Gaping and chewing on the bit

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Gaping and chewing on the bit

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    12-23-2012, 11:42 PM
Gaping and chewing on the bit

My boy is NOT happy right now in his single-jointed snaffle. As soon as it's in his mouth, he starts gaping wide open and pulling his lips back, and he's frequently chomping on it and pulling on it when we ride. I'm also ending up using harder hands than I'd like just to get his attention as he's running out on me. Part of the running out is because he's had a few months off due to injury, but I'd really like to get him in a bit that he likes and I feel like I can get some response without starting a battle. When he's paying attention, he can be very responsive and I usually like to ride him in a sidepull, but I need a bit for more control especially since we're doing a little re-training at the moment.

I'm assuming the bit is the issue, as he's never been too happy in a bit. Last spring, shortly after I got him, he started foaming up every time I put a bit in his mouth - and we're talking EXCESSIVE foam from stress here. He hasn't had a bit in his mout for about half a year now, but I need to find something that works to get him back to where he used to be and to teach a little more respect and attention.

I'm thinking of getting a French link, but a friend of mine is trying to talk me into a Myler level 2 bit, which I must sounds appealing all up until the price tag. But if that's what it takes, then I guess I'll pay up. I do like the idea of the tongue relief and 3 pieces - anyone have experiences with these? Might it solve my problem?

If there's anything other than the bit that I should check, please let me know :)
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    12-24-2012, 12:14 AM
I don't use a bit with my mare but how old is your guy and could it be his teeth?
    12-24-2012, 12:22 AM
I completely feel your pain on this, I have a thread not too long ago about my 3 year old filly who hated the bit.

In the end, I sold her as she wasn't working out to be my pleasure prospect, but I did get good results with using a french link, wrapped in vet wrap - lunged everyday with it for over a month until she just gave in and accepted it. Was a long, extremely frustrating process. Have to make sure teeth are good.
    12-24-2012, 12:39 AM
French links are cheap, most horses like them (including mine who hates single jointed), and they're handy to have around even if you find later you want to switch to the mylar for whatever reason. Easy to sell them too. I'd try the French link first. Just my $0.02.
    12-24-2012, 01:26 AM
Not his teeth - they were done last February and checked since then. I guess the worst that could happen if I try the French link first is I'd be out $20. I think he's just touchy, as that's a general personality trend for him. I absolutly love this horse despite being a handful - he's fantastic on endurance rides! Those are actually our best rides because he is all business and no nonsense on the trails - I think it has something to do with him being somewhere new, apart from his buddies, and that he expects to go so hasn't miles on the trails. We always use a sidepull on the rides with no problem. But at home he needs to behave! I do think he's in pain now though.
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    12-24-2012, 01:29 AM
Would try a three piece bit first, of whatever variation. I prefer lifesavers to french links but that's just me, it's the same basic action.

Mylers are WONDERFUL but if the french link solves it, I would go with that first. They're cheaper.
    12-24-2012, 03:32 AM
Before buying (this was suggested to me) think you could borrow a bit from a friend?
    12-24-2012, 03:41 AM
Use a medium port curb with a short shank. Keep a light hand.

You will thank me later. And so will he
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    12-24-2012, 11:06 AM
Originally Posted by HorseGuru    
Use a medium port curb with a short shank. Keep a light hand.

You will thank me later. And so will he
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Could you explain why? Wouldn't a curb be harder on his mouth and more uncomfortable?

I've shown western, so I'm experienced with curb bits. This is the type we used, and I've got an unused one sitting right here that I could use, but I'd like to know why to use it first. I don't think he's ever had a solid bit or curb bit in his mouth, actually.
    12-24-2012, 11:10 AM
Originally Posted by jillybean19    
I've got an unused one sitting right here that I could use, but I'd like to know why to use it first.
Just to make sure we're on the same page, this this is the bit I'm talking about.
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