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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the process of trying to turn around a 10yr old pony in the next 6 days (the woman who owns my barn said if she sees progress by then she'll buy him, otherwise he's going back). I usually ride him in a 4-ring elevator bit, with the reins on the first gag ring (the one right beneath the loose ring), and while he responds pretty well to it, I get a lot of "false contact", where he'll pull his chin in, but he won't really drop his poll. Other than that he listens to it (for the most part).

Yesterday I tried him in a boucher, and we didn't have a very fun ride. He wouldn't pay attention to me at all, would barely listen to my half-halts, etc. But, he did drop his poll and come into the contact very nicely... but only briefly.

I was thinking of trying something new today, or just going back to the elevator, but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on good bits for this type of situation. Any responses would be greatly appreciated!
 

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How about switching it all the way up on him and try riding in a rope halter/sidepull/hack? Sometimes just switching things up makes the turn around easier for them. IE: This is a bit. Doesn't matter which bit. I brace against this. This is a halter. But wait, where is the bit to brace on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Corinowalk -- I don't think he'd respond well to a bitless bridle.. I hack him bareback quite frequently with just a halter and lead line and he doesn't listen to me whatsoever with that :p Thanks though.

JustDressageIt -- Not a fan of gag bits? Haha. I've just been using them cause my trainer uses them on most of her horses, and they're the most easily accesible bits at the barn. I'll try putting him in a full-cheek today though.

I went back to the elevator bit the day after I posted this, and he actually responded really well to it and worked really nicely. I'm totally open to trying new things though :)
 

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The only problem I see with switching bits is that the horse needs time to get used to the bit before it can work properly. If you keep switching, especially to a harsher bit just to get a response the first time, the horse will get a hard mouth.

In my opinion, if the horse does not respond to whatever bit, it's a training issue. Go back to the basics and get the horse more supple or soft to the bit. I agree with JustDressageIt, go back to a regular snaffle and get him to respond correctly.

Also, 6 days isn't a lot of time to get the horse to turn around. If the horse is new to the barn, it needs time to get adjusted to it's new surroundings, new schedule, new owners, new handling, etc., which could be part of your problem.
 
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