Bit for strong-willed pony?
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I'm after bit advice for my pony who - typically - has a mind of his own.
He likes to 'try it on' to see what he can get away with; this is just general carry on and bucking. He doesn't rear. When we're on the cross country course he will sometimes pull his head forward and down - taking my contact with the bit with him and tugging me forward a little out of the saddle. He will also 'lock' his jaw against the bit, generally when I want him to turn a certain way and he doesn't want to go.
Today on the Cross Country training day we went to he was being a right handful: jig-jogging, bucking, trying to take off, being difficult to stop and grabbing the bit. He settled down after a while but was still 'trying it on'.
He is fine on the Show Jumping and Dressage phases but I'd just like a little more control on the Cross Country.
I currently ride in an eggbutt snaffle but have used a tom thumb in the past. I also use an eventers breastplate with a martingale attachment.
Should I change my bit? I don't really want to use a curb at all as I think that would be too strong for him.
Tom Thumb? Loose ring? D ring? Full cheek? etc.
Any input would be good (:
He's 12.3hh, 14 years old and a Welsh Sect. B Pony
He isn't on any 'hot' feeds or grain - just grass in the paddock or meadow hay when he's in the yard.
He isn't sore anywhere and his saddle fits - he just likes to try see how much his rider will let him get away with.
What kind of noseband do you have on his bridle? A figure 8 noseband can help if he is crossing and locking his jaw. Also, a full cheek bit can help with steering. Personally, I don't think a stonger bit will make any difference. It sounds like he just gets really excited about cross country and is anticipating getting going!
Also, if you try a full cheek bit you could also try it with the little leather bit loops that hold the top of the full cheek bit up and attach to the cheek pieces of the bridle. This can add just a little extra leverage.
I might be able to order one if I can convince Dad to hand over the credit card for a few minutes though :lol:
I think I'd also have to order in the full cheek - I can only find them in 5" upwards and Vince takes a 4.5" - would it be worth trying out?
He currently just has a hanoverian noseband without the flash strap on.
Just a note that a Tom Thumb is actually a curb, and a fairly severe bit at that. If you are worried about being too strong for him, Tom Thumb definately falls under that catagory.
I also think that a stronger bit won't help though, and may even worsen the problem. It sounds like more of a training issue to me that if giving you less control. Look up the one-rein stop and practice that with him. It is a sure and fairly safe way to stop him in his tracks if taught correctly. When he gets too excited or tries bucking, force him to engage his mind and take him through a few exercises that make him think. Serpentines, spiral circles, and disengaging his hindquarters are good ways to do this.
I'd also recommend a figure eight noseband though, with either a full cheek or the eggbutt that you're already using. Remember, if your making him think, he has less time to act like an idiot. And that's always a good thing ;)
I mean the Australian Tom Thumb :lol:
Thanks for the exercise ideas (:
I read somewhere that the first slot on the Kimberwick was similar to the action of a snaffle, which would make it a little nicer on his mouth than using the second slot. (correct me if I'm wrong - not much knowledge with this bit)
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