Did the bit ruin everything? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-08-2011, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Did the bit ruin everything?

I'm working with a 5 year old Mustang gelding getting him broke to ride for my boss. He's a really brave horse who is more inquisitive than spooky and loves to play. The first time I introduced him to a tarp, he was tearing it apart within 2 minutes. He's a really, really fun horse to work with.

I introduced him to the bit about a week ago and ever since then, he's become really spooky and resistant to everything we do. I started with an "O" ring snaffle and changed over to a bigger "D" ring because it kept sliding through his mouth when he played with the bit. My boss wasn't happy with how fast the horse was progressing so he asked me to change the bit to a short-shanked snaffle 3 days ago. So now the horse is progressing faster with the bit, but we're going backwards with almost everything else. He now spooks when I saddle him and it takes me at least 3 tries to get it over his back. He won't give me his head when I go to halter him, and it's even worse when I try to bridle him (obviously). My boss wants me to keep pushing through his training and and says that the horse will learn to deal with it if we stick to the routine, but I'm not so sure that this is one of those situations that gets worse before it gets better. I think we're just ruining the horse.
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-08-2011, 04:58 PM
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I don't think it was the bit that caused the saddling issues or the spookyness. Sometimes horses in training develop these things. It seems pretty normal. What bothers me is that your boss seems to be on a timeline that the horse may not share. What's time to a horse? Horses don't work like that. If I were the trainer then I would tell the owner (he wouldn't be my boss) to let me train the horse or take it to someone else. If he chose to take it to someone else then that would be fine as long as my fee was paid in full. Don't focus on the cause and effect so much and just worry about correcting the problems. As the horse learns to give his face and move his hinquarters and forequarters independently a lot of these problems will just go away. If a horse is soft and supple and working on your feel then they have very few of the "issues" that are so often brought up on this forum.

Good horses aren't made by fixing every little vice or bad habit. Little vices and bad habits are overcome by building sound foundations on our horses and continueing to strenghen them.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 07:55 AM
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I agree with kevin. Your boss is pushing a little too fast. To me that is what is causing him to spook and go backwards. Some horses can not be rushed. Now you need to make the decision to continue or let your boss know you can't rush him. If he doesn't like that then the horse is his problem.

I want to start training and mainly train issues and problems. Helping the owners to help their animals to overcome problems together. My main point to owners will be it is not something that will be a fast fix but something that may take more than an anticipated time.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 09:21 AM
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Has his mouth been checked?
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 09:24 AM
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My only suggestion beyond what Kevin has said is to go back to a plain snaffle. Shanked bits are only for a horse that can neck rein. That could be causing some of the problems around the head.
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Appyt and smrobs like this.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
My only suggestion beyond what Kevin has said is to go back to a plain snaffle. Shanked bits are only for a horse that can neck rein. That could be causing some of the problems around the head.
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I agree.

Part of me is hoping she meant something like a full cheek and simply called it shanks.
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 02:01 PM
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Agree wholeheartedly with the other posters, you cannot push a young horse too fast in their training and expect to end up with good results, especially when that young horse is a mustang. You're the trainer, you are the voice for the horse, if the owner is pushing you to do things faster that you feel is right for the horse, then you need to speak up.

Like Kevin said, I seriously doubt that the bit caused the issues with the spookiness and tacking issues, but the resistance and seemingly mild headshyness could be caused by it if his teeth are bothering him and the bit hurts.

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post #8 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
Shanked bits are only for a horse that can neck rein. Posted via Mobile Device
Hmm, I direct rein and use a lot of leg with my gelding when I work cattle. We use a shanked bit . . .
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mls View Post
Hmm, I direct rein and use a lot of leg with my gelding when I work cattle. We use a shanked bit . . .
Only some shanked bits should be used to direct rein. If they have individually moving shanks, that can be acceptable, but I have a feeling that the OP isn't using one of those!

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post #10 of 14 Old 09-09-2011, 11:51 PM
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Wait, am I reading this right? Only a week in, and he's using a curb? Holy crap!

The absolute earliest that a curb should ever be introduced is after 30 days of solid, consistent riding, in a bit, when he fully understands all the cues, and then it's acceptable to introduce a baby curb (but 90 days in is a more realistic timeline). The bit isn't causing the saddling problems, but it's sure about to start a lot of problems of its own....like a horse who won't turn, or tosses his head, or rears.....
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