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jbossert 09-03-2007 10:18 PM

Bit to use in the field while foxhunting (no fox involved)
Hello all. I am brand new to this Forum. I stumbled upon it while Google searching for information on bits.

My hope is that you all will share your thoughts on a "situation" that I have with my Horse. "Braveheart" is an 11 year-old Belgian/Quarter Horse Gelding. He and I ride approximately 4-5 days a week in indoor and outdoor arenas. We school weekly over max 3" jumps. We trail ride approx. once per week. We Fox Hunt (scent only!) from late August until early December. I have owned Braveheart (BH) for 1 year, so we are just entering our second year of Foxhunting.

In the arenas at the barn, I ride BH in a full cheek 1/2" smooth mouth snaffle. He goes very nice. He respects the bit. We do transitions, serpentines, leg yields, jumps etc with ease and very light hands. The challenge comes in the field. When we trail ride with a couple of friends from the barn, BH goes pretty well, but not as well as in the arenas. He occasionally gets noticeably agitated and a tad bit barn sour. I have worked with him (and knock wood) broke him of his barn sourness. For the past several trail rides, he has done very well. No silliness. Easy, light-handed transitions through the range of walk, trot canter. All of this in the mild snaffle described above.

And then there was yesterday..... Yesterday was the first Fox Hunt of the season for BH and me. I turned back after only 2 lines because I just had no brakes. He was determined to keep up with the horse in front of him. All of the things (i.e. shifting weight, verbal que's etc) that work on trail rides and at the barn did not work at all. I refused to hang on his mouth and be one of those riders that rams into the back of other horses. I rode him later yesterday and this morning on the trail and he went like a little machine. Easy gates, easy transitions, great "whoa's" etc.

Plenty of folks in my Hunt, and even my trainer strongly recommends that I move to a more severe bit, such as a twisted-wire snaffle. Many say that they use "severe" bits only on days that they Hunt. The other 340 days are spent in a mild snaffle.

I have had horses for many years and fully understand that the rider is what makes a bit "severe". A "severe" bit in the hands of a seasoned rider can be an effective tool under the right circumstances. I believe (and my trainer tells me) that I have light hands.

Your thoughts and recommendations are greatly appreciated.


Jim B. from Chicagoland

Flying B 09-03-2007 10:45 PM

Light hands is always a good thing, I had my 4 year old do that a few weeks ago but with no other horses around and it was hot real hot 99 out did every thing I could to get him to stop he did not so we went fast I made him open, after a few mins of this he wanted to stop well he did not want to stop when I said to so we kept going for a few more mins. Now he stops as fast as I stop riding.

KANSAS_TWISTER 09-04-2007 03:28 AM

i hunted with the a hunt club in montreal years ago with a morab mare, almost sounds the same but was a very hard pony to control while on the hunt (drag) i ended up buying a rubber mouth phelem bit with a crub chain, taped the chain (less servre) and never had a problem with her again, kept her at the back of the pack, i also was in some thing called a montley hunt....a group of us hunters who would mock hunt in the summer to keep our hunt horses in shape...our couples?????....the family and barn

bee 09-04-2007 03:37 AM

i ve done a couple of hunts and my old horse used to get a little excited.i used a dutch gag on him,i only used the middle ring though.

Flying B 09-04-2007 10:00 AM

One thing you could do, I think would help is if he is trying to race then make him go faster then the lead horse and have the person on the lead horse slow way down or even stop and then he won't want to go faster then the lead horse because then the lead horse stops every time he gets in front and then he will want to stay behind him.

KANSAS_TWISTER 09-05-2007 11:20 PM

fb...first rule in hunting......NEVER PASS THE MASTER OF THE HUNT.......

Flying B 09-06-2007 08:28 AM

don't do it when your in a real hunt, do it with some friends. We always say if you can't keep up then you get left behind. LOL

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