Doesn't Lower Head for Bit
   

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Doesn't Lower Head for Bit

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  • Horse bit that will help my horse lower his head
  • Best bit for training horse to lower head

 
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    09-24-2009, 09:52 AM
  #1
Yearling
Doesn't Lower Head for Bit

Hello,

I recently bought a 2 1/2 year old Appy gelding. He is being boarded at the person who trained him's stable. I have had him several weeks. He wasn't taught to lower his head, but with the halter, he doesn't find it annoying, threatening, he his head is higher than preferred, but he never tosses it up, and his ears aren't back , he just let's me slip it on.

I have been working on him to keep his head down when I am doing stuff, by applying pressure on the top of his head, and when he lowers it, even just an inch, leave my hand where it is, and he gets rewarded like that. He does it so great now! (I can get his head even with his withers) But when I get his head lowered and bring out the bridle, he pins his ears and tries to do anything to get away, tossing his head, etc. He is fine with my hand between his ears otherwise. I have also tried putting the bit on like a halter, didn't work either.

I was just wondering, is he spoiled, or in pain? They said he had his wolf teeth removed. Maybe it is the bit? The trainer was using a black steel colt training snaffle, and he said I just keep using it.

Some of my friends thought I should use a hackamore, but I was worried about be able to control him. Your suggestions and opinions would be most appreciated, I just want to figure out why he hates it so much.
     
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    09-24-2009, 10:05 AM
  #2
Started
Could you post a picture of the bit? I've heard of the American Tom Thumb described as a colt training snaffle many times, and if that is what kind of bit you are using, it could definitely be causing confusion or pain. Also, "true" snaffles with a single joint can easily have enough of a pinch on the lower jaw to cause pain and reticence to accept the bridle. The teeth are also a potential cause.

Since he is so good when the bit isn't in the picture, I would say that the problem is in the bit, his mouth, or both.

My advice would be to rule out any dental problems or bridle adjustment issues, and if that doesn't help, then start experimenting with bits. French links are popular, and relatively inexpensive, but some horses don't like that many moving pieces in their mouth. I've heard good things about Myler comfort snaffles as well, but I've never used one personally, and they can be pricey. If the teeth aren't the problem, you'll just need to experiment.

Hope that helps!
     
    09-24-2009, 10:23 AM
  #3
Yearling
Black Steel Training Snaffle Bit 5 Inch Mouth - Statelinetack.com

That is the best picture and information site for the bit I am using on him that I found. That could be the problem. When we first got my mom's paint, he was green, but was in a twisted wire snaffle. We didn't have any problems with him. It is way lighter than the one we are using on Bo.
     
    09-24-2009, 10:36 AM
  #4
Started
Princess
You ask us over the Internet "Is he spoiled or is he in pain?"
We can't tell you down the internet - you, who is on the spot handling the horse, is the one to say if he is in pain.
You have to sense when he is in pain - not just for this particular problem but because one day he may well be in pain and you will have to sense his pain to know that you have to do something about it.

Me, well if I had to make an assumption, I'd say that he doesn't like the bit or the bridle - which may or may not be adjusted correctly.

Don't assume that he is being difficult for no reason - he might be, just to test his new mistress out - but there again he might have a good reason.

It is for you to determine if he has a good reason by making sure he doesn't have a good reason.

Hackamore - nothing wrong if properly used. But why change something so soon - unless it is obviously wrong. He won't like change. Let him get used to you, with what he is used to, before you change things.
Then if you do change the bit and he likes it, then he will think you are a nice new owner.

Barry G
     
    09-24-2009, 10:48 AM
  #5
Started
That bit isn't horrible in and of itself, but depending on your horse's level of training and understanding, it could definitely be part of the problem. Since it has shanks, it shouldn't be used unless you're neck reining. Direct reining with this bit can be very confusing for the horse. It's a good transitional bit for when you have a very solid foundation in a snaffle and the horse has some skill with neck reining in the snaffle.

Even after a dental exam, I would back him off to a bit like this: 5" Copper Mouth Eggbutt Snaffle-Outfitters Supply

And ride with a fairly loose rein and soft hands. Start by letting him travel where he wants, and allow him to carry the bit without it moving in his mouth. If he is anticipating pain or discomfort from the bit, you need to build a pattern of pain-free rides to help him to accept the bridleing. If you're concerned about control, start in an enclosed area, so if he starts something he can't go far.

You shouldn't need the twisted wire, that has a good amount of bite. It might be less confusing in effect than the transitional bit, but it's still a strong bit, and shouldn't be necessary for control. The copper mouth eggbutt has enough size to it that it shouldn't cause pain with a reasonable contact.

As a matter of personal preference and experience, I ride my horse in this bit myself, and he responds well, has good brakes, and doesn't try any of the bit evasions that I'm familiar with.

EDIT: Barry has a good point that he may be testing you as the new owner. Also: "It is for you to determine if he has a good reason by making sure he doesn't have a good reason." Very well put.
     
    09-24-2009, 12:23 PM
  #6
Foal
Ok ChevyP, your not alot. I have the same issue but with a 18.2 hd Belgian. This is our story.
He's only been in training since April 2-3 days a week. I had a SS oring snaffle that he was started in, he hates it throws his head which is a pain when I'm 5'4' and he's 18.2. The girl that started him would unbuckel one side of the headstall put it over his ears and then wrap the bit around his mouth and stick her finger in his mouth to make him open up. He would open as he would raise his head and of course she would push the bit in and it would always bump his teeth. So he learned to raise his he when the bit was either going in and he would raise his head when I was taking the headstall off. As soon as I put the 1st ear under the band he would start raising his head. He's perfect for the halter and everybody will tell tell you that if he lowers for the halter and not the headstall he doesn't know the command. BULL
My guys does know the command he hates the bit.
Anyway long story short, I got rid of the SS oring and got a rubber coated bit. I started with the bit and a hay string on each side of the bit. In the begining I coated the bit with honey (it was new and I'm not sure I would like the taste of rubber either). I left his halter on so I had some control over his head and just asked him to lower his head then lifted his lips so he could get a little honey in his mouth and let him just pretty much open up for it. I then put the haystring around his poll like a headstall and put on and off the bit with the haystring about 10 times. If you use a haystring you don't have to worry with the throut latch or the brow band, what I wanted was for him to see that he could get the bit in and out without banging his teeth. He didn't have any problems with the bit once you got it in his mouth it was just the in and out process.
I will take a while for them to understand it won't hurt and my guy will still lift his head if I go 2 or 3 days in between putting the headstall on him.
Hope this helps
     
    09-24-2009, 01:07 PM
  #7
Foal
My horse does the same thing, she sticks her head out and tosses her head. What I do is effective but it's hard to explain.
I wrap my left hand around her lower lip, then stick my two middle fingers into the space behind her teeth. I then pull her head down and around into my body. The pressure and position of her head makes it very hard for her to move it. With my thumb and forefinger I hold the bit in place. Then I put more pressure on my two middle fingers to make her open her mouth. Be careful to put the bit in the right position; it hurts to have the bit slip and slide up under her lip! Of course all during this time I'm putting pressure on the top of her head with my right wrist, holding the bridle in place.
I hope that helps!!

Tawny <><
     
    09-24-2009, 01:13 PM
  #8
Green Broke
If you do direct reining you should downgrade to a snaffle.

Check that the bridle fits properly. Also, something that people over look is that often when people put the bit in the mouth they bang the teeth (unintentionally). Ensure you do not do this.

My recommendation would be to change to a snaffle. The above poster mentioned he coated it in honey - which can be messy. I recommend apple sauce. Just put some over the bit and soon he'll be happy to have in his mouth. Just ensure that your riding is correct for your bit. I would rather have too soft a bit and have to communicate that bit harder rather than have a harsh bit and hurt the horse.
     
    09-24-2009, 01:36 PM
  #9
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoutrider    

Even after a dental exam, I would back him off to a bit like this: 5" Copper Mouth Eggbutt Snaffle-Outfitters Supply
i agree that the above is a much better bit to start with :)
     
    09-24-2009, 03:23 PM
  #10
Yearling
Thanks for all the helpful information guys =]

I went out today and I honestly think it is the bit. He let me put the headstall on fine when he realized I took the bit off and it wasn't going in his mouth.

Thank you so much waterbuggies, that makes me feel better. Like I am not a complete idiot. XD I will try that, and go bit shopping for either an eggbutt, or d-ring snaffle.
     

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