Rein and bit setup

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Rein and bit setup

This is a discussion on Rein and bit setup within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    06-22-2011, 06:19 PM
Rein and bit setup

Greetings and Salutations,

Iím thinking of (or rather the better half is pushing for) changing my present bridle/reins arrangement.

Currently Iím using a standard bridle with broken snaffle bit with egg butt rings, slobber straps, and mecate reins. I love my mecate setup and have found it to work very well for me.

The horse neck reins well and I rarely, if ever, have to reef in on the reins to stop. That being said my horse has always had a habit of throwing his head and chewing on the bit. My feelings on the matter have been, and still are, rather nonchalant.

The wifeís ideas, after attending a Julie Goodnight clinic, are less so. Sheís convinced that the snaffle is creating a pinching (nut cracker) action and that the horse isnít comfortable thus needing a new bit.

Sheís decided that a leverage (shank) bit with independent shanks and a low port will be more comfortable for him and thus end the head tossing.
She procured said shank bit and I attached it to the bridle (what else was I supposed to do?) I canít say that Iíve noticed a significant change in behavior but havenít put that many miles on the new setup.

So now on to my question.

How best to attach a mecate setup to a shank bit? The rein holes are too small for the slobber straps and Iím not sure they would even be a good idea at this point. I tried running the mecate through the same holes but again a very tight fit. I ended up just putting split reins on.

Any suggestions on how I can use my mecate with this kind of setup?
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    06-22-2011, 08:13 PM
Unfortunately, I think a mecate on anything besides a bosal or snaffle is a fashion faux paux. I have heard that when going to a bit like you are speaking of, the correct reins to use would be the rein chains attached to the bit, then the rawhide braided romal reins attached to that. Obviously you can do what you want or what makes you happy, but in traditional circles, this is the way they do it.

But if you want to attach a mecate to the bit you currently use, I wonder if you can attach a larger ring to the point where the shank attaches to the reins, then attach the slobber straps to that. Not too sure what kind of ring you could split but a larger brass one, cut with a hacksaw then braised back together might work.
    06-22-2011, 10:20 PM
Thanks Nokota - I had thought about that kind of rig but was worried that I'd have too much stuff hanging way too low for safety's sake. Fashion faux paux! Heck, I'm already blowing fashion out of the water by wearing a helmet. It'd be hard to look much worse

If I can't get it to work, and not looking too promising at this point, I'll go back to my tried and true snaffle setup. It's taken good care of me over the past few years and by that reckoning a few thousand miles.
    06-22-2011, 10:24 PM
Why not try a double jointed snaffle? Some horses do absolutely despise single-jointed bits - I would definitely urge you to consider a double jointed snaffle - or if your wife wants independent side action, a Myler comfort snaffle; it can cone with eggbutt cheeks. I have a thread at the top of the Tack & Equipment section on snaffles, and smrobs has one on western and curb bits you might find helpful.
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    06-22-2011, 10:53 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by JustDressageIt    
Why not try a double jointed snaffle? Some horses do absolutely despise single-jointed bits - I would definitely urge you to consider a double jointed snaffle - or if your wife wants independent side action, a Myler comfort snaffle;
this was going to be my suggestion as well. There is a lot of difference in action going from a snaffle to a shanked bit, and if your horse goes down the trail nicely in a snaffle, I don't see the reason for moving to a leverage bit.

Get yourself a nice french link snaffle (to which you can attach your current reins) and see what your horse thinks of it!
    06-23-2011, 05:49 AM
I was going to post what JDI and Phantom said.
    06-23-2011, 09:30 AM
Some horse will just mouth and play with ANY bit you put in their mouth.

My sorrel gelding is that way. I finally put a Little S hackamore on his headstall and all the fussing is gone. I gave up on the Mecante and used a Biothane headstall and reins. I always leave a rope halter on while riding, and I can unsnap the reins and snap one end to the halter and the other around a tree branch when I take a lunch break. Or I frequently take the lead rope coiled up and attached with a thong where a roper would carry his lariat. He has worn that setup for 12 years now and it works great for him.

He seems much more comfortable, Can easily graze a little along the trail, and I have some control if needed. Although there is not a lot of Whoa in the little S.

Slober Straps are traditional with a Mecante, But their purpose is a pre-cue. Their weight helps the horse to feel when you pick up the reins. Helping green horses to recognize that a reining cue is coming. On finished horses they not as important and you can easily get away with attaching reins directly to the bit.

The same can be said for the Mecante. If you are not using it, Why carry the extra weight and bulk on a trail ride. The heavier rope of mecante is great for amplifying the cues for a green horse. But as a horse becomes finished, they can sense the lighter cues of very light reins. I'm a good size man, and when I get everything loaded up, I'm looking for ways to reduce some of the weight my horse has to carry for a 20-30 mile ride. I guess I'm suggesting that I've traded the weight of my mecante for a set of hobbles, so I can turn the horse out to graze while I eat lunch.

Most of us are not worried about judges and fashion police while out on trail rides. My tack is an assortment of what has lasted over the years or what fits my current horse. I no longer go buy new tack to make sure it matches in color or works with my horses color. I go to the tack bin and pull out something and say, Yep that'll fit. Or that'll fix what the horse stepped on and broke.

Lets face it most original tack was made from materials available to cowboys and was easy to fix and did the job. Use what you are comfortable with. Most clinician are in the business of selling their ideas and wares. If what you have been using is working, Ignor them and go forth and ride.
    06-23-2011, 10:16 AM
Originally Posted by aspin231    
I was going to post what JDI and Phantom said.
My thoughts too.

All you have to do now is find a way to make your wife think it is her idea.

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