Need help with finding a bit for our Haffie
Hi - we recently purchased a Haflinger and while they said that they rode him in a snaffle, my daughter is really struggling with this bit for him. He basically moves right through the bit and has no manners when she is riding him. Wanted to see if anyone had a recommendation on what type of bit they are using on a Haflinger or Fjord who I understand can also have the same temperments. He is a great boy and very affectionate; however, we are working to show him he can't do as he pleases 8-)
Clinton Anderson's Ground Manners Short Course
If you keep this horse, you will be "horse poor", like the rest of us. =D
We once bought a 14hh pony for my daughter (not a Haffie, though) who ran through the bit to the extent she would break through the rail surrounding the schooling area.
We used a Kimblewick on her - not too harsh in a child's hands, even though it's a strong bit.
After a fortnight she went back into her snaffle and we had no further problems.
It's a training problem, not a bit problem.
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I have found that sometimes bitting up to a light shank bit can often be good for riders who are not so strong and riding lightly, and working back down to a loose rein on it, can actually be beneficial.
Had a little 80lb girl taking lessons on a hot horse, she couldn't control it in a snaffle, and while maybe I would of kept him in a snaffle and fought it out, she was not physically strong enough to. So, we bumped her up to one of these lovely billy allen bits:
After we did this, it gave this poor kid enough leverage that IF she got into trouble she could use it...If she didn't, she was to stay on a loose rein and pick up as light as possible. Remember you don't ride a shank bit with contact, you ride with a loose rein, and THAT is where people get confused.
Now, ideally, fix it in a snaffle. Get him softening to the bridle, lowering his head when you ask, giving both directions willingly. If the horse is soft, he will be less likely to brace and run through you.
After that I would spend a lot of time on a loose contact, saying "whoa", and if he doesn't stop...Back him off your hands. Say whoa, give him a split second to respond, then take a hold of him and back him up ten feet or so. Pause. Walk off again. Eventually he'll stop and try backing on his own. At this stage, move up to the trot. Then the canter. He'll get it, just be sure to be consistent. EVERY TIME you stop, BACK him up! Waste no time either.
Just remember that the shank bit is going to make a difference between this contact:
and this soft rein:
This too. Sometimes all you need to do is throw something on for a little while and they figure it out.
I posted a western type bit, not that it would really matter for training purposes, but if you are riding english (Which most haffies are so I'm gonna guess that) you probably have more access to a kimberwicke.
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Thank you for all of the replies, however, I am a bit of a loss for some of judging notes. Let's be real clear - I would never expose my daughter to a horse that would cause her harm and he in no way has ever run away with her or has had threatened injury as he would have been gone immediately. I am looking for a recommendation for a bit that would help put some pressure in his mouth as I am very clear that this would require additional training to assist with his manners and a bit is only one of a few tools. This should have been replied to instead of giving me your opinion in not knowing the full situation and judging my purchase of this horse.
Thank you for the other replies - I have heard that Kimberwicks are good bits and will investigate those.
As for the others - those who walk around in glass houses shouldn't walk around naked. These forums should be used to assist instead of
Just so you know, the people who ride internationally buy a safe lead-line pony for their own children to start on. They might take chances on the x-country course but they don't want their own children to break their necks at home. If you don't care about your child, and don't want to pay for training, we cannot help you. There are many good trainers out there who could fix this pony. It's NO FUN to be on a horse and lose control. Haflingers were not bred to be a child's horse. They are a light draft breed, meant for harness work. Recently Dennis Reis retrained one that was bucking and bolting with an adult woman. She had just recovered from broken ribs and such from being tossed by this horse.This "small" horse is much more powerful than you and me.
An older lesson horse who has a history of taking care of people is the best choice. Often such a horse is having trouble with the work load so they are sold and make excellent beginner's horses.
Many barns train child-safe horses, too.
It's possible that your horse isn't that bad, but you've already attached the words, "great boy", which means you are rooting for him. Personally, I wouldn't have bought him for my adult daughters to ride--too short, too green-- but I've owned/trained horses for almost 28 years and could come up with a game plan to retrain him.
Just TOO many green people sold TOO many green and dangerous horses. Tired of reading of the accidents you have. =/
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