Opening Mouth at Slightest Contact

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Opening Mouth at Slightest Contact

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  • Horse keeps opening mouth

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    05-26-2013, 02:22 PM
Opening Mouth at Slightest Contact

I have a 13 year old gelding that came into my family at the age of 9. He was extremely pushy and dangerously herd bound (rearing, striking, kicking, biting when you got him away from the herd).
I have trained him so that I can take him on a ride by himself and he is fine. Not even whinnying to the herd. He isn't dangerous anymore on that issue, thankfully.
My problem is that he avoids the bit all the time. I tried riding him in a halter and he is so pushy that I had no control what so ever. So I bumped it up to a bosal, he was a little better, I could control him somewhat, but still very pushy, and ended up with his jaw getting rubbed raw from the bosal. I figured that it was hurting more than helping so I put him back in a snaffle.
He responds to the snaffle the best of all, so I've kept him in it.
I have fairly soft hands and I don't yard on my horse's mouth, but as soon as you put the slightest pressure on the bit my horse opens his mouth. He did this from when I first got him.
I use a D-ring, sweet iron snaffle, with copper inlay. My instructor told me to get a nose band and put it on loosely so he can't jack open his mouth and avoid the bit.
I think this is more of a habit then any pain, because I am soft with my hands.

What are your ideas, and what do you think of putting a nose band on him.

The bit looks similar to this one

The set up on him, he has a halter on under bridle.
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    05-26-2013, 02:27 PM
When were his teeth last looked at?
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    05-26-2013, 02:29 PM
Have you tried anther sort of bit, a double jointed maybe or a mullen mouth or small port, it could just be he doesn't like the nutcracker action of the single joint snaffle.
    05-26-2013, 07:09 PM
I would haven his teeth checked and try him in a double jointed snaffle. Also, have you tried taking the slobbery straps off?
    05-26-2013, 07:35 PM
His teeth were just checked. The vet said that there were a couple sharps edges but nothing bad.

I don't have a double jointed bit, I could look into getting one. I am just learning about double jointed bits being maybe better than a single jointed.

He reacts the same way in a bit with out the slobber straps.
I am curious though why you think that would make a difference?
I had wondered about his teeth as well, so that is why I had them checked.
So I've ruled out pain. Either he doesn't like the single jointed bit, or it's just a habit. Unless y'all can think of something else.
Thank you for the ideas so far.
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    05-26-2013, 08:34 PM
A noseband will either fix it, or make it worse. I would give it a try it before you go buying something else. You want to set it in such a way that it suggests he keeps his mouth closed but doesn't force his mouth closed.

If it's a habit the reminder of the noseband will help. If it's a pain issue it will make it worse and he may start rearing. For that reason I would ground drive a little before you get in the tack.

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