Good bits for a mouthy 2yo? - Page 2

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Good bits for a mouthy 2yo?

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    10-23-2012, 07:49 PM
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bowers    
Would anyone know of a few good bits to try on a very mouthy 2yo? I've been introducing it to him gradually, and with a simple snaffle he just plays with it, and won't stay focused.
Haven't read many replies so sorry if I repeat... I teach horses how to yield in a halter first & only when they're going well & reliably would I start in a bit, should the desire arise. Ensuring the horse is well trained to yield to head/rein pressure before using a bit will be less stressful & distracting when you start using one. As he's only 2yo so you're probably not even riding him yet, I'd probably not bother doing anything more than getting him desensitised to wearing one yet.

Yes, some more than others, but when you first introduce a bit, it feels wierd to them & they will play with it. It's just a matter of desensitising them to the feel, by allowing them to wear it frequently & long enough that they quit fussing.

So I'd use the 'gentlest'(ie rubber, french link) and least obtrusive bit. One that's small enough to fit easily in his mouth but not so thin he risks getting jabbed painfully with it. Another thing to check is his soft pallate - some horses have problems with any bit because of a 'dropped' soft pallate.
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    10-23-2012, 09:48 PM
Beau159 and Loosie, i'm just trying to get him used to it being in his mouth really. He does great in a halter, and no i'm not really riding him yet, he's only 2, I can't bring myself to ride him yet. I feel he is too small yet to even try. The most i'm doing is sitting on him for a few minutes. I'm trying to give him ground lessons while in a bit to help him make the connection and transition. As for the biting I do correct him all the time and nothing seems to phase him, he just got me after a lesson today right in my back. Hoping by january he'll get his full physical, everything, teeth, ears and eyes (kind of like us LOL). I just don't have the money for it all yet.
Thank you everyone for your input!
    10-23-2012, 09:50 PM
This is also good if he never loses his "mouthy' behavior.
    10-24-2012, 03:43 PM
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bowers    
Beau159 and Loosie, i'm just trying to get him used to it being in his mouth really. He does great in a halter, and no i'm not really riding him yet, he's only 2, I can't bring myself to ride him yet. I feel he is too small yet to even try. The most i'm doing is sitting on him for a few minutes. I'm trying to give him ground lessons while in a bit to help him make the connection and transition. As for the biting I do correct him all the time and nothing seems to phase him, he just got me after a lesson today right in my back. Hoping by january he'll get his full physical, everything, teeth, ears and eyes (kind of like us LOL). I just don't have the money for it all yet.
Thank you everyone for your input!
With a horse that has a biting issue, you should not be putting yourself into a situation where he can "get" you before you can correct him. For him to bite you in the back means you had your back turned toward him and you weren't giving him a watchful eye and full attention. For some learning experiences, it is okay to allow them to make the mistake, so that they can learn from it --- but not when it comes to a dangerous behavior like biting. I do not mean this to be put-down-ish or offensive, but if he is not improving with his biting behavior, and you say you are correcting him, I wonder if your timing is wrong, or you are somehow correcting him in the wrong way. I strongly and highly suggest you at least take some lessons with a trainer who is experienced in dealing with biting and dangerous behavior. This is NOT something you want to allow to continue. It's dangerous. If you can't get him to stop, then you need to invoke the help of someone who can. Now. Before it gets worse.

And again, I also do not mean this in an offensive way, but that fact that you were even thinking about putting a curb bit into a 2-yr-old's mouth that is just experiencing a bit for the first time, raises huge red flags for me. Have you trained a horse from start to finish before? Do you have a trainer helping you? If not, it's not a bad idea to get some lessons (at the very minimum) or send him for 30 days training (a lot of trainer will give you unlimited lessons with the training, so the rider gets trained too!).

It just sounds like you have big plans for him someday and I'd hate for him to develop bad habits just because you are unsure of what you are doing.

Also, if you can't afford the health check up now, why don't you just focus on ground work in a halter and skip the bit (since we don't know if he has a dental issue or not). If you don't know what kind of ground exercises to do, I feel that Clinton Anderson does a fantastic job of reading horses and working with them, along with explaining to the viewer what he is doing and why. I totally agree with his idea that you need to develop respect and develop trust, and you do that with ground work. His DVD's are expensive, but they are awesome.

Right now, you 2 yr old has ZERO respect for you. After all, he bit you in the back. No respect.
    10-24-2012, 03:48 PM
Originally Posted by verona1016    
I was curious about that. I don't ride in curbs, but I was under the impression that even Western horses are started in a snaffle with direct reining until they have that down solid before progressing to the curb/neck reining. Is that generally the case?
Yes, Western horses are started in a snaffle bit (no shanks) with direct reining.

After they are taught leg cues, seat cues, neck reining, etc and advanced moves, they are "upgraded" in their bit to match their training. The "upgrading" allows the rider to be lighter and more refined with their cues.
Elizabeth Bowers likes this.
    10-24-2012, 04:06 PM
Beau159, your not offending me or putting me down, i'm here to learn and ask advice. Our 2yo bites EVERYTHING!!! Or chews on it, his mother has the same behavior and so did his sire. His sire bit me upon first meeting, I wanted to smack him so bad, but his owners said its just the way he is. (my hindend he'd stay that way)
Anywho on the second question No, I have never raised a little one from the ground up. He was a project my husband took on because he was sick and his dad wanted rid of him. As soon as I see him starting to come at me to bite me I smack him as hard as I can in his nose, or snap him with the leather end of the rope, and say NO in a strong firm voice. I don't have a trainer helping me, there is no one close enough, and I don't have the money to send him out right now either, and if someone comes to the farm they charge a good bit, there aren't many trainers in my area. What I did have saved I had to spend on bills and feed. I've been reading training books to help me get an idea, and do some simple things for him to do during ground lessons. I watch Clinton Anderson on his site, all the various episodes I don't get to watch on tv. I really like his methods. I will continue working with him on the ground. And hopefully once I get the money saved up i'll be getting him all checked by the vet and sending him out for atleast 30 days. I usually catch him before he gets me, but I was tossing hay around for them when he got me and he felt what twine is I chased him away from me because of it. Thank you for your advice, its very helpful. And I can see now this 2yo is going to be a lot of work...
    10-24-2012, 07:18 PM
Great post beau. Agree with all but the very last line - just because it's an ambiguous term that grates on me - may be right but doesn't help work out what to do about it.

Missed the bit about biting...
As for the biting I do correct him all the time and nothing seems to phase him, he just got me after a lesson today right in my back.
If you have to punish more than a few times for the same behaviour, you're not being effective & may actually be making the behaviour worse. Eg. The horse sees it as a game that you're joining in on - you get me, I'll get you - probably likely outcome with this horse by the sounds. So there are a few things you need to keep in mind when punishing...

Punishment, unless there is no motivation for the 'bad' behaviour(eg. It's happened 'out of the blue', experiment for the horse...), does not tend to end a behaviour instantly, only(if effective) weaken it. Therefore it's best to also use other methods of changing the behaviour, such as positively reinforcing the horse for alternate 'good' behaviour, such as keeping his nose in & down.

Any punishment or reinforcement needs to happen *at the time of* the behaviour you want to influence, or *at worst*, *within* 2 seconds of the behaviour. If it comes after, the horse doesn't associate the cause to the effect very well.

For punishment to be effective, it needs to be strong enough & unpleasant enough for the horse to want to avoid it. Especially when talking a playful horse - & they play rough - this may be quite severe. One reason why I think it's best to avoid punishment where possible & use it judiciously. I personally tend to save strong physical punishment for situations where my safety is the concern.

So... I'd first be focussing on teaching the horse 'good manners', including keeping his mouth to himself. The more opportunity he gets at being reinforced/rewarded for 'Good' behaviour, the better he'll get & more he'll want to try these things with you rather than the 'Bad'.

As beau has said, especially until his 'Good' behaviour is well established, always try to be very aware & in control of what's going on - eg. If you do need to turn your back or such, make sure he's on lead or on the other side of a fence, so he doesn't get the opportunity to get you when you're not prepared.

As for punishment, I would try to remain separate - eg. Use a method that is not seen as me going after the horse, set it up that he punishes himself. Eg. If there is a common time/spot he is likely to bite, if there just happens to be a wire brush or some such there, that *he* spikes *himself* on, that's usually effective. If you're going to have to actually get after him for it - & lets face it, things don't always go according to plan that you can set it up perfectly - I'd be watching his bodylanguage & get after him when he *starts* to think about biting, and do it hard & fast, so he doesn't just think of it as a game, but wants to avoid your response.

**And do it in such a way as to stay safe - eg. If he's not on lead so has to face you, or you don't have a big stick/whip to stay at a safe distance, probably safer not to do it at all.

Hope that helps & it's not just as clear as mud!
Elizabeth Bowers likes this.
    10-24-2012, 07:45 PM
Thank you Loosie.
Today we worked on NOT chewing on things and staying out of my space. I don't get it, I put a halter and lead on him and he doesn't even think about testing me. Its only when I have to go into the pasture to check their water/minerals/salt. I usually have a rope on me and chase him away if he starts to crowd me. He did well with his lesson today, did plenty of backing and yielding, some sidepassing. The only thing he tried to do was crowd me and chew on his rope. When he would crowd me I would smack him with the rope if he got too close, if he thought about getting too close I would swing it and step into his space and make him move away. As for chewing on his rope, I would jerk it to get his attention back, I caught him before the grabbed the rope. He got the idea. He's starting to realize when I go into the field that doesn't mean you get to come over and be a pest, especially if I have work to do while in there. He's very smart, and knows biting is a no. He does it just to pick, I watch him all the time do it to my gelding. I'm working on correcting this behavior. I appreciate all of your thoughts and recommendations. I thinks he is just a brat, but I will work through this. Thank you guys!!
Don't worry, it will be a while before we try the bit again, I don't think he's mentally ready for it yet.
    10-24-2012, 07:49 PM
And I forgot to add, he does get rewarded for his good behavior. For example he loves to have his forehead and ears rubbed, if he stands ground tied for more than a minute (short attention span here) he gets a rub. When he lets me clean all 4 feet at liberty, he gets a rub or an apple. He knows what to do to get his reward, he's come a long way from being a sickly, half wild, 6 month heathen. ;)
Its an interesting job to get him to keep focus on his good behavior to keep getting his rewards.
    10-24-2012, 08:04 PM
With a horse as mouthy as yours sounds....quick fix.....EVERYTIME he puts his mouth on you or something he shouldn't......scare the crap out of him.....when they physically aggressively bite you that's a dominance/respect issue......when they mouth just for the sake of mouthing a good fright will work!

I also hear Tabasco sauce can work too.....but the last guy who told me about it (his horse had chewed on his saddle!) said the horse grabbed the saddle strap (smothered with Tabasco) , paused, let go of the strap and ran around the paddock with his mouth wide open.....not sure if I'd want to do that, but the horse never put his mouth on that saddle again! It's probably effective for 'individual' items.....but wont work for every item!

I hear that you can get a snaffle with 'keys' attached in the middle that mouthy horses seem to appreciate.
Elizabeth Bowers likes this.

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