12-11-2009, 11:56 AM
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Not a bit expert by any means, however a few thoughts i've learned/come up with. Bought my app about 2 1/2 years ago, first horse, didn't know squat. Rode in a curb b/c that's what we had laying around and he did ok (for all I knew about it). Old guy where I kept him when I was up north of here in school gave me a snaffle and told me to use that. Dunno WHAT all he was trying to teach me cos he didn't say too much.
Then moved way up north and worked at a kid's camp. Boss there used two bits for the most part (a few curbs got used, and a couple hacks, depending on the horse): tom thumbs and loose ring snaffles. All western riding. Kiddos in lessons/on trails used TT's unless it was a real soft mouthed or young horse, those got loose ring's. ALL employees rode rodeos, our lessons, and free time in loose ring snaffles. Her philosophy was we wouldn't be as hard on their mouths with the snaffles as the tom thumb potentially could be.
So fast forward a bit, came home and knew a LOT more about how to handle a horse in general. Still had the snaffle on my bridle, got on my horse and he had a LOT more respect and did real well with the snaffle, for the most part. He stops alright with it, but is a little tough sometimes. Tried a tom thumb ONCE, and had less control than I would have if i'd just been using a halter!
Started doing some cattle work with him in pens and put my spurs on as well, not that he needs it, just helps him mind a bit better. Couple other fellas suggested a wire twist snaffle. Only used it once, and didn't have my spurs. Since then started a dif job and haven't had the chance to further try it out.
Anyhow, I would say you should be fine, especially if he neck reigns and reacts to legs pretty well. For me, I want my western riding horses to stop with a straight back pull on the reigns. Boss up north wanted one reign stops in the arena (understandable when you're going all out), and they're good when otherwise unable to stop the horse, but to do anything else with a horse, got to be able to ride with one hand.
Oh, and I do use a chin strap. Wife doesn't and her old QH does just fine with it.