bits - The Horse Forum
  • 3 Post By tinyliny
  • 1 Post By loosie
  • 1 Post By loosie
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-18-2012, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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I was reading the posts on bits and it was very interesting. It got me thinking. I currently ride a horse in a kimberwick with a single joint. I was wondering if you can move down the bit scale? Ie after training can you go from the kimberwick to a snaffle or a multi jointed snaffle? If so, when do you know its time? What about bitless bridles? I am just interested because I don't know much about bits and feel I should know more.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-18-2012, 07:26 PM
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I was asked to ride a big 17.2 hh TB
his owner had a thick twisted snaffle with double reins and a curb chain.

I brought him down from that to a french link to a thin snaffle.

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post #3 of 7 Old 06-18-2012, 07:45 PM
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It depends on how good you are with your hands on the reins, and how willing you are to use your seat , too, and how much you pay attention so that you start rewarding the reacions of the horse.
Just as ignoring the hrose's reaction and continuing to pull when the hrose has already obeyed will build in dullness, you can build in responsiveness if you look for and encourage each and every positive response of the horse. It takes good timing and feel to do this, and a committment to pay attention and look for opportunities to reward the hrose for compliance.
But it also means not allowing the horse to lean on the reins, either, if that has become his habit.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-18-2012, 11:57 PM
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Agree with Tiny - as usual - & would add that some lessons should help you, because if you feel the need for a 'strong' bit for control, something's missing in either the horse's or your training.

As a jointed kimberwick is essentially a snaffle, but with the ability to fix the reins in certain positions on the rings, so turn the bit with equal rein pressure which also brings the chain into active pressure, it wouldn't be a big change to start in a simple snaffle. I'd go the double jointed ones over ones that can cause 'nutcracker' tongue action.

I personally believe in starting every horse & rider in a halter or bitless and only progress to a bit when the pair is up to it. I also 'retrain' 'problem' horses bitless, as I find the bit just leads to further problems if it is not used gently. If you would like to try bitless but are scared & don't have the support or environment to help you, I'd start out having the halter under the bridle, using reins connected to this & only resorting to bridle/bit reins if you need a backup.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-19-2012, 05:08 PM
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Yep, the goal is to move down the bit scale. (Unless you're in dressage, where you start in a loose ring and move up to a double bridle with a curb bit and crank noseband... :P ). I started my mare in a full cheek corkscrew, moved down to a full cheek Dr. Bristol when she was good in the corkscrew, then dropped down to a Myler Baucher (they're thin), and she was on the edge of needing a milder bit when she developed a bunch of arthritis.
I actually hate kimberwicks. They're a leverage bit. The goal of riding is to have a contact with the horse's mouth. Now, this contact shouldn't be heavy (self-carriage, anyone?), but just the act of accepting the bit in a leverage bit is a punishment because it applies pressure to the mouth.
If you need help with your horse's head, switch to a Baucher bit. It doesn't use a chain (woot!) but has a teeny bit of leverage based on how the headstall attaches. (The little ring is where the cheek pieces go and the bigg rings are for the reins). I've suggest a Myler, or french link. (Do make sure it isn't a Dr. Bristol. It looks just like a french link except when you lay the bit on a flat surface, the link doesn't lay flat. (It's angled)).
Other than that, I really like full cheek bits. They're great for steering and you can't pull the bit through the mouth.
I don't like looserings. They're very hard to fit properly (a horse that takes a 5" regular bit needs a larger loosering in order to not have the rings come in contact with the lips and pinch), and they need to be adjusted tighter to keep from sliding around. (Which puts extra pressure not only on the mouth, but also on the poll).
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-19-2012, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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I like loosie's idea of a halter under the bride with reins. My only concern is that this horse was sent to training for 3 months. The trainer had the saddle on in 3 days and by the end of the summer we were told he was doing level 2 dressage. We also found out in the grain store that the trainer had a 16 year old riding him without our consent or knowledge. I got him back and he was nervous. You put the saddle on him and he was off to the races. I spent last summer utterly destroying the idea of doing stuff in the arena (and dressage) and getting him relaxed under-saddle. I took a lesson on him with a trainer I respect at the end of the summer. She said he did not seem to know now to regulate his trot, a fact I agree with. He does not seem to know that its supposed to go walk, collected trot, canter. He just goes walk, canter. He was put in the kimberwick by the original trainer. I tried a snaffle and a curb (both were not ideal). I trail ride, when I do arena work its in a open outdoor, arena (no fences). In the arena, he gets worried up and nervous, its like he has all this nervous energy that has to explode out somewhere/somehow. The only thing I like about the kimberwick is that he stops in it. I know someone down in Ct who only does bitless work on her horses. I am interested in this but I don't want to get into a situation where I can't stop this horse. I think its too early in our time together for me to change the bits on this horse (ie. I don't know that I trust him enough yet). I am thinking that it might be best to work with voice commands and stopping with my seat and then change the bit. Does that make sense?
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-19-2012, 10:37 PM
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Sounds to me like the 'trainer' just forced him to comply & returned to you a fearful, confused horse Unfortunately not a rare thing, for people(me included) to find they have given a horse & lots of $$$ to the wrong trainer. I would not 'trust' this horse either(except trust him 100% to be & act like a horse), at least until you've shown him he can trust & respect you.

In that case, I'd definitely go back to the basics with him & get rid of that pain causing device, focussing instead on *teaching* him how to respond rather than forcing, & proving to him he doesn't have to worry about(& get bracy, reactive & unresponsive because of) you hurting him. Unfortunately my boy's experience taught him to be nervous of any headgear at all when I was aboard(he was fine on the ground), so I 'restarted' him naked(him not me!)

I understand you don't have ideal controlled areas, but perhaps some electric tape(not connected) & treadins will give you cheap adequate security?

Yep, the goal is to move down the bit scale. ...I started my mare in a full cheek corkscrew, moved down to a full cheek
IMO that is completely backward & is only the case if you rely on coersion through pain - or the threat of. Each to their own, but I don't personally like or agree with that approach. I prefer to avoid causing a horse pain where possible & it's important to me that they enjoy playing my 'games' & learning.
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