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Discussion Starter #1
So I put the bridle on my little one for the first time yesterday [you can find pictures here: http://www.horseforum.com/horse-pictures/gracie-bridle-total-success-squee-xd-48439/.] I asked the same question at the end of my post, but I think more people will read something posted in the training section. If that's inappropriate, the mods can delete this. =]

Anywho, I need to get a bit for her because all I have are 5" and she needs about a 4". I don't want to start working on long-lining or anything until I have a bit that fits, but I don't know what kind to get her. I've heard a full-check is good for teaching how to steer and such when we first start out. Is that accurate? I'd like to have her in a french link or something with a roller later on but I'm not sure if I should start her in something like that. What have you done/heard that worked? Thanks in advance!

And fyi, she's 18 months, I don't plan on riding her for about another year. Once she gets a bit that fits, she'll get lunged with it [line attached to halter] about half the time she's lunged, and ponied with it on [again, ling attached to halter] about half the time she's ponied. I'd like to work on long-lining her once or twice a week.
 

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Your link did not work for me and would not come up.

I divide the bit and it's introduction into several categories.

First is the bit itself and the act of the horse wearing the bit and it being comfortable in the horses mouth.

Second is the act of putting the bit and headstall on the horse as that is different from the halter and the horse really needs to get use to this feeling.Also the horse needs to learn the correct lowering of his head and opening his mouth quietly and relaxed.

Third is the introduction of any kind of pressure that the bit will give to the horse and this is what you will spend most of your training time doing.

I think you can start long lines without a bit and I recommend that the horse get the idea of the long line without a bit first so that if there is a little panic or frustration with the first lessons, then the bit is not involved.
A simple halter is fine to introduce the long lines as the horse has a lot to think about with all the rope and new requests.

18 month old filly.
 

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I didn't introduce the bit till I was ready to climb aboard. I used a D-ring french link bit and a rope halter. I had already gotten them accustomed to giving to the halter pressure using just one one lead rope as a rein. then added the bit with a second set of reins (thats using 2 reins) one attached to the bit one to the halter. Just asking with the bit then backing it up with the halter till they figured it out. This is all with me on board, not on a lunge line. I don't think I ever lunged them or long lined them. I'm not a trainer so I'm sure I did it wrong but it worked :lol:
 

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I started Frida off in a french link snaffle and then moved up to a full cheek snaffle. I removed the noseband on the bridle at first, just recently she's been wearing a drop noseband.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll try again: http://www.horseforum.com/horse-pictures/gracie-bridle-total-success-squee-xd-48439/

When I put the bridle on Gracie, she just took it. She already knows how to lower her head for me so she lowered her head and put the bit in her mouth all on her own. There was no fuss, no frustration, no stress, no tension, nothing. She took it better than I even hoped to imagine. She also gave it back calmly. And because of the way Gracie learns, I put it back on after a few minutes of love and she took it just as well the second time.

She already knows how to lunge, so I just want to get her used to moving with a bit in her mouth without any bit pressure, so I'd be lunging using her halter.

When I introduce long-lining, it will be in just a halter at first, then it will be in a halter and bridle with the lines attached to the halter, and I'd ever so slowly introduce the bit pressure, and like Vida mentioned, using the halter to back up the bit pressure. I don't want to risk her refusing to turn and having to more or less force her with bit pressure. o_O

She already knows how to yield her body, hindquarters, and shoulders from the ground. And, if anyone thinks to bring this up, I used to long-line horses for disabled riders at a therapeutic barn so I know how to long-line and I know how to do it well. I've also taught several horses to long-line, and even one to drive. I won't be getting in over my head teaching Gracie how to.

I wasn't planning on bitting her yet, but she's so smart and so ready that I have to come up with new activities for her all the time. I'm trying to keep her occupied long enough that I don't have to get on her until she's about 3, and she's the kind of horse that can't just sit in the pasture and rot.
 

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I like anything with the full cheeks or rubber guards in a youngster, for those "just in case" moments.

I started Jynx in a basic eggbutt snaffle, which she didn't seem to like. As soon as I popped my Arab mare's loose ring french link into her mouth, she was happy as a pig in you know what. Because of the loose rings, I have the large circular rubber guards on my bit to prevent pinching, and it's extremely helpful for a youngster if you have to put a one rein stop on them but quick and they're being a bit resistant. It helps put the pressure on both sides of the entire corner lip area instead of just the corner itself.

I would definately advise a french link - most horses seem to really enjoy it, especially youngsters because it gives them something to mouth around a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I like anything with the full cheeks or rubber guards in a youngster, for those "just in case" moments.

I started Jynx in a basic eggbutt snaffle, which she didn't seem to like. As soon as I popped my Arab mare's loose ring french link into her mouth, she was happy as a pig in you know what. Because of the loose rings, I have the large circular rubber guards on my bit to prevent pinching, and it's extremely helpful for a youngster if you have to put a one rein stop on them but quick and they're being a bit resistant. It helps put the pressure on both sides of the entire corner lip area instead of just the corner itself.

I would definately advise a french link - most horses seem to really enjoy it, especially youngsters because it gives them something to mouth around a bit.
Would the rubber guards on a loose-ring snaffle really act the same way as a full-check, placing the pressure on a broader surface? Do they have french link full-cheeks? o_O

Gracie's my first trainee, and I don't want to screw her up, lol. I also have virtually no knowledge on bits and what's best for what, so this is why I want to make sure I make the right choice before forking over the money for a bit not suited for my needs. =D
 

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Gracie's my first trainee, and I don't want to screw her up, lol.
That's the great thing about horses, they are very forgiving. And yes, they do have french link full cheek snaffles. Finding one in a 4" though? Well, good luck. I've never seen anything smaller that a 4 3/4, but I've never shopped for a small mouth either.

I don't think a rubber guard would give a horse as much direction as a full cheek, but it would give some. Another option, and I can't remember what they're called, someone is bound to know on here - is that it's an adaptation of a loose ring and a full cheek combined. Sounds like it'd be perfect for starting a young horse.
 

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Yup, they make full cheek french links. To be honest, the only reason I never bought one was because I didn't feel like dealing with the keepers. I know some people don't use them, but on a young horse, I definately would.

A full cheek is definately more "directive" then just some rubber bit guards, but I found them to work great on Jynxy so I haven't had the need to advance to a different bit.

You can get 4" but you WILL have to special order it. Most tack stores only go as low as 4 and 1/2".

It sounds like you're doing ALL the right things with her, so have faith in yourself. Zierra was my first trainee when I was 14 years old (when she was born), and I think I did alright by her. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for boosting my confidence! Haha. =D

I'm not for sure on the size, a 4.5" might fit great, I just know a 5" is definitely too big, lol. I think I'll look into a full-cheek french unless I hear of something better. She's a very willing little girl, so I don't think I'll need anything but the gentlest bit.

I did forget about the keepers though, haha. Oh well, they aren't usually a problem until you go to clean the bridle. o_O
 

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You can use a dowel rod, or a stick - stick it in her mouth, mark it with a sharpie and measure it.

Edit*: A D-ring would work well also.
 

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Yup, like I said in the other forum since she is such a dainty girl go for a pony bit until she can fit into a normal one... they make pony bits in almost every style they make full horse bits in...
 

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For lateral pressure, you can use a full cheek, a fulmer (A full cheek with a loose ring) or a D ring.

I like to start a horse in a french link and you can never find any of the above in a french link so I started in a plain loose ring french link, and now have her in a loose ring myler comfort snaffle, which she loves.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Okay cool. It sounds like a french link is a-okay to start with. Good deal, I'm feeling pretty good about myself for guessing right, lol.

I think I'll start long-lining her in halter before I buy a bit and see how well she responds to turning and such to see if I should go with a full-cheek or a D-ring french link. Like Macabre pointed out, keepers are a pain, so if I can avoid them, I will. =P

Thanks for your input everyone, I really appreciate it!
 

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^ A D ring french link was exactly what I was looking for but couldn't find - Of course I started her and then a week ago went into a tack shop and found one! Lol! But she is going well in her loose ring anyway.

Also, if you end up going for a loose ring or eggbut - make sure you put a lip strap on the bit to stop it pulling through in an emergency or a stubborn greenie moment.
 

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A lip strap is just like a leather curb strap. They're often used in Western as well to link the shanks together for a horse that's lippy with them. It just connects the rings underneath the chin to prevent it from being pulled through.

Realistically it's much more efficient then rubber bit guards (although if you go the loose ring method, I'd highly advise them as the action of the rings can pinch the corners of the mouth in a youngster if they get silly) and I'm a little ashamed I never thought of it, haha. Definately good advice though!
 

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^ Lol! I can't use the bit guards in the show ring so I use a lip strap. I put one on every snaffle I use if it is a loose ring or eggbut.
 
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