View Full Version : OTTB tension with bit question

Cruise Control
Nov. 5, 2010, 08:11 PM
I got a new OTTB. She is 8 years old, sound and has been let down. She has nice manners, mostly a quiet attitude, just attentative to things, not nervous. I have retrained several other OTTB horses, but it has been awhile.
The problem that I am having with her is her "mouthing or chomping" her bit and putting tension on it all the time. i do not set my hands against her because i do not want her to brace against me. She is not inverting her neck when she does things, mostly just tension and pulling, but not with her head up or down if you understand whast I mean. I put her on circles and am doing alot of walk work and walk trot transitions. She is not too nervous or forward under saddle, but I would like to get her to relax through the mouth so I can teach her to bend and be softer. Does anyone have any experience or ideas wit this type of situation?
Thanks very much.

Nov. 6, 2010, 12:31 AM
The chomping gets worse with my OTTB with specific bits - have you tried several to see how she reacts to them without even riding her in them? My guy gapes his mouth open and sticks his tongue out as if he were choking if I attempt to put a single jointed, heavy or thick bit in his mouth. With a smaller bit that he still didn't overly like he was a chompmaster. With lighter and thinner bits, happy mouths and some others, he is quiet with his mouth.

As for the pulling - do you mean stretching forward? She just hasn't been educated to the bit yet. Some ground driving may help you, and definitely continue not bracing as you said you have done so far. Once she gets it, she'll give you all she has if she's typical of an OTTB, but right now she's probably trying to figure out what the heck you're doing!

Nov. 6, 2010, 03:38 PM
After many years I have figured out that my OTTB loves his happy mouth mullen!! I second that my horse hates any jointed type bits and when I need more brakes he get a pelham. He actually prefers it. My dentist also has found old bone spurs on his bars so that has a lot to do with the type of bits we use also.
Highly recommend happy mouth bits.

Nov. 6, 2010, 03:46 PM
Mine does better with mullen bits, elevator, Pelhams and bits that have a curb action. He hates snaffles and bits that break in the middle.
He's also OTTB.
When I do rarely use something which works on the bars of the mouth, it is the mullen mouth or a bit with a third piece in the center to prevent it from poking his poll. But, usually I use an elevator or Pelham as he seems more relaxed with this type of bit. He also works well in a short shanked Mikmar.
I had another Tb, not off- track with the same preferences.

Nov. 6, 2010, 09:57 PM
Try a hackamore! Not all horses like them, but it's worth a try. Especially in a ottb, it takes the whole 'leaning on the bit' thing out of the equation.

Nov. 6, 2010, 10:16 PM
Mine goes great in a happy mouth double jointed dee or loose ring. The milder the bit the better he goes even though he does get strong, he resists the happy mouth less. I do always ride in a figure 8 to keep his mouth closed.

Cruise Control
Nov. 6, 2010, 10:24 PM
Thank you for all of the replies.
I think i will try a happy mouth mullen! I had for got about happy mouth bits. Our tack shop is having a huge sale this weekend.:winkgrin:
I was just talking with my friend this weekend and she has a hackamore and a bitless bridle that the uses on her appendix with mouth issues. My mare had just been seen by the dentist prior to me getting her. I am going to borrow these from her to try also.

Nov. 7, 2010, 09:22 AM
I experimented with bits for awhile on the longe line - it allowed me to see how he held the bit without contact interfering. Remember to experiment with different widths and thicknesses, also, as this can make a difference. Once I found one he held happily on the longe line and started riding him in it, about a month later we were back to the mouth fidgeting. It was his way of evading contact - he never hollowed or anything, would just open his mouth to get away from it. As a result, he now schools in a loose flash noseband but is perfectly fine showing without it. The bit I use is the Myler Triple Barrell. It is only throught the Myler slot on the cheek peice, not the reins - as I found that gave me tooo much leverage and he would curl.