My appy and I have been having A LOT of behavioural problems, and now I feel bad because I don't think it's his fault, after really looking at the bridle and looking into bits, etc.
What I noticed:
He's fine on the lunge line in just a halter, granted we've only done walk/trot.
On the lunge in his bridle he kicks, "flails" and tosses his head.
SO BASICALLY, I want to get out to the tack store A.S.A.P and check out some new bridles/bits.
The stupid jerk broke his bridle last summer (he had TERRIBLE ground manners back then and was seriously testing me as a rider... but thinking back could it have been the bit!?) so we've been riding in another bridle that is 'smaller' but adjusted to more or less fit, but I don't know if it's totally right.
Also, when riding he's very reluctant to move, I have soft hands but he still resists and tosses his head when I halt him. When halting or moving forward he'll bring his head back to 'bite' at my foot (he's never actually nipped) or rub his nose against his chest.
So my questions are:
1 ) From the bold/italics up there, do you think his problems could be bridle/bit related?
2 ) How exactly does one fit a bridle?
* How much space/how snug is it supposed to be by their ears, how much slack should be in the actual bit.
[I was told you should have 'three wrinkles' were the bit attaches to the bridle, but I think it really varies from horse to horse, opinions?]
3 ) BITS!
He's using a single-link snaffle, and I recently read that for some horses that can be fairly irritating, and I'm wondering if perhaps he's one of them? What do you guys think of the french-link? Isn't it fairly gentle?
4 ) How much space is supposed to be on either side of the bit when it comes out of their mouth? I was told a finger width, but my fingers are really small... :-|
5 ) How can I make him forgive me? :cry: Haha, I'd feel really bad if it was my fault, and I'm glad I'm finally learning and wish I'd learned sooner... but nobody ever mentioned anything... maybe they just overlooked it?
Are there any excersizes you can recommend to getting him used to the new bit if I do get one?
Hi hun:) I make bridles and halters and send my clients an information sheet on how to measure their horse for their bridle etc. I have put it on here for you. Hope it helps:)
Using a tape measure laid flat against the horses head measure the areas marked A-D.
A Brow band
Measures from the end of were the brow band would sit (Join of D and An on one side, across the forehead to the same point at the other side. There should be room to fit 2 fingers under the brow band.
B Nose Band
Measures around the nose were the nose band should lie – this is about an inch to an inch and a half below the cheekbone. Again allowing for two fingers to go underneath. Also measure were lines A and B intersect. Go around the poll to the same point at the other side.
C Cheek piece
Measure from the corner of the mouth, around the poll and down to the corner on the other side. To measure the cheek pieces alone. Measure from the corner to just
Measure from the corner of the mouth on one side, around the poll a past the eye
Measure from the end of the Brow band, under the throat to the other side. .
Sorry for some reason can not upload the image:( If you email me at email@example.com i will send you the details xx
1) First and most important: were his teeth checked? Floated? What the vet/dentist said? It sounds like a pain to me.
2) 3 wrinkles: it depends on horse. Being honest I always heard about 2 or 1, never about 3. I go with the 2 on my horses for english and little more loose for the western bridle
3) Bit. Well, again it depends on horse. I prefer jointed snaffles (like this one AlBaCon French Link Eggbutt Snaffle Bit - Dover Saddlery.).
4) To measure the correct size for the bit, you have to measure the horse's mouth from lip to lip (just use a string for it), and then add 1/4. Say, if your horses mouth measured as 4 3/4", you need bit size 5"
5) There is no such a thing as "forgiveness". When he'll be out of his pain/inconvenience he'll be just OK. However if it's too bad and you do it for too long he may start associate putting the bridle on with the pain. Not something you really want.
As Val suggested, the very first thing I would check would be his teeth.
Once that is completed, I would lower the bit in his mouth. There are so many "rules of thumb" from seeing a "smile" to the number of wrinkles at the corner of her mouth. I don't put any wrinkles in my horse's mouth. I adjust the bridle so that the bit is just touching the corners. I don't feel there is any reason to stretch their mouths.
As for the bit, there is an old wives tale about a joined snaffle causing a nutcracker on the horse's tongue or hitting the top of his pallet. I think that is over stated. Due to the width of your horse' mouth and the distance you keep your hands apart, it is impossible for the bit to collapse to make a nutcracker - it's a matter of physics. On the other hand, some horses do better on a French Link or Dog Bone snaffle since they lay flatter on their tongues. Each horse is different.
I also think it could be a pain related thing, and definitely check his teeth, but if you don't find anything there, it could be the same thing that happened to my gelding last year - he slipped and fell and disjointed his poll! He was seen by a chiropractor and has been in top shape ever since. :-)
My thoughts exactly! Do get his teeth checked first. I don't lunge my horses and definely wouldn't with a bit in the mouth. I know thats a matter of training opinion so I'll leave that to others to address.
We had his teeth done, it has nothing to do with his teeth.
Now maybe I can get some answers to my questions. (:
Yes I did read yours (:
I apologize for not responding to that, I was rushed on a school computer and was definitely not supposed to be on here, I should have waited, and I hope I didn't come off as too ignorant. :oops:
Pickle: THANK YOU! That clears up a lot of the 'how exactly is it supposed to fit' questions, and I'll definitely email you.
Kitten_val: We had measured his mouth... but he's filled out a bit and I don't know if anything would have changed in there... so I'll definitely do that again. And also, he's fine getting the bridle on... but we went through a lot of training with his ground manners and manners with the bridle so I HOPE it doesn't get back to how he was before...
kmacdougal: I don't think that's it... I hope not, we'll try this before getting the chiropractor out, but he doesn't seem to be in pain or out of joint.
Once again, I'm sorry for being so sharp/quick, I should have looked past the main source of the reply and waited until I got home. ):
I still want a few more opinions, especially on the french-link bit.
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