a smooth mouth snaffle. And start teaching that from the ground. With the horse saddled and bridled, ask her to give her head to one side or the other. To do this, stand at her left side (we'll ask to bend to the left first) and firmly put pressure on the left rein only. Do not pull harder, but just hold your hand steady with pressure. Do not release pressure until she responds correctly. But the instant that she gives her head to the bit and releases the pressure, you must immediately must let go of the rein and reward her. Start with small accommplishments and work your way up to larger ones. Eventually, she should bring her nose all the way to her side softly and gently. Make sure you evenly work both sides.

Right away, it is okay if she moves her feet when she is trying to figure it out. But in the end, she should stand still and give her head either way.

You can then try to "fool" her by standing on her left side (for example) but reaching over the saddle to ask her to give to the right. She'll think you want her to turn to the left because you are standing on her left, but she needs to learn to follow the rein cue and give to it.

You can also do backing from the ground. With your hands up by the saddle horn, as if you were riding, evenly put backward pressure on both reins. But pulse the pressure, rather than holding it steady. You can also accommpany the rein cue with a verbal "back.....back.....back...." with your voice. Once again, the instant she takes one tiny step backward with any foot, let go of the pressure and praise her. Once she can consistently back up one step wiht one foot, start asking her for 2 steps. And so on.

When you can do all this from the ground, only then should you try to go it from the saddle while riding. And the principle is the same.

She will learn to be hard on the bit if you do not release the pressure immediately when you are supposed to.

She will be soft in the bit if you release the pressure at the correct time.

Either way, it sounds like you could benefit for a few lessons yourself on training a young horse. More knowledge never hurts a person, especially if you think you know it all.

Hi, I don't switch the bits permanently.. for somthing like the wire snaffle, I would just change it out for one or two rides and then put it back to the ordinary snaffle. I do all of my regular training in an ordinary snaffle.. and Just use other bits to perfect. This horse litteraly just ignores the bit. She will infact give me her head to both sides very easily, back up, and do what I ask, but as soon as we start to get into the fast speeds she more or less blocks me out. Not to mention trying to stop her is like trying to stop a freight train. She has countless hours of groundwork including driving, and I doubt we've left anything out.. She just has a really solid mouth and a stubborn mind! The whole time I'm trying to get her to do what I ask she pulls on the bit!!

For the bay mare, we've entered a reining competition for young horses, and I've been told several times to use a curb bit or transitional curb. Apparently she also needs to get used to having a fixed bar in her mouth.. but I seriously doubt we need to get into that for a couple of years yet. I do know that these apply a great deal of pressure to a horses jaw, especially if not used properly. I was merely asking for information on the usage to avoid any problems. Tips from knowledgeable horse people are always welcome!!
The bit I am planning on using has a snaffle mouthpeice with a short shanks... it is a good transitional bit as it isnt to harsh, but still allows me to use the shanks to help her turn better and use her whole body.

I'll take pictures of all the curb bits I have and post them later..

And just as extra info, I have little experience with reining. I am just learning to rein, and so all of the bits and equipment is a new aspect. I am infact taking lessons, but, they do not teach any aspects of reining. It is strictly an english school.. (Though they do let me use a western saddle)

I have a friend who was a proffesional reining for 20+ years, and I do regularily ask him for help, but I also disagree with some of his methods. He believes in STARTING a horse with a transitional bit and moving them to a full curb as soon as they are green broke.. so.. I was kind of on my own for this one..

And I totally know that there is plenty to learn! Trust me, I'm trying to learn as much as I can!!!
     
    10-17-2010, 12:37 PM
  #5
Green Broke
Beau hit the nail on the head.
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    10-17-2010, 03:12 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Hi, I don't switch the bits permanently.. for somthing like the wire snaffle, I would just change it out for one or two rides and then put it back to the ordinary snaffle. I do all of my regular training in an ordinary snaffle.. and Just use other bits to perfect.
Again, just changing a bit to fix a problem really isn't actually fixing the problem. So let's say you do switch to a twisted wire bit on the horse who you say is hard in the mouth. What do you think is going to happen when you go back to the smooth snaffle on the next ride? You won't have changed a thing and you won't have fixed the problem.

Quote:
This horse litteraly just ignores the bit. She will infact give me her head to both sides very easily, back up, and do what I ask, but as soon as we start to get into the fast speeds she more or less blocks me out.
This is a HUGE indicator that she needs more slow training. If what you are working on totally breaks down when you increase the speed, that means you are either not ready to go faster yet or you need to reinforce who is making the decisions in your partnership. So if she's "blocking you out" guess what? She's wearing the pants in the family.

If she wants to ignore the bit, you better be the biggest pain in her @$$ until she decides to listen.

Quote:
Not to mention trying to stop her is like trying to stop a freight train.
Again, that is because you are allowing it to happen. There is no reason she should not stop willingly and softly.

Always start with the basics. Start at the walk first. Walk about 10 steps, then "stop riding" by putting your weight into your seat, say "whoa", and then pull equally and firmly backward on both reins with both hands (you should always be using two hands on the reins with a young horse until they progress in their training). You should use this exact same cue in that exact same order all the time. Consistency is what teaches. If she does not stop, continue to hold all those cues until she does. I don't care if that is 10 seconds or a full hour. You do NOT release the pressure until you get a correct response. (This is what I mean about you being the biggest pain in her butt, until she decides to listen.)

But the very, very moment that she stops forward motion, you need to immediately release all those cues. Releasing the pressure is her reward.

To reinforce the stop, I also like to then ask them to back up. If they were naughty in stopping, we'll back up farther. If they stopped nicely, I may only ask them to back up 2 or 3 steps.

And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. When this is flawless at the walk, only then should you try it at the trot. Perfect the trot before you move onto the gallop. She should be getting the hint that when you "stop riding" and put your weight into your seat, she should know that a stop is coming next.

Also, if she tries to walk on (after stopping) before you have given her the cue to walk on (squeezing your legs and clucking), you better back back back back her up. And then make her stand. And again, she better not move a muscle until you give her the cue to do so. If she does, well, then you back back back back.

You see how consistent and repetitive this is? Pretty soon she is going to see that stopping is much less work than anything else.


Quote:
She has countless hours of groundwork including driving, and I doubt we've left anything out.. She just has a really solid mouth and a stubborn mind! The whole time I'm trying to get her to do what I ask she pulls on the bit!!
This sounds like to me that you may not have been releasing pressure at the correct moment.

For example, if you ask her to stop by doing the cues I mentioned above, but you do NOT release the pressure immediately when she does the correct response (stopped), she is not receiving any positive reinforcement so she really doesn't know what you want. So she learns that the bit pressure never goes away even if she does the right thing, and thus just pulls and pulls on the bit.

It is SO IMPORTANT to release the pressure at just the right time.

This all goes back to how you need to FIX the problem, and not just grab a harsher bit to "make her listen". Because that's not the root of the problem!!


Quote:
For the bay mare, we've entered a reining competition for young horses, and I've been told several times to use a curb bit or transitional curb. Apparently she also needs to get used to having a fixed bar in her mouth.. but I seriously doubt we need to get into that for a couple of years yet. I do know that these apply a great deal of pressure to a horses jaw, especially if not used properly.
If you follow the NRHA futurity, you'll see that most of the horses do indeed have some sort of transition bit, rather than a snaffle. However, this is pretty high caliber of competition, of course. And these horses are pushed to perform at very, very young ages (I personally think TOO young ... what's the rush?).

I have never shown at that level, but I've done reining at local shows and the shows I have gone to have stated that it is acceptable to use a snaffle bit on any horse 5 years old or younger (although you could use a curb if you wanted) but you must use a curb bit on horses 6 or older.

So I would check with the show rules of the competition you have entered to find out for sure if they have any rules regarding bit type and age.

If they don't, there is nothing wrong with showing in a snaffle. If your horse responds well to that at this point, she is still very young and I would personally keep her in a snaffle yet. She most certainly does not need to get used to a fixed bar in her mouth yet! She's only 3!

Quote:
The bit I am planning on using has a snaffle mouthpeice with a short shanks... it is a good transitional bit as it isnt to harsh, but still allows me to use the shanks to help her turn better and use her whole body.
Just know that the day you do decide to step her up into a transition bit, make sure she already knows how to neck rein. It can be taught quite easily while they are in a snaffle, but it is good to train it while still in a snaffle so if you have to give a reinforcing direct rein cue if she didn't catch the neck rein cue, you still can. So best to have her nice and solid in neck reining before you step up the bit.

Quote:
And just as extra info, I have little experience with reining. I am just learning to rein, and so all of the bits and equipment is a new aspect. I am infact taking lessons, but, they do not teach any aspects of reining. It is strictly an english school.. (Though they do let me use a western saddle)
I would say that it is incorrect to say that an English school does not teach any aspect of reining. Doesn't English riding also use leg cues? Do they not also do lead changes, simple and flying? Don't they also teach the horse to carry themselves in a balanced frame?

The basics in one discipline are the very same basics in another. Just presented differently.
     
    10-17-2010, 03:24 PM
  #7
Foal
Beau,
I totally agree with you that the "hard mouthed horse" isnt ready to be going faster. I have spent hours and hours with my young horse doing "whoa" work. Not only does he know on the ground when I say whoa he should stop, stand and not move until I ask him to, he is the same way under saddle. I can think whoa, deep breath in and let it out and he will stop, stand square and stand until I ask him to do something else. I have been working my 3 yr old lightly all summer (ridding a few times a month and doing lots of ground work and lounge line/round pen work)and have worked him a little more the last 3 weeks on ridding. We have NOT cantered under saddle, and I will not canter him under saddle this year (i live in vermont and we will have snow soon). What is the rush? If he doesnt have the walk, trot, whoa, bend in the turns, neck rein, back ect down to a T, I am not going to canter. It defently sounds like this horse needs to go back to the basics.
     

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