Changing my horse's bit?

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Changing my horse's bit?

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  • Changing the bit on my horse
  • Changing horse bit for show

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    04-29-2012, 12:37 AM
Exclamation Changing my horse's bit?

My trainer has suggested that I use a slow twist Dee ring or full cheek snaffle on my strong gelding. My gelding tends to get strong while jumping or venturing sometimes. He puts his head down and takes off. He gets really fast and charges fences at times. He runs right through it. Right now I have a smooth Dee ring snaffle on him. He does fine it it sometimes, but other times he is so hard to control. It really depends on the day. I do not know if I should take her advice and get either a full cheek or a Dee ring slow twist or if I should keep using the smooth Dee ring and work through it. Would it be a bad idea to switch his bit to a slow twist? Which one would you choose? I tried one on him today and he seemed happy in it. He didn't act like it hurt him, and he was a little more responsive. I am just at a loss of what to do. What should I do?
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    04-29-2012, 12:50 AM
I'm not a jumper by definition, but here I go...

I feel like I should take this approach to jumping just like I would with any strong barrel horse. Yes, if there is a deliberate lack of respect for you as a rider and he is taking you for a ride here than you need to go back and train it out of him until he respects you and is doing his job calmly.

However, while I school all my barrel horses in a snaffle, I switch to their "go-time" bit for shows which is typically stronger. Why? Because it's going to keep me and them safe and do its job with minimal effort from both of us when we have the show on the line. If something was to go wrong, I don't want to have to fight a strong horse in a light bit. The show ring isn't home; It's a place for work, not a place for training. They don't go there until they are ready.

So, I don't know if that made sense, but if the horse is strong that is fine. Not every horse can go to a show, be asked for 110%, and be ridden in the lightest bit possible (Otherwise we would all ride without bits or reins at all) However, if the horse is blatantly ignoring your cues like I was talking about above, you need to go back and address the underlying problems.
    04-29-2012, 12:57 AM
Originally Posted by PeaceLoveEquestrian    
My trainer has suggested that I use a slow twist Dee ring or full cheek snaffle on my strong gelding.
My trainer suggested the same thing and I did NOT do it.

Bit Information (Snaffle and English-Type Bits)

Read up on it. Red flag for me when a trainer wants you to go to a stronger bit.

That is a shortcut to good training.. as he'll grow numb to this bit too.. then you'll have to go to a harsher one.. then he'll get numb to it, etc. etc.

He doesn't respect or understand what you're doing. Go back and train him.. don't mask it up with a harsher bit.
    04-29-2012, 02:08 PM
I think, as with what Sky said above, that better training needs to be implemented before a tougher bit. With that being said, I have a horse whom is a very brave and excitable jumper. We normally flat in a copper D snaffle, but I jump him in a different bit that allows me more control. As with any piece of tack, the training has to be there before the tack can be used/understood appropriately by the horse. Simply switching bits is a very short term fix.
    04-30-2012, 08:55 AM
Like said, I'd go back and evaluate my basics, see if there are any holes in the training. Many riders switch to a stronger bit the day of competition, it's simply a tool to ensure you get what you've been working for, but I wouldn't switch for every day riding. A slow twist is an aggressive bit, if the training isn't behind, eventually your horse will grow dull to it and you will need to move up to something else.
    05-05-2012, 07:36 PM
I will throw my experiance in here, and see if you can relate, for this sounds like me just a few weeks ago.

I have a 4 yr old OTTB. Cowboy was being quite the stinker almost every day - Using a smooth dee, I had to PULL on his mouth, give, PULL, give, PULL to get him to come down to anything below a canter. Another scenario of the same proportion from the trot. So I got a slow twist.

This is a HARSH bit if used incorrectly. You need to learn that you cannot pull half as hard on this bit as you do in your normal untill you need to. The object is to make him give, and understand respect for the bit, NOT to make him listen and regret anything other.

THIS IS IMPORTANT - After 2 sessions of the slow twist, I took it off. Put him in a full cheek french link, and we have had no problems since. You don't just throw a hard bit in his mouth and say wahoo! You use it for just a bit to make him understand, 'woah, I shouldn't pull on bits,' then you reward him and take. It. Out.

bits, jumping courses

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