*Bit for a Newbie Gaming Horse?*
In our area we mainly show Barrels, Poles (bending & weaving), Jumping Figure 8 & Keyhole.
I am training and using a new horse this year. I was using a friend's horse last year and a lot of people said we just didn't look right together. I have to say I would agree. I love tall spunky horses, which she was the complete opposite of. This year I am using the same person's other horse.
Sassy is a 16hh Thoroughbred who I have been working with for around 3 years. This is my favorite horse to ride, the horse I learned on, etc..
I ride her in a low port copper curb currently. But I would like to use a different bit because I am also showing in western pleasure classes (4h reasons). I want there to be a difference for her. Where she knows when I put that bit in she knows what she is doing.
I have tried working her in a snaffle but it just doesn't go well. Her turns are sloppy and slow, her stop isn't right. She works perfect in her curb but I want something where she knows the difference. In her curb she neck reins like a dream, turns nice, and has the right stop. 75% or more of the time I ride with my legs, not my hands which she responds well to.
My favorite events are barrels and keyhole and I know she is the type of horse who can excel in them. Poles and Jumping figure 8 I am going to have my friends help me with. They are my least favorite.
Sassy has quite a bit of spunk to her when she gets excited. Today we were out riding and my friend was quite a ways ahead and I decided to catch up to her. She had that leaping run start and got pretty hot in those few starting seconds but then eased into a nice lope. Calms down pretty quick.
Had teeth, chiro, hooves done recently. She had been pretty out of wack and I tried the snaffle again and still the same as before.
Looking kind of for a bit that isn't to terribly expensive, I have pretty light hands, and something that of course will help her.
My friend runs her horse in a sidepull. Opinions on maybe trying that?
We have a barrel racing clinic this weekend so I could get some videos of how she runs.
Sorry for the long drag post..
Maybe look into a jr cowhorse? There are several varieties including 3 piece, single jointed, twisted, roller,life saver, short shank, med shank, long shank etc. I would maybe try a double jointed short shank on her. Butterfly bits are awesome too, the gelding I run for my trainer runs amazingly in one. Tender touch bits are good, my trainer has her back up in one. No matter what it seems a short shank would be a good way to go, I prefer double jointed but it depends also on your horses preference.
I do gymkhanas for fun, but... IMHO, if you work well with this horse and have time to work in the arena so that she respects your aids, there's no reason not to go with a single or double joint snaffle. We use a french link snaffle for just about everything-- you can neck rein regardless of bit! I personally don't like leverage bits for gymkhana-type events because in addition to the short closed reins, I see too many people yanking their horse around a barrel or hauling back to stop after a run (not to imply that you do this!! you've already said that you have light hands :-)). But then again, I am not experienced in the serious barrel world and I don't know if there are any regulations for bits! This is just my opinion from observation at amateur gymkhana weekends.
ETA this is the bit I have (and love!): http://www.statelinetack.com/item/ko...Fe2iPAodWFYAmQ
Can't wait to see video. :D
http://www.horseforum.com/data:image...gIiICIiD//2Q== this is what i use and love it. Im able to use a lighter hand, he responds well with it really quick response with settle movement, helped him quit shaking hid head. It is a pinchless snaffle bit.. LOVE IT!!
I ran Dude in a grazing bit (all I was allowed to use by his owner/BO when when I was training him.
I ran Lucky in a single jointed snaffle.
I worked with Sweet Thing in a snaffle she didn't like, then we moved to a 3-piece reiner with a roller and she loved it, then I wanted to see how she did in the jr cow (single shank, sadly), and she liked that even more than the reiner.
Alahna will be run in a double jointed snaffle for now, and then we'll move up to either the jr cow or the reiner.
Any barrel horse of mine will be able to make a decent, clean run in a snaffle, period. If I need leverage to run a horse, it won't be run.
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Check your 4H rules, I know here in the local 4H a shank bit is required for any western events, hack is allowed in gaming, but not in pleasure. I once got disqualified because my horse went in a "english" snaffle.
I'd look into the Jr Cow Horse bit as suggested, or an Argentine Snaffle bit ( it's not really a snaffle) both I think work great as a step up bit.
If your doing it right you shouldn't be yanking on the horses face anyway. A little leverage gives refiness.
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