Bit For Hard-To-Steer Horse
My Appy, Razz, has a bit of a steering problem. He isn't light in the mouth, and tries to go where he wants to go, which can be dangerous, since I lease him from a lesson/trail ride barn.
So, he is ridden in a copper tom thumb and curb chain. I know that these aren't very good on them, even though I do have quiet hands. We have a few bits I can try. I'd like to try one of these before going out and buying one. Also, because of an experience I had with another-- admittedly nutso horse and a hackamore(Trying to fix it because it was too low, horse wheeled around and kicked my friend in the face.. horse was later put down for kicking 3 other people, flipping over while ridden, and trying to kill the vet), I'd like to avoid hacks.
-There is a rubber mouth snaffle with a thick mouthpiece
-Plain snaffles with thick and thin mouthpieces-- eggbutt and loose ring
-A full-cheek snaffle
-A Sharon Camarillo Tendertouch(I'd like to take away shanks if I could)
I tried flexing him with the rubber snaffle, and it worked better than with the tom thumb.
Sorry, I tend to ramble. :P
I think that you are on the right track. Not only are TT capable of being very harsh, some horses find cues hard to understand in them. I would take your boy back to square 1 with some kind of snaffle. I prefer the loose rings myself but anything with a thicker mouthpiece would work. Anything thin has the potential to be painful. I also don't particularly care for the rubber mouth bits because the horses usually don't salivate properly with rubber. Just work in a contained area and work on pressure and release to get him supple in his neck at the stand then work your way up to the walk. As he catches on, just keep working your way up to all gaits. If you start having a problem, then just take him back to the place that he responded well and start again. That would be a good place to start and remember; light hands make a light mouth. :)
here is another thought rather than work on the mouth to solve the problem work on the body does he give his head easily? I hope i can make this so you understand does he turn from the shoulder when you turn him or does just the head turn and body follows one way to get them to "give" is to put halter on and saddle then tie lead rope back to cinch pull his head around till it almost touchs cinch then turn him loose and let him circle till he understands when he gives his head it stops pulling this will help him learn to give his head good luck
i really dislike the TT, but i don't understand, why wont you try a hackamore? im not saying its the answer, but i don't understand your reason not too. just because one horse was nuts and used one- dosen't mean the same out come will come from your horse.
take him back to square one, working up from the ground. there is no 'quick fix', it will take some time, but it is really worth it. i would suggest a snaffle bit- but not with a thin mouth peice! these can be painful!
I agree to start from square one. The loose ring snaffle the smrobs suggests would be my choice too.
If you want to try something different and have an extra $100 (for the beta) sitting around your not using, I love my Dr. cooks bitless bridle. Its not as harsh as a hackamore and you have control of the entire head instead of just the mouth or poll.
I was really hesitant to use one but I just love them so far. My kids figured out the signals faster than anything I've used in the past.
How they work:
I like a thinner snaffle with a french link or roller in the middle. If you have one of those laying around, try that.
If not, I agree with the bitless bridle or a single rope nose side pull. I have a Nurtural brand bitless bridle and REALLY like it! Their Nylon Bridles are even half-way affordable ;-).
I'd like to get him to ride in the bitless bridle! I can afford one, but I think I should get him responding to a milder bit before I try him bitless.
I will try him in a fat snaffle on Wed. when I go to the barn.
Just an update-- the full cheek fit him perfectly, and he loves it. He's very easy to turn and flexes on both sides now-- his right used to be tough. He's even picking up neck reining.. woo! Buying him a bitless bridle ASAP-- gonna try him in a new hackamore first.
The snaffle (full cheek in this case) is giving him the clear signals that you couldn't get with the TT. Since he is working wonderfully in the new bit, why change to a bitless? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
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