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Discussion Starter #1
My mare Ruby has been in the same bit for ages, and I've never had a problem with her not responding, but lately, she's been doing just that. She's our beginner's horse, and right now I have a novice friend showing her, so it's especially important that she do what she's asked.
Here's the bit that she's currently in:


She's not entirely ignoring direction, it just takes alot more to get her to turn. I do have her trained to stop with just voice commands (it's a safety measure I took, so that if I'm riding another horse, and whoever is riding her can't get her to stop for whatever reason, I can just say "Whoa" and she stops dead in her tracks. Comes in handy from time to time.), so I don't worry too much about her running off with her rider, but as it is, I have to haul her head around to get her to turn.

Any suggestions?
 

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I'd go back to basics with her and get her working of leg and neck reining cues more. You need to ride her and teach your novice rider to use the same leg cues. For turning, a horse in this kind of shanked bit should only need a neck rein, so the bit shouldn't come in to play anyway.

If your riders are direct reining her some, then I'd put her in something like one of these:
Charmayne James Short Shank Three Piece Dogbone Bit
Avila Mechanical Hackamore Floral Bit
Reinsman Ring Combo Hackamore
Slick Fifty Bit by Tom Balding
Reinsman California Pleasure Kimberwicke - reins in the bottom slot, add a curb chain and hooks (hooks go from those little tiny holes at the top of the bit, under the headstall slot).

(from the bridle and reins, I'm assuming your running barrels or other speed/playday events)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd go back to basics with her and get her working of leg and neck reining cues more. You need to ride her and teach your novice rider to use the same leg cues. For turning, a horse in this kind of shanked bit should only need a neck rein, so the bit shouldn't come in to play anyway.

If your riders are direct reining her some, then I'd put her in something like one of these:
Charmayne James Short Shank Three Piece Dogbone Bit
Avila Mechanical Hackamore Floral Bit
Reinsman Ring Combo Hackamore
Slick Fifty Bit by Tom Balding
Reinsman California Pleasure Kimberwicke - reins in the bottom slot, add a curb chain and hooks (hooks go from those little tiny holes at the top of the bit, under the headstall slot).

(from the bridle and reins, I'm assuming your running barrels or other speed/playday events)
She does sort of neck rein, but her leg cues are rusty. Like I said, she's mostly a kid's pony, and for people that have never ridden a horse before, and I've found that the easiest thing for newbies to understand is direct reining. The girl riding her now, I've been encouraging her to use more neck reining and leg cues (she knows how, since she's had riding lessons at a local stable), but Ruby is still pretty rusty on them, so we still use a lot of direct reining on her.
Ruby is 100% trail horse, through and through... she honestly believes that barrels should be reserved for eating out of. So no speed events for her. :lol: The only shows she's entered in are open Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, and halter.

I've actually tried using a Hackamore on her, but she won't stand for it. Pitches a royally huge fit and refuses to let the device anywhere near her, and I don't really have the time or interest to get her used to it and train her to respond to it right now.
I have a Kimberwicke around here somewhere that I tried on my pony colt once... If it's not too small for her, I might give that a shot.
Thank you. :D
 

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That's a pretty strong bit in the hands of a beginner and 100% wrong for direct reining - that, plus the fact that I don't see a curb strap, may be your problem with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's a pretty strong bit in the hands of a beginner and 100% wrong for direct reining - that, plus the fact that I don't see a curb strap, may be your problem with her.
She's never had a problem with it before; when we bought her, the last owner gave us her bit, and I never changed it because she always responded to it (until now).
And it usually does have a curb strap; I just swapped it back to her usual headstall before the picture (I was having a buckle replaced). Guess I just forgot to put it back on. She's ridden fine without one before, too, though.
 

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I agree, this bit is a very interesting choiceto be using with beginners' hands; it's probably the reason behind her "not listening" now as well, her mouth has probably been hardened a bit.
I do agree that it is 100% the wrong bit to be using direct rein on, and I would HIGHLY suggest you look into getting a simple snaffle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would also suggest having her teeth looked at. Senior horses often need more frequent and more specialized dental work.
Well she just had her teeth floated... last month, I believe. I'd have to check. But it wasn't long ago. The thought was the first thing to cross my mind. And she's only 11, not really a senior yet.
 

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While what I know about western could fit on a pin with room to spare, there are certain basics that apply to all riding (and life in general).

Work in= performance out.

You don't like the performance you're getting, change what you're doing in terms of training. Bitting up won't help.
 

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i agree with JDI. i would get her a simple snaffle (with a french link if she prefers it.. my mare wont stand a single jointed bit)

the bit is nice, but in kind hands. probably not the best choice for beginners, and certainly not appropriate for neck reining.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have found her another bit... a dogbone. It's working well for her, so we'll be keeping her in that.

And maybe I wasn't very clear, but the girl riding her now has been riding Ruby for awhile, and is anything but hard on her. She's always used the very lightest of touches, and it's only lately that she's had problems, and only in the arena. She's not such a beginner that she jerks and pulls, and she's had riding lessons before.

At any rate, thank you for your kind advice.
 

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I had the same problem for the first 6 monthys of having my horse & This may sound really stupid, but it solved the problem in my 23yr old tb mare...


I pulled the bit off completely and put her into a hackamore, it took a little getting used to for her, she was confused as ever, backing up instead of going forwards, left instead of right, you get the idea, but after 20 minutes of quiet, soft attempts, and we were jumping in it the next day, she is now better than she ever was before.. she also used to bolt like there was a wolf hangin on to her tail (funny that though as we dont have wolves in NZ lol)
But it has also stopped that aswell, and you say you have beginners/novices on her? I think the hackamore would be an idea to consider as then the riders won't accidently pull on her mouth and hurt her.

Good luck :)
This is bubbles now... 4th time being ridden in hackamore

first time actually going ovcer 90cm... before she used to refuse constantly.


^ Then when i dont release because im expecting a refusal, I don't feel quite so guilty about hurting her mouth. It's BRILLIANT :D

You can't see hackamore very well in these pics, but you get the idea :)
http://www.horseforum.com/PhotoAlbu...&PhotoId=10934274605&PhotoAlbumId=10934261581
 

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You put THAT in her mouth?! Owy. I have heard that some horses will be fine with a bit for an ammount of time, but then decide for a change.
 

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My apologies, didn't read the entire post. You sound like you know what you're doing, I've recently been enlightened on the effects of different bits and am having a hard time coming to terms with it! Some can be extremely painful.

Good Luck
 
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