Bitting a young horse: Disrespect or Dislike? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-28-2012, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Bitting a young horse: Disrespect or Dislike?

Wasn't sure where to put this, hopefully here is ok.

So, when you finally come to that step in your horses training to put a bit in their mouth, how do you know if your horse is being disrespectful or if he simply dislikes that certain bit? I've always found it easy to tell if an experienced horse "likes" a bit, but not so much with a young/inexperienced horses.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-28-2012, 03:13 PM
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Most young horses will be somewhat mouthy when they first have a bit in their mouths.
I like to use a Myler straight bar. I like them because they are thinner, so less likely to make the horse find it hard to close their mouths, also you have independent movement to each side whereas a normal straight bar does not give you this.

I will also use a cheek snaffle when I start long reining as this gives the side pressure to help them understand what is wanted.
A young horse has to be taught to accept the bit and what the signals mean.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-28-2012, 08:13 PM
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So long as they are not running backwards or being too big of a jerk about it, a little objection can be ignored as you continue about your business. They are allowed to have opinions. They just don't always get their way. Like little kids. Sometimes you just have to do it.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-29-2012, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 3Barrels View Post
how do you know if your horse is being disrespectful or if he simply dislikes that certain bit?
I can't imagine any horse would automatically like the feel of having a bit in their mouth. It's a matter of desensitising them to it, so it is no longer unpleasant for them. Just think about wearing glasses or a tie for the first times, but eventually you forget about it.

'Disrespectful' is an ambiguous term that grates on me. I think most people's idea of the word seems to be whether the horse is submissive & obedient - so obviously with that definition, your youngster is also disrespectful. I think of it in an entirely different light though & think most horses are disrespectful of humans because humans are disrespectful of them. I also know of plenty of submissive, obedient horses that have absolutely no respect for people.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-29-2012, 07:05 AM
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When I first bit a young horse, I put the bridle (no reins) on in the stall and just allow them to hang out with it on so they get used to holding the bit quietly before I start training them what rein pressure means. Then begin training to accept the pressure slowly. If you just throw the bridle on and start trying to lead or steer them around, they may react simply because they do not understand the new pressure in their mouth.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-29-2012, 10:25 AM
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A youngster is also sensitive to the metal. My preference is an iron mouth and as previously mentioned let the horse just pack it around. Start with about 15 min day then gradually increase it to several hours. Offer hay and let him figure out how to eat it. Be sure to check on him frequently. This will help toughen his gums before you ride him. You may opt to bridle him with reins, again, new weight on his mouth and ride in a knotted halter. Teach him to move his head with groundwork until he will willingly bring his nose around almost to his shoulder, first with the halter, then with the bit. Don't hasten this process as it can be real tough to undo. Horses move in to pain so if his mouth hurts he will brace against your requests.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-29-2012, 11:22 AM
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When I first read the title I thought it was about literally putting your horse in your mouth at biting them.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-29-2012, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
This will help toughen his gums ....Horses move in to pain so if his mouth hurts he will brace against your requests.
Agree with what you say Saddle, except the first bit quoted above - I'm no biologist, but apparently the tissue on the bars of the mouth(gums) is of a type that cannot callous. It will be ever soft & sensitive. So called 'hard mouthed' horses are that way in their mind, not their mouth, from bad handling.... such as because of your last comment above - I would clarify that horses brace against pressure/pain *they don't understand*, which is why I like to teach them to reliably yield to pressure before putting a bit in their mouth.
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