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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes, I know this question is asked SO much, but I need some help finding a bit that will fit my horse. I own a few different kinds of bits and haven't been completely pleased with how they all work. My horse has nice bend and flex, but an awful stop. He will run through a halter and just regular D-ring snaffle (no shank). His last owner (owned him roughly 4 years?) trained him on barrels in a tom thumb. This is what he has run in for the last, approximately 7 years of his life. We run 2D times in this, however there are times going around a barrel where it locks up in his mouth and he then throws his head up, locks his neck, and looses his balance around the barrel. I do know that tom thumbs are awful bits that's why I am searching for a new one! The bits that I have are...

-Tom Thumb (won't use these)
-D-ring Snaffle (not enough stop)
-Hackamore (he stops but I don't get the bend I would like with this)
-Combination Bit (leather wrapped noseband rubs his nose raw and I feel it's too harsh)
-Grazing Bit (do I need to explain this one?)
-Wonder Bit (not sure about this bit...)

I really just need a bit that will give him a lot of bend and stop him at the same time. It doesn't have to be super harsh, but again, he will run through a weak bit, not to mention I want something he will pay attention to during a run. I have very light hands with him, so jerking isn't a problem, but i want him to be comfortable in it as well. Any advice? Thanks!
 

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"I really just need a bit that will give him a lot of bend and stop him at the same time"

no bit will give you this. proper training will give you both. i personally would take him off running barrels and go back to basics to teach him to bend and to teach him to stop properly at all gaits. while i may not be a barrel racer, proper training is proper training no matter the discipline. a horse that won't stop in a mild bit isn't fully trained IMO.
 

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I agree with taking him back to the basics. If a horse won't stop when I ASK it to (not tell it or make it), it has absolutely bo business at a show, much less a rodeo/barrel race atmosphere. There are enough horses out there with terrible training yet fast enough to win, we don't need anymore.

Any horse I run on barrels can run in a simple double jointed snaffle if I ask them to. I usually use a different bit, but I can run them with a snaffle. My current mare, though, will not tolerate a snaffle in her mouth. She doesn't like the fact that there's no warning before I pick up contact and she prefers the poll pressure as opposed to on her mouth/bars only. That's just her, every other horse I've had has no problem with a snaffle, but that's a different story.

With every horse I ride, everyday of work starts out with groundwork, basics, and only then do we move to what we're working on.

I've actually run horses in a grazing bit (not my first choice, but made it work by teaching him awesome neck reining and leg cues), wonder bits (I actually like them), three piece reining bits with 5in shanks, double jointed teardrop shanks, snaffles, mechanical hackamores, combination bits, solid low port with snaffle rings on it (no idea what that bit was called, haha), jr cow bits, etc. It's what the horse prefers most after all the basics are perfected.

Take him back to square one and get a good whoa and bending, then move back up the gaits with that until he's perfect with it all at each gait, then back to the barrels. If he still has a problem, do it all over again, on the barrels if you so wish (he may get excited and that's causes a problem as well). Do NOT push that horse on barrels again until he can lope the pattern with perfect turns and a stop when you ask. Switch it up a little too, run the pattern backwards, serpentine two barrels, weave the barrels like you would poles (but leave the cloverleaf pattern), etc. When he's perfect with all that, THEN you can push him again on barrels. He very well may go up into 1D times with the better turns and more control.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, let me re-phrase for clarification, he will run through a weak bit on the pattern. When we are practicing I do a lot of stopping and backing with him along with the "woah". He knows woah and stops fine at a walk, trot and canter. But this is off of the pattern and I'm looking for a bit to use on the pattern. Throw barrels into the mix and he becomes difficult to stop in a mild bit. I'm not saying he becomes a hot mess and won't stop, I'm just saying it's very difficult, and I would like something that will get his attention a little better, especially flying into that first barrel (rate). Yes I know training helps, but he isn't automatic and anyone who has ridden a hot barrel horse knows that they may have great training but that doesn't mean they can run in a hack and stop on a dime. I would really like Beau's input on this. Thank you for the response though, I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the response Iseul, it was very helpful. Do you have any hot horses though that you have experience with so you can share maybe, what worked best for them? My other mare stops with just a rope around her neck (bridle-less) and I use the same training with both of them, so I was thinking it was just a difference in personality?
 

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We have a horse that has excellent training. He has been pattered for about 10 years. He knows the patterns, knows what he needs to do, but he does need a bit with WHOA to it. Otherwise he will blow through certain events. There are some horses that just need more bit than others. Going back to the basics would be useless...He knows all that. He just gets strong in the arena...excited to run.

I have multiple bits. For training, I use a Myler D Ring snaffle. I just ordered a Sherri Cervi O Ring Short Shank (The last link) bit to use on my 7 year old this year. (If she likes it)

This is the one that he runs in. And does so extremely well in it. I wrap the noseband with a bunch of vetwrap for padding. To be honest, he needs the noseband for some extra whoa. https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/...sv_TBaCY4yx9X3pUuk2yAy28J3QHkP7R7gnhkUZS0jAv-

For you...I would recommend one of these... Try to find someone that has one already, or buy used. Bit shopping is really hard! And I hate wasting money.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/...F06PZddw5IWUnywjU2fZV3KHwNjQ3hMNfYqA9PzNMsc1o

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/...yYIdJNG6cnPsKuVISdimSGFcgJhXS2Ft3no2jcKTQLPqw

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/...iTN44QCFXkIn7TCaxCQVG_77DVnHpbMsVlBEb11EWg-2a

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/...Oe7oHdUv0HZP4YxIJMPdqPnrgN1weKCvACnbrsBuDRANQ

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/...PvtISgNjzCug0Rt_WS0rHbpSjU4WokOw-zDiYlExEFevK

I always use a smooth mouthpiece. I'm never used a twisted mouthpiece as I do not like them.
 

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The majority of horses I've worked with were hot. My current mare especially is hot, but she knows better than to jig or prance because the moment she does (regardless of how excited she is) we go backwards, FAST.

The way I fix the majority of the hotness is by working them on the barrels/poles/etc. Whatever it is that gets them too excited, I do all my training while doing that.

I do agree that there are some horses that need more bit..But I don't believe that they need more bit because they get too excited, they need more bit because they haven't been taught to contain it until I let them go.

I've taken horses that had no whoa (on the patterns, but perfectly fine with normal riding), bucked and jigged/pranced into the arena and tried to take off as soon as their front end got through the gate.

What I did was a lot of slower work on the patterns/through the gate and either did lateral or backing work the moment they acted up. They can walk as fast as they please, but I should not have to hang on their face to keep them from taking off or to stop them. I did a lot of work on the patterns, but I didn't run the actual patterns, I did a bunch of different things incorporating the barrels or poles into the work I was doing. I might take my first barrel and wrap all around to go to the third, wrap around that and go back down to the second. That's just one of the things I like to do. I might go down to a walk for that first barrel..and if they don't slow to a walk? Well, back we go to the gate (in reverse, lol).

When I see a hot horse acting up at a show, I see a horse that just anticipates running full blast and the rider, in all honesty, doesn't really have the control they should.

All of the hot horses (like forementioned) I've worked with or retrained have been able to walk through the gate on a loose rein (maybe a little check if I feel them coil up), circle to ensure we get the correct lead, and I'll drop my hand to their neck coming out of the circle (and lean forward), letting them know I'm letting them go. They rated for the first barrel with seat and a little check on the reins, second and third barrels were all rated mainly by seat alone, reins only used to guide them into the pocket and around the barrel. When coming to a stop after the timer, I don't even bother trying to just stop them. I'll cue them to slow with my seat and give a check with the reins and circle them (one to three times, depending on which horse it was) until they return back to the walk. Every horse has walked out of the arena on a loose rein, maybe a little jig on the reins if necessary, but no actual contact on the bit.

Like I said, I think the horses that need more bit just don't have the necessary self control to contain themselves until their allowed to go. They anticipate the run and lose all the finesse and control you had before the pattern came into play. That's why I said you may need to go right back to the basics using the pattern as well after doing "dry work" off the patterns.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you ClaPorte! I know what you mean. My old trainer ran in a mild bit but she had trouble with her horse blowing past the first barrel. The horse knew the pattern, she just needed more rate. She switched to a slightly stronger bit and her horses rate is a lot more consistent now. Thank you very much for the input and thank you Iseul for your input as well. There are some horses that get excited and yes, I see an animal that is out of control. But I like to see a horse a little excited to run, not dead walking in there. I think if the horse is under control, the rider knows what they're doing, and the horse enjoys its job, what's wrong with getting a little excited? I really like horses with some fire to them:) (Not at all saying I love horses that are out of control so please don't take it that way D:)
 

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CLaPorte432, have you used the sweet six gag?
I have. I have this bit... https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/...blt0-IybAJKvTXoZjZL1scuk73d398njXfyidrgr908al

My horse is not consistent enough for that bit. But I really like the large link chain mouth pieces. My lease horse used one and she ran so well in it. My own horses, I use a D Ring Myler snaffle, or the combination bit. And I'm going to try the Sherri Cervi bit this coming season. I think my horse would respond very well to the smooth broken mouthpiece of the Sweet Six bit, but I don't want to buy another one at this point in time. (As I have bits that work for them now)
 

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We run 2D times in this, however there are times going around a barrel where it locks up in his mouth and he then throws his head up, locks his neck, and looses his balance around the barrel.
I am assuming you have had this done already, but just in case:

When were his teeth floated last?
Has he been checked by a chiro?
Does his saddle fit well?
Does he have a stifle or hock issue (check by vet)?

Your description that I have quoted makes me wonder if we might have a pain problem and not a bit problem. Although we may certainly have some bad habits from being run in a Tom Thumb, that we might have to take a few steps back and retrain him so he understands the bit won't hurt him.

Do you have a video of him running? That will also help us make a suggestion on a bit.


I really just need a bit that will give him a lot of bend and stop him at the same time.
Again, I'd really like to see a video. I'd like to see how you are cueing him to bend as your approach your pocket. I want to make sure there isn't something we can change with your riding, before we solely blame the bit.

Am I correct that he will stop fine at the end of the run? But he sometimes blows past a barrel?

Is there a particular barrel that he blows?

Most of the time when a horse blows a turn it is either 1) rider error 2) pain.

Yes I know training helps, but he isn't automatic and anyone who has ridden a hot barrel horse knows that they may have great training but that doesn't mean they can run in a hack and stop on a dime.
Making some assumptions here (without seeing a video) but sometimes if you have a problem at speed, then you need to fix it at speed. You can always do some exhibitions at full-blast speed, and school him as you need. Teach him that just because you are going full blast, doesn't mean that he gets to ignore you when you ask him something. If he blows a barrel, go back and re-circle it.

I think there is a very fine line between allowing a horse to get excited when running, and allowing a horse to get away with not listening to you.

There is one thing I have a zero tolerance policy for --> stopping. Even if we would be in the middle of a run, I want to know that my horses will stop when I tell them to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, I do have trouble stopping him at the end of a run, we usually circle at the end and he slows down that way. My home is still being renovated and the computer is unhooked but when it's back up I'll post a video. I've checked, his teeth are fine, chiro said he was fine when I was competing with him last season. The cues I usually give him is I sit down a few strides before my pocket and start giving some pressure with my inside leg so he curves and I add light pressure to his inside rein (to begin to tip his head and ready him to turn) and say "woah!" so he'll drop his hindquarters and set up. I drop my outside rein (well, hand) right about when I hit the pocket. Oh, on a side note, when should I be dropping that rein? Before the pocket or when I hit it? Then on the far side of the barrel I twist my body (like I'm trying to face the next barrel), pull his head around, and add pressure behind the girth with my outside leg. Again, I'll add a video asap, as I know it's difficult to visualize what I'm saying and there may be a difference between what I think I do and what I actually do, though I'd love to think there isn't. I do switch my hand positions during a run, when I'm up pushing him my hands are up almost by his ears and when I sit down and turn him around the barrel I drop them lower, below mid-neck, sometimes at the base of his neck. Not sure if that's incorrect? I just think it's best if he feels in every way he can the difference between "run" and "rate" so I use my hands, seat, and legs. And yes, for anyone thinking this, I am in search of a new trainer. My old one was...well, I'm not going to say anything negative, but wasn't as "experienced" as I'd like. So, if anyone knows a trainer in Southern Indiana/Northern Kentucky and wouldn't mind letting me know that would be awesome. Thanks!
 

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Will be interesting to see a video when you get it up.
 
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