Mouth has been yanked on.....Back to snaffle?

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Mouth has been yanked on.....Back to snaffle?

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  • Going back to a snaffle bit after using a curb bit
  • Reverting to a snaffle after a curb

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    04-12-2011, 01:29 PM
Mouth has been yanked on.....Back to snaffle?

Now, Rebel came to me with this hard mouth. I didn't give it to him, if anything he's gotten a million times softer since, but he's still got a hard mouth.

I rode him in a snaffle originally. He majorly leans and runs throgh my hands. I've been working and working on this for quite some time. He had little kids on him before so I suspect that maybe they pulle don his mouth a lot.

When I ride in show I have to use a curb because he's older. He responds amazing to that, perfect in everything, but for my english stuff I do have to use the snaffle bit. I've been doing a lot of applying light pressure, then gradually getting harder and ahrder until I get a response and I ALWAYS ask as light as I can, with the vocal/seat/leg cues first.

I can ride him in the snaffle and survive the experience, but I want to teach complete suppleness and softness if I can. He's gotten a lot better but I just want some other excercizes to deal with this other than what I've been doing, if you have some suggestions.
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    04-12-2011, 01:47 PM
I have a horse like this. Same spot were I was two months ago. I started watching/researching how vaqueros start and train their horses. They typically start in bosals and get them as soft and supple that way before introducing the snaffle bit. And they always fall back to the bosal when the horse needs it or isn't ready. There are some great buck brannaman videos on youtube where he shows how to warm up with lots of bends while having good posture so you arnt abusing the soal purpose of the bit or bosal.

I wanted to expierament with my old man, so I borrowed a bosal from a friend and tried it out. It fit his head pretty well so I went to work. For a full week I only rode in the bosal, then I would warm up with it. I made sure I was soft in the hands and he responded to the signals through it before I put a snaffle with slobber straps or a mild curb bit in. After the first two days of riding in the bosal he has gotten super responsive with the slightest pressure I give him. I am amazed by how much more he understands and how much more willing he is now to work with me. Just a simple five minute bending warm up session with the bosal has changed him mentally like crazy. I recomend trying the bosal thing that I did.
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    04-12-2011, 01:50 PM
Mmm.....I happen to have a bosal.

Maybe I'll take him out in it tonight. I'll try anything at this point, the process is painfully slow at the moment.....And I realize nothing is going to happen overnight, but Rebel brings mouth rehab to a whole new level. Lol
    04-12-2011, 04:40 PM
Excellent post on the benefits of the bosal.

If a bosal isn't available to you, but a knotted rope halter is, that'd also work.
    04-13-2011, 06:56 PM
You need to literally re-bit him

Use a loose ring snaffle with a french link, they find it hard to lean on that, and do not use the curb at all, or he won't respond to the snaffle when you do use it. Also there's this stuff called Bit Butter, it tastes good so encourages the horse to accept the bit and relax his jaw, and also literally softens the skin of the mouth.

Keep him off the forehand with lots of transitions (eg. 8 strides canter, 6 strides trot, 6 strides canter, 4 strides trot, 8 strides canter, 6 strides trot, shortening the number of strides between transitions as he improves) and exercises like leg yield and shoulder in. Also walk to canter transitions are good for lifting a horse off the forehand!
    04-13-2011, 07:03 PM
Hmmm.. well, my old guy leans terribly. He has been off for the winter, and now, this spring I am going to try some new stuff with him. He has ALWAYS leaned, and been heavy on the forehand. I was at a Parelli (I know...I barn over the iwnter, and did really learn some stuff. I am going to try and NOT pull on him at all-not that I typically do, but he tends to "freight-train"......faster.....faster.....heavier....etc. So, I learned that if I don;t apply steady pressure, he won;t have anything to lean on. I am going to try it and see.....shoot, my younger one now goes without reins even......that may be too much to hope for.
    04-14-2011, 11:16 AM
Oh goodness.....It's going to be really herd for me to not ride in a curb, bcause of the amount of western showing I do with him.

Thanks guys.
    04-14-2011, 01:35 PM
Must you absolutely ride in a snaffle when showing? Are Pelhams, Kimberwicks, and elevators not allowed?
    04-14-2011, 01:50 PM
I'm showing on Equestrian team, and the rulebook says the bit must be a snaffle.....-sigh-
    04-14-2011, 02:12 PM
As the Parelli folks said :), a horse can't be a puller when there's nothing to pull!

Predatory nature wants to pull back, control the nose from pulling out, but that only gets one into a fight with the horse/causes the horse to believe ever more deeply that the rider is a predator/entrapper.

The only way is to drop the direct-line/oppositional thinking & give the horse nothing to *pull* against. Feel toward your horse first, show him that you sympathize with his concerns about being entrapped, by giving him his head, & then he'll feel back for you & you'll go somewhere together.

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