Double twisted wire bit...help!
My new horse was ridden in a double twisted wire short shank bit and it is what he is used to. He is a Tennessee Walker. I know this is considered a harsh bit...and I do not want to use it.
What is a good alternative to try for a gaited horse? Any suggestions?
I am not super familiar with tons of bits...especially ones for gaited horses.
I don't know of a difference in bits for different breeds such as being gaited. It really depends on the horse, as to what size mouthpiece.
How well trained is the horse? How responsive is the horse or how soft is he? Is he hard mouthed or does he give easily to pressure? Being that he's used to a twisted bit, he might be hard mouthed but that can be corrected.
You could try using a simple snaffle to start. He may not be very responsive to it though. You could try a combo bit that is similar to what he has used but not twisted. That might be a better choice. I would not use one that has a thick mouthpiece. Get one that is about 3/8 inch thick or less.
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Are you showing with this horse?
If not, I'd go with either a plain (single or double jointed) (loose ring, D-ring, or eggbutt) snaffle OR a mild low port curb (I've never ridden in a curb, but I've seen others post pictures of very nice looking ones on this forum), depending on if you want to direct rein or neck rein.
Unfortunately, after having been ridden in that, it will likely take a pretty substantial amount of re-training if you wish to ride the horse in a snaffle. Even transitioning back down to a smooth curb will take some time and work. That's one reason why I thoroughly dislike bits like that. Because of the general mentality of people who use them (not you, OP, but the people who trained this horse before you got him), they are not soft with their hands anyway so harsh hands combined with a harsh bit is just a bad deal for the horse all the way around.
Since he is used to curb pressure, I would suggest a bit similar to any of these...
I've not tried either of these 2, but I really like the looks of them
Sta-Brite High Port Swivel Mouth - Stainless...
This one has a bit of a flashier look with the decorated shanks
And I've got either a bit exactly like these or very similar and I've not found a horse that didn't like them and didn't go well in them.
Coronet Training Short Shank w/Copper Wide Port...
Half Breed Sweetwater Mullen Trainning Horse Bit:...
Francois Gauthier Antique Hinged Futurity Bit:...
The first few times you ride him in the new bit, you'll sure want to do it in an enclosed area like an arena or a roundpen. That way, he can't get completely away from you if something does happen.
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