What bit would you suggest? Currently use a Wonder Bit
Okay bit guru's. Need some advice here.
I bought Red last year in May. He is turning 7 years old this year. When I bought him, he was ridden in a twisted wire O-ring snaffle and a tie down. I ditched the tie down and the twisted wire, and went to a smooth snaffle.
While he does listen "okay" in the smooth snaffle, he listens better to the Wonder Bit.
The Wonder Bit also worked great to teach him how to break at the poll. His head tends to shoot up to the sky when something catches his attention (he is very ADHD, so that happens alot) and that's why they were using a tie down on him. Obviously, I want to fix the head set issue, and not just slap a tie down on him.
I have been using a German martingale on occasion, which really, really helps me teach him to lower that head and travel in a more relaxed and rounded frame, along with proper leg and body cues from me.
However, I don't want to ride him in the Wonder Bit all the time, because he does have the tendency to start to ignore the gag action. I'd rather save the Wonder Bit to use with the German martingale as "tune ups" when he needs them, and ride him in something else.
So, here's where I am looking for suggestions: On something that would be similar to the action of the Wonder Bit .... but without the gag, that I can use for our regular every day riding.
I have a twisted wire Jr cowhorse that I have tried, but that really is too much bit for him. He doesn't need that much bite. I think this bit may eventually be a good competition bit for barrel racing, but we aren't doing more than slow loping the pattern right now so he doesn't need a competition bit yet.
I've tried a sweet six bit (smooth mouth) that had a combo rope nose on it. He hated that! Threw his nose a ton, which isn't like him.
The majority of riding that I do is trail riding, with a focus on conditioning. We'll typically go at least 4 miles a ride, usually 5 or 6. He's got loads of energy and needs the conditioning to stay fit.
I guess I am big fan of using different bits for the different events I will do with him:
--daily trail riding / conditioning -- bit?
--training bit for barrels/poles -- not sure yet, but a Little S hack has been working well for poles
--competition bit for barrels/poles -- not there yet, but potentially a Jr. Cowhorse if he gets to the point where he needs it
--tuning up bit for breaking at the poll -- wonder bit + german martingale
--competition bit for reining and western pleasure (I just do these for fun at low key horse shows) -- bit? Or this could be the same as my regular riding bit.
I do have a non-gag bit that I bought to try a while back, but I can't remember what it looks like, haha. I will take a picture of it when I am at the barn tonight.
I'm confused as to what you mean by "something that would be similar to the action of the Wonder Bit .... but without the gag" But I'm going to assume you like the added poll pressure?
So, given that, I'm gonna say that I like bits such as these for regular riding (if the horse doesnt do "everyday" riding in a snaffle.)
Now, I wonder what you'd think of a correction bit with a low port...
It is a heavier bit, and it very well could be too much bit for him...
Another thing I would suggest is a smooth snaffle Jr. Cowhorse. A chain mouth Jr. Cowhorse is also very light.
I guess just something that would be similar to the Wonder Bit, since he does seem to work nicely in it. But like I said, he tends to get "used" to the gag action and isn't as responsive in it over time. So that's why I'm looking for something without gag action to use as my "every day" riding bit.
Also, since I want to do some reining with him at local small shows, you can't have any gag action on a bit for it to be legal to show in.
And dang, I forgot to take a picture of the bit I have in my tack room. Maybe tomorrow I'll remember! I do believe it looks like the second bit you posted, except I believe it had only one break in the mouthpiece, and not a dog bone roller. I had purchased it with the idea of maybe using it for showing events, since there was no gag action to make it show legal.
I really don't think he needs a very long shank at all.
And I had thought about getting a smooth mouth Jr cowhorse, because he definately doesn't need the twisted wire for regular riding. As I mentioned, I think that would be a good bit for barrel racing down the road, because it is nice to have a little extra WHOA just in case you need it when you get into a competition environment like a rodeo.
I'm a big fan of bits with more than one break, but it could just be me.
This has to be one of my most fave bits I have.
I LIKE THIS BIT would love to own one like it where did you get it.
I have looked at this bit at stores the ball hinges make me a little nervous do you like? I guess it makes me nervous cause its something new. I hate buying someones new idea and finding out its a bad one.
As for the second bit, YOU CANNOT CHEAP OUT ON IT. We tried to buy another one like it, cheaper though, and one of the ball hinges broke within the first few uses.
You would also think that it might pinch, but it doesn't that I've noticed.
"I do believe it looks like the second bit you posted, except I believe it had only one break in the mouthpiece, and not a dog bone roller."
Sounds like a Tom Thumb...
I would try the sweet six again without the noseband.
I'm guessing you only ride western but you could always try a Oxford Kimberwick, which you could make into a snaffle or a mild curb bit or you could have two reins attatched so you could have a snaffle and a curb.
There are also some Myler snaffles that I'd really like to try.
But I think you're after a little curb action, so again, something like the first 2 bits and my ball-jointed bit would probably work best.
Gah! Typed out a response then it didn't post and I couldn't get it back....
Any how, Red reminds me of a horse I rode a couple of years ago, same build and personilty, reactive, ADD and super athletic. She was a cowhorse reject started by a very well known barn then started poorly and too fast on barrels. This filly would see something, suck back, hit hard and then grab top gear. If you were not paying attention then you were laying in the dirt. I found that after dealing with the ADD or reactiveness the bit selection became much easier. I could hang something on her accoerding to her mouth conformation and might like rather than having a semi-controlled run off...LOL!
Eventually with work I got a handle on the reactivness by putting her to work with lots of counterbending shoulder exercises and moving hindquarters, side passing, exercises that require concentration. She also was the type of horse you couldn't lope down, she would keel over dead before slowing up, she would just get hotter and completely lose her mind. These are the ones that need to be really outhinked rather than wore out physically. But once I got in her head the bit wasn't an issue. Again, your horse just reminds me of this filly, so if I am off base tell me so and disregard LOL!
Cowchick, that mare kind of sounds like Squiggy.
Wound up tighter than a fiddlestring.
The only difference: I ride Squiggy in a loose ring snaffle most of the time without a problem. She doesn't EVER ignore bit action, she just gets frustrated instead and acts out.
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