Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bowers View Post
No i'm not riding him, the most i might do is just sit on him, i will stop that now that i see it may cause more harm than good. My mom told me(she's raised and trained her own horses) to start riding him at 3, so i have been gradually introducing him tack and equipment. I don't even plan on riding him until he is 4 or 5. I just started really riding my mare, whom just turned 5 at the beginning of this month, and that's only once a week. I"m happy to let them take their time and grow and become healthy and fit enough to take a rider. I wouldn't be sending them out to be trained until they are mature enough mentally and physically. Sorry if you got he wrong view here, but i was thinking if he never lost his 'mouthy' behavior, what good bits there are i should try.
For holy cow i have a friend who has a 3yo trotting the barrel pattern already and takes him out on late evening rides 3/4 days a week, and the trainer is there everyday. I couldn't believe it.
I do appreciate the article you posted, that is some very useful and needed knowledge there. Thank you!
Glad to hear this -- smart girl! Always a good idea to have a horse's teeth checked before starting bitting. The way we do the babies is to get a very soft, flexible, rubber, mullen mouth snaffle (no joint in the middle) like this one: Centaur Metalab Soft Rubber Mullen Mouth D-Ring Bit
. These bits are absolutely useless for riding; their sole purpose is to get the baby used to having a bit in his mouth. The soft rubber INVITES chewing and mouthing, which is absolutely normal behavior for a baby first experiencing the bit. Once they quiet down because it's just not a new thing anymore, we move on to a jointed snaffle, usually a D-ring because the straight sides against the horse's face help when you are teaching them to turn (the bit won't slide through the mouth like an O-ring tends to).
The bits I personally prefer are the KK Sprenger Ultra bits. They have two joints and a softly rounded lozenge in the middle (not a flat piece like a French link, which can be harsh on the tongue). The double jointed bits seem to be accepted more easily by a majority of horses -- there are always exceptions who prefer a single joint, but I'd say about 95% of the horses I've worked with prefer the double jointed bits. These bits put less pressure on the sensitive (and easily damaged) bars of the jaw, and more on the strong, flexible tongue. They allow great subtlety of communication, as the sides are more independent of one another. They also do not have the "nutcracker" effect of popping up and hitting the horse in the palate -- a real problem for many horses and the cause of much head-tossing and mouth-gaping.
I recently asked Dr. Hilary Clayton (top researcher of all things related to riding!) at MSU whether she thought the single jointed bits or double jointed bits were more comfortable for the horse, and it was her opinion that the double jointed bits were more comfortable based on their function and the physiology of the mouth.
The KK Sprenger bits are pricey, no doubt about that. But they are totally worth it, in my experience. The craftsmanship is amazing -- there are no gaps to pinch in the swivel parts at the corners of the mouth, and the metals used are gorgeous and hold up extremely well. Leave it to the Germans to do something so precise and high quality!
You will find many opinions on this topic, but experienced trainers will all tell you that you definitely do NOT go to any kind of leverage bit (curb or otherwise) on a baby. The horse has to be trained to understand and accept the bit first before you can move on to leverage bits, if you desire to do so. That's why you see the young horse classes called "snaffle bit futurities". All those horses are too young to be ridden, but at least they have them in snaffles!
I hope this is helpful for you.