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I NEVER thought I would be starting one of these threads, but here goes.

My BO has a nice gelding, that we figure is Belgian x QH, 16.2hh, lots of fun to ride, very energetic and forward. The problem is, he is not naturally sensitive, and he tends to ignore the bit out in the open. By that I don't mean he runs away with you, but he becomes hard mouthed. I detest yanking on a horses mouth. His previous owner had him in some sort of shanked bit, so the barn owner wanted to transition him back into a snaffle, so she put him in a 'happy mouth' medium thickness eggbutt, which is fine in the arena, but Its just not enough bit to make an impression out in the open, at faster speeds.

If it were my horse, I would consider investing the time to really get him soft in a snaffle, but he's not mine, and it would be more convenient to find a bit he likes and responds to. He tends to be a bit chewer, and isn't particularly fond of a single joint snaffle(or any bit I've seen) his tack fits great, his bit is the right size and his teeth get an A+ from the vet. While a few different people ride him, all are intermediate-experienced, with good seats and soft hands, but he doent seem to improve in this snaffle.

so what would you recommend? He moves off your leg not too bad, does not neck rein, and is very forward. I've ridden other horses in various solid curbs, a tom thumb and of course, many snaffles. After a few weeks of riding in a tom thumb as a teenager when the horses owner insisted the horse had to wear one, I developed a huge dislike of the way this bit works, and all the info I've gathered since has solidified this opinion. I will never ride in one again, or willingly put one on a horse.
so I was looking for suggestions for a bit that was fairly mild, but a step up from a snaffle, that worked well for direct reining and came in a size 5.5". any ideas?
 

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you could use a narrower bit, for one thing. LIke a French link that is not a thick one. it has bit more bite. Sometimes a horse will have a low palatte, and folk think that putting in a thick bit will be nicer to the hrose, but the horse is actually feeling "gagged" by the thick bit and will be mouthing and struggling with it a lot. that is not to say it's the only reason a hrose is "mouthy" with a bit.



but, a narrower bit (thinnner diameter, I mean) might help.


also, in my experience, a horse cannot lean on a loose ring as easily as he can on a D or eggbut .

or, a Pelham or Kimberwick.
 

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You riding English? Use a Pelham (mullen mouth Stainless Steel). I like this bit because you can use the upper rein as a snaffle (and it has that effect) and the lower rein as a curb. You ride off the upper as much as you can but out in open country with the Huntsman blowing "gone away" you can add curb rein pressure.

This is assuming you ride English and can learn to use two reins.

If he tends to open his mouth to evade the bit, the pelham is not as good a choice. In that case a flash or drop nose band and a narrower snaffle or even one with a slow twist can be your friend.
 
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