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It depends on the horse. My mares are really laid back, So I just use full cheek snaffles on them, My gelding has some attitude, so I used the Imus Comfort that is shown above. My friend who also rides foxtrotters likes to use a 2" Correction bits.
 

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I'm gonna post here since it's already being talked about, but why do most gaited horse owner ride their horses in such bit ported shank bits. I know someone who has Paso Finos, and he rides them in a Colombian style spoon bit, and I was just wondering why. Can they be ridden or shown in a normal snaffle, or do they have to have a shank type bit, and what does the shank type bit do that maybe a snaffle couldn't that would make it more reasonable to ride with a shank bit. Just curious, as I am not that knowledgable about gaited horses.
 

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Most gaited horses move with a little higher head set than the quarter horse folks. Gaited horses don't roll peanuts with their nose.

So gaited horses bits need to get the horses to carry their head slightly higher and break at the poll. They ride with a slight amount of contact with the mouth, Not a loose rein. This creates a pivot point for the horse.

The gaited breeds typically had a lot of head shake as they get into their gait. The bit stays put, but the head shakes and the pivot point of the shake is the bit. Go over to Youtube and search for Foxtrotter or other gaited breds and watch a couple of the videos and see how the head rocks back and forth at that pivot point over the bit.

So most trainers and riders. Don't need a lot of leverage. But rather want something that gives them that constant soft contact with the mounth.


Traditionally shanked bits were used with gaited horses because the horses were trained to go with an inverted frame but highly tucked headset. This is difficult to accomplish with a snaffle bit, but easy to do with a curb.

The leverage is not harsh, but is a mechanical aid for the horse that helps him to shift his weight rearward, round up through the back, and collect on the bit


This can be done with a normal snaffle, but takes more skills on the riders part and longer for the horse to learn
 

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My gaited friend with a TW claims the bit of choice for the gaited horse is the GAG BIT.. She hangs around with show people that only show TW horses.
 

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My wife uses a tom thumb on her SSH and I use a snaffle due to someone talking trash about how all walker people use shanks so to prove that person wrong I started using a snaffle and it works fine on my TWH
 

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Most gaited horses move with a little higher head set than the quarter horse folks. Gaited horses don't roll peanuts with their nose.

So gaited horses bits need to get the horses to carry their head slightly higher and break at the poll. They ride with a slight amount of contact with the mouth, Not a loose rein. This creates a pivot point for the horse.

So do they do it naturally or do they need to be made to do it??? Why do they "NEED" to do it if the horse does it natrally???

The gaited breeds typically had a lot of head shake as they get into their gait. The bit stays put, but the head shakes and the pivot point of the shake is the bit.

Do you even know what is is to "pivot"? If the bit does not move but the horses head does then the bit is not a point of pivot, it is the point of leverage and the poll is the point of pivot.

Go over to Youtube and search for Foxtrotter or other gaited breds and watch a couple of the videos and see how the head rocks back and forth at that pivot point over the bit.

So most trainers and riders. Don't need a lot of leverage. But rather want something that gives them that constant soft contact with the mounth.


Traditionally shanked bits were used with gaited horses because the horses were trained to go with an inverted frame but highly tucked headset. This is difficult to accomplish with a snaffle bit, but easy to do with a curb.

The leverage is not harsh, but is a mechanical aid for the horse that helps him to shift his weight rearward, round up through the back, and collect on the bit


So which is it? Collected or inverted?

This can be done with a normal snaffle, but takes more skills on the riders part and longer for the horse to learn

Corrected to day: This can be done in a snaffle, but it is just easier to use a leverage bit to force the horses head up and the spine to invert bringing the front end up to better "enhance" the gait.
A lot of contradictions and misinformation in that post...

I am not going on a gaited witch hunt here, I just want to answer Dressagebelle in a direct and clear way without bandying words to make one thing sound like something it is not.



DressageBelle, long shanked leverage bits are preferred in the gaited horse community to more easily cause the horse to invert and hollow its back and bring its front end out and its hind end under, this would be just all too obvious with a shorter shanked bit as the rider would have to apply more pull on the bit and make the amount of leverage used more obvious to the naked eye instead of barely having to lightly pull on a longer shanked bit and look nicer while achieving said leverage, which looks prettier than a person hauling on the reins to get the effect in a shorter shanked bit. With the long shanks, it takes only light pressure on the reins to cause a strong leverage effect on the poll and chin of the horse, causing it to hold its head high and stiff to better achieve the frame desired. With a regular snaffle this would take a lot of work and training to accomplish, so a long shank is generally easier to use for the rider or trainer.

Now these horses ARE bred to have a high headset and inverted frame, BUT the reason for the shanked bits is still the same.
 

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So do they do it naturally or do they need to be made to do it??? Why do they "NEED" to do it if the horse does it natrally???

Just as your son may be a good runner, A track coach can make him into a great runner. Gaited horses do gait naturally, but we as riders can coach the horse to improve. We can help the horse to hold the gait we desire to ride.

Do you even know what is is to "pivot"? If the bit does not move but the horses head does then the bit is not a point of pivot, it is the point of leverage and the poll is the point of pivot.


Yes I know what a pivot point is. Do you know what a head nod is? When gaited horses gait, they use their head to help balance their gait. A trotting horse does not nod his head. Since the trot acts to counterbalance itself. In fact many judges or vets look for a head nod as a sign of lameness in a trotting horse. A head nod is where the horse uses his neck and head to counter balance the moton of his hind legs. It's more of a hammer movement of the neck. Gaited horses are typically ridden with their nose at or behind the verticle. If they were pivoting at the poll, there nose would be in front of and behind verticle. We refer to breaking at the poll as a verticle flex, not a nod. With the horse nodding while gaiting, and with his face staying at or behind verticle, the bit becomes the pivot point. This is way gaited riders maintain contact with the horses mouth. They typically don't ride with loose reins. but rather maintain light contact. The rider holds steady hands. They are not moving forward and back in time with the head nod. The hands should be held still. So if the hands are not moving and you have tight reins with mounth contact, and the horses head is Nodding, The pivot point becomes the bit.

So which is it? Collected or inverted?
This can be done in a snaffle, but it is just easier to use a leverage bit to force the horses head up and the spine to invert bringing the front end up to better "enhance" the gait


The horse is collected on the bit to get the horse to come to verticle or slightly behind the verticle. This raising of the head and tucking the nose behind verticle causes the back to invert which you descrbe as bringing the front end up and enhancing the gait.

There is an old TWH saying "That if he's not shaking, he's not walking" But not all gaited horses nod or shake their head. Paso don't nod, Rocky Mountain Horses don't nod. Their gaits don't require the head nod to counterbalance the leg motions. Many foxtrotter and TWH don't nod or have very small nods. So it's not manditory but most judges like to see it.
 

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Ok... I guess I add to all that :hide:

I ride a RMH on trails. I don't show so the fancy head carriage is unimportant to me. I like a nice gait and to do that you do have to have some semblance of collection. I do use a curb bit. Emphasis on curb, meaning that the curb chain is what cues the horse to tuck its head and bend at the poll, not me hauling on her mouth with the reins.
I've had the Brenda Imus comfort bit and when I first got it, I and Vida loved it. Unfortunately the quality was poor and it started to separate enough at the copper nut in the middle that I was afraid it would start pinching the tongue. I think she has gotten most of her quality problems under control but I never ordered another and stopped using the one I have. I'm of the 'only bit to what the horse needs instead of the bit up' school of thought. Vida does well in a short shank bit that gives tongue relief and works off of the pressure on the bars and curb.
At the moment I have her in a level one Myler with a comfort snaffle mouthpiece with a short shank and double chain curb. She is happy and relaxed in it.
I also believe a horse should be working well off of an indirect rein (neck reining) when you go to a shanked bit. I do like a swivel shank so I can direct rein if needed.

it looks like this, its also a good bit to transition a horse from a snaffle to a curb.
Sorry, I'll get off the soap box now :lol:

ETA- mine has the wider barrel in the center than the one in the photo
 

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So do they do it naturally or do they need to be made to do it??? Why do they "NEED" to do it if the horse does it natrally???

Just as your son may be a good runner, A track coach can make him into a great runner. Gaited horses do gait naturally, but we as riders can coach the horse to improve. We can help the horse to hold the gait we desire to ride.

Do you even know what is is to "pivot"? If the bit does not move but the horses head does then the bit is not a point of pivot, it is the point of leverage and the poll is the point of pivot.


Yes I know what a pivot point is. Do you know what a head nod is? When gaited horses gait, they use their head to help balance their gait. A trotting horse does not nod his head. Since the trot acts to counterbalance itself. In fact many judges or vets look for a head nod as a sign of lameness in a trotting horse. A head nod is where the horse uses his neck and head to counter balance the moton of his hind legs. It's more of a hammer movement of the neck. Gaited horses are typically ridden with their nose at or behind the verticle. If they were pivoting at the poll, there nose would be in front of and behind verticle. We refer to breaking at the poll as a verticle flex, not a nod. With the horse nodding while gaiting, and with his face staying at or behind verticle, the bit becomes the pivot point. This is way gaited riders maintain contact with the horses mouth. They typically don't ride with loose reins. but rather maintain light contact. The rider holds steady hands. They are not moving forward and back in time with the head nod. The hands should be held still. So if the hands are not moving and you have tight reins with mounth contact, and the horses head is Nodding, The pivot point becomes the bit.

So which is it? Collected or inverted?
This can be done in a snaffle, but it is just easier to use a leverage bit to force the horses head up and the spine to invert bringing the front end up to better "enhance" the gait


The horse is collected on the bit to get the horse to come to verticle or slightly behind the verticle. This raising of the head and tucking the nose behind verticle causes the back to invert which you descrbe as bringing the front end up and enhancing the gait.

There is an old TWH saying "That if he's not shaking, he's not walking" But not all gaited horses nod or shake their head. Paso don't nod, Rocky Mountain Horses don't nod. Their gaits don't require the head nod to counterbalance the leg motions. Many foxtrotter and TWH don't nod or have very small nods. So it's not manditory but most judges like to see it.

Thank you, I know what a head nod is and why they do it, but what does that have to do with anything I posted, or the bit used? Nice picking and choosing there PH. I was just Un muddling/candy coating what you posted so it could be understood for what it is, not what someone wants it to appear to be. As I said I wasn't trying to make a stink, but your information was wrong and I thought I would clear it up for someone who does not work with gaited horses.
 

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My two cents

I use a snaffle - We trail ride almost exclusively and it seems to work great. When get to wide spots or logging roads he'll still gait just fine.

Good information in the other posts to this thread.
 

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I ride everything with a curb...I dont like anything Bredna Imus does, or has to say, but we do have a couple of her bits, and the horses do like them, and its all about what the horse likes...

we mainly ride, a Brenda Imus bit, a Wonder bit, or a Myler Comfort Level 2 bit...however with young horses we may use a tom thumb, or a double broken chain bit...

personally i like the Myler bits, but I really like to start out a horse with a Wonder bit, b/c of the range of motion the center piece has in the mouth and the way it rotates with the horse when he/she tucks their head...

Nate
 

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I don't. I use a sidepole on Rico or just a halter ^^

But if I had to use one on him, I would use a copper-mouth snaffle. Just so he can have something to keep him busy while he's trying to figure out what the hell is in his mouth. But then again, he's enver had a bit before.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So the Brenda's Imus bit is good for Saddleseat? Sorry, I probably sound really stupid. He's western right now in a Eggbutt Snaffle and I really wanna switch him to Saddleseat, but I'm really confused on what bit I should use. My trainer wants to switch him to a Wonder bit, but all the negative press about that bit scares me. My friend with other Tennessee Walkers just uses a walking horse bit, but I hear that that bit is pretty harsh.
 

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I tried a Wonder Bit on my trail horses a couple years back (both were non-gaited at the time). I felt like it gave my horses spongy brakes. So I think, at least with gentle hands, they are less severe than a non-gag bit of the same length of shanks and same mouthpiece. In other words, I think the gag action makes the bit softer than if it didn't have the gag action. That only comes from my experience trying it on two horses though, so it may not be the same way for every horse. I wouldn't be afraid of it though, at least not from the stand point of it being too severe.

I have been trying to find just the right bit for my Foxtrotter and finally decided she likes a very short shanked curb bit with a solid mouthpiece and solid (non-swivel) shanks best. She also does pretty good in a Sliester mechanical hackamore with a flat leather noseband and a milder curb chain that the one it comes with.
 
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