Is This All It Takes...! I'm putting him in a new bit.
My BF and I got my horses out and messed with them for a few hours earlier today. Gypsie and Dakota were filthy! I swear I've not seen them dirtier than what they were today in a long time... Mud was caked on them and everything... Yuck! Anyway, after we brushed Gyps and 'Kota, I filed Gypsie's front hooves down (I'm doing her back hooves in the next few days).
Afterwards, I decided to work with Dakota and see how he did with different bits, because I'm tired of using the bit I have for him on him because it's not even a real bit. It's a Pelham bit with the shanks cit off, so it's pretty much a straight, thick snaffle with a port (he loves it, though... I'm not sure why...). Anyway, part of the reason I want to get him into a 'real' bit is so that I can buy bits without worrying about how he's going to ride in them. The other part is because I feel that the Pelham-thing is too thick, because no matter how I try to go easy, and no matter how slowly I take it out of his mouth, he clenches his teeth down on it and jerks his head, causing the bit to bang against his teeth as he releases it and I don't want a headshy horse because of a too-thick, hurting-teeth bit.
I tried him in a hackamore again... Last time I had him in a hackamore, he nearly headbutted me three times in less than a minute and whenever I pulled back even a little bit, he tossed his head like an idiot. He did the same thing this time, so I've decided that hackamores just aren't for him, period. Though there was no problem getting it on him and off him, he was perfect.
Next, I put a regular, O-ring snaffle on him. I've had it on him before, and he tossed his head a little, but this time he did nothing like that... just 'chewed' on the bit a whole lot, though once I jumped up on his back, he quit chewing the bit and paid attention to me. He did perfect except for a little shaking of his head when I stopped him the first time. I stopped him quite a bit, every few steps, and even let him trot a few steps and stopped him with no headshaking. He was very easy to bridle with this bit, too... I just put it at his teeth and after a few moments he accepted it easily. Unbridling was a little harder, but he opened his mouth for me and, while he did grab the bit in his teeth like he's been doing with the other bit, he didn't jerk his head back and after a few moments he dropped it out perfectly with no crazy jerking or pulling or putting his head so high that I couldn't reach.
I think I'm going to start messing with him in the O-ring snaffle... He seemed to like it, and it's a good bit thinner than the Pelham thing... (Lol).
Do you think I should... Or is there another bit that you think I should try with him? I'm thinking about trying a sidepull one day, because my mare works well in a sidepull, and Dakota knows how to ride with just a halter too... but I dunno.
Oh, also, please note that I did NOT ride Dakota (who is a coming 3 year old) for any farther than from the barn to my truck, which is roughly 15 - 17 yards.
My favorite mouth piece - whether snaffle or shanked - is a Billy Allen. The barrel in the center allows each cheek piece to swivel independently of each other and prevents the nutcracker effect of a typical joined mouth. Myler and many others make all sorts of variation of the bit.
Ok... I don't know that much about all the different bits, though. I mainly know just the basics of the most basic snaffles and a few curb bits, the sidepull, and hackamores. I'm not very 'bit-educated'...
the o-ring sounds like he likes it - try it again and see if he keeps responding well to it!
Just remember the thinner the mouthpiece the more severe it is. I know it seems that the thinner would be less but think of a wire cutting through cheese compared to a thick rope doing the same thing. :D
Yeah, I know. That's hy I origionally had him in the thicker 'made' bit... and he really seemed to like it, it was just a pai to get him to take/drop it, he'd bang it against his teeth and all.
I was thinking that I may look into a straight bar snaffle... one with no joint in the middle, but I dunno where to look to find those...
Do you hold his nose when you take off your bridle?
I don't 'hold' his nose, but I keep a hand on hsis nose to keep him frot throwing his head up and banging the bit against his teeth. He seems to be more willing to drop the slightly thnner bit than he wasd to drop th other one.
If he acts like he's going to try and grab the bit as I ease it out of his mouth, I pull it back up and we start over until he does it correctly.
If your looking at bits, Dover has a nice selection of english Dover Saddlery - Quality English Horse Tack & Horse Supplies for the Equestrian
Rods is a good place to start for western. Western & English Bits
There are tons of places online that sell bits. Those are just a couple of my favorites.
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