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karamarie12 10-19-2010 09:29 PM

barrel racing bits-turning!
I have this quarter horse mare thats been on barrels for about 6 months now, she is super super responsive at walk/trot on the pattern, when slow loping she is good for the most part too, but especially when asking more speed she will grab onto the bit sometimes on the turns and you can literally yank her rein with two hands and she'll just flail out and hold onto the bit, her head barely even moves, she just locks her jaws or something (keeping in mind Im putting a lot of leg on her when needed) I'm stuck and don't know what to do, I dont want to be hard on her mouth and I never am hard on her but when she does that I dont know if she needs a better bit for turning or? She also grabs onto the bit running home on occasion, she will eventually stop after a few strides, but once again grabs on. Does anyone know any bits that are not too harsh but will get her more responsive on the turns if needed? she is in just a regular snaffle with longer shanks right now.. she is a great horse just sometimes decides to grab onto the bit and I just think she may need a little stronger of a bit for turning, help! thanks!=)

Spastic_Dove 10-19-2010 09:43 PM

First off: Snaffles don't have shanks. Do you have a photo of the bit you are using (Or can find one online of it?)

What is your exercise regime like with her?

Does she flex and move laterally during dry work? Can you extend her gaits off the pattern while keeping her balanced?

Sounds to me like she is still green and I'd take her off the pattern to fix these issues first. Answering the above questions will help though

karamarie12 10-19-2010 09:51 PM

Imported Copper Mouth Medium Shank Snaffle Bit
bits like that...whats that called if its not a snaffle with shanks?

and she does move very well off of leg on dry work, pattern, anything, and also flexes great, its just when she gets herself over-excited she just wants to run run run, we've been doing tons of slow work off pattern, but it doesnt seem to help once there's speed, she's perfectly fine until then..very light on the mouth and responsive to leg. any other help? =/

Spastic_Dove 10-19-2010 10:00 PM

Looks like a tom thumb bit to me. Are you direct reining, or neck reining. That bit will work off of leverage and is not a bit many horses like. I have had a lot of success with french link O ring snaffles. I will ride my more finished barrel horses in leverage bits, but in your case I would get her sound in the snaffle.

I've had a lot of luck taking them out of the arena and into the trails (though you can do it in an arena) and doing lots and lots and LOTS of transitions. Walk to Canter. Canter to Walk. Jog to a big open trot. Etc etc. Lots of serpentines and transitioning along them. If you keep her mind so focused on what you are going to ask next, she doesn't have time to run. Mix it up on her and stay off the pattern.

Is this a sudden thing or has she always been this way?

BarrelracingArabian 10-19-2010 11:12 PM

maybe get her working perfect at the walk/trot the move her up to the slow lope work her there till she is moving and responding perfect the gradually add speed. I agree with spastic dove she seems green and just needs to be taken back and slowed down and put in a snaffle. I am doing the exact same thing with my arabian at the moment.

karamarie12 10-20-2010 08:40 AM

she has always been this way, even before barrels, she's always been a go go go horse..i think Im going to work on her transitions, off the pattern of coarse and more lateral work, hopefully just tons of that works and ya,,direct reining. and you suggest a regular like o-ring snaffle right now? or? thanks!

smrobs 10-20-2010 02:36 PM

Even small holes in training that are virtually invisible at slower gaits will reveal themselves with speed. Nothing is going to get better until you fix those holes. If you are trying to direct rein her in that bit, that could be a big part of your problem, it is not designed to be direct reined and creates horrible confusion when it is. I would take her completely off the pattern, put her back into a non-shanked bit, and work on her responsiveness on the flat at all gaits before even thinking of putting her back on pattern.

ETA: A stronger bit won't fix anything, it will only hide the symptoms for a while and when they show up again (and they will), they will be that much harder to fix.

barrelracer892 10-20-2010 02:45 PM

That's a tom thumb bit. It's a curb bit, but with a jointed mouthpiece. I would switch to just a regular snaffle bit and go back to the basics. Practice circles, transitions, etc. and do some exercises with the barrels. This doesn't necessarily mean the cloverleaf pattern though. You can set up figure 8s or serpentine barrels and practice your turns with those. Walk or trot up to the barrel, sit down, stop, and back her up a couple of steps and let her sit there for a second or two to let her think about what she just did. This will get her to pay attention to your cues and sit on her haunches. Then circle around the barrel a couple of times while using inside leg pressure and pulling your hand to the pocket of your jeans to turn. Once you come out of the barrel and move on to the next, stop applying inside leg pressure and use outside pressure to straighten her up. Once you master this, you can move on to the lope and eventually get back to running barrels.

BarrelRacer86 10-20-2010 03:25 PM

Agree with everyone else. Tom Thumbs are not barrel bits. And she probably shouldn't be going with speed yet if she's acting like that. You just need to go back to basics, which it sounds like she doesn't know ie. neck reining, and side passing. Before even going back to the pattern.

Spastic_Dove 10-20-2010 07:38 PM

Yep, switch to the o-ring now. When you do move to a shanked bit, I would not recommend a tom thumb.

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