Will your horse respond to your bit? - Page 23

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Will your horse respond to your bit?

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  • How do I install a wonder bit on a headstall
  • Installing the wonder bit on bridle

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    10-24-2010, 11:59 PM
Originally Posted by EmilyRosie    
Okay, but is that the only show that you would use a bit in then? Sorry I should have phrased my question differently.

NO bits required in just about every type of showing you do. There are some H/J shows that will allow a mechanical hack but they are not the norm.

All western events require a bit. Depending on the age and the event you might be able to use a snaffle but once the horse gets older they must be in a curb bit.
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    10-25-2010, 02:22 AM
Okay yeah I guess that's one of the reasons I haven't shown in a while, but I can understand for people who want to show why a bit would be necessary.
    10-25-2010, 03:44 AM
Correct, most shows require a bit.

I also compete in speed events, and on most horses, the quick response from a bit is needed. Some horses can run these events in hackamores, but they must be very well trained to neck rein and neck rein immediately, which is hard when in a high adrenalin situation.
    10-25-2010, 11:18 PM
Yeah so I guess if somebody did those shows they wouldn't have much of a choice, but for me personally I don't really show much cos of it, but I understand why people do.
    10-26-2010, 11:25 AM
Green Broke
I totaly agree with the OP (havent read any more then the 1st page) however I would like to point out that even when using a snaffle you NEED to bit according to the conformation of your horses mouth.
So many people bung in a single linked egbut snaffle and then strap the horses mouth closed when the horse objects or they move on to stronger bits. Unfortunatly when they move onto stronger bits they often happen to stumble upon a bit that is better for thier horses mouth shape.

99% or the time if you looked at the shape of your horses mouth you would see the problem.

Stan for example tossed his head, opened his mouth and pulled like a steam train if you put a single jointed bit in him, straight bars he was heavy in the hand. Put a double jointed bit like a french link into his mouth and he was extremely soft and light. This was because of the conformation of his mouth, he had fleshy bars, a huge tongue and a low pallete (roof of his mouth) so every time you took any form of contact on a single joint it stabbed him in the roof of his mouth, makeing him very unhappy. Straight bars didnt leave any room for his tougue so he was heavy.
He did up to medium level dressage in a french link snaffle, He showed in a low ported show pelham (showing in the UK you have the choice of a pelham or a double and stan did not have room for a double) and was very happy and extremely light in both.
    10-26-2010, 10:00 PM
Yeah so I just for me if I could go bitless I would whenever I can. I understand what you are saying wild spot when you say "
I also compete in speed events, and on most horses, the quick response from a bit is needed. Some horses can run these events in hackamores, but they must be very well trained to neck rein and neck rein immediately, which is hard when in a high adrenalin situation."

Is it just because your horse has a lot of adrenaline that you would use a bit? ( and because they have to be very well trained the bitless way?) That is where I struggle with bits. I mean for me I don't show because of bits and other reasons, but I do understand that if somebody wanted to show they need a bit I'm not denying that I am just trying to gain all knowledge possible and this seems like a great site to learn from.

    10-26-2010, 10:38 PM
Well most bits aren't made for single rein pressure from one side or the other; that includes hackemores. SO if you want a quick response from the horse, you want a bit that gives you direct rein pressure abilities...the best bits for that, of course are plain snaffle bits (o-rings, d-rings, etc...), not shanked bits. I've never used anything but a snaffle for gaming.

Now if you have a horse who is really good at neck reining, you could use a hackamore, or curb type bit, and be fine...but the horse "could" get too hyped and run right through those aids, (seen it a million times over the years!) even if he is normally fine with them...just because of the excitement, which would be why a direct rein type bit is the best. I am not one who thinks leverage = control in the case of a gaming horse...I think often times horses that game are way over bitted...I mean do you really need a broken mouthpeice, 10 inch shanks AND a chinstrap and nose band to control a horse going at high speed around poles and barrels? Look at race horses...they are ridden in snaffle bits, across the board...so I don't think that just because you are in a 'high amp' situation that you "need" a heavy bit.

Other events, like reining, pleasure, etc...all those require some type of curb bit beyond 5 years of age (the horse), but you don't need a 'heavy one'...and there are so many types to choose from...i like to go with the least my horse needs to respond with the least amount of cue from your hand.
    10-27-2010, 04:20 AM
Is it just because your horse has a lot of adrenaline that you would use a bit? ( and because they have to be very well trained the bitless way?) That is where I struggle with bits. I mean for me I don't show because of bits and other reasons, but I do understand that if somebody wanted to show they need a bit I'm not denying that I am just trying to gain all knowledge possible and this seems like a great site to learn from.
Keep in mind I only ever ride in a snaffle, usually double jointed.

Yes, the main reason is the adrenalin - In mounted games, you often have to stop or steady while other horses gallop past you full ball. Of course, my aim is for my horse to be soft and attentive all the time, even at pace - but it's the time it takes to get there and the unexpected moments that I want to have that extra bit of refinement and speed in signals.

The other reason is steering - It is hard to get steering cues as precise in a bitless option as a bit - And when you are bending at a flat gallop or aiming to pop a balloon on the ground with a stick, you need to be spot on with your steering and split-second fast.

I have competed MG in a hackamore - It was hard though, and I couldn't go flat out because of it.
    11-05-2010, 07:16 PM
My gelding has gone through many types of bits. First it was a full cheek snaffle, then it was a 3 ring happy mouth, then it was a full cheek snaffle, then a thin o-ring french link. He still likes the o-ring french link, but now he also likes a super thin twist bit. This bit is so thin its thinner than my pinky. He seems He does so well in it. But for jumping and most of our flat (if not training for western or training for english flat classes) I ride him in a short shank hackamore. He is fabulous in this hackamore. Great stretches over the jumps, very round, still very strong & powerful but he is A LOT better to jump with the hackamore. With a bit, when we jumped, he would grab the bit and run at the jump. And with the hackamore I don't have to worry. But for the 2 bits he's great in flat with them, which is nice!

He used to be hard in the mouth, and the o-ring french link(made with copper) really softend him up! It took him a long time for him to find the bit he liked and for me to have more proper training. I think as long as the horse likes the bit & you know how to use it, properly, then why not?
    11-08-2010, 05:56 PM
Great thread! And, let me tell you why...
My husband & I are what I would call "adult beginners" and recently acquired our first horses. Levi, a 9 yo draft cross w/ a H/J background came w/ specific bit recommendations for a french link dee ring snaffle, so that is what we use on him. It works fine -- except that he did not appreciate it when I somehow managed to screw up installing the bit into the bridle -- luckily my mantra is to assume that if the horse is having a problem, I am probably screwing something up ;)

The second horse is a 17 yo TWH mare, Cotton, who kind of happened upon us in a rescue type situation. Unsure of what bit to use and assuming that she needed a "western" type of bit, we listened to the advice of the "expert" at the local feed tack store. I explained that although I rode western (well, mostly bareback) as a kid, my husband and I took lessons as adults with instructors who were also competitive dressage riders, but that we were still beginners. She told us that she had just the perfect bit for us -- her FAVORITE bit -- a bit that worked on most any horse -- a Tom Thumb. Unfortunately, I didn't research the Tom Thumb bit or find this forum until after we tried the bit, and we are **** lucky that it didn't end in tragedy. Although I explained briefly to my husband that this was a LEVERAGED bit and that he needed to have very light hands, he chose to ride as he had learned from his lessons w/ way too much contact for that bit which resulted in a frustrated rider and horse. Everything his hot and mean Swedish instructor taught him is drilled into his brain, yet he never listens to me!!!

Thank goodness Cotton is an older and very sweet horse, and thank goodness I was there to "fire" my husband and get him off the horse. I was able to ride her just fine in that bit, because I rode Western as a kid and spent my adult English lessons being fussed at for not using enough contact. Eventually, I heard back from the woman Cotton came from, who recommended a short shank walking horse bit or a wonder bit. I ordered a French Link Wonder Bit, but then tried her in the French Link Dee Ring, and she was fine. I had just put the Wonder Bit into her bridle before I read this, and it will now come out, and the regular dee ring french link will go in. This mare does NOT neck rein, so I cannot, based on my limited knowledge, understand why she needs anything besides a mild snaffle -- especially given that we are still "beginners" and she is not going to run off with anyone.

I am trying to learn more about how she was trained to respond to what cues / aids as she was actually trained and competed in that "Big Lick" TWH stuff and was even the reserve champion for the state of KY in 1995 -- in the under 3 class. Now, let me be clear, I find the Big Lick padded shoes, soring, and long shanked bits to be appalling -- and that whole plantation class to be freakish. But, I would like to UNDERSTAND how she was trained, so that we can provide the clearest and mildest cues.

Unfortunately, we are in a rural area in Southern Mississippi and my only option for working with a professional trainer &/or riding instructor is to trailer the horses, which is what I will be doing once we find and purchase a horse trailer and I learn to pull it. So, right now, we are just riding around in our back pasture (about 8 acres). After the "bit expert" experience, I am dreading trying to find another expert to teach us :( I am so grateful that this forum exists and that so many real experts are willing to share thoughtful advice.

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