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-   -   Hold the Phone: Slow Twisted Snaffle? (

rocky pony 03-23-2011 07:29 PM

Hold the Phone: Slow Twisted Snaffle?
I ride primarily Western, as a start. I'm also on the younger side, so please keep that in mind as I try to describe this situation.

With my horses I've always used very mild bits. Depending on the horse, I've used French link and simple snaffles, and on my very solid, soft, finished gelding, a mild single jointed bit with short shanks.

I've been working with a friend's sweet little mare I'm going to buy if things go well undersaddle (after we've been working on the ground for a few months, waiting on better conditions and weather :?) but from everything I've heard it should go really well, so she'll probably be mine.
The owner has only had her for a short time and hasn't done much with her, so we're still figuring a lot out. I'll be the first one really riding her after her trainer worked with her again recently and had her owner ride her once or twice.

She was started by and recently worked with a very reputable reining/cow horse trainer in the area who I have not met but have seen and heard nothing but good things from. The only problem is that she told the owner that this horse should be ridden in a twisted wire snaffle. I don't have a very good feeling about that as I haven't personally heard a lot of good about those bits and I don't like to just use a harsher bit to correct problems instead of working on them. Knowing this horse's personality and level of experience, I would think that she should still be working in a smooth, basic single or double jointed O-ring?

Are these bits ever used to further lightness, as with a shank bit, or are they generally only used to increase harshness? It doesn't seem it would be very productive to use a bit like this above switching to a shank bit as a horse advances...but maybe I'm missing something?

Normally I wouldn't think about this at all, but because it was this trainer who said this I can't help but investigate further. Should I try riding her in this bit (the owner picked one up, a somewhat wide one with a slow twist) or just go with my gut and personal experiences and put her in a milder bit?

Sorry for my usual talking too much,
Happy trails to you :wink:

GeminiJumper 03-23-2011 07:48 PM

I believe people use these types of bits because they are frustrated with their horse and looking for something to quickly stop the horse from continuing a bad behavior.

If it were me, I'd just work her in a normal snaffle. If you are doing like a trial ride before the owner as in you'd like to buy her, then I'd probably put her in the twisted snaffle to satisfy the owner but once she was my own, I would put her in a regular snaffle.

smrobs 03-23-2011 07:48 PM

Me, personally, I would put her back into a smooth bit. It takes lots of experience and really good hands to be able to use a twisted bit in the proper way and at the proper time. It may just be me, but it would send up a red flag if a trainer told me that a horse "should" be ridden in a twisted bit. To me, that implies that a) the trainer couldn't get the horse soft like they should be in a regular bit, or b) the horse has a respect problem when it comes to the bit.

A twisted bit can be used to either lighten a horse up before competition or to correct disrespectful behavior toward the bit under saddle, but it should never be used by someone who doesn't know how to use it properly, and, IMHO, it should never be used long term. Riding a horse in a twisted bit every day can either destroy their mouths or make them more numb to regular, smooth bits.

usandpets 03-23-2011 07:50 PM

It's OK to switch to a twisted bit once in a while if you need to correct her or help improve her. However, I wouldn't make it a regular bit. The same is with going back to a simple snaffle if she uses a curb bit. Sometimes you need to take a step back before you can go forward.

i guess smrobs beat me to the punch, lol.

rocky pony 03-23-2011 07:59 PM

Thank you guys so much, that's just what I was thinking/afraid of. And thank you smrobs, for the explanation of what these bits are properly used for! I was wondering what something like that would actually be good for.

She definitely does have a few problems undersaddle, from what I hear, which really is what I'm actually looking for in a horse (some level of a project) so that's not concerning to me...I definitely would want to address these problems carefully with a smooth mouth bit. All I was wondering is if maybe there would be a purpose for using this bit, rather than...well...let's be honest, laziness. That's a shame, other than this, she really is a good trainer.

Thank you all, I definitely will be switching her to a different bit if I own her and gently ask the owner if she would be okay with me using one before then, too.

smrobs 03-23-2011 08:02 PM

I wouldn't be so quick to think worse of her as a trainer. She may have a good reason of her own for riding the mare in a twisted, I just don't like twisted bits in general except as a last resort. Lots of people disagree with me and get along just fine. You might ask her why, exactly, she suggested the twisted so that you will at least know what to expect.

rocky pony 03-23-2011 08:04 PM

That's true..I'll definitely look more into it with her and with the owner who probably spoke more about it with her. Thank you :-)

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