suitable bit for a horse with a sore poll
OKay, so i had an equine masseuse out for my pony today as shes had saddle fitting problems and i wanted someone to go over her back and sort it out if it had any problems. great news is her back is doing great :D no muscle wastage or sore spots but the masseuse mentioned hoe much tension was in and around her upper neck and poll. She worked with her fro 3 hours adn by the end April was really relaxed and sleepy, and much of then tension had been freed. However, it made me rethink the bit I am using ... i use a 3 ring gag, which is normally on the 2nd ring (under the snaffle) as my pony can be hard to control in a snaffle. However, i am aware that a gag exerts a fair bit of poll pressure and with the tension around her poll, i want to avoid this and if possible, eliminate it completely, as i think its encouraging tension further down her neck.
So does ahyone have any advice about what bit would be suitable?
She does have a pretty soft mouth so i dont want anything harsh, but i need control! lol! a friend suggested a kimblewick to be used on the snaffle setting but having the shank in case i need control, but dont know if this is harsh or not?
any ideas greatly appreciated :)
Any type of gag will have poll pressure. Have you been using two reins, or one with your 3-ring elevator?
Here is my thread about bit information:
In my (very humble) opinion, 90% of horses "bit" problems are really just training problems. A few horses truly go better in a curb or gag-type bit, but most [English] horses should be able to be ridden in a simple snaffle.
I have only ever ridden her with one rein, not two, although researching bits on the internet tonight i have realised that probably would have been a better option, as my horse gets no 'release' with just one rein at the moment and i dont want her to become insensitive in the mouth. My horse is a very fizzt, forward going mare, and although i know training issues are partly to blame, i am having lessons with my horse which are helping, but i still do need extra control for jumping and xc as i dont have much brakes. if i do try a snaffle, which one would you suggest? i have had many people saying how jointed snaffles are not the best option!? but thanks for your help
If your mare really had a soft mouth you wouldn't be posting this question. To me a soft mouthed horse is a horse that you could ride if your reins were tied on with kite string. I agree with the PP that this is a training problem and should be treated as such.
My problem with people switching to a harsher bit, and not getting to the core of the problem is that they will find that the horse will continue getting harder and harder and they will have to keep switching to harsher and harsher bits. Then the horse starts reacting adversely, because you're controlling with pain rather than fixing the initial problem.
If you read the thread I linked to, I discuss all the benefits and drawbacks to various bit types and what might work for your horse.
If you really need a curb bit for the extra uumph, I suggest using a pelham; that way you can ride on the snaffle rein 99% of the time, and engage the curb rein when you need that little extra "listen to me." However, be aware that I do not really like long shanked pelhams, nor do I like single jointed pelhams.
Anyways, the thread I posted will probably be able to help you decide.
Well the thread you posted (which i have read before) basically slated all bits apart from snaffles, but werent different bits made to suit different horses and their needs. Surely not all horses go best in a snaffle because of their build, mentaility, training and how fleshy their mouth is.
And as i already said, i am currently getting lessons from a very good and accredited instructor who is helping me with my riding in general, but whilst i can have my mare going nicely in a snaffle during flatwork, she is a VERY fizzy and forward going horse naturally, she is NOT going to change, everyone who has seen her and taught me has said that, but im just trying to find a bit which is not going to put pressure on her poll (i am not trying to resort to stronger bits as i have seen my error in her being poll sore) but i do need to be able to control her speed wise.
Its not fair to jump to conclusions that my horse is not well trained as i jump and hack her in a gag, I am asking for constructive advice rather than people slating the way i ride and care for my horse thank you!
So if you do have any helpful advice, about any bits you would suggest i would love to hear them but please no more criticism!
All horses SHOULD go well in a snaffle. You would not sign up to run a marathon if you weren't a very fast runner, would you? Curb bits, leverage bits, etc are made to come out as LESS work on the rider and very intricate communication with the horse. i.e. you don't have to yank back on the reins for a good whoa, or even pull back....squeezing the reins in a single hand would probably be effective if a horse is bit-trained correctly.
Fizzy, "forward" horses can be (or should be able to be) controlled just the same in snaffles as lazy horses. I have an OTTB who would be considered forward and when I was riding him, even though he played with the bit constantly, he still listened to it without any kind of yanking or pulling on my part.
We are not criticizing you, but telling you that you should not be looking at different bits that add control, but more training to add control. I doubt you'll find varying opinions on this board.
There are a lot of reasons why a horse would be sore in the pole. Even my reiners which are trained to work of very little bit get sore in the pole. I use a bioscan light cap and it relives that problem. Also it can stem from other issues the horse is having. A horse who is hock sore will compensate and which will make them sore in the shoulder and then the pole. Again getting them in shape working properly and with proper chiro type work will all help this problem. The bit in and of itself is not the problem.
I have no idea if this will help you or not! But i had a similar situation my now competition horse was an absolute LUNATIC once anythng that required jumping, open spaces etc! I used to ride her in a kimblewick as i literally could not hold her. Then one day my trainer suggested instead of going harsher lets go softer, so off came the kimblewick and i put her into a rubber french link snaffle dropped in down a hole so it was sitting essentially on fresh mouth. I rode her just on the flat and the response was unbelievable suddenly there was no fight she came soft and supple instantly.
So maybe if you were to try a light bit in supervised surroundings and see how it goes it might and it might not work but sirely its worth a shot??
Also what are her living conditions is amazing what full time turn out does to a horse instead of taking the energy out on you they can run it off in a field!
Hope this helps anyway.
O forgot to say i THINK there is bits out there that actually aid suppleness and softness they have rollers in them to encourage mouth movement so the horse is not braced against the bit. I dont know enough about them though you would have to look them up.
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