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Eagle Child 04-14-2012 06:51 PM

A Question About My Bit for Any Folks who Know About Them
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Hi, ya'll. Love this forum.

Would some of the folks knowledgable about bits please take a look at this picture of the bit I have for my horse and tell me what it's called? Finally found a picture of it online, but not much description. My trainer found it for my horse when I first got her and I have kept her in it.

Journey seems to like it/tolerate it well/respond well to it. She's a 17 year old qh/appy who is a companion horse, occasional lessons, occasional trail ride or putter around the ranch. I'm told I'm doing well with her staying out of her mouth. She neck reins beautifully. I am learning cues with my legs, seat, hands....lighter and more subtle as I progress. She was well trained before she came to me and has tolerated my bumbling very well. :lol:

I'm just wondering if it's the best bit. My trainer has had me practicing direct reining/suppling kind of stuff with it lately. Journey tends to be stiffer to the left. She seems be doing better. Her mouth shows no signs of distress when I untack her and she is easy to bridle.

I guess I want to know if there is a better bit or if this one is ok to keep her in. Someone said there should be a bit more curve at the end of the shanks. The shanks are 7 1/2". I do have a curb chain on the direction of my trainer.

Thanks in advance for any info and help or even if you just say, relax and roll with it, newbie, and smell the roses. :lol:

smrobs 04-14-2012 07:05 PM

I don't see much problem with it. Personally, I am not fond of broken mouth curb bits just because I don't like how they feel, but I do know some people who have success with them. IMHO, though, that may not be the best bit if you are working on a lot of suppling and lateral bending. The biggest problem with working on bending in that bit is that it will collapse on both sides of her face and give conflicting signals when you pick up one rein.

If you are really working on bending, a simple snaffle would be the very best option. If you are just doing some touch-up type work, you could keep her in a curb.

Personally though, I like a curb with a bit of a more solid mouth...either a solid, unjointed curb or a myler/billy allen type.

Eagle Child 04-14-2012 07:38 PM

Thanks, smrobs.

I actually did wonder about the suppling with that bit.

What kind of solid curb? And when you say plain snaffle, I'm lost. I see so many snaffles they boggle my mind. Just one with the circular rings? Could you maybe point me to a link that describes the solid curb or "plain" snaffle. I ask my trainer these kinds of questions, and he basically just tells me to be happy with how she does in the bit I have. Hmm.

I will google the mylar/billy allen...

caseymyhorserocks 04-14-2012 08:14 PM

That is a Argentine with what looks like a sweet iron mouthpiece and a copper (or brass?) roller. Which ring are you connecting your reins to? Are you connecting them to the actual shank ring at the end of the bit or the one right on the mouthpiece? If you are connecting the reins to the end of the shank, you are not teaching your horse direct reining..

A real snaffle has direct contact, because the reins are directly connected the the bit. So if you pulled on the right rein, it would pull the horse to the right. On an Argentine (with the lowest ring) when you pull on the right rein, you just apply leverage instead of asking the horse to turn right. If you were to pull on both reins the shanks engage leverage and the bit will lift up from the tongue and poke the bars of the mouth. And shanks make the pounds of pressure per square inch 2-4 times stronger, and when you pull on the reins it pulls the horses head down but the mouthpiece pokes their mouth which makes it quite confusing for the horse.

Curb bits are NOT for horses who need extra whoah, they are for the well trained seasoned horse. They are also not for teaching anything, they are only for the horse that knows what you are doing. The point of the curb is to make your movements have to be very minimal in order for the horse to respond. So for teaching your horse to direct rein, go with a snaffle type, such as- egg-butt snaffle, small port
Loose ring with lozenge
Mylers are very good bits, I would highly recommend them. For you, a full cheek or maybe a D-ring snaffle would be best because they not only pull the horse over when you tighten the rein, but they also gently push against the horses muzzle which helps the horses understand to turn.

caseymyhorserocks 04-14-2012 08:22 PM

Oh yes, there is 3 different bits there, one didn't work.. Whups. Anyways, I would recommend this first one here: maybe-

Eagle Child 04-14-2012 09:12 PM

She definitely knows what she's doing with the bit, but I often don't know what I'm doing, Casey. :lol: So, if I keep it on her for her usual neck reining and stay out of her mouth, I should be ok with the current bit?

And if I want to work on suppling, direct reining, put her in the snaffle?

Should I permanently change her to another (better) bit?

I'm 59. I hope I have enough years left in the saddle to learn what I need to learn. LOL

I've actually been afraid to go bother my trainer with these questions. He's busy with the show folks right now, and competes himself. I've not actually taken a lesson in several months due to ongoing issues with my neck since Aug. '11. Neurosurgeon appt. Apr. 23. Oh, joy. For now we do lots of puttering around the lane and fields, arena walking and jogging (we're Western). I've actually just started the bending exercises because of noticing how stiff she was bending her neck to the left.

I do massage her neck and make her bend and flex for every piece of carrot. I'll hold off on the suppling with the jointed bit and just stick with the carrot exercises. :lol:

caseymyhorserocks 04-14-2012 09:30 PM

Yes, a curb bit is fine for neck reining, but direct reining you should consider a snaffle. A jointed bit is fine, it is the shank and leverage on the bit that matters for direct/neck reining ;-)

Eagle Child 04-14-2012 09:31 PM

Oh, and I forgot to say the reins are connected to the bottom rings. That's how he set it up when he put it on my headstall. Hmm...

Eagle Child 04-14-2012 09:32 PM

Thanks so much, ladies. Your descriptions are really helping me.

smrobs 04-14-2012 09:34 PM

Casey, thank you!! I didn't even think about that. Eagle, when you are wanting to work on suppling and do a lot of direct reining, you can simply move your reins from the rings on the end of the shanks to the ones directly at the side of the mouthpiece. That way, she is still in the bit she's comfortable with, but the mechanics work a lot better for bending and suppling.

When I say plain snaffle, I simply mean one that has the one large ring that both the bridle and the reins hook to.

There are a couple of stickies at the top of the "horse tack and equipment" section that goes into detail about the snaffle bits and also curb bits.

I hope everything works out okay with your neck and they can get you fixed up. Until then, just keep enjoying yourself and nobody is ever too old to learn what they need to learn ;-).

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