I right now have a mustang mare who is just green broke. Recently, I have been training her to pick up her gaits on command. Doing this, I ride her in either a bosal or a plain snaffle, and she's perfect. Though, the problem is, I can only use the snaffle for a year, then I have to change it because of rules. That's where the problem comes in. She doesn't like other bits. We've tried a normal curb on her, and she hates it, and throws hissy fits. She only rides in a snaffle or the bosal without a problem. I was wondering if there are any soft bits besides the snaffle that could work with her so she doesn't throw a hissy? We've really always had problems with her since her mouth is so soft, which I have absolutely no problem with, but all the other bits are too harsh for her it seems. So yeah, any suggestions for what I could try on her?
Edit: I have always been thinking of a hackamore for her, but when it comes to those, I really am lost. I understand like, the thicker it is, the less pressure, but I'm still not completely sure what I would use. She does work best with nose pressure we've found, but like I said, I'm lost.
Rules? For showing?
Have you tried a curb bit with a Billy Allen type mouth piece? The kind with a "barrel" over the middle joint? So, the shanks can operate independently, but the moutpiece will not collapse in the middle like it does in a Tom Thumb.
Curb bits are to be used with neck reining and seat/leg cues with very little to no hand involvement -well, that's the theory anyhow. My point being that a curb bit is extremely confusing to a horse when ridden two-handed, so my first question of course is: does she neck rein and move off seat and leg aids, or are you trying to use two hands with the curb?
If its the latter, you need to get the seat/leg and neck rein thing down first :) Posted via Mobile Device
She typically moves off of leg, right now I'm working on training her to neck rein. Though once she's all trained and what not, I'm just worried about how she'll react with a stronger bit in her mouth besides the snaffle she is using. I don't plan on using it now, it'll be a while before I do when she's all ready and trained, I'd just like to know what I could try with her when she is ready and now have to worry about her throwing a hissy because something in her mouth is too harsh.
You said that you'd tried her in a curb bit. What kind of curb bit did you try? Can you maybe find a google picture of what you used on her? There are a million options out there and some of them aren't nearly as soft as the seller would lead you to believe. There are a ton of curb bits out there that really are just as soft as any snaffle...providing the rider has good hands, it's just a matter of finding the right one for her.
I believe it was just a normal curb with a port of about 1 cm, or a little more. The last time someone rode her in a curb, she was rearing up and bucking because of it. Since I've used the snaffle she hasn't done a thing like it. That's my main bug is that when she's ready for it, will she freak out like the last time. And on the upside, my hands are typically soft, and I do my best to keep it like that so she doesn't freak out since her mouth is so sensitive.
I agree with everything justdressage said - but here's some tips about bits.
With curbs, the shorter the shank is - in comparison to the purchase - the milder the bit. The purchase is where the headstall attaches.
Reins should always be loose with a curb bit, for multiple reasons. They have a long amount of warning of contact before any contact is had with a shanked bit. Also because if your reins are tight and you neck rein you'll be pulling the wrong side of the bit.
As for the mouth piece there are a number of styles. Low ports apply a tiny amount of tongue relief, medium ports provide a great deal of tongue relief, high ports are full tongue relief but they put pressure on the pallet (roof of the mouth). There's also mullen mouth, where the whole bar of the bit curves otu away from the tongue without causing any pallet pressure. I like medium ports and mullen mouths.
Shank curves, the curve of the shank is also quite helpful, the deeper the curve in the more warning the horse has before the contact, it's also nice for grazing.
Broken mouth peices I wouldn't recommend for a curb bit- it's just too much.
But for broken mouth pieces, single jointed ones are the most severe - but also have the clearest communication for direct reining. 2 or more joints are milder (in most cases there are some obvious painful exceptions) they also provide clear communication for direct reining.
My personal choice for curb bits is a sweetwater bit with short shanks and a high purchase. Made out of sweet iron.
If you're looking for bitless options I personally find Indian Hackamores to be the best direct reining choice. They provide clear, strong communication - without pain. If you get the variety with metal rings for the reins to go through the release is immediate and obvious, which so many bitless options lack.
Personally I don't like mechanical hackamores or english hackamores, they can just do too much damage in the wrong hands.