Training to take a bit? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Training to take a bit?

What was your most successful method of teaching your horse to take a bit?

Apollo has been bridled in the past but not since I have had him. I went to bridle him for the first time and he wouldn't take the bit. He would stand there calmly while I tried to get him to take it, but he didn't want to, or maybe didn't understand what I was wanting of him? He just stood there with his head low, he wasn't trying to get his head away, he just didn't want to open his mouth. I ended up tricking him with a small piece of carrot and slipped the bit into his mouth. He didn't mind it at all and let me adjust the bridle to his head! He didn't chew on the bit at all and was very good about it, he just stood there contently waiting for me to lead him. I'm just curious how you have trained your horses to take bits and see if any of those work for him!
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 01:23 PM
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They have to learn to open their mouth just like anything else. I just stick my thumb in the side of their mouth and wiggle it around until they open up, then I slip the bit in.

Works every time and once they figure it out, they will often open up when I bring the bit to their lips.

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post #3 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 11:08 PM
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You stick fingers into mouth while holding bit as you pull up headstall. You don't train them to take it.

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-12-2013, 08:46 AM
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Once your horse gets the idea of taking the bit- you can reinforce it to make your life easier- I hate having to stick my hands in a horse's mouth to get the bit in, it is extremely uncomfortable for me bc I haven't found the right way to do it yet... so when I bought my at the time 3 yr old mare, I would calmly wait with the bit at her lips, when she opened her mouth (she was trained to take it, w/ hands in her mouth), I would slide the bit in, then pop a carrot chunk in. I did this most every time for a couple of weeks. She has since then very readily opened her mouth plenty wide enough for me to just politely slide the bit in for her. :) And we haven't done treats as a standard thing for it in ages.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-12-2013, 09:17 AM
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My finished horses will pick a spade up and carry it without a headstall. When they are colts, I just stick two fingers in their mouth and they open. Then I pop the bit in and follow up with a lot of praise. I do this repeatedly, and they eventually just open their mouth when they feel the bit at their lips, just like Smrobs stated. You just have to be careful not to ram it in their mouth or drag it across their teeth, they will eventually take it willingly, the carrot chunk trick works, unless you have a bit with a complicated mouthpiece. The first time you have to dig carrot out of the hood on a Mona Lisa, you won't use treats again. Lol. Good luck!
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-12-2013, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanstrom Horses View Post
My finished horses will pick a spade up and carry it without a headstall. When they are colts, I just stick two fingers in their mouth and they open. Then I pop the bit in and follow up with a lot of praise. I do this repeatedly, and they eventually just open their mouth when they feel the bit at their lips, just like Smrobs stated. You just have to be careful not to ram it in their mouth or drag it across their teeth, they will eventually take it willingly, the carrot chunk trick works, unless you have a bit with a complicated mouthpiece. The first time you have to dig carrot out of the hood on a Mona Lisa, you won't use treats again. Lol. Good luck!
Ha, yes I am sure complicated bits wouldn't work with that trick. I don't even know what a Mona Lisa is! :) My horse has a simple D ring French snaffle, so nothing to stick anywhere! :) Praise works too I am sure. I was just a bit unsure of myself when I taught her, and needed that extra carrot reinforcement for myself as well lol. :P
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-12-2013, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GracielaGata View Post
Ha, yes I am sure complicated bits wouldn't work with that trick. I don't even know what a Mona Lisa is! :) My horse has a simple D ring French snaffle, so nothing to stick anywhere! :) Praise works too I am sure. I was just a bit unsure of myself when I taught her, and needed that extra carrot reinforcement for myself as well lol. :P
It's basically a really high ported bit with a covered copper port and a cricket. Yeah, if you have a simple snaffle up you can just rinse off, it works.

~Started young horses in Bosca te Ador, unto the two rein the old Spanish spade, brought them along with two hands that were gentle. Some fine reining horses as ever were made~
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-12-2013, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I think Ill just stick to my carrot chunks then!

I used the finger trick at my old barn when helping with a green horse and it did the trick! But ever since Apollo was dewormed and had that syringe type thing in his mouth, he doesn't like me sticking my finger in his mouth because he thinks that I'm going to deworm him again (we are slowly working on him getting use to getting his mouth touched again...he was fine with it before and is getting better about it), but I don't want him to be tossing his head around when I put on his bridle by using my finger and making it more stressful for him.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-12-2013, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shellybean View Post
Thanks for the advice. I think Ill just stick to my carrot chunks then!

I used the finger trick at my old barn when helping with a green horse and it did the trick! But ever since Apollo was dewormed and had that syringe type thing in his mouth, he doesn't like me sticking my finger in his mouth because he thinks that I'm going to deworm him again (we are slowly working on him getting use to getting his mouth touched again...he was fine with it before and is getting better about it), but I don't want him to be tossing his head around when I put on his bridle by using my finger and making it more stressful for him.
What about carrots you actually put into his mouth with your hands (or nearly so, just to mimic your hands in his mouth) as a regular thing, to break him of the fear of wormer coming? Lots and Lots of times :)
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