The Wonder Bit??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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The Wonder Bit???

The Wonder Bit???
Ok, so, I have a 6 year old Tennessee Walking Horse (Spirit) that I ride western with. He was in a Tom Thumb bit until about 4 months ago and we both absolutely hated it. So we switched to an Eggbutt Snaffle bit. It's like riding with nothing. Right now, my trainer and I are working on disengaging him since he is a bit downhill. She told me that snaffle bits are not good for neckreining (probably should have looked that up before I bought it, right? ) and that when we're done with what we're doing (idk where we're going with/after disengaging) that she wants to switch him to a Wonder Bit.

So can someone tell me what a Wonder Bit is? I've been looking it up online and it sounds really harsh (but keeping in mind that a bit is only as harsh as the hands you use it with). People say that it's only for experienced professionals (which I obviously am not )and novices should not use it. Is this true???

Last edited by iridehorses; 04-12-2010 at 06:37 AM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 03:40 AM
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I've use a wonder bit before in gaming. It's a type of gag bit. so you get the leverage of a curb bit, but the flexability in the bit adds a bit of control. I used it b/c my old gelding would take off with a curb bit when we we gaming and I needed away to apply the breaks.

No I wouldn't give to a total novice with no riding experience, but I would give it to an advanced beginner after a riding lesson explaining the differences for both the rider and the horse.

Yes it's a step up from a tom-thumb but its not as if you're going from a super thick rubber snafffle to a double bridle with a double twisted wire brandoon. If you can ride in a tom thumb I think a wonder bit with some supervision isn't crazy.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 09:19 AM
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I have used a Wonder Bit, its pretty popular for gaited horse trainers. It is not my choice because it does have a slight gag action to it. BGRW is right in that with supervision you should be fine, but I do want to reiterate that a stronger bit should not replace training. I think you and your trainer should go back to the point where his training goes off track and work more on brakes, giving to the bit, working off leg pressure, etc...
A snaffle is fine for neck reining IMO because the whole point is to have slack in the reins and they work off the feel of them on the neck, not from getting into the mouth. I am not surprised that he didn't like a Tom Thumb, from personal experience and speaking with trainers I've found them to be unbalanced, and not a good communication tool.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 01:28 PM
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I also disagree with the comment that a snaffle is not good for neck reining. I start all my horses in neck reining with a snaffle. There is only one exercise I do that does not work AS well with a snaffle as it may take the horse longer to learn it than with a leverage bit. All my horses run in a snaffle 80-90 percent of the time and I use the leverage bit to show when needed.

Accredited Josh Lyons trainer, and Certified in John Lyons training techniques.,
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 01:40 PM
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Reining Trainer: What is a good bit to use for reining? I'm currently using the tom thumb and of course with the curb chain.

Sorry to steal this, I just wanted some reining advice from someone lol...back to topic.

- If today was your last day, and tomorrow was too late, could you say goodbye to yesterday?
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 09:32 PM
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Your trainer needs a lesson or two from a real horseman. You teach a horse to neckrein in a snaffle because you can reinforce with a direct rein if needed. You should not move out of a snaffle untill your horse neckreins pretty well and then you shouldn't move into anything that you can't reinforce with a direct rein should the horse need a little more help. Fire your trainer and find one that understands this very basic principle of horse training.

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post #7 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 09:47 PM
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I agree with Kevin... The whole point in using a snaffle/Tom thumb is to train to neck rein, or to atleast start neck reining.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 10:46 PM
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I tried a Wonder Bit on my trail horses and felt it gave them "spongy brakes." To me it seemed milder than a tom thumb because there is so much "play" in it.

So I dunno, but that is my experience with the Wonder Bit.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-12-2010, 11:14 PM
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Wow I also am questioning any trainer who says a snaffle isn't good, especially for neck reining. I am currently working with a very old and wise trainer who has trained champion reiners, cutters, etc her whole life (and she's in her 60's) and she has always used snaffles on all her horses with the exception of one that went with a hackamore. Even her more advanced horses still go with loose ring snaffles!

I believe one should always use the mildest bit possible for the job being done...anything more can also cause problems. I used to work a cutting horse (we'll call him Buster) with a loose ring rubber snaffle and he was perfect in it. Trail, hunt seat, over jumps, barrels he did it all with just the rubber snaffle. His owner thought he was Mr. Cowboy (when he was actually Mr. Fat Real Estate Agent) on the weekends and decided to put one of those awful bicycle chain bits on the horse and huge spurs to show off what a wonderful cowboy he was. Mr. Cowboy went on trail with his friend and his friend came back without his horse..... because Buster went berzerk and kicked the heck out of it and shattered it's femur. This was the sweetest horse in the world until a bicycle chain was put in it's mouth.....end of story.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-13-2010, 07:59 AM
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Different bits will work on different horses, and it also depends on the rider's hands and experience and reason for choosing to use a particular bit. Okay, that's my warm and fuzzy PC answer.

Personally, I don't really care for the WonderBit, but I have only had a few experiences with them. The one that really comes to mind is also a case of a young TWH gelding that belongs to a man in his sixties. Though the owner has been riding most of his life, this is the first gaited horse he's had - all others have been TBs and stock breeds.

He basically just chose the WonderBit because that's what the previous owner was riding the horse in, and for as long as I have known him he has kept his TWH gelding on a tight rein. As a result, the horse has a very attractive head carriage (if you're into the rollkur look), a nonexistant 4-beat gait, and a temperment that is wound tight at all times when under saddle.

Of course, the bit is only part of the problem. The owner insists on the horse being (his version of) "on the bit," and the WonderBit is good at creating that illusion. I've been on the horse a few times in recent months, and used one of my Robart TWH bits with good results, and also let the owner try it. Of course, he didn't like it. . .didn't give a real reason, just that it didn't make the horse "collected" enough.

There's only so much you can do. He just wants the bit to do all the "work" for him. . .and, IMO, the WonderBit is not the best choice for a rider like that.
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