So we adopted this 12 y/o mare from our local rescue (to read her story check out my horse, Gracelyn). When I rode her before we adopted her she was fine with the bit in her mouth, but since we brought her home she hates the bit. She throws her head when trying to put the bridle on ...
Well, what bit did she have on when you tried her out? Does she have a problem with that same bit?
And what are YOU doing when trying to bridle her?
Do you let the bit bang on her teeth when you put the bridle on or take it off?
Have you taught her to drop her head when you ask? (with or without a halter)
How are her ground manners otherwise? Does she ever rub her head on you? Does she ever pull you around on the leadrope? Does she crowd your space?
Throwing her head while bridling can be associated with pain and she's "lashing out" from it, but most certainly it is a training issue.
...and once on, she puts the bit over and under her tounge the whole time. She is so focused on messing with the bit that I can't get her to move the way I want. We have tried many bits, right now we have a very thin twisted one, the thinnest, smallest, lightest, bit I could find, still hates it.
Thin bits are harsher. They have more "bite" to them.
Smaller isn't always better. You don't want the width of the bit too be too small or that will create pinching issues.
How are YOU asking her with the bit? Are you releasing pressure at the proper time? This could be rider error.
I would like to see pictures of the bits you have tried, since you used "thinnest" and "lightest" in the same sentence which don't work together. Bluntly put, I am doubting your knowledge of bits (although I am certainly not
a bit guru myself, but I do have a general understanding).
I have tried a mouth tie, to keep her mouth closed, hates it too.
Ummm, shall I duct tape your
mouth shut? How would you
And I don't think it's her teeth because I looked in her mouth, no sores or anything, we are going to get her teeth rasped, but they aren't bad enought to cause any problems.
Are you an equine dentist? I'm not, and I wouldn't know squat just be looking into my own horse's mouth. Plus, you aren't even getting a look at the back molars without having a mouth speculum.
So if she has NOT been seen by the dentist, then you do not know if she has a tooth problem. Get that done first. If she's 12 years old and has NEVER had her teeth done, she could have some very real problems.
She was trained with a bit so I don't know why all of a sudden she is doing this. I can ride her with a halter, but I really want to see if we could fix this problem first. Ay ideas????
This is where a video would be helpful to see how YOU are riding her. 99% of the time it is the rider's fault.
Let's try an exercise here. Put her into a plain snaffle. And by that I mean:
Start with her saddled and bridled, and you on the ground.
Stand on her left side and apply direct rein pressure on the left rein, to ask her to "give" to her left. Apply firm, but gradual pressure, and then hold gently until she gives you a correct response. The very, very instant she puts slack into the rein, you must release the rein, immediately. Praise her. Her reward for giving to the bit, was you releasing. If you do not do it at the proper time, she learns nothing and will just pull and fight the bit.
Do this over, and over, and over (From both sides) until she is very consistent with giving to a very small amount of pressure.
Then apply slightly more pressure to ask her nose to move twice as far until she gets her release. Never pull harder on the rein. Just hold steady until she gets it. Immediately release when she gets it right. Again, repeat over and over on both sides until she gets really good at it.
This should be your method for cueing her to do anything. Hold pressure steady until you get a correct response. Then release immeidately and praise.
Sometimes a bit issue can arise if the rider is not doing pressure release properly, so that is why I bring it up.