Why change a bit due to a horse's age? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-04-2015, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
The Western tradition has a different purpose than English riding. Western tradition is to 'use' the horse for more than to get from point A to point B. Western events revolve around the old traditions of using horses to 'work' and handle cattle.

This is the same reason the western saddle evolved to have a horn and two girths. They are needed to 'use' the horse.

If you are going to rope cattle from a horse's back, you are going to have to ride with the reins in one hand and the rope in the other. If your going to be able to have your horse 'hold' the cow or calf that has been roped, you need a strong saddle with a big, strong horn and it needs to be fastened to the horse with two heavy-duty girths and a breast collar.

So, by the time a western horse is 5 or 6, it needs to be trained enough to ride one-handed. This means it needs to neck rein so it can be effectively 'guided' with one hand.

Western horses are also taught to ride a work on a loose rein. Since western horses are frequently ridden all day, it is so much easier on both the horse and rider for them to ride without a contact.

The only thing I can think of comparable for English horses are Polo horses. But, they are really much more similar to western horses in use as the rider is handling a mallet and 'using' the horse. They are also ridden one-handed and usually are ridden in a cube, most often a 4 rein curb.

For recreational riders, it all depends on what you want to do with a horse and how long you ride at one time. Frankly, I like having a free hand and I like the relaxation that comes with riding a broke horse on a loose rein while he is doing all of the work and I m just enjoying the ride. That means I am riding him in a curb bit, one handed with the reins loose and he will neck-rein.
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-04-2015, 07:29 AM
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Cherie your explanation is really great!

I grew up riding western, but I am of the mind, if a horse can go in a snaffle, do what is asked, is quiet, has a good handle on them, then why change? I rode one handed in a simple snaffle, did trails, moved cattle, rode with friends, anything that you could do on a horse.

I ride english now, the horse that I exercise is in a twisted wire snaffle. I keep just enough contact with him that he does what is asked, using more seat and light hand contact, and he goes well. However, he is a fox hunter so he does pay attention but has his moments.
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-04-2015, 11:34 AM
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Your horses jaw and teeth mature so you need different bits and in change of discipline.
madfordilly is offline  
post #14 of 14 Old 02-04-2015, 11:40 AM
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Question Difficult feet

I don't know if anyone can help me with this, but my horse is terrible with her feet ! The thing is she is always worse when the farrier has just come so I don't know what the problem is. Everybody says he's a good farrier but I don't want my pony to get into bad habits when she is only four years of age. please help!
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