Best bit for starting a young horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-19-2020, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Best bit for starting a young horse?

I've been riding my filly in a rope halter for a while, but I would like to start her working in a bit now. What is the best/gentlest/clearest bit to start a young horse in? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 13 Old 09-19-2020, 04:02 PM
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This will elicit a plethora of answers, lollol

Keep in mind I grew up in the 1960’s, on the farm, and have always been a trail rider. Bit choices were few and far between.

We started granddad’s horses to both ride and drive.

They were started with long-lining (ground driving) until granddad felt they were strong enough for my cousin and I to get on them - she weighed ~60# and I was around 80#

We long-lined them in driving bits that were plain snaffle bits. They had to learn “go, whoa, back, gee & haw” ——- yes they learned gee & haw:)

When granddad deemed them ready to have someone on their back (we started ALL of them bareback) their riding bridles were not the same as their driving bridles. The riding bridles had low port curb bits.

That’s it - low port curb bits with 4” shanks.

Low port curb bits are all I have ever put in any horse’s mouth that I have owned.

The only thing I ever changed, at the sage advice of a smart Amishman, was to change to longer swivel shanks on my Arab/Saddlebred. I raised that horse from birth and was bemoaning his head tossing at the Amish tack shop one Saturday morning.

The Amishman was so sure the longer & swivel shanked Walking Horse bit would work, he told me to bring it back if it didn’t— and I could pay for it on my next visit, if it did.

That low port bit/swivel shanks was a magic bullet for my Arab/Saddlebred. That was sometime in the early 70’s and I still have that bit and head stall.

So there’s my thought - a simple low port curb with short shanks and leave well enough alone if the horse likes it:)
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-19-2020, 06:07 PM
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I prefer a French link or lozenge mouth snaffle, with full-cheeks - it translates well from a rope halter with the cheek pressure.
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-19-2020, 07:04 PM
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I like a D-ring snaffle with a 3 piece bit, the center being a copper sweet roller. I only use it long enough that the horse is comfortable and used to it. Then I go bitless with either a bitless side pull or a loping Bosal.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-19-2020, 07:14 PM
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Dee ring snaffle with copper mouth peice.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-21-2020, 03:53 PM
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i do like to see one started in a loping hack or bosal but as for a bit I like to stick with a snaffle. I currently have a lozenge, a lifesaver with copper rings, single joint and a lozenge thick twisted wire. I just play with which mouthpiece each prefers. At the moment my filly uses the lozenge.

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-21-2020, 04:42 PM
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I started my mare on a D-ring copper snaffle. She didn't like the nut-cracker effect, so I moved her to a french link. She still rides in a french link.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-21-2020, 04:44 PM
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For a long time I started youngsters in a jointed rubber snaffle than later I started using the Myler snaffles and found that the horses went better in them.
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-21-2020, 05:19 PM
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Three-piece loose-ring snaffle, with a lozenge in the middle. My horse is still in that bit four years later.
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-21-2020, 05:51 PM
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The advice that I got was to use a heavier bit because it will help in communication with a young horse. I bought my filly a heavier, d ring, copper french link snaffle and she goes better than the lighter two piece that I originally started with her.

All horses are going to be different as to how much room that they have in their mouth and what is comfortable for them. One of my mares does not like snaffles too much at all and prefers a low port curb.

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