Questions about Bits - Yawning, Type, Collection?
A couple of questions about bits.
Right now Soda is in a single jointed snaffle (I'll post up some pics if needed). I've noticed that he yawns a lot when the bit is in. Usually its when we aren't doing anything in particular just walking and relaxing. I haven't noticed it when we are working or going faster than a walk, but he has been out of work for a couple months now so I may not be remembering it from before. Any ideas about what could be causing this? Also he is a very mouthy horse, like if we're holding still he is always chewing on my reins. :lol: Goofy horse. Oh and he is scheduled for a dental visit this fall.
Now I've been trying him in a Dr. Cook bitless right now and I'm not sure if I'm liking the results. It could be that he just needs more time in it or possibly its my fault (not releasing well?). He seems to brace against the pressure when I'm asking him to turn. He turns very well off of leg/seat, but is bracing his head/neck against the pressure instead of softening and bending through the turn (thats what I want.... right??) LOL, sorry if I sound like an idiot, but this is my first real training experience. Any input on this?
Long story short, I've been considering moving him to a double jointed snaffle. Possibly with a roller or something in the middle for him to play with when not working. I'm concerned that the roller might cause him to become even more mouthy though. Anyways what I'm trying to ask is what is your opinion of a double jointed snaffle? What is the difference in terms of pressure points and etc between the double and single jointed? Any input of the possibility of it increasing his mouthiness?
Lastly a question about accepting the bit and collection. I was reading an article about collection/working long and low and they were talking about teaching the horse to accept the bit and to learn to follow it down as it's released. How do you go about doing this and does it help with collecting the horse? Right now I've been trying to drive him forward into the bit with my seat, but not quite sure where to go from there. We've only been working at a walk due to his injury and for very short periods of time. I haven't hit this hard as I'm a little unsure of what I'm doing and would like to screw up as little as possible. :D Also, he is only allowed straight lines and very gradual turns right now due to a stifle injury a couple of months ago, so if you have exercises in mind to help please keep that in mind (if they need turns thats ok, I'll just keep it in mind for later).
Thanks and sorry for the book!!!
Definitely put him in a double jointed snaffle. Single jointed snaffles will pinch the mouth and it also has a nut cracker action when there is contact which is very uncomfortable. I'd look into the Myler snaffles, but if those are too pricey for you another DJ bit I like is the oval mouth copper loose ring snaffle from JP by Korsteel. I like an oval mouth better than say a french link b/c it contours to the mouth a lot better. I like french links, I just like the oval mouth better. If you get one with a roller that will not increase his mouthiness. It will just give him something to do :)
His yawning probably doesn't have anything to do with the bit. Sounds like he's just relaxed!
Working long and low is a vital part to getting collection. It helps build up the muscle necessary for the horse to carry himself in an uphill posture and it's very healthy biomechanically. If he can make very gradual turns, you can modify sepintines and figure 8 patterns to fit his needs and when you make a change of direction ask him to bend through his ribs and wrap around your inside leg, kind of like "snakey bends" if you will. This will help him get more flexible which is another component to getting collection later on down the road.
Thanks for your input Spirithorse! That's what I was thinking about the roller, but I had a friend who used one and her mare went nuts with the mouthpeice (constantly chewing, sticking her tounge out, etc) and I was a little worried about running into that. I've heard that the DJ give more localized pressure too, so are "better" for communicating. Have you heard that too?
Your friend's horse might not have liked the tongue pressure. Some horses need ultimate tongue relief, which you can find in a Myler Level 3 mouthpiece. That's what my horse prefers, however he likes my Myler Level 1 snaffle and the JP DJ snaffle I mentioned above as well. I think the DJ snaffles are better for communicating because they are more comfortable for the horse. It doesn't collapse so much on the tongue and bars, it kind of disperses the pressure evenly over the area....the JP bit I mentioned is curved so it fits the horse's mouth a lot better, making it more comfortable.
I can make my horse yawn by just putting a finger in his mouth when he is super relaxed haha.
KK Training Snaffle :) I really like this bit, I've just brought one for my horse as I didn't like the nutcracker effect of the single jointed snaffle. It is much more giving to the shape of the horses mouth and has thick bars and a double join making it gentle.
- Some Myler bits can be very thin, just watch out for this. The thicker the bit the more gentle.
Actually, most horses will prefer a thinner bit as it is more comfortable in their mouth. When their mouth is closed there is not much room between the bars, especially when you factor in the tongue which takes up most of the room in a horse's mouth. The thinner mouthpiece is part of why a lot of horses like the Mylers. I know my horse hates thick bits, but each to their own.
The SJ I have him in now is pretty thick, but I've tried him in a thinner one and he went much better (didn't seem to be painful, he just wasn't resisting as much). I rode him last night and he definitely starts resisting the second he feels the bit pressure, he is bracing himself against it. I was watching myself pretty closely too and I don't think I'm being hard with my hands or relying on them for balance. Also, I noticed that when we are working he seems to be avoiding the bit unless I really work at getting him to take it. I will go check out the suggested bits, but in the meantime I will switch over to the thinner eggbutt SJ snaffle and see how that works out. I suppose if its a bit he actually likes it will be easier to get him to accept the bit and follow it down as well as to get him to bend & soften.... kinda ruins the whole effect when the horse is bracing against the bit :-)
It definitely sounds like he doesn't like a single jointed snaffle. Avoiding contact is a typical sign of a horse feeling uncomfortable with the bit.
My warmblood has a Level 1 eggbutt snaffle from Myler and the JP by Korsteel bit I mentioned and he loves both of them. I also have the Parelli Cradle Bridle with the C3 mouthpiece which offers ultimate tongue relief. He loves that as well!
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