Bitting up w/o bitting up - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-23-2016, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Bitting up w/o bitting up

Feeling kinda stumped as to how I want to proceed with changing my new boy's bit. Not necessarily looking to bit up (hence the bitting up w/o bitting up), but what he currently has going isn't working out. He also tends to be a bit on the nervous side so I want to feel... more confident I guess when picking the next bit. Just looking for suggestions, ideas, discussions. Thanks in advance!

Horse in question is an 8YO QH/Morgan. He's fairly green still, but knows his voice/leg/seat signals. When I asked his previous owner what she rode him in I was simply told a snaffle, but that she had rode him the last few times in a slow twist. I'm currently riding him in this (for both western & english):

He doesn't play with it, doesn't chomp, generally seems fine with the bit. He doesn't lean either or feel fairly heavy in my hands. Maybe I'm just having one of those moments of 'changing because I don't like it, but he's fine' however, it just doesn't feel like the right fit. His half-halts, whoa, & just general softness to the bit isn't super great. Like I said I'm not necessarily looking to bit up, but I think maybe right now he just needs something a bit different. (or maybe I'm just spoiled with my super soft mouth sensitive mare lol)

I've got numerous different bits to try & don't mind trying anything new. Bitless is not something I'm currently leaning towards as we do have plans of showing. He's also naturally high necked/high headed so I'm thinking elevators/gags might not be a good choice either. I will primarily be riding him english H/J, Eventing. However he does get rode western as well.

Right now I've got these on the way for western:

Hope this all made sense, feeling a bit all over the place today. Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 12:14 AM
Green Broke
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I would stay away from those curbs if you are going to be mostly doing hunters with him. Especially since you don't have a specific problem at the moment. What other snaffles do you have? Or can you borrow?

Sometimes you just need a change of bit. I had my little guy in a Full Cheek since I started him and I rode him one day and he just didn't feel the same in it. Switched to a loose ring and he went back to being lovely.

One trick is to have your second bridle set up, warm up in your usual bit, then switch half way through and feel what difference there is.
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ApuetsoT is offline  
post #3 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 01:23 AM
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you might try a single jointed snaffle, and you might try a snaffle with a loose ring. but, the bits you have coming look like decent choices, too.

being high headed is something to address, too. I mean, if he is conformationally long necked, high necked, well, one takes that into consideration, but if he's throwing his head up to avoid the bit, or as an expresion of tension, then you have to consider comfort first.

is his mouth in good shape? teeth-wise.

then, are you being fair with your hands, not 'riding the brakes"


is this a bad habit that you are allowing to continue?

does any of that seem to ring true?
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 01:31 AM
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Have you considered a bitless option just to get out of his mouth on occassion and give him a different feel?
You can do that without changing bits yet still get a gauge on your training progress without bitting up. Often when you come back to your bit it'll have a new feel to you and your horse.

I'm not a hardcore bitless pusher but its an option for your situation. I will hang a hackamore on my broke horses for a day or two every once in a while it makes a difference.
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 01:53 AM
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The first thing I would try is having your bit sit differently in his mouth. ie let it sit lower down, as long as it isn't banging his teeth.

New to you and green? Do you know for sure he was mouthed properly? Perhaps he needs a refresher, which will at least let you know where he is at. IMO most horses should be able to go kindly in a snaffle unless the shape of his mouth makes it difficult (pigeon-mouth or small mouth). Even if another bit might suit better.
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 08:21 AM
Green Broke
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That bit you show (rather fat lozenge) is a very gentle mouthpiece. It distributes the pressure extremely well and doesn't seem to be sharp or pinchy anywhere. It also thickens in the corners which makes the lip/bar pressure less. Horses I've used it on were rather dull in it, and one didn't actually like it because it was too thick for her mouth.
If you and your horse sort of like the feel of the bit but want something a little more sensitive, you could go for a thinner double-jointed snaffle with a french link. The french link has less pressure distribution so feels a little sharper to the horse. Which means they may respond with more sensitivity and respect to your cues, even though it is still a very gentle bit.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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ApuestoT - The curbs are for trail riding and/or my boyfriend once he gets going. They're for much later on, right now I want him going well in a snaffle. I have tooons to try. Single joints in full cheek & dring/eggbutt, copper rollers, Dr bristols, kimberwickes, pelhams, more that I currently can't think of... I'm definitely not opposed to buying anything new either. (Bit buying addiction)

Tinyliny - conformationally long necked & high necked. He's got the very Morgan neck & set to it. He knows how to come round (not properly but we're gonna work on that) & will generally prefer that. When nervous that neck will come up - which is my worry with any gag action that will just compound the issue. No head throwing to avoid the bit. Hands are quiet & soft - I work with a trainer every week for my OTTB, so I know they're good (my hands tend to be a little too soft sometimes if anything)

COW CHICK - I'm not opposed to bitless. I have both a little s & a bosal I could try (most likely the little s first). I mix up between bit & bosal on my OTTB once or twice a week.

ShirtHotTeez - New to me, green & kinda not green. He's missing some finer details that make him still somewhat green in my opinion but has had quite a few miles on him as well. I'm not sure if he was or not. He was Amish broke to drive & then I'm not sure how his previous owner restarted him. She also rode him in something different every time it seems.

Gottatrot - thank you! He doesn't seem to have any complaints but like you said just feels very dull. I have a French link boucher, but would rather a different cheek piece. I'll order the D to try
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Teeth are due in July for him - he's not chomping/clanking so I didn't immediately jump to teeth. Although I know that doesn't mean much because I feel like my vet finds ulcers every year when the girls get theirs done.

Sorry if I missed any questions anyone - I'm trying to reply on my phone.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 12:12 PM
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I would also try different mouthpieces/rings without drifting into the twisted types first - but mostly improvement comes from just pure hard work and not from swapping tack around
If a horse starts to feel 'dull' in a bit I prefer to go bitless for a while - Valegro is often ridden in an English hackamore to reduce that risk
I can't see the need for those Western bits at all - why do you think your boyfriend needs to use one for trail riding?
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-24-2016, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
I would also try different mouthpieces/rings without drifting into the twisted types first - but mostly improvement comes from just pure hard work and not from swapping tack around
If a horse starts to feel 'dull' in a bit I prefer to go bitless for a while - Valegro is often ridden in an English hackamore to reduce that risk
I can't see the need for those Western bits at all - why do you think your boyfriend needs to use one for trail riding?
I don't even own any twisted bits - never will either. I'm not a fan of them at all. Don't have anything against people who use them or that they have a time/place, but for me they just never seem to have a time or place. Just my personal opinion.

My goal is to find something I think we're doing well in - I definitely don't want to be swapping tack every week (bit wise). My mares have their "set" bits for both English & Western that never get changed. We do change it up from bits to bitless. That's my goal with him as well, find something we both like that he goes well in & not change anything (unless something else comes up etc). Also with him being more on the nervous side at times I just plain don't wanna be swapping things on him all the time.

I don't know how to word the explanation for why those western bits without it sounding idiotic >.>
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