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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

Im trying to find a good bit to show my WP Trained QH in. I bought him from a dealer who was going to send him to another auction and then who knows where he would have gone. He truly was a diamond in the rough and is an amazingly trained horse. Im still learning his buttons though. Right now Im riding him in a hinged snaffle with 7in shanks. He does really well in it. It has independant motion so I can ask for shoulder movement but usually Im riding him in this two handed.
When I switch to riding one handed as this will be how Im going to show him he doenst respond as well when I "check" him or "bump" him for a correct head set. I dont know if that is the right termology but I hope you get what Im saying. I will get the correct head set with this bit but I end using a bigger movement with my hands that I know will be noticable in the show ring. He goes on a really loose rein and I dont want to take in more rein just to occasionally remind him to collect when he gets a little looky. He is a finished horse so I think he will be able to handle a straight bit but I do not know what to use or what will be legal. This will be my first year showing WP. I used to be a gamer and working cow horse so its completely different for me.
Should I move him into a snaffle to keep his mouth soft, keep him in the hinged and show in something a little more direct and if so what? Your opinions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!!!
 

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I don't know what the rules say about showing in a snaffle. I think AQHA horses are not allowed to show in a snaffle past 5 years old (not positive). If you are looking for the next step up for a really broke horse, I suggest a medium port grazing bit with short shanks. They are great for riding one handed. Here is a bit almost exactly like what I use on my finished horses. The swivel shanks allow correction when needed but the mouth is solid.
Or if you are more interested in keeping him in the broken mouth, you could always look at the Myler or Billy Allen mouth bits.
 

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Well first of all if it's a true snaffle you're using, it wouldn't have shanks. Snaffles are direct contact bits that work without using leverage. It doesn't have anything to do with the mouthpiece. So if you're using a bit with 7 inch shanks, or any shanks for that matter, it's a curb bit and should only be used with one hand. When you ride with direct contact in a curb bit, it hinders it's intended performance and wont work correctly. Here's the two bits I used when showing wp and I had the best results with them:
Myler Dee Bit MB04 - Smith Brothers

This is the bit I used while training and practicing. It's a true snaffle so it's made to be used with two hands and direct contact. It's great with corrections, and the ported barrel helps a horse tuck his head under and carry himself properly.

Toklat - Horse Tack - Saddle Pads - Horse Riding Apparel - Bits - Long Shank - Level 3

This bit was the bit I used during an actual show. It has virtually the same mouthpiece as the snaffle, but with a slightly higher port. The higher the port and the longer the shanks, the less hand movement is needed to create leverage and get the right result. Just be sure to only use this bit with one hand and loose contact, and the snaffle for any corrections you need to make. The shank bit works great for many finished wp horse because it's very humane and effective, but it can be very harsh if you're using direct contact. Hope this helps!
 

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Wow, All of these bits were along the lines of what I had in mind. Here is a pic of what I use now. Should I use this bit for schooling and rec riding and then switch to a ported bit when Im "working and showing" or shoud I switch over to the true snaffle like suggested? He works well in this bit but like I said it is the only one Ive tried on him. He's a nice horse and knows his stuff...........I think he'll soon figure out that I have no idea. :lol:
Your opinions are very much appreciated!!!

Ps. Here is a pic of him. Its crappy but him anyway. [/ATTACH]
 

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Wow, what a pretty boy! He'd make a nice english horse if you ever got tired of WP, lol. I bet he'd look real snazzy and do well in Dressage too.

I would try one of the solid low to medium port bits I posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
BTW- THis pic is the day I got him. He is much better condition now. Poor guy never got turnout and was so starved for attention. He has soooo much wonderful personality!! We call him Radar. (ears are kinda long)
 

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Thanks luvs2ride. Its funny cause I keep him at an all dressage barn where I work and he is the only western horse **he he** He would do training level no problem and has a really nice extended trot. I just dont have a good seat for english. Its something I will do for sure though....one saddle at a time.
 

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Aw, he is such a cutie. I would just pick a bit that works for him and use it for schooling and showing both. That way there is not the initial adjustment stage every time you switch back and forth. :)
 

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I use a correction bit for my western pleasure horses. The shanks swivel, as does the mouthpeice. It is a nice bit to transition to one-handed riding with.
 

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Horseheart, I would say choose the least amount of bit you need, or don't "over-bit" your horse. For example, if your horse could ride in a halter in lead rope, why would you ride in a curb bit if you didn't have to? Not saying your horse can or should ride in a halter or lead rope, especially not for show, but you catch my drift. Overbitting leads to discomfort or pain and resenment against working. I think the Myler barrel bits or a sweet iron grazing bit sounds like a good fit for a finished wp horse. Just remember -one hand!
 

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I like smrob's reply. There is no reason you can't use the same bit for showing and for rec riding. Typically the only difference is that the show bits are fancy and the only reason they are not used for rec riding is because owners just want to keep them clean (and most are pretty ostentatious).

If you wanted to use the same bit for both, then just get a plain one for training and rec then the same bit in a fancy finish for shows.

I use a Billy Allen mouth piece for both my shanked bit and my snaffle. I use the shanked bit for everyday riding and the snaffle when I sort or pen. The reason I use the snaffle is that, because of the fast action of penning or sorting, I'm in his mouth a lot and all other times I'm on a very loose rein.
 

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GottaRide, A Correction bit can be a pretty severe bit and IMO is a poor choice for going from a snaffle to a shanked bit. They are normally used, as the name implies, to correct a problem and not to be an everyday bit. If it works for you, that's fine but it is not for everyone.
 

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The bit your using now is what the old timers called a tom thumb. I use those quite a bit on the trail, but I don't know if you can show in them. The suggestions above are all things I'd agree to as well (hate to echo without some new info though...) What about hackamore or bosel as an alternative? Just tossin' out ideas...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey Everyone!! Thanks so much for everyones input!! It's been busy last couple days. I agree with eternal sun that I shouldnt over bit. I plan on trying a Bosal real soon to see how he does in that. Also, I dont know if he hasnt already transitioned over to a bit like a correction bit. I dont have his entire history. I choose to ride him in the hinged snaffle or Tom thumb (Thank you Qtswede) because I knew it was a good all around bit. I guess I should try it just to see how he responds to it. ** dont worry, I'll keep my hands soft **
But I guess Im just having a hard time riding him one handed. Not used to it.

So is it ok to ride him in the same bit I will show him in?? Will he get a hard mouth?? That was my issue..........the dressage barn I board at ride mostly in snaffles then do a training ride in a double once a week or so. Alot of the trainers say they dont like to always use the double.
Maybe this is where Im getting my confusion.

Thoughts??
 

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So is it ok to ride him in the same bit I will show him in?? Will he get a hard mouth?? That was my issue..........the dressage barn I board at ride mostly in snaffles then do a training ride in a double once a week or so. Alot of the trainers say they dont like to always use the double.
Maybe this is where Im getting my confusion.

Thoughts??
Hard hands make a hard mouth. So long as you have soft hands, no matter the bit, his mouth will stay soft. With WP, they like as little rein movement as possible so that shouldn't be a problem. When I put my horses in a curb though, I stay away from the hinged mouthpieces just cause every now and then I do have to get in their mouth while working cattle and I don't want anything that is harsher than needed.
 

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There's nothing wrong with showing and training in the same bit, it's just a matter of what's easier for you. While training, if you need to use two hands to practice or make corrections, it's easier on your horse's mouth to use a snaffle because, once again, curb bits are not meant to be used with two hands, and can become very harsh when they are. It depends on the type of showing you do, if it's like a state fair show or 4H you can show in a snaffle as well but for registered shows (like AQHA), I believe you can only ride in a snaffle in green horse classes. Also, of you choose to use two different bits, then make sure they're the same mouthpiece - you can have a snaffle with a low port barrel roller and a curb bit with a low port barrel roller, etc. This will make the transition from one to the other easiest on the horse.
 

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Also, of you choose to use two different bits, then make sure they're the same mouthpiece - you can have a snaffle with a low port barrel roller and a curb bit with a low port barrel roller, etc. This will make the transition from one to the other easiest on the horse.
Do you think you can show me examples of these two bits mentioned?

Thanks!! :D
 
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