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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think my horse needs a new bit...

He is currently using this one:


But he is constantly mouthing at it and licking it and just seems uncomfortable. His teeth have been done and checked, it the bridle is giving him that 'smile' But he opens his mouth and lowers his head and sometimes even gets the shanks in his mouth and then we will just stop and look at me, worried. He was abused in the past and I know bits bother him but the hackamore is bothering him even more and when I pull him up he throws his head and gets upset with stomping and dancing in place. But the bit keeps him calm and relaxed except for the mouthyness. Any Ideas on what bit I should use with him?

I was thinking maybe just a normal Snaffle bit, something mild?
 

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Mouthing and licking the bit are generally seen as signs of acceptance of the bit. My gelding used to stretch down and gape his mouth, he was trying to push the bit out of his mouth, he just didn't like it in there. However, he goes really well in a hackamore.

If he tosses his head with the hackamore, you're pulling back too hard and he's objecting to the pressure on his face.

I would say that your hands could be too hard for that kind of shanked bit and thats why he doesn't like it. Definitely go with the mildest bit possible and see what happens.
 

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You may want to give double jointed snaffles a go, since the single joint might be pressing on him and bothering him. If the hackamore and that bit are bothering him, he may not enjoy a curb action piece. I like loose ring snaffles the best, but you can also use a D ring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well I try to put pressure and release, apply, release. So it's not steady pull and hold and I try to pull soft then harder and harder till he stops. But even a soft pull causes his head to shoot up or he tucks it in to his chest and tosses it. After about 30mins with the bit he calms down and does accept it, so I don't know wether it is me or not, but I agree, a mild bit, but which one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
oops I posted after roro! I do like the simplicity of the loose ring snaffle and they seem to be very affordable. I was even wondering about a mullen mouth bit?
 

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Mullen mouths can be confusing because the don't have individual action on the sides of the mouth. However, they are very mild.

Also, how many wrinkles are in her lips when she has a bit in her mouth? The standard should be 2. If the bit slips through her mouth or she is able to get the side of it in her mouth, the headstall is either too loose, or the bit is too small.

Loose ring O snaffles are also very good, because the horse can't lean on it and become heavy on the forehand.
 

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http://www.horseforum.com/horse-tack-equipment/bit-information-snaffle-english-type-bits-36522/

Here's an information article.

The problem with direct reining (using two hands, not neckreining) with a curb bit is that you don't have a clear signal. The bit is being rotated in the mouth, and the pressure is actually originating from below the horse's mouth. Between that and the curb action of the bit (squeezing the chin from the bottom whenever you pull the rein) it is fairly uncomfortable for the horse.
Here is a good article about Tom Thumb bits in particular... Today's Horse - The Trouble with Tom Thumb

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Right, I am direct reining him because he isn't neck rein trained. I like a longer shank, it has more woah but if I am pulling to hard on him then maybe a shorter shank? I was using the mechanical braided hackamore on him. It's main when I pull to woah him up. I was just reading both those articles too.

As far as the wrinkles he has 2 defined wrinkles on both lips. When he is standing still he stops playing with the bit, but when lunging, he gets it stuck in his mouth and its cuz he is playing with it constantly
 

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If you're using a shanked bit for the stopping power, you need to work on his stopping in bit with less oomph to it.

I just realized I used female pronouns in my last post....don't ask me why.
 

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Ahh.. if you are direct reining, I strongly strongly urge you to use a snaffle bit. By direct-reining on a curb, you are putting more force into any rein command than is necessary. When you pull with one pound of force, depending on the length and shape of the shanks, the horse feels at least twice, more likely three or four times the pressure on his mouth and jaw.
Curb bits are to be used with horses that know how to neck-rein... when a horse neck-reins, there is no pressure on his mouth when asking for turns... the turn aid comes from pressure on the neck, not the mouth.
No whoa is completely and totally a training issue (as long as the horse is not in any pain anywhere) not a bit issue.
 

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I find that most horses will prefer a double joint to a single jointed bit. If you refer to my article, it explains why :)



ETA- please avoid Dr Bristol bits though; be warned, at first glance, Dr Bristols look very similar to a French Link bit.
 

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My mare didn't like a regular single jointed snaffle (dipped down her head, and tried to evade pressure), and so I tried a french link full cheek snaffle bit, and she was much better. Some horses, especially smaller mouthed horses don't like the single joint, because it hits the top of their mouths easier.

I would try a double or triple jointed snaffle bit of some sort, and see if his behavior changes.
 

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Whoa, wait a minute. Does this mean that you are lunging him with the lunge line attached to the bit???

But he opens his mouth and lowers his head and sometimes even gets the shanks in his mouth and then we will just stop and look at me, worried.
When he is standing still he stops playing with the bit, but when lunging, he gets it stuck in his mouth and its cuz he is playing with it constantly
If so, please, please don't lunge with the line attached to the bit, especially a shanked bit. If you are direct reining and have not started to teach him to neck rein, then you shouldn't be riding in any kind of curb as it is just confusing and puts too much force into his mouth and he will end up hard mouthed. I suggest either a standard loose ring snaffle or something like JDI posted. He should be solid in all cues with that and beginning to neck rein before you even think of putting him in a curb bit.
 

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Don't mean to hijack, but all this talk of not direct reining in a curb... what of the Kimberwick? o_O

I do agree on the amazing-ness of a french link though. It's what I'm starting Gracie in. =]
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Smrobs - I am not lunging him with the lunge attached to the bit, I usually lunge him first to get some of his spunk out then ground drive then ride. I have the riens attached to the saddle and I had his rope halter under the bridle, which is a one ear sliding headstall. No I would never lunge off the bit.

I thought my bit wasn't a curb, but a snaffle, single jointed? I must be really wrong then! haha but it is the one in the picture on my beginning post... I thought it was a tom thumb snaffle?
Also I don't have the luxury of 'testing' these bits, I have to purchase them, can you return a bit? I don't live in an area where people keep horses for pets like I do, I live with the only other horses around are amish. We have one neighbor 6 miles away who has 3 horses but hasn't ridden in over a year but I do go to her periodically for advice, but I have turned here more because I get more opinions which is GREAT :)
 

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A Tom Thumb is mis-labeled as a snaffle any time you see shanks on a bit, its considered a curb bit. Or thats a good general rule for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sam- Good to know, Thanks! I did not know that!

JustDressageit- I see what you mean about Dr. Bristol! Wow! and it looks so harsh!

I think I will go with the French-link but should I get Full Cheek, Eggbutt, or Dee, or even the regular O Ring? I was thinking full cheek but what do u think?
 
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