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My favorite curb for a horse who likes to have a busy mouth is anything with a copper roller in it. My personal favorit bit, and my horse's favorite - ok both of thier favorites, is a medium port, sweet iron, with a copper roller, and short grazing shanks. This looks a bit like a mosterous bit, but is actually very mild. The horses love to play with the roller and helps keep them happy. The bent shafts gives a 'warning' between my picking up the reins and engaging the bit - I don't usually have to engage it because they pick up on the 'warning' and move off.

I say 'they' but I only used it on my trained gelding... the two year old filly will sometimes steel the bit as I am going to bridle him so she can have it in her mouth to play with... Sigh. Silly babies. She gets ponied out on trails with us and gets a bit unhappy that the rest of the horses get all this tack and all she gets is a curcingle (spelled very very wrong).

You will also find that bits are like rear ends, everyone has one and an opinion on them. Of the 16 horses at the stable I board at, all of them are ridden western and mine is the only one not in a broken mouth piece.
 

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first question,why are you making a transition?i train and show western disciplines and the longer i can keep them in a snaffle,the better.but when i do use a curb,it's a jr.cutter or something of that nature with short shanks or cavalry shanks.i use a low port with a copper mouth,no rollers,cause some horses have a tendency to play with the roller and not pay attention to you.
 

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Billy Allen Bits

^ I really love these bits. I have recently started letting my three year old carry it around, but I will show him in the snaffle still until he is too old. I feel that they are nice mouthpieces and are effective, not having too much pinching (I ride in the first one on that page mostly, you can clip the reins to the D rings on the side for a snaffle effect if you need to, too. It's been a helpful tool for me)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
smrobs - yes, she neck reins. thanks for those links - i like to have examples to compare things to!

rob - i'm switching her because she's reached the point where we're not getting much out of the snaffle anymore. She's a very soft horse, I'm not looking for a curb to "fix" any problems, we're just at the point where we're starting to refine things and i want a bit that will allow me to be more subtle with my cues.

sorrelhorse - i've heard great things about the billy allens!
 

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Well, not that this has anything to do directly w your question, but to state the obviouse, it will save you big $$ to borrow a few of the types you think will work, and once you have identified the one that is best...buy the very best quality you can afford of that particular type. Good bits are expensive, and its a bummer when they "just don't work out" - after you bought it.
 
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personally i wouldn't move to a curb if you are simply just trying to "refine" things. move on to a bit that is still a snaffle with some shank. that still allows the horse to get have a quicker reaction time but also allows you to keep the horse for getting too stiff in the neck. it is still really important that the horse have bend and flex movement in their neck. and you for sure wont be getting much out of a curb bit.

a good option for refining your horse is a draw or a gag bit. the reason by is because unlike the o ring snaffle you have several pressure points to work with. the o ring snaffle puts pressure on a combination of places, ideally the tongue, lips and bars of the mouth. where the draw or gag bit puts the pressure more on the corners of the mouth and poll which allows you to get more control without putting as much pressure on the bars.

typically if you are wanting to refine you use a draw or gag and get them working well in it and then go right back to the milder bit, ie. the o ring snaffle.
 

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I liike srobs suggestions. I guess I'm cheap but I wouldn't want to transition my horse to bit that I wouldn't use again later on that horse. I had a head-tossing problem with my QH, "Buster" when he was a 4yo. I switched him from an eggbutt snaffle to a rubber-mouthed Pelham. I could ride him on the snaffle and begin to half-halt and halt with a curb CHAIN. It stopped the head tossing. I rode him as a 5yo (2011) with a full-cheek snaffle. I will NOT have to transition to a curb bc he already rides on one. But I don't expect him to halt or half-halt ONLY on the curb.
I expect my horses to be always manageable on some kind of simple snaffle. "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) could be ridden on a snaffle, but later in life it was always easier to ride him on a mullen-mouthed, s-shaped curb with a leather "chain", which became his everyday bridle and bit. Arabs never lose their "get up and go", ya know.
It looks a little bit like this~
Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Francois Gauthier Hinged Futurity Bit
It has fairly high purchase, and the "S" shape shanks give the rider more strength of pull--it's a physics solution. (I"m SOOO glad I bought 3 of them bc I cannot find ANYBODY who sells this bit. I've never had a horse that didn't like this bit, except for 2 horses who needed a wider version of it.)
May I suggest that you consider a Kimberwicke?
Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Kimberwyck Snaffle Slotted Bit - 4 3/4"
You can switch from snaffle to mild curb in the same session.
 

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first question,why are you making a transition?i train and show western disciplines and the longer i can keep them in a snaffle,the better.but when i do use a curb,it's a jr.cutter or something of that nature with short shanks or cavalry shanks.i use a low port with a copper mouth,no rollers,cause some horses have a tendency to play with the roller and not pay attention to you.
are the calvarly shanks the really squiggly ones? (like s shaped)? Are they more or less severe? What do they do?
 

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See - I personally don't like the basic snaffle bit. I have never found a horse who prefers it to a nice curb bit. I find that the nutcracker affect on the roof of the mouth trumps most shank bits for causing pain. If you want a nice soft bit, get a french link snaffle that won't nutcracker on the soft palet.

I also hear all the time that training will make any horse ridable in the softest bit possible, but that is just not the case. Especially for reactive horses, a person HAS to have an emergency stop ability.

I also don't like anything with a hinge at the edges of the mouthpiece, because I have had a horse get a bit of skin caught in that hinge. Needless to say, there was a wreck involved with that one.

With my shanked curb bit, I can ride with the slightest of contact and get instant responce. I get tired of people riding next to me in a 'soft' snaffle who have to use four times the pressure to get half as much out of thier horse. (Sorry - got to ranting there).
 

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Was the snaffle a simple single jointed mouthpiece?

Whenever I'm just changing the ring of the bit, I try to keep the mouthpiece the same. Like, my gelding is comfortable in a french link, so I have a dee ring, eggbut, and my curb bits with a couple different shank lengths and curves all in a french link. That eliminates whether or not she'll be comfortable in the mouthpiece. All your doing is adding leverage then.

An important thing to look for, is shanks with independent movement. Even though she already neck reins, you will have to do the occasional correction, where you'll need independent side movement, so there's a straight forward cue.
 

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farmpony,you're right about the cavalry s shanks.the purpose of the shaped shanks is you don't have to pick up very far on your reins before the bit starts working.
 

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Justa, there is no such thing as a snaffle with shanks. Anything with shanks is a curb.
I'm assuming that by "snaffle with some shank" you mean a broken mouth curb.

A snaffle is a bit with a 1:1 pressure ratio, no matter the mouthpiece, and having leverage (i.e. shanks/purchase) makes its pressure ratio greater than 1:1.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. :wink:
Posted via Mobile Device
 

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Emergency stop? This is the ability to stop a horse dead in its tracks reguardless of what is goign on. I am not talking about every day in and out stopping. For that training is the only way to go.

What I mean is when your horse has become so hysterical, for whatever reason, he is running full out and about to get you both killed. Types of things that could cause this for most horses:

Explosions
A mountain lion/bear (seen two of those in the last decade)
A tree falling
A dog tearing chunks off your horse's legs
An son of a "gun" who tosses a glass of liquid in your horse's face as they drive by

However, for a reactive horse, this list gets a lot longer...

Cows that he swears were bears
Buffalo
Chainsaws
That occasional odd looking leaf
Or, in the case of my horse, landscaping rocks

You get the idea. The point is that every once in a while - hopefully not very often (once a decade is more than enough for me) - things go terribly terribly wrong. No matter how great the training of a horse is, there are times when they are too scared to be able to think and all they can do is RUN.

If you are riding in a mild bit that normally takes medium pressure to get the horse to respond, you are dead if that animal gallops out into traffic or off a cliff, etc.

Now, I ride with a harsher bit then most. I do not engage the bit AT ALL 99.9% of the time in normal riding. My horse works off of leg pressure, seat, and rein pressure on his neck. Should the worse happen, and it has a few times in the last 12 years, he can be very reactive, I can engage that bit and stop him dead in his tracks FAST. Wreck avoided.

I see a lot of people who love to say that they can ride in a "mild bit" wind up hurt because although it works out fine in normal situations, in an emergency, they get hurt because they dont' have that extra bit of control.
 

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Justa, there is no such thing as a snaffle with shanks. Anything with shanks is a curb.
I'm assuming that by "snaffle with some shank" you mean a broken mouth curb.

A snaffle is a bit with a 1:1 pressure ratio, no matter the mouthpiece, and having leverage (i.e. shanks/purchase) makes its pressure ratio greater than 1:1.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. :wink:
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just saying around here, trainers and riders alike consider a "curb" as a bit without a broken mouthpiece. that's where my knowledge and facts play a part.
 

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sorry sunny,but i agree with jsj on this one.if your statement is true,then why do they make correction snaffles with shanks?the curb and snaffle is decided by the style of mouthpiece,not whether or not it has shanks.example,a hackamore has long shanks,but that doesn't justify it as a curb.
 

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I see a lot of people who love to say that they can ride in a "mild bit" wind up hurt because although it works out fine in normal situations, in an emergency, they get hurt because they dont' have that extra bit of control.
There are other ways to deal with emergency besides ripping off the horse's mouth. Like one-rein stop, or pooley rein. You can wind up as hurt with the wire tom thumb as you are with oval mouth snaffle if the horse runs in full fear.
 
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