Gag bitt what does it really mean and do for your horse
 
 

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Gag bitt what does it really mean and do for your horse

This is a discussion on Gag bitt what does it really mean and do for your horse within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Should you use a gag bit all the time
  • How to adjust a sliding gag bit to your horses' mouth

 
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    08-25-2008, 11:22 AM
  #1
Foal
Gag bitt what does it really mean and do for your horse

I have head so many good and bad things about gag bitts from people its oh they are so bad for your horse only a green horse would need that and others say they are very easy on your horses mouth they are just like a snaffle but when you need it you still have that gag if your horse wont listen. So what is the real story behind a gag bit what should you use them for and what do they do??? Let me know because I am really confused
     
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    08-28-2008, 10:45 AM
  #2
Foal
There are many different types or styles of gag bits. There are full gag, sliding gag, partial gag, and as many different styles of mouth pieces. A lot of people love them and use them, and a lot don't like them at all. I am in the middle. I DO NOT use them on a young horse!! I only use them on more finished and seasoned horses who may need a little "wake up" or lifting. I only use the snaffle mouth piece, no twisted wire, no tiny mouth pieces either. I have a thick snaffle on mine, with no wire, etc. headstall with it. I use it when a horse is heavy in the mouth, heavy on my hands, or heavy upfront and won't lift up its shoulders and front end, or lift up off my hands. I don't use it all the time either, just here and there as they need it to get them up off their forehand. That is really what a gag is best used for, to bring up the front end, and that is the action you get from the bit when you pick up and put pressure on the bit. A traditional snaffle is fixed and only allows you to pick up to its stopping point, so you kind of max out on the pressure value. A true sliding gag bit continues to pull up in the horses mouth as far as you want to pull it, which is not a good idea either, a lot of damage can be done with a gag bit, and in my opinion is only for professional use or for someone who really knows what they are doing and can feel their horse, so as to know how far is to far and to stop before they can damage the horses mouth. So, I hope that helps, I know its a novel....sorry. I really have only had two horses I've ever used the gag with, and both were long backed, "heavy" horses who didn't want to elevate and pick up their shoulders, and I tried a lot of other things prior to just putting a gag in, it was like my last resort.

So really, it can be as harsh as the person holding the reins, and is meant to bring the horses front end up, and give you more shoulder, front end elevation and control. A safety note......don't snatch or pull abruptly up for you can flip them with a gag that way.

Now, for running events, such as barrels I know a lot of people use them and swear by them. For when you have that much speed the gag helps to grab the horses shoulders for the turns and get them sitting back on the hips. I see how it can be a benefit for the running events, for when you add that kind of speed your reaction time from the horse when you pick up the shoulder and turn is delayed, the gag helps to get a "right now" response from the horse. But again, I would go with a partial gag, so there is a stop to how far up the bit is going to go before it has a stop point, or a combination gag, such as the Myler short shank combination bridle( I do use that on all my babies!!) It has a partial gag with fixed "stop points" for the bit, as well as nose and chin pressure when you pick up on the bit. I love this bit!! Again, in a snaffle mouth piece.

So I hope that answered your question, I didn't intend to give such a long response.
     
    03-19-2009, 04:01 PM
  #3
Foal
sliding gag

Would you say it might help for a horse that is heavy in the front AND heavy in the mouth?

I have this tank paint gelding I have just purchased. I ride him now with a full cheek snaffle. I've noticed that he tends to get really heavy on the way home from a ride. He is very keen to leg pressure but again-on the way home we are making lots of circles, spider lines, pressure-release but he is still very heavy. His previous owner rode him in a tomthumb snaffle.

Thanks for any info...
     
    03-19-2009, 04:25 PM
  #4
Weanling
Rubonsky basicly said it all. Gag bits are for seasoned horses, they are NOT for young horses. And they probably shouldnt be used all of the time. I would only use one for about a week and then go back to the previous bit I was using.
     
    04-02-2009, 06:07 PM
  #5
Foal
So is a gag rein used instead of a gag bit?
     
    04-02-2009, 06:12 PM
  #6
Trained
There are gag's that involve 2 reins:



Where there is a snaffle and a gag (and no curb chain). I think this is more an english thing, but correct me if I am wrong.

But usually and the ones I have ever used there is just one normal rein attached to the bit:

The rein would be attached to the oval at the bottom and the headstall goes through the top circle.
     
    04-09-2009, 11:20 PM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotmedicinehat    
Would you say it might help for a horse that is heavy in the front AND heavy in the mouth?

I have this tank paint gelding I have just purchased. I ride him now with a full cheek snaffle. I've noticed that he tends to get really heavy on the way home from a ride. He is very keen to leg pressure but again-on the way home we are making lots of circles, spider lines, pressure-release but he is still very heavy. His previous owner rode him in a tomthumb snaffle.

Thanks for any info...
Well, that's probably your problem right there, and a tom thumb is NOT a snaffle. It is a curb bit with leverage, it just has a broken mouth piece. If it has shanks it cannot POSSIBLY be a snaffle.

I run my older horse in a gag, and the nice thing about a gag is that there is a longer lapse between your hand and contact with the mouth therefore it's a better bit for a heavy handed rider. I use one that helps with rate and flex around the barrel...they make so many different kinds you just need to find the right one for you.
     
    04-11-2009, 09:27 AM
  #8
Showing
Welcome to the forum!

As mentioned above, a Tom Thumb is not a snaffle but a rather unbalanced shanked bit and really should be avoided. If he neck reins and you want a shanked bit, there are better choices. I would also avoid using a gag until you see how it works on a horse by someone who knows how to use one - it can be pretty severe in untrained hands.

Before recommending a bit, what are you currently using and what kind of riding are you doing (I'm going to assure some of it being barrels based on your ID)? It would be good to know more about your horse's age, experience, and training as well as yours.
     
    04-11-2009, 05:03 PM
  #9
Yearling
' Would you say it might help for a horse that is heavy in the front AND heavy in the mouth?

No. Bits do not lift up horses--correct training does!

First thing to remember about horses that are 'heavy in the mouth'. It takes two to pull--so let go of the head, let him lift it, and push him forward!

Solves that problem almost every time.
     
    04-11-2009, 06:15 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayfieldk    
' Would you say it might help for a horse that is heavy in the front AND heavy in the mouth?

No. Bits do not lift up horses--correct training does!


First thing to remember about horses that are 'heavy in the mouth'. It takes two to pull--so let go of the head, let him lift it, and push him forward!

Solves that problem almost every time.

But, some barrel bits are designed to make it easier for you to lift up your horse, particularly in the shoulder.

On the other bolded item- if you let your horse go with it's head up, you may be fixing the "heavy mouth" (but not really, because all you are doing is ignoring it and avoiding the confrontation rather than teaching them how to give to the bit), but then you have a horse running around with it's head up....
     

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