Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Bit vs, Hackamore
I wasn't sure whether to put this under Training or Tack and Equipment. Anyway, Spree has been trained to ride in a snaffle bit. Not an eggbutt, just your basic O ring snaffle. Obviously I'm not her owner, and I wasn't around when any of her training was taking place. She's a very willing mare under saddle, but she's constantly chomping on the bit while I'm riding her. I make an effort to be light in the hands, and try and use my seat and legs to direct her. She does well in turning, but we have a problem with her brakes from day one. I sit deep and do all the things you're supposed to signal a horse to stop, and she'll keep on going. I'll never pull hard on her mouth, and will circle her around again and try the stop until we can get it right.
Tonight I decided I was going to try her in the hackamore for the first time. Her owner has a mechanical hackamore with a nice padded nose band. I wasn't too worried, as I was riding bareback and she's very responsive without a saddle, and I only walk bareback because I'm still working on my balance. Honestly, I was shocked at the difference. Not only was she even more responsive than normal to seat/leg aids, the slightest bit of pressure on one rein and she was turning. AND, all I had to do was sit a bit deep and say "Hoooo..." and she'd stop. I barely had time to apply pressure to the reins! Needless to say, it was a great ride, and I was really surprised at the difference in her attitude and responsiveness under the hackamore verses the bit.
My question is this: Could she have been improperly trained to accept the bit? Does she just need more miles on her with the bit? Could it be a health issue, and should I suggest to her owner that she get her teeth checked out? She's 8 years old, green broke, had a 30 day refresher course back in March, but before that I think she hadn't been worked with much at all.