Should I switch to a snaffle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Should I switch to a snaffle?

So my new horse that I'm getting this weekend, was ridden primarily western, with IMO a harsh western bit. I don't know what kind it is, but it looked similar to this, just different shanks.

Since i've never ridden with that type of bit, nor do I ride western, I was way out of my element. Montana was being a little bratty, but I understood why.
So his owner switched him to a french link full cheek snaffle, and he did well in that.
She did say out on the trail he needs that western bit, and I'd prefer not to have him in that.

Is there a way to make him be able to be comfortable in a snaffle (depending if my myler bit fits him, he'll be in that) and not need a stronger bit for the trail?

ETA he is a 15 year old qh.
appylover31803 is offline  
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post #2 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 03:41 PM
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*gah* You're link didn't work. Most horses are started in a snaffle and moved up to "harsher" ( I don't like that word because they are not neessarily more harsh) bits to refine their movements and slighter cues are needed because the bit is more...sensative in the horse's mouth. Like upgrading to a better telephone. You need no longer need to yell to be heard because the phone works better.

I would ride the horse in the snaffle and try your bit on him too. If you are just riding trails or in an arena...You really don't need the harsher bit. See a lot of people upgrade bits instead of refining training.

I hope I'm making sence for you. See when you are cutting cattle and such a "harsher" bit will allow you more freedom with your hands so you can rope and so on...but the horse has to understand the cue too. If you are uncomfortable with the bit...change it. But don't be too surprized if the horse doesn't like the new bit. Some are acustomed to the harsher bit and work well with it.

Some western horses work better with leverage...its a comfort zone thing as well as a control thing. I would work the horse to see what kind of brakes it has in the snaffle as well as if it will neck rein. Both of those issues can be worked on with training.

I'm getting long winded and I don't feel like I'm getting my point across...let me regroup and think how to word it better if this isn't helping.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

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post #3 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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You did make sense Amy! :)

When the owner put him in the snaffle, he was fine, but she said that he gets very strong on the trial, hence the western bit.

Oh, and this is a similar bit

Like I said, the shanks are different.

To be honest, when I rode him, he seemed sort of annoyed with the western bit.
He hadn't been worked in a while, and the owner's daughter would ride him in a snaffle, unless on trails.

I will try him out in my bit. I am going to be riding in the arena mostly and to see how he is, I'm going to ride him around the property (it's fenced in, don't worry) and see how he does when he's outside the arena.

I do know he came from Florida and he came with that bit, so his current owners really don't know why he has it.
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 04:18 PM
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I see why you don't like that bit. It really is less harsh in the right hands than say a tom thumb with the swivel shanks and a broken mouth piece.

You may find that just a normal old leverage bit with a low port for tongue relief would be all you need for control on the trail. (assumeing he neck reins 15yo western horse should with that bit)

Don't forget that you can always give the horse a tune up and that a lot of western horses are taught to slow and/or stop when you sit deep in the saddle. The people may not have know that if they don't know why that bit is being used. Just play around and see what you end up with. I love discovering the quirks and training that a horse has. Besides...don't forget that you CAN teach an old horse new tricks. 15 is been there done that old yet still young enough to have lots of spunk and even teach you a thing or 2!


Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

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post #5 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Amy!

I am definitely going to play around with him and see what he knows and remembers.

He definitely does seem to know a lot, it's now just about making him remember it all.

Knowing me, I'll probably get a western type bit... or something for trail riding, though I would love to stay in a snaffle.

I'll figure it out when he comes home this weekend.
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post #6 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 04:38 PM
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you found another horse?!? i didnt know! we need pics and details pronto!!
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post #7 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 04:44 PM
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I agree with Dumas Girl about refining a horses ques. We did that with Risky and I usually do it with my babies when they are really getting broke in the mouth. I don't know why he would need a different bit out on trail, than in the arena. Seems kinda weird to me like he gets uncontrollable or something. Maybe the previous owners didn't really know how to ride? I can't wait to see him! Did you trade him for a horse you had or buy him? Pics would be awesome! I love seeing new horses!
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post #8 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Montana is actually a late birthday present from my fiance.
We were orginally planning on selling my mare and with that money getting another horse. But after my fiance rode her and we both saw how well she did, we're keeping her for my fiance.

So then with that, my fiance knew how much Vega and I don't get along. He was going to get me this one horse, but things fell through.

Montana is a 15 year old registered quarter horse (No impressive.. yay!)
I have no idea how tall he is, but he's perfect :)
He's coming home this weekend, so I'll take pictures then :)

I agree with you Valley. I don't see why he would need a stronger bit on the trails. I do know the owner's daughter was the one riding him. From what i've heard, she was a great rider, so I'm not sure why he's ridden in it.
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post #9 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 05:09 PM
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Dumas gave you some good advise. My concern is that at 15 years old he may be set in his ways. In any case it is really a matter of retraining - time and patience.

BTW that is called a "correction bit" and as Amy said, no bit is harsh in light hands. I would ride him in that bit until you are comfortable with him and work him in the arena with the snaffle.

He may have been ridden in that bit because he gets anxious and strong on the trails and for that reason I would ride him for a while that way until you are comfortable with each other.

Bobo came to me after a lot of years in a Tom Thumb (I hate that bit). I immediately moved him into a mild shanked bit with a Billy Allen mouth piece and he went very well. Once I knew his buttons and cues, I moved to a snaffle and I can now ride him in a bosal with no fear of him acting up or me loosing control.

I'm anxious to see some pics!

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
iridehorses is offline  
post #10 of 24 Old 09-17-2008, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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ahh ok. That's for telling me what the name of that bit is.

He is used to being ridden in a snaffle doing arena work. Like i said he was fine when it was switched.

I do plan on making a nice bond and doing lots of ground work before I get on him. I figure that way we get to know each other before doing anything else.

I'll probably have to play around with bits until we find something that works.

I know a bit is only as harsh as the hands that use them.. and I might have been a little nervous riding him with that, just because I didn't want to do anything wrong, and he most likely sensed that. But i totally agree with that statement...
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