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Which bit and style bridle should I use?!

479 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  beau159
HELP!! My new horse Leo has proven to be a bit more trouble than he’s worth recently, and I’ve done everything I can think of except changing bridle styles and experimenting with bits that I’ve never used/owned. This bad boy loves to throw his head straight up in the air, open his mouth to evade the bit, or his new favorite: turn into a bucking bronco if I ask for him to slow his roll or just simple stand still.
I’ve had his teeth floated, got a licensed chiropractor (a vet in our area) to work on him, and have made sure that his saddle fits. So at this point, I’m gonna pray it’s his “headgear”.

We’ve tried the bits that his first owner suggested (simple jointed eggbutt & D-ring snaffles), one that his last owner used (a copper mouthed Tom Thumb; I refused to use the other one they would sometimes throw in his mouth: a copper double twisted wire snaffle), and I’ve tried my Kimberwick. He throws a fit if he has a tight curb, and shanks made him ultra upset. I like to ride with a light, soft hand, but this guy will just continuously trot extremely fast if you don’t keep a good bit of pressure on his mouth.

We use a padded monocrown english bridle by Dover with a basic noseband. The band doesn’t tighten up enough to completely keep his mouth shut though.

Normally, I’d try trial and error like I’ve done in the past, but he has become a ticking time bomb under saddle and I’m not all that eager to be thrown off OR cause more damage. Please help!!!
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Did he start this issue before having his teeth floated? If it started shortly after, I'd have him checked to make sure something didn't get cracked or damaged by mistake.

First I would start by seeing what bit he will carry nicely on his tongue with a closed mouth, before putting any pressure on it. If he chomps, chews or throws his head, try a different style. The most important factor is the mouthpiece. It sounds like all the ones you have been trying are single-jointed. He might have a sensitive tongue, or have recently injured his tongue if he was fine with these bits before.

You could try a bit that has tongue relief, such as a ported mullen mouth. Double jointed bits will apply more tongue pressure, so if the tongue is the problem that will be worse.

You say he is a new horse, so if he did not have this issue with his previous owner, it's possible you are riding him in a different style than he is used to (i.e., using direct vs neck reining, or riding with constant contact) or your hands are too harsh for him.

How long have you had him? Perhaps you need to go back a few steps and slow down, making sure he is responding well to you from the ground, going very slowly at the walk and responding to all your cues, and then only adding faster speeds when he is soft and responsive. Often a new horse and rider combo have to learn each others' language.
 

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The bucking started around ride 4 after his teeth were floated. Found out after purchase he had a history of bucking with the first owner. Everything else was already present. When I purchased him, the last owner had only owned him for 4 months and barely touched him. She lunged him into the ground before tossing her teenager on him. Said he was just out of practice and liked to trot fast as soon as you get on. Turns out, he’s just a runaway train as soon as you get on: starts trotting immediately or backs up in every direction nonstop if you try to make him stand. I struggle to get him to just walk and you can forget standing quietly while under saddle. I just want to take a relaxed ride with basic groundwork.
I’ve read that the Myler ported bits are good. I’m definitely going to give that a try! I think you are right and that a Mullen mouth is gonna be my best bet!

Did he start this issue before having his teeth floated? If it started shortly after, I'd have him checked to make sure something didn't get cracked or damaged by mistake.

First I would start by seeing what bit he will carry nicely on his tongue with a closed mouth, before putting any pressure on it. If he chomps, chews or throws his head, try a different style. The most important factor is the mouthpiece. It sounds like all the ones you have been trying are single-jointed. He might have a sensitive tongue, or have recently injured his tongue if he was fine with these bits before.

You could try a bit that has tongue relief, such as a ported mullen mouth. Double jointed bits will apply more tongue pressure, so if the tongue is the problem that will be worse.

You say he is a new horse, so if he did not have this issue with his previous owner, it's possible you are riding him in a different style than he is used to (i.e., using direct vs neck reining, or riding with constant contact) or your hands are too harsh for him.

How long have you had him? Perhaps you need to go back a few steps and slow down, making sure he is responding well to you from the ground, going very slowly at the walk and responding to all your cues, and then only adding faster speeds when he is soft and responsive. Often a new horse and rider combo have to learn each others' language.
 

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It sounds like you need to go back to the beginning with him. You'll need to find his holes as well as correct the habits he's accumulated. Best would be to have a good instructor that's started horses and can work with you together once he's back to a point that you can get on without all of the extra you didn't bargain for.
 

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Back to square one with this one.
You've eliminated pain and discomfort...or have you? :unsure:

What you haven't eliminated is training issues or lack of training or incorrect training.
Some horses do not know to stand quietly, do anything quietly, they were not trained to do so. As soon as weight touched the stirrup they were kicked into high-gear and fast motion or were punished.
No nice hands but a punishing grip on the sensitive face may be what he has known, not kindness.
A broken tooth, bad surface left behind, to close to a nerve...there are many reasons a recheck I would ask for since it is after the word done he has truly given you problems.

His mouth not closing correctly makes me wonder if the bit is wrong in thickness, diameter and indeed style to fit his oral cavity properly.
Horses have to be taught to close and keep closed their mouth many times when you put a bit in it...some horses just don't have the space if a low palette or fleshy tongue to allow them a fully closed mouth...individual build here you must work with and investigate.

You say he was worked on by the chiro/vet......
Did the chiro/vet watch this horse in action and see what it is you are dealing with?
A head tosser, a bronc and one who not stand still....
All are very connected and one I've seen in my past who did these did so because his feet hurt.....
Once his feet were taken care of and addressed the other issues magically stopped....
The horses did not want a bridle meant he had to move and his feet hurt.
It hurt him to stand, intensified the hurt to move so he moved as fast as possible hoping to out-run the pain.
He bucked cause he did not want to work...to rid the rider and not have to work = feet not hurt as much.
All that horse needed was to be trimmed differently and he wore shoes and needed to be nail placed in different holes to not trip the foot nerves sore...xrays for that one.
Something to investigate...:unsure:

Some other things....
If he is loose in t/o does he move, run & play? Buck?

Have you been able to really groom his head and he lower his head for that so a close inspection for small sore is seen?

I do have to wonder if he not have a neck nerve being compromised that is exacerbated with what you do as a rider.
Those nerves start at the poll and run from their....

Do you know if he has ever been hit between the ears while ridden or from the ground?
Some "equestrians" seem to do this to stop a horse from head going up or pronging {buck}....he could of been injured by a action like that..
Is the headstall of his bridle wide enough a strap it not fall into the space between skull and top of the neck vertebrae and is in reality placed properly in that space?
Those things thought about in how you do might be a contributing factor to some of what is happening...

My gut says look at the hooves and make sure all is good their too...
Sore feet can make a animal a horror to handle or ride.

Would love to know what you do discover...but nerve pain from hoof or neck/spinal is well on my radar as is his training he endured or has huge gaping holes in.
🐴.... jmo...
 

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HELP!! My new horse Leo has proven to be a bit more trouble than he’s worth recently,

When I purchased him, the last owner had only owned him for 4 months and barely touched him.
How old is Leo?
How many owners has he been passed around by?
How long have YOU had him?


This bad boy loves to throw his head straight up in the air, open his mouth to evade the bit, or his new favorite: turn into a bucking bronco if I ask for him to slow his roll or just simple stand still.

Found out after purchase he had a history of bucking with the first owner.

he’s just a runaway train as soon as you get on:

Normally, I’d try trial and error like I’ve done in the past, but he has become a ticking time bomb under saddle and I’m not all that eager to be thrown off OR cause more damage.
So you purchased a horse that has a known history of some serious training errors (bucking and uncontrollable).

Did the previous owner lie to you? (and you found out after?)
Did you ride the horse before you purchased him?


I’ve had his teeth floated, got a licensed chiropractor (a vet in our area) to work on him, and have made sure that his saddle fits. So at this point, I’m gonna pray it’s his “headgear”.
I'm glad you've checked some of these other things out, but headgear is NOT your problem.

He needs training. And lots of it. You need to go back to ground zero and restart him as if he were a colt that has never been ridden before. He has some serious holes that are dangerous and will only be fixed by doing that.

Changing headgear won't work because if he has learned to evade the bit, he'll just learn to do that with whatever different bit you choose. And the problems will continue.

If you are not qualified to re-train him, then find a GOOD trainer you can send him to for 90 days and then see where you are at.


I like to ride with a light, soft hand, but this guy will just continuously trot extremely fast if you don’t keep a good bit of pressure on his mouth.
Again, training issue. He doesn't understand how to have his speed controlled. And holding constant pressure on his mouth like that will continue to develop a dull mouth that braces against the bit.

We use a padded monocrown english bridle by Dover with a basic noseband. The band doesn’t tighten up enough to completely keep his mouth shut though.
While I primarily ride Western, I do dabble in English, and I'm always appalled that folks will actually use the band to FORCE the horse's mouth SHUT when riding. I'm sorry, but that should be a huge red flag right there that something is wrong with the horse's training, if a person needs to strap the horse's mouth shut. JMO.
 
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