Switching Bits,need advise - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Switching Bits,need advise

I've grown up around horses but I've always used just "whatever" happened to be around for tack. Now I've apparently grown a brain and realized there is a world of options out there and I'm kind of swamped with all the choices .That explains why I ask stupid basic questions, lol! I started riding at 7 but have never shopped for tack, lol!
My 10yr old I originally trained in a double jointed tom thumb with a roller then I switched him to a solid low port curb bit and that's what he's used ever since. Now with all the reading I'm doing I've started to wonder if he wouldn't be happier in a different kind of bit but I'm not sure what to try. I don't have anyone to borrow any from to try out so that isn't an option.
I use him for cattle drives, sorting cattle, etc. I'm planning on starting some English with him this summer also.
He has a pretty sensitive mouth because I've always been gentle with him and I'm the only one that has ever ridden him. He gets very agitated when I'm sorting cattle and making him do quick turns etc. He's really good at it but I'm wondering if the bit isn't part of my problem?(He's also 1/4 Arabian so he's a bit HOT when he gets excited)

So what kind of bit would YOU use?? I'm open to all suggestions. I don't want to spend a fortune on a bunch of different bits but I think he might like a switch so I'd like to find something else to use....

Also, I've got a couple youngsters that I'm going to start training, besides a sidepull, what bit do you start with?
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post #2 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 04:47 PM
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in my experience, starting a horse out in a simple snaffle is the best way to see their real progress. If you need to go to something heavier then so be it but I always like to give the horses a chance to be good in a snaffle before putting in a larger bit

just my two cents!

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post #3 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 05:59 PM
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For a curb bit for working cattle, if you don't want to work him in a snaffle, I like the Myler selection of bits. Low port, small-medium shank, depeding on the horse's training level.

If you are going to start english I'd look into double jointed snaffles. Single jointed snaffles can pinch the mouth and can be very uncomfortable for the horse.

You should experiment how he does with tongue pressure vs. tongue relief. Some horses like more contact, while other horses really have a problem with tongue contact so they need more tongue relief.
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post #4 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Is it possible to use a snaffle for cattle work? Everyone out here always seem to use curb bits on their horses, why is that?
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post #5 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 07:31 PM
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Curb bits are used in cattle work because its a single hand bit (neck reining) so they can use the other hand to wave, use a rope, open/close gates... etc.... A snaffle is a direct pull so it requires two hands on the reins to create pressure in the mouth. I personally use a snaffle, but still neck rein with it even though that is not traditionally correct. I use very little of the bit and try to have more body ques then in the mouth... but that is my personal opinion and how I like to ride.

Snaffles are also less mild then leverage or curb bits.... but there is an old saying. "Any bit is just as severe as the next one. It all depends on whos hands is on it."
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post #6 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, I guess I didn't realize you weren't suppose to neck rein with a snaffle but that makes sence and answers the questions of why.
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post #7 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 07:45 PM
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It is possible to do hehe. Here is a video I found on youtube of a guy teaching a horse in a snaffle to neck rein.
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post #8 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 10:42 PM
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If he is sensitive, I would put him in an Egg-Butt Snaffle. Then move up to a Dee Ring, then a Full Cheeck. I recomend Happy Mouths because they are very light and my mare likes it for most flat work. She gets strong when jumping so I have to use a slow twist full cheek on her, but that is just her. If you choose an O-ring snaffle, DEFANITLY use those things that you put on the sides of the bit to help with pinching(can't think of the name, total dead moment!)

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post #9 of 31 Old 04-27-2009, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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He's pretty sensitive in that if I even slightly am too rough with him he instantly reacts, ie, if he's running and I pull back a little too quick or hard he'll put the brakes on so fast he just about tosses me over his head, and that is with a LOW port bit! It doesn't take a severe bit to control him even though he's super big and fast.
Why an Egg butt vs a D ring vs a full cheek? What does one do or not do that the other does or doesn't?
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post #10 of 31 Old 04-28-2009, 01:10 AM
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A good bit to start out with is a nice loose ring snaffle either single or double jointed (depending on what the horse prefers). But they do have the capability to pinch the sides of the mouth. That is why the proper size is so important. But, if you want the loose ring without risking the pinch, you can always put bit guards on there. I start all of my young ones in a loose ring snaffle. I also really like the looks of either a Myler or Billy Allen mouth when transitioning a horse from a snaffle to a solid mouth curb. They are very mild bits and can also be great on broke horses. Me personally, I see no problem at all with neck reining in a snaffle and I start all mine neck reining before I put them in the curb. It is all a matter of finding something that works for you and that your horse likes.
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