In need of bit advice! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-17-2011, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North Dakota!
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In need of bit advice!

My gelding Cherokee is 13 yrs old and is an ex-barrel racer. When I bought him, they sent a couple different bits. I read a post by smrobs, and it got me thinking. The bit that Cherokee is using is a harsh wonder she told me he was a hard mouth horse. I don't believe he needs to continue that way. Most of the time when I ride, I normally just use his halter and he responds fine...when I put the bit they sent with in his mouth he COMPLETELY ignores me. Almost instantly! He is a different horse and not in a good way.

Any suggestions on what type of bit I should try him in? I want him to not want to resent the bit in his mouth. I never ever pull on his mouth when I ride with the bit they sent with. I also did end up just selling that other bit they sent (the lower picture) Any advice would be great.
I did start to use a simple loose ring snaffle on him and he seems to like it but he still disobeys me.

Now I don't want him to not want to go riding because I know he enjoys it with just a halter. He opens his mouth fine when I go to bridle him and I never hit his teeth...I really think this is his previous owners fault. There is never a hard mouth horse...just a rough person.

This is the type of bit they sent with him:

And this is like the other thing they sent:
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-17-2011, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
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The first is a Jr Cowhorse bit. Of all the cooky barrel racing bits on the market, I find the general design and concept of it to be pretty decent. It has a slight gag action but nothing compared to the monstrosity that you posted second. If the Jr Cowhorse wasn't a broken mouthpiece, I actually wouldn't mind it. The jointed, twisted 'snaffle' bit on it is just harsh.

If he rides well in a halter and you trust him in a halter, ride him in a halter or a sidepull. I love a good leather sidepull. If nothing else, they are a nice break for horses need a break.

If you want to ride him in a bit (for the record, I am a bit girl *laugh*) you need to start with the slightest thing he will answer to. Starting back in a plain D-ring snaffle would be ideal but it would certainly be an experience. I would recommend starting in an enclosed ring/round pen. It can be a long process getting him to respond to something subtle like a snaffle again. But then again, you never know.

If you were looking to take the pure nastiness out of it and start from there, I would go with one of smrobs favorite bits. A low port curb with swivel cheeks and short shanks. I am trying to find you a pic but have had no luck!
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-17-2011, 11:02 PM
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-17-2011, 11:12 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Does he neckrein? You can always try something with shanks on it for leverage. Perhaps a simple curb or even a Tom Thumb. These bits work best for neck reining though & some people disagree with them for direct reining/alltogether but so long as you know how to properly operate them, they work really nicely.
It's also good to find out whether he responds better to tonge pressure or bar pressure.
Also, if he goes well in a halter, you can try just using a hackamore, bosal or even a bitless bridle.
Or else start from the very beginning with a snaffle and retrain him to respond properly to the bit. As corinowalk said, it will take time.
It may be that he just feels the need to fight the bit because the previous owners were either too hard on him or switched him straight to a harsh bit the moment he gave trouble. Some people just dont like to fix a problem, they'd rather buy more gadgets to"fix" the horse for them.

"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly."
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-17-2011, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North Dakota!
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Yes he neckreins, and like a pro! I do have both a simple curb and a Tom Thumb at the barn. I think he does what he does because of both the reasons you listed. I know she was too hard on him and I know she kept switching bits. I have become friends with her and have witnessed her doing these things to her other barrel horse, Reno. I know she was also hard on him as I have seen her ride other horses, so I'm guessing she was the same with him, as she had him for many years. Thanks for the advice. I'll listen to what he tells me and go with that. :)
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