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coelh102 05-21-2010 12:00 PM

Help Choose a Bit!
I think my horse needs a new bit...

He is currently using this one:

But he is constantly mouthing at it and licking it and just seems uncomfortable. His teeth have been done and checked, it the bridle is giving him that 'smile' But he opens his mouth and lowers his head and sometimes even gets the shanks in his mouth and then we will just stop and look at me, worried. He was abused in the past and I know bits bother him but the hackamore is bothering him even more and when I pull him up he throws his head and gets upset with stomping and dancing in place. But the bit keeps him calm and relaxed except for the mouthyness. Any Ideas on what bit I should use with him?

I was thinking maybe just a normal Snaffle bit, something mild?

justsambam08 05-21-2010 12:05 PM

Mouthing and licking the bit are generally seen as signs of acceptance of the bit. My gelding used to stretch down and gape his mouth, he was trying to push the bit out of his mouth, he just didn't like it in there. However, he goes really well in a hackamore.

If he tosses his head with the hackamore, you're pulling back too hard and he's objecting to the pressure on his face.

I would say that your hands could be too hard for that kind of shanked bit and thats why he doesn't like it. Definitely go with the mildest bit possible and see what happens.

roro 05-21-2010 12:07 PM

You may want to give double jointed snaffles a go, since the single joint might be pressing on him and bothering him. If the hackamore and that bit are bothering him, he may not enjoy a curb action piece. I like loose ring snaffles the best, but you can also use a D ring.

coelh102 05-21-2010 12:08 PM

Well I try to put pressure and release, apply, release. So it's not steady pull and hold and I try to pull soft then harder and harder till he stops. But even a soft pull causes his head to shoot up or he tucks it in to his chest and tosses it. After about 30mins with the bit he calms down and does accept it, so I don't know wether it is me or not, but I agree, a mild bit, but which one?

coelh102 05-21-2010 12:10 PM

oops I posted after roro! I do like the simplicity of the loose ring snaffle and they seem to be very affordable. I was even wondering about a mullen mouth bit?

justsambam08 05-21-2010 12:15 PM

Mullen mouths can be confusing because the don't have individual action on the sides of the mouth. However, they are very mild.

Also, how many wrinkles are in her lips when she has a bit in her mouth? The standard should be 2. If the bit slips through her mouth or she is able to get the side of it in her mouth, the headstall is either too loose, or the bit is too small.

Loose ring O snaffles are also very good, because the horse can't lean on it and become heavy on the forehand.

JustDressageIt 05-21-2010 12:16 PM

Here's an information article.

The problem with direct reining (using two hands, not neckreining) with a curb bit is that you don't have a clear signal. The bit is being rotated in the mouth, and the pressure is actually originating from below the horse's mouth. Between that and the curb action of the bit (squeezing the chin from the bottom whenever you pull the rein) it is fairly uncomfortable for the horse.
Here is a good article about Tom Thumb bits in particular... Today's Horse - The Trouble with Tom Thumb

coelh102 05-21-2010 12:20 PM

Right, I am direct reining him because he isn't neck rein trained. I like a longer shank, it has more woah but if I am pulling to hard on him then maybe a shorter shank? I was using the mechanical braided hackamore on him. It's main when I pull to woah him up. I was just reading both those articles too.

As far as the wrinkles he has 2 defined wrinkles on both lips. When he is standing still he stops playing with the bit, but when lunging, he gets it stuck in his mouth and its cuz he is playing with it constantly

justsambam08 05-21-2010 12:27 PM

If you're using a shanked bit for the stopping power, you need to work on his stopping in bit with less oomph to it.

I just realized I used female pronouns in my last post....don't ask me why.

JustDressageIt 05-21-2010 12:28 PM

Ahh.. if you are direct reining, I strongly strongly urge you to use a snaffle bit. By direct-reining on a curb, you are putting more force into any rein command than is necessary. When you pull with one pound of force, depending on the length and shape of the shanks, the horse feels at least twice, more likely three or four times the pressure on his mouth and jaw.
Curb bits are to be used with horses that know how to neck-rein... when a horse neck-reins, there is no pressure on his mouth when asking for turns... the turn aid comes from pressure on the neck, not the mouth.
No whoa is completely and totally a training issue (as long as the horse is not in any pain anywhere) not a bit issue.

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