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Sweet Lady 07-27-2007 12:10 PM

choosing the right bit
Hello Everyone,
my horse is 3 years old paint, I ride western, and she still have the training bit(snaffle D-ring), people at the ranch keep telling me to change it for western, since she has the sense of directions, stops...
Should I move up to western or its too early? Isn't the curb bits are harsher??, cause my horse listens to snaffle, so why should I hurt her more if I dont need it?

kitten_Val 07-27-2007 12:40 PM

Why do you need to move to curb? If she is fine in snaffle and listen to you why wouldn't you just keep snaffle? I'v seen people using snaffle in western riding all the time.

Curb consider to be more severe than snaffle, however the severity of bit depends a lot on hands (i'm not talking about special thin mouthpieces etd. which are severe whether curb or snaffle), so it shouldn't be problem to use one. I personally don't like curbs and don't use one, but it's just my own opinion.

AKPaintLover 07-27-2007 01:55 PM

You should never have to change bits from the snaffle if you are comfortable with the one you are using and you are not competing in shows or events where certain bits are required. I am still riding my 5 year old paint in a loose ring snaffle; I have to switch over to a curb next year for showing because this is the tack requirement for his age, but I will continue to ride in a snaffle outside of the show ring.

Curbs are much more capable of being harsh because they have a shank, which gives the rider leverage, hence more strenth with less effort over the horse's mouth. Many also are unbroken, which will actually stiffen the horse.

If a snaffle works for you, you can ride your horse until she is an old lady in it. my opinion, 3 years old is too young to switch over - I am sure many people have done it, but training is usually not entirely solid at this age - so why comlicate things by changing bits. If she is accidentally overcorrected with the more severe bit, she may become shy/resistant to the bit, and have continual problems with it in the future (become hard on the bit, a head tosser, etc.). You can only increase severity of bits so many times before it makes no difference, so why start increasing and running that risk at age 3 if not necessary.

I would do what it sounds like your gut is telling you.

firelight27 07-27-2007 02:43 PM

The only reason you would need to change into a curb is if you show and it is a requirement of your discipline to be outfitted in a curb. Usually this isn't until 6 years old in most cases. Otherwise, you don't ever have to change bits if that is what works for you.

If/when you do switch to a curb, I recommend going from a snaffle to a jointed/shanked bit, rather than directly to a true curb. That way the horse has a step inbetween to start adjusting to the new feel. Personally, I like the Tom Thumb as a transition bit. I still use the tom thumb over a normal curb when I'm not showing, and if its acceptable at whatever show I'm at, I still use it. (It usually is acceptable over a true curb. No one can tell its not a curb unless they look in the horses mouth. Occasionally judges will check bits in the line up, but it you checked up on the rules you'll be fine. Besides, your horses shouldn't be required to use a curb type bit in any classes until 6 years of age anyways.

Hope that helps. Above all, use what you're comfortable with. And if you do switch to a curb, do it slowly and gently as it will be strange to the horse at first. Try out different bits and see if you like them. Who knows, you could discover a new favorite.

Sweet Lady 07-27-2007 03:13 PM

thanks for the help, it made feel more confident about my choice. The only reason why they suggesting me to change it, cause sometimes she wouldnt listen and then shes gonna start bucking and more I force her more she bucks, but she's only 3, she's also very spooky.
I dont have a lots of experience with the bits, so I just want to do what best for her.
I really appreciate ur opinions.

Sara 07-27-2007 03:30 PM

Yeah, that is definitely NOT a good reason to switch to a curb. You go with your gut, girl:)

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