Progressing to a curb for showing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 08-20-2013, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Progressing to a curb for showing

Ok. So I didn't get my butt in gear soon enough to show this year, so we're going to shoot for next year. I really want to show western pleasure at first, then move on to English and eventually cross country.

The problem is, Aires is four this year and will be five when next show season rolls around, so we won't be able to show in a snaffle anymore. I'm going to spend a few months getting all his cues and steering down, but then I'll need to move up.

So, what are suggestions for a transition bit and what we should end up in?
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post #2 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 07:25 AM
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Surely for any type of English riding, you can use a snaffle to your heart's content. My horse has been in one her whole life. As the horse should be working on a contact, you would not want to use a curb.

A Western person will obviously have to explain how they transition the youngster from a snaffle to a curb. I haven't a clue, but I know those horses do not work on a direct contact and will be neck-reined.
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post #3 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I know that in English we'll be using a full cheek French link snaffle, thesilverspear. Right now, he only direct reins, but in an effort to make him as well-rounded as possible, I want to work him western, too, so I'll be teaching him to neck rein.
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post #4 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 01:17 PM
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In my opinion, you should really have a solid couple of months of neck reining down pat before you transition to a curb bit. The mechanics of a curb bit do not lend itself well to a lot of direct reining. Once the horse can neck rein well, I would suggest a medium shanked bit with a broken mouth piece and hinged shanks. This will give you a little bit of direct reining ability if needed to correct the horse.
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post #5 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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I get how to progress through to a curb. Seriously, this ain't my first rodeo. Loll. Well, technically it's my first time training a horse from the ground up through saddle, but I know how to do it.

Can you post a link to the type of bit that you're talking about? I'm a very visual person.
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post #6 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 01:31 PM
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Once my colts were neckreining pretty well, I typically went to a bit like this, with short, curved shanks and a broken mouthpiece. I always started without the curb strap for a few rides while they adjust to some poll pressure and the different feel of a direct rein, then add in the additional jaw pressure of the curb strap.

This particular bit looks like it has the potential to pinch at the shank swivel, but I can't find pics of MY actual bit which I've had since the 90's. We always referred to it as a tear drop shank snaffle.
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post #7 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 01:37 PM
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My favorite transition bit is a straight mouthed or mullen mouthed Pelham. You have the option to ride 2 reins or 4 reins and you can switch easily without changing bridles mid-schooling session. I prefer one with a chain curb chain. IF you use one, make sure to twist the chain clockwise until it links smooth, and then you adjust so that you can fit 2 fingers in between his head behind his chin and the curb chain.

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post #8 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! That makes sense as a transition bit. I also like the dog bone mouthpiece, as he prefers a three piece snaffle. I'm sure I can find something like that at one of my local tack stores, too.

Corporal, are you suggesting a Pelham to transition into a western curb?
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post #9 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 02:19 PM
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Here are two that seem to get a good response from my mare:

Jr Cowhorse:





Shank ratio is about 1.25 to 1, so not a big change from a snaffle. Mia likes to play with the copper roller.

I believe this is a version of a Billy Allen:





It has a 1.75 to 1 ratio, but the design makes direct reining easy to do, yet it also has the firmness side to side to give good neck reining cues. At least, I think Mia neck reins better in it that in a snaffle. Both allow the sides to swivel out, which is a cue Mia has always listened to well. I haven't seen any indication that either pinches her lips.

If I could only own one, I'd probably go with the bottom design. It seems to get a cleaner response out of my horse, if that makes any sense.
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post #10 of 33 Old 08-21-2013, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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That makes sense, bsms. I think I might go with either the Jr Cowhorse or the bit Cynical posted to start out with, then progress up to something like the second on you posted once he gets comfortable with neck reining.
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