help with western bits!!!

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help with western bits!!!

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    06-19-2009, 09:29 PM
help with western bits!!!

I have a 3 yr old tn walker mare and a tn walker mix mare.i ride them in both tom thumb bits .thats all they have ever been rode in that's what they are used to they respond well in them.but as soon as a put in a plain snaffle in them they go braindead.its like they don't know what im asking wanting to sofften my tn walker mix mares mouth up so I can get her more response and with the tn walker I've heard bad things about using them with tn walkewrs so im trying to get her to go into a snaffle.the problem is that the tn walker is 3 yrs old and has a rearing problem.i can ride her in a tomthumb bit and she will do fine I can get her back under control pretty quick.but when I put the snaffle in her mouth she gets totally there a bit that I can use to get them both more responsive and supple?im using a 5-6 inch tom thumb in my tn walker mares mouth.and I regular 4-5 inch tom thumb in my tn walker mixes mouth.any help is great.
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    06-19-2009, 09:32 PM
It's probably because you are downgrading from a leverage bit to a snaffle. Do you ride the tom thumb as a snaffle or as a leverage bit?

It is basically a harsher bit than a snaffle which makes it easier to ignore. I like a french link D ring.
    06-19-2009, 09:47 PM
I ride it as a leverage bit.
    06-19-2009, 09:50 PM
I would get them back to working in a snaffle. If they are neckreining and got moved up to a leverage bit (Albeit a bad one), they should know how to work in a snaffle.
It's not a bout the bit generally, its about the level of training and the rider.
    06-19-2009, 10:46 PM
They were never moved up,the first bit they ever had was a tom thumb bit because the trainer I had used tim thumbs on all his gaited horses from the very first rides.he never used snaffles.he also thought that the tom thumb bit was a miracle bit and that every horse should be used to one.the tn walker is very green but she can be trusted with trail rides and around diffrent horses now,the tn walker mix mare is very well trained been everywhere really good broke horse.moves like a quarter horse and responds well.i ride with a light hand and im not over 100 pounds(im 14) I also can be rough when the tn walker is really ticking me off when she is rearing and acting like a brat.(she does little hissy fits when first started riding)
    06-19-2009, 11:44 PM
A horse should not be started in a leverage bit regardless of type. A tom thumb is not a miracle bit. I have ridden horses that worked well in them, but they also worked well in a snaffle.
I would suggest getting rid of the tom thumb and go to a snaffle and just work slow since it is going to be new to them.
    06-20-2009, 12:16 AM
Go back to the very beginning with them. Start doing ground work while the horse is carrying a snaffle in its mouth. Once the horse is confident in performing the groundwork while carrying a snaffle you can begin long lining/ground driving the horse with the snaffle in. You are going to have to completely reintroduce the bit to them as though they have never had one in their mouth before. Unfortunately it can sometimes be easier to introduce a complete greenie to their first bit then it is to correct bitting issues due to incorrect bitting; which is why I am suggesting you go back to the very beginning basics and go slow. By doing this you will allow the horse to 1)become comfortable with the new bit and 2)learn to respect the snaffle.

Most likely the reason the horse is rearing is due to confusion/fear of the leverage bit- does not really know what to do with it since it was not first taught with a snaffle-the mildest bit there is. The horse is probably unresponsive to the snaffle because it is completely foreign to it. THe horse is used to the the action of the curb combined with the pressure in the mouth. Take away the curb action and they feel free to ignore the bit if they have not been properly started in a snaffle. If the horse tries to rear while you are working it on the ground push the horse forward-doesn't matter what gait they do it in, just get the horse moving it's feet forward. When the horse rears he is evading the bit and must learn to move into the bit-the evasion is typically out of fear or confusion, especially with a young horse.

Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to PM me!
    06-20-2009, 01:56 PM
O.k. Thank you all for your help!im going to move my tn walker mare to my barn with my other horses soon and ill be teaching her to respect a snaffle first.then ill do my other horse.the biggest issue for them is that there is no curb and they can ignore it.what can I do to make them respond without a curb?like when I pull to make them turn they straighten their necks out and keep going.and then they don't stop.whats the first thing I should do?
    06-20-2009, 01:58 PM
Start with ground work.

That way you don't have to worry about them rearing with you on them, or not stopping, ect.
    06-21-2009, 01:43 AM
Originally Posted by chika1235    
the biggest issue for them is that there is no curb and they can ignore it.what can I do to make them respond without a curb?like when I pull to make them turn they straighten their necks out and keep going.and then they don't stop.whats the first thing I should do?
Refer back to my previous post. You will need to start the 3yr old over again. Treat the horse as though it knows nothing. Start working the horse in-hand with a halter over the bridle. Have the horse wear the snaffle while you work her in hand- lunging to start off with. When I say ground work I mean several things 1)lunging the horse while carrying the bit, 2) lateral work in hand- yield the hindquarters, forehand, leg yield, 3) voice commands- walk trot and whoa (when lunging can teach the word canter), if you want to add kissing and clucking with the voice commands that always helps. Basically, the groundwork you do is going to prepare the horse for when its rider finally steps up on its back. By having the horse carry the bit while it is inactive the horse gets used to that particular bit. Once the horse is comfortable just carrying the bit and obeying ALL your commands when working in-hand/groundwork you can then begin ground driving the horse with the lines attached to the bit. This will get the horse use to respecting the bit without having to deal with the rider as well. Actually before ground driving with the bit, I would attach reins to the bit and work on lateral work in-hand. You can work on the horse giving to pressure on the bit and turning while the horse is being worked in-hand- THEN go to ground driving the horse- by waiting to ground drive with the bit the horse will be use to and comfortable with the mechanics of the snaffle and there will be less confusion when you start driving the horse. Whatever you do, push the horse FORWARD, since she has a history of rearing you want to completely erase that thought from her head if possible. Even if she is faster than you would like at first, that is ok, just go with it. Any attempts to slow her down and she may resort to rearing to get away from the situation.

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