Need help with Bits!
Thanks in advance for everyone's advice. I am a Hunter rider and just purchased a 4 1/2 year old Dutch Warmblood/TB a week ago. He hasn't had much training (old owner rode him maybe every 5 weeks). She rode him in a copper eggbutt bit. The first time I rode him when I was trying him out, he was very soft and carried his head nicely, playing with the bit of course because of the copper. When he came to the barn I ride at, my trainer put him in a D-ring French link and he hated it. Threw his head up and she immediately took it off. Then she put him in a D-ring French link with a very slow twist (It looks like this one only with a french link in the middle): Slow Twist Barrel Dee Ring Bit. The link of course isn't twisted or anything. He has a very soft mouth. And I have soft hands as a rider.
He seemed to be okay with this one. He doesn't throw his head up in protest, but...he's also not carrying his head like he did when I test rode him at the previous owner's farm. He's only been at our stable for a week and he looks around a lot when we're riding in the arena, just curious with his surroundings. So I can't tell if he doesn't like his bit or if he's just not used to where he is and he's young. He constantly grinds the bit when I'm riding him. Again, I can't tell if he hates it or if he's just young. He also does like to chew on stuff (broke the cross-ties yesterday, so he's young and mouthy a little I guess). He seems to hate the regular D-ring with a french link and no twist because it's too fat against his the side of his mouth. Yesterday I rode him in the D-ring french link twist and he kept itching his mouth on his leg. Now, is that a bit problem or is he just not used to having a bit in his mouth? My trainer thinks he's just young..but the slow twist concerns me like its too harsh or something. And I didn't see any copper bits at the barn so I don't think they ride in them.(are copper bits legal in hunter shows?) So..I'm at a total loss in what bits to try on him. I like the french link bits, but...which one.....
sorry for the long note. I've had nightmares about this darn bit! ugh! I just want him to be happy.
I would definitely get rid of the slow twist bit. They can be very harsh. I don't know if they allow copper in hunter shows but I don't see why they wouldn't. I would try to find a bit like the one that they had on him when you test rode him. Switching bits a lot on a young horse can cause problems (as you are finding out). The best thing to do is find one that works and stick with it. I found this and it has a high copper content but retains the appearance of steel.
AlBaCon French Link Eggbutt Horse Bit - Dover Saddlery
Put him BACK in the egg butt with copper mouth. If he likes, then he likes it! You could try a regular single joint D ring with a copper mouth if your trainer wants you to go in a d-ring for show purposes.
Not all horses like french link or bean mouth bits. Some actually prefer single joints!
Check your bridle fit too. Wrinkles are NOT a good indicator of proper fit. You need to open the mouth or lips a little and see where the bit is sitting. It should be right in the middle of the toothless space in his mouth. Tighten or loosen one hole at a time until you get just the right fit (making sure the bridle is even on his head).
I would also have his teeth checked. He could have sharp points or wolf teeth coming in.
I would put him back in the eggbutt copper one, he seemed to like that best! Slow twists have sharp points on them and can hurt the horse and they will get fed up with it eventually and refuse to do anything(personal exeriance!) and I googled the whole "bit legalbillity(is that even a word?:?) and they are legal!
I definitely do not agree with the slow twist bit. I'd say that you should try to find something as close to the bit he had as possible. He's already going through enough changes without adding new bits to his worries. ^_^
As a personal thing, I usually spend the first month or so with a new horse doing some really chill things. "Bonding" if you will. In hand work is great, maybe some lunging or a few low key hacks. Definitely spend plenty of time grooming and doting on him (unless he gets really impatient in the crossties ;D). I like to make sure they're good and acclimated to their new surroundings and routine before I ask too much of them.
I agree with what luvs2ride said about his teeth...when I got Sandie (she's only 7) I had to have her teeth floated (they were VERY sharp!) and wolf teeth removed. Wolf teeth interfere with any bit, and her other teeth being sharp caused her pain in the sides of her mouth, which made her hate the bit even more, she chomped on it constantly!
Also, if you think the bit may be bugging him, you might try an Eggbutt snaffle bit...they're pretty soft, one of the least severe, so you could see if he likes that one? That's what my trainer uses on most of his horses, and I use one for Sandie too. The thicker the bar on it, the less severe it is, so Sandie's is pretty think -- only because she is not very far in her training either and she's sensitive with what you put in her mouth.
Good luck! :-)
Just wanted to thank all of you for your help. A friend of mine had a KK Ultra D-bit she wasn't using and let me have it! He loves it and everything is working out so far so good. His teeth were actually just floated about 3 months ago and don't look too sharp. He just didn't like that twisted bit!
Thanks again everyone!
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