I have a 5 year old gelding and only have a curb bit. I am training him. I read somewhere a curb is to harsh for a beginner so what type of snaffle should I use? He is going to be a pleasure horse, just for walking and riding. Thanks
A loose ring snaffle will work fine but I like to use a eggbutt snaffle I jut like the way it looks. A snaffle bit will work forever you don't ever need to go to a curb but if you feel like going to one, and don't want it as harsh you can use a leather curb strap and not a chain.
If you use an eggbutt make sure it doesn't pinch, some (not all) do. Hold the side (swivel part) against the fleshy part of your hand (between thumb and first finger) and move the bit. If you feel pinching... If not great. I don't know why some pinch and some don't.
I prefer the full check because if it becomes necessary to pull hard on one rein (emergency break or something,) you not only pull, but the full check part also pushes the head over. Plus the ring can't go through the mouth.
I personally have had the best luck with a loose-ring snaffle. If you're not working on a headset or anything, it's what I've found that they like best. I like KK brand bits. They're expensive at $100 each, but it's likely the last bit you will ever buy. My horse Jazz has a very finicky mouth due to an impacted wolf tooth when he was young and also he gets rhinovirus which causes sores. This isn't common anymore, but it's my personal opinion that he has some scarring from that also. I got him a loose ring KK that has two joints, made of an alloy known as german gold. The last bit that will ever be in his mouth, and believe me we went through them before then. He now has a nice soft mouth and is responsive to anything I do with my hands, but also doesn't throw his head.
Maleficent, did you get the wolf tooth pulled? If not you should get that pulled all youg horses I get have to get them pilled so they don't break and cause a lot of pain and then they will have bit prombles until it is pulled.
It was complicated how it all worked out, and it's been years ago. We pulled it , but if I remember correctly there were absesses and a few other problems that it had created, and the whole thing took about a year to sort out. I was a kid at the time, but I remember that for a month I couldn't ride him with a bit at all - it was all halter and leadrope. That was when Jazz and I had our first lessons in communication, though it took years for it to really sink in.
Any type of smooth snaffle bit would work well. I personally prefer a plain O-Ring snaffle because it is simple and basic. Also, it looks the best for a western horse (in my opinion), especially if you are taking him into classes at horse shows as a junior horse, or just for training, or whatever. My favorite bridle is a one-eared medium-tan headstall with an O-Ring and split reins. Its excellent for training my reiners and western pleasure horses.
Also, O-Rings are so simple that they have a low chance of being illegal for use in shows. I had a hunter gelding that loved having alot of pressure (without it he seemed lost and fidgeted with his bits), and I rode him with a very thick twisted kimberwick and he was great. But twisted wire, no matter how thick and comfortable, may be illegal in most classes. Also, alot of jointed english bits like kimberwicks and pelhams will be all wrong for western horses. I wouldn't suggest a D-Ring snaffle either as it is decidely english looking though much the same in functionality as the O-Ring.
If you want a simple snaffle, and really one of the only ones that look good on a western horse, than the O-Ring is it.