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Moxie 09-26-2008 07:52 AM

Bit Question...
I am curious to learn about how one goes about introducing a new bit to a horse?

The reason I ask is because Fritz was extremely bratty the last time I rode him on my first trail ride. When we got back to the barn, the instructor (not my normal instructor) told me that if she were to ever buy, or even run the barn, the first thing she would do is put a more aggressive bit in Fritz's mouth.

It's kind of confusing because I get conflicting information from the two trainers out at the barn. I can see two different teaching techniques between the two. My usual instructor is very laid back, super nice, and doesn't push hard at all. The other is more about getting results, she's firm, yet supportive. I really like the both of them, but honestly I feel like I learn more from the other, vs. my normal.. Anyway, thats a bit off topic.

So anyway, I was just wondering, if you were to introduce a new bit to a horse, is it just slap (not literally) it in the horses mouth and go, or is there some finesse involved?

iridehorses 09-26-2008 08:08 AM

Hi Moxie, first off, is this your horse or one you ride? If it's one you ride then I would speak to the owner before doing anything.

If it's your horse then a few questions, what is he going in now? How was he trained? What is he doing wrong? Is he out of control or just being difficult? What do you intend to use? Is he a problem all the time or just out on the trails? How often has he been on a trail?

When I introduce a new bit to a horse I do it right away but I'll work him in an enclosed area for a bit so that he can get the feel of it. I'm pretty light with my hands and I never use a harsh bit anyway but moving from a snaffle to a shank bit takes a little time since the effect of the bit is felt in so many different ways by my horse.

Moxie 09-26-2008 08:52 AM

Hello iridehorses,

Fritz is just a lesson horse, and I wouldnít dream of doing anything without the consent of the owner/my instructor. I am mostly just curious about how one would introduce a new bit to a horse. If I were to buy Fritz (yes, heís still up for sale) Iíd first put 30 days on him, and then possibly use a different bit, if need be after the 30 days.

Fritz is a draft/paint cross who is a lesson horse that I ride at the barn Iím at. Heís got a lot of power and Iíve seen how much speed that boy has. He generally has a lot of attitude; Iíve seen him with other riders and have seen the same behaviors that he has given me. I really do love the horse, but the more and more I ride him and the more and more he acts up, I think heís just not the right horse for me. And he wasnít always like this, when we first started riding, he was/is a great horse, from the moment I saw him, I fell in love, and wanted to buy him. Now that I am getting closer to buying (within a year); I am keeping my eyes open and of course Fritz is on the list of prospects.

I know that Fritz isnít all to blame, I have let him get away with a lot since I fell off of him months ago, and I am now getting back to being the boss. On the trail, he was tossing his head, refusing my instructions to stand still (to fix my stirrups), he was skipping (like heíd throw up one of his front legs), and he even threw a little buck. Those were the big issues, aside from that, he HAD to be at the front of the line, when he heard the other horses coming up behind him, he would speed up. Even at a walk, my butt was slapping the saddle, and he started out into a trot without being asked. I just chalk those up to wanting to go, and maybe my not being firm enough?

Right now I *THINK* heís in a curb bit. Itís a one piece twisted draft bit. From what I can make out from the pictures, I assume itís a curb, but I could be wrong. I really donít know much about bits at all to be honest.

Sorry that this was so long. lol

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