A bit of bit advice please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-01-2012, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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A bit of bit advice please

Up to this point, I had no control over what bit I used with the horse I ride. But now I do. So lets not dwell. I am also always confused on bits, theres just so many that my brain explodes, so I kept her in what she had always been in. She has been rode for the last 5+ years in a tom thumb, with no complaints, but since I recently being enlighten by how severe nutcracker effect is in tom thumbs. I moved her to another bit, don't ask me the name, I don't know, just one I found in my friends tack bucket. Still a curb, has slightly shorter shanks, sweet iron with a little copper do dad in the middle, 2 joints. I feel like I've lost a little control in terms of holding her back. Nothing near death experience, but usually sitting deep in the saddle and giving a little pull on the reins would slow her down, and now we have discussions vs her listening to me.

Blarg, I need help. Can someone hold my hand and help me figure out what bit to use? I have light hands, should I just go back to the tom thumb?

I was always taught that you should never take a horse out on trail with anything less than a curb, but then again, that you should never direct rein with a curb either.

So now I am confused.

I ride trail.
I ride trail in an english saddle.
and we direct rein, though mostly rely on leg cues.
We don't show.
I have no trainer, just the internets to learn, and my brain recently exploded from all the intake of information.
I'm getting a bunch of greif from my comp. english friends who shame the fact that I ride in a curb.
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-01-2012, 11:03 PM
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I ride my horses out on the trails w/snaffles all the time.
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-01-2012, 11:11 PM
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The only thing I would agree with there is to not direct rein in a curb. But even that is done by a lot of folks, especially if the curb has swivel shanks.
Honestly, if your horse has gone well in a TT all this time, just stick with it. If the horse stops and turns well in that bit, and is not tucked up behind it or acting resentful about it, then I'd say to stick with it. thousands of people ride in a Tom Thumb. It's not devil spawn.
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-01-2012, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cacowgirl View Post
I ride my horses out on the trails w/snaffles all the time.
I'm curious.
Enlighten me.
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-01-2012, 11:32 PM
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I exclusively trail ride with my mare and she has quite the collection of bits. She has a mouth condition that causes her to be unable to go comfortably in a broken bit of any kid so that has influenced my bit choices:

On days when we're just riding along, on our normal trails and I'm riding in my Aussie saddle, doing what I like to call a "workout ride", she's in a half-cheek mullen mouth snaffle and I direct rein.

When I'm riding her in her western saddle, on the normal trails, doing what I think of as a "lazy ride", she's in a short-shanked-low ported curb bit and I neck rein.

On "fizzy" days or on days where we're riding into neighborhoods or going to be experiencing activity out of our normal range, I put her in a ported pelham and I use 2 reins. I'll ride on the snaffle rein but the curb rein is there as a "E-brake" if she really gets out of hand.
I've found that she's gotten better and better during times of excitement on just the snaffle rein, when we started out with me having to engage the curb all the time to get her attention back.
If that hadn't worked for her, I wouldn't have kept her in the pelham. For us, the pelham is a training tool, it's not the "fix-it". My goal is that she'll eventually be able to go anywhere in her mullen mouth snaffle. I don't know if we'll get there, she is a sassy mare after all, but that's my goal.


She also has a side pull and a riding halter that I use on the normal trails pretty often when I'm not needing any finesse and when we're just kinda hanging out with no real work needing to happen. I would hesitate to use those outside our normal trails just due to the risk of being around unpredictable things (kids, non-horsey people, etc) but for our normal routine, it works.

Hopefully that was somewhat helpful? :)

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post #6 of 21 Old 04-01-2012, 11:55 PM
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It's all about training your horse, you can ride down the trail with nothing but leg cues if you care to train your horse that way. So curb bit, snaffle, tomb thumb, hackamore, etc. Just ride with what you and your horse are comfortable with.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-02-2012, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fadedoak View Post
I was always taught that you should never take a horse out on trail with anything less than a curb,
My mare goes bitless and we do nothing but trails.

Go with what your horse responds to best. If your horse has always used a TT and you have light hands and a happy horse, why change what works?
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-05-2012, 08:29 PM
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[QUOTE=phantomhorse13;1436207]My mare goes bitless and we do nothing but trails.

I am really glad that you posted this. I only trail ride and have just started using a bitless halter with my mare. She seems to respond to it better than a bit. Her "whoa" has never been better. I just sit deep and pick up the reins slightly.

But in the back of my head, I keep hearing that you must ride in a bit on the trail.

So, it makes me feel better that there are others that ride bitless as well.

To the OP, don't stress over this. Just use what works for your horse.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-06-2012, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fadedoak View Post
I'm curious.
Enlighten me.
Whoever told you that trail riding has to be done in a curb does not know what he or she is talking about.

I'm not really trying to be blunt. It's just that what you were told is complete nonsense. Horses go out hacking in all kinds of bits or no bit at all. Their owner should make the choice based on what the horse's training and conformation will tell them.

There is hardly any "trail" riding that pumps a horse's adrenalin more than fox hunting and the majority of fox hunters out there ride in simple snaffles of one kind or another.

Besides, snaffles can be quite severe depending on their exact design and the hands that are attached to it.
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-06-2012, 10:30 AM
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My horses are ridden in a snaffle all the time, whether it's in the arena or the trail. The only time I put a curb bit in is for the shows! What ever you get them to do in a snaffle, they will do in a curb.
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