what type of bit? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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what type of bit?

I have an 8yr old pony/horse cross gelding that has not been rode in app 4 yrs. I am starting ground work with him so I can prepare to ride. Can you guys suggest what type of bit I need to use? The last time I tried to ride him all I had was a very thin snaffle bit ( it connected in the middle. is that a snaffle?) don't guess I have to say that he threw me. Now I know that was the wrong bit to use. I have no idea what kind of background he has. Was told he was rode by a young girl with no issues but have my doubts...
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 02:09 PM
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You always want to start out with the mildest bit possible and work from there.

As a general rule, the thinner the mouthpiece, the harsher the bit.

Do you have a picture of the bit you tried? Not all bits that are joined in the middle are snaffles.

I've not really heard of someone being thrown because of the bit, unless the horse needs its teeth done (and even then there are usually other signs first) or if the horse has never been backed before. Are you positive the saddle fits and that the horse's teeth aren't bothering him? Do you have a trainer working with you? How much experience do you have?
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 02:23 PM
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if he hasn't been ridden in years, and he threw you the last time you rode him, that , to me, is obvious message that he needs a lot more ground work before you get back on, regardless of the bit.
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 02:46 PM
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 03:14 PM
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I doubt it is the bit. Sounds like he needs more ground work. He has been off for years, best bet is to treat him like he has never been backed and start at step 1 without skipping steps, no matter how well he does or progresses, dont skip steps. Get solid 100% consistency on the ground before you even attempt to ride him again. My mare was 7-9 years old before she was ever given any real training and she has never thrown me. Granted I have fallen off but that was my fault. Anyways my point being is that any horse can be taught and a horse who has proper ground work will not throw you. Good luck!
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 03:41 PM
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Welcome! Please, do check his teeth by a professional equine dentist. If he has teeth problems, then no bit should be used at all until they are solved. In the meantime, continue with the groundwork, trust and respect building. Try backing him a few times as if he was a complete greenie with no backing history at all. Next - how does his saddle fit?

Regarding the bit question, I find this one a good choice for a horse to be started in, at least, it worked with my previously bit-abused gelding:

It's a sweet iron copper lozenge snaffle. The mouthpiece doesn't pinch, it's not too bulky in his mouth (his tongue is large) and he likes the sweet taste of it.
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Last edited by Saranda; 06-19-2013 at 03:46 PM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 04:27 PM
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I like the bit Saranda posted. You could also do your first few rides in a round pen using a halter. This way you can re-teach steering and stopping without pulling on his mouth too much, and he'll be less likely to freak out about some strange thing in his mouth. I also tend to go without a saddle the first few rides, which would avoid saddle fit issues, but I think I may be a little crazy. :) I'd work him on the ground until you're pretty confident he's not going to make a rodeo of it. That's not good for anyone involved. Remember to take things slow.
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-19-2013, 04:47 PM
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Since you asked about what a snaffle is, here is a quick definition.

A snaffle is a bit that does not provide leverage. In a snaffle, if you put 3 pound of pressure on the reins, the horse will feel three pounds of pressure on its mouth. A snaffle can have any mouthpiece (though it is a misconception that any bit with a broken mouthpiece is a snaffle), but it will NEVER have shanks. Be careful, because many websites and magazines label curb bits as snaffles, which is very incorrect.

A curb, on the other hand, uses leverage (poll pressure, as well as chin pressure when a curb strap is used). So, if you put three pounds of pressure on the reins, the pressure the horse feels will be magnified. How much the pressure is magnified depends on the length of the purchase and the shank.

Hope that helps and was understandable.

I like the bit pictured, as well as a loose ring French link. If your horse doesn't like the movement of the loose rings (mine doesn't) you can go for an eggbutt, dee or full cheek. My preference is a full cheek.

Good luck.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-20-2013, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the good advice. Since reading your posts I have discovered
1. I am a novice and need some help
2. Mac is going to get his teeth checked by the vet very soon.
3. I will do lots of groundwork before getting back in the saddle!
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-24-2013, 12:42 PM
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Some good advice here, and glad to see you're looking into getting some help.

In case you haven't seen it already, there's a very informative thread on snaffle bits in the Horse Tack and Equipment section: Bit Information (Snaffle and English-Type Bits)
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