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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone!
I have my 6 year old Quarter Horse Dude and he's in a D ring snaffle (never had anything else) and I would like to move him up to a "real" bit since we are going to start doing gymkhana in the spring. Do you have any recommendations? :lol:

Thankyou!
Sooneybear & Dude
 

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Personally I would keep him in the snaffle unless he absolutely needs a bit change. I started my colt(now gelding) in an offset dee, and he absolutely loves it and responds very well to it. I want to keep him as soft mouthed as possible, so I'm keeping him in it until he needs a change. He is four, has been under saddle for almost two years, and starts his real barrel training this year. My mare, however, runs in a Tom Thumb, which isn't necessarily a good bit but for her it works. She blows right through a snaffle.
 

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Unless you are prepared to fully train your horse in a reining style fashion, leave the "real" bit at home. There is nothing wrong with a snaffle, and if you're having difficulty controlling him in that, the answer is not a stronger bit. The only purpose of a stronger bit for events like barrel racing are to have more refined control in your turns and be able to put a nice sliding stop by twitching the reins after your run is done. If you are having to wrestle your horses head in a snaffle to get him to stop, that won't change in a curb and make him tough mouthed as all heck, resulting in harsher and harsher head gear to control him.

I think every barrel horse should have a solid reining or Dressage foundation beforehand. It would prevent a lot of accidents and neurotic horses.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He dosent respond very well to it that is why I believe he is ready for a different bit. he also needs to learn how to bend at the poll. I'm using a training fork on him and it is working for now.
 

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He dosent respond very well to it that is why I believe he is ready for a different bit. he also needs to learn how to bend at the poll. I'm using a training fork on him and it is working for now.
That logic is completely wrong. He's "ready" for a different bit when all you have to do is think about stopping or slowing your pace, and he does it. Teaching him how to break at the poll by using a stronger bit isn't going to do anything but cause you problems later on.

You wouldn't throw a ten year old in a college level math class, so don't put your horse in a stronger bit until he has the basics down pat.
 

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^^Agreed. If he isn't as responsive as he should be, then slapping a stronger bit on him is not the answer. IMHO, if he isn't completely solid, soft, and responsive with the basic cues in whatever bit you put him in, then he is nowhere near being ready to start the barrel pattern. If he is hard in the snaffle, he will seem to be more responsive in the stronger bit............for a while. But it doesn't take long for the same old problems to show up again and get worse quickly, resulting in the "need" for an even stronger bit. It is a vicious cycle that will result in a horse that blows through every bit that doesn't use pure pain and damage to stop him. By that point, the damage is already done and it may be impossible to get him soft in anything ever again. I see it all too often on barrel racers around here. "He runs through the snaffle so I put him in a curb but then he started to run through that so I put him in a twisted snaffle but then he started to run through that so I put him in a twisted gag but then he started to run through that so I put him in a double twisted wonder bit but then he started to run through that so I put him in a mechanical hackamore but then he started to run through that so I put him in a double twisted gag combo chain nose hackamore but now he's running through that. What bit should I put him in now to get him to be responsive?"

If someone had told that rider to get him responsive in the snaffle, all that trouble and pain for the horse could have been avoided.
 

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That logic is completely wrong. He's "ready" for a different bit when all you have to do is think about stopping or slowing your pace, and he does it. Teaching him how to break at the poll by using a stronger bit isn't going to do anything but cause you problems later on.

You wouldn't throw a ten year old in a college level math class, so don't put your horse in a stronger bit until he has the basics down pat.

Exactly!
 
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