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I have to switch Specs from a Snaffle to a Curb. I bought my first curb yesterday after much research (I've never bought a bit other than my O-ring snaffles, because that's all I've ever needed to use), and I think I picked the right one, however I don't really know how to start him with it.
How do I introduce it to him? Just pop it in his mouth and go about riding? How do I approach it? Maybe I'm overthinking it, but is there anything you do when you first put a new bit into your horses mouth?
Thanks.
 

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Well if your horse is trained good it should ride fine with any bit . I can put whatever bit in my guys mouth and he ride the same.

Unless its a sensitivity thing I guess some may not like the way tongue pressure or pressure in other places may feel. I guess yes, you put it in the horses mouth and go like its nothing new at all. It'll tell you quickly if there's a problem xD
 

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When first introducing a bit make sure to do LOTS of downward transitions. This will really give you a good idea on how strong the bit is and how well it works, but it will also show your horse that you have something different in his mouth. Also, try to not make lots of abrupt movements with your hands. Hope I helped :)
 
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What I would do------ I would suggest to get in a round pin and put it in his mouth and let him walk around with it for a while. If its a new one, warm it up. *Stick the bit in HOT water* Dont make the bit too hot. Just not cold either. Then after hes gets used to it, ride him. Walk around for about.. 15-20 min. Then trot for 15-20 min. Then Canter. I would suggest to practice stopping in the walk beacuse if its ner, it may hurt to stop right away. Dont Pull, Just a lil wiggle.

Internets suggestion-----------------Whether bitting your horse for the first time or transitioning to a new bit, put the headstall and bit onto your horse in a comfortable, confined space such as his stall, and let him wear it daily – slowly working the time up to several hours – before you add reins or pressure. You can put his rope halter under his headstall and take him to the round pen, wearing his bit but using his halter to lunge and practice gaiting exercises. He will learn to “carry” his bit before any pressure is applied. Rule of thumb is to fit your bit with one or two wrinkles at the corner of your horse’s mouth. It is common to put the bit a little lower in a green colt’s mouth so that he learns to pick it up himself and carry it (usually with his tongue arched against it). Later it should be lifted a little to the standard position.
Watch for wolf teeth in the young horse. They are the vestigial teeth thought to be the evolved useless “tusks” from early horses – called wolf teeth because they look much like a small fang. Most common in colts, they are also frequently found in fillies. Most young horses lose their wolf teeth by 4 years of age. They can be an irritant to a horse wearing a bit.
After your horse has worn his bit with no pressure, start adding his ground training exercises. Start from the beginning as if he were just learning to wear his halter. The routine is the same for transitioning to a new bit as for experiencing one for the first time. Either way, the feel is different than he has experienced previously, and he must learn how to understand the new pressures.
Lateral Flex: Put reins on the bit and stand at your horse’s girth. Lop the reins over his neck. Pull the rein on the near side toward the saddle cinch area, forcing his head to his girth. (This should not be as difficult as it was the first time you tried it with a halter see Flex Training). He may object at first, feeling the bit pull on his mouth for the first time. Expect a head toss or two, but hold on until he actually comes toward your pull with his own motion and then drop the pressure on the rein like a hot potato (release). After doing this two or three times, he should become a master at bit-induced lateral softening. Don’t forget to do it on both sides.
Poll Flex: Stand in at your horse’s shoulder facing his side. With both reins in one hand (as if ready to mount) hold the reins at his neck, pull them back until his head is on the vertical and (at the same time) grab a fist full of mane to help hold that position. Hold the reins AND the mane until he relents,gives up pulling aginst the bit and comes in to you (brings his head into his chest). Release instantly. Expect him to try to force the reins to relax by tossing his head. Or he may try to walk through the bit by moving forward. Follow him but don’t let go until he lowers his head. This exercise will show him that bringing his head down in response to pull-back bit pressure will release the pressure. After a couple of times when you release, you will find that you can just hang onto the mane and he will lower his face by himself – releasing the pressure by himself. He will have found the “sweet spot” head position.
After learning to both flex laterally and come back to you with his head, he is ready to practice the same exercises with you on his back. (assuming he is rideable at this stage of training)
 

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Please please please at least lunge him or ground drive him before you get on. Some horses are very sensitive to a change and will react in a very surprising manner.

Since the curb works a bit differently than a plain snaffle, it will feel a lot different in their mouths I'm guessing.
 

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When I "upgraded" my horse's bit, I kind of just hopped on... Probably not smart. He did notice the difference and move his head a bit and act irritated for awhile. So be prepared for some irritation! Based on my experience, I'd say lunge your horse in it first.
 

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Whenever I transition a horse up to the curb from the snaffle bit, the most important thing is that they know how to neck rein already...or at least have a very good basic idea. If they are a really sensitive type, I will work for a couple of minutes on lateral flexion from the ground. If they aren't the type to freak out over the different pressures, then I just go ahead and get on.

The very first thing I do after I get on is start asking for lateral flexion with an extremely soft hand. I will pull the rein more out to the side at first (like you do with a snaffle when you are first starting them) and just let them figure it out for themselves. Some of them will resist a bit or raise their head, back up, turn the wrong way, hyperflex their neck (think rollkur), or any number of other things but I just keep that same light pressure.

They eventually do put their head in the right place and when they do, I release all pressure and give them a scratch. Then, I pick up the same rein again and do it over and over until they are flexing softly and quickly to that side. Then, I move to the other side and do the same thing. Honestly, I've never had to introduce vertical flexion on a horse when I intro the curb bit because they are already breaking at the poll from snaffle pressure.

Truthfully, I'm not a fan of putting a bit on a horse and then just letting him wander around with it for a while without actually asking him for anything. IME, that gives them adequate time to develop a really bad habit of playing with the bit.
 
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