View Full Version : Horse is running thru snaffle...bit suggestions?

sign of Grace
Feb. 26, 2011, 09:06 AM
I have a 10 yr old spooky Dutch WB. I've had him since he was an unbroke 2 yr old and started him myself (at 3). Bought as a H/J prospect, ended up schooling up to 3rd level dressage before I switched to LD's about 2 yrs ago.

He's been in the same eggbutt snaffle the entire time, but we need more. He's quite competitive and doesn't like other horses to pass him. Yes, that's a training issue as well as not having enough bit, however if I don't have the other people to "train" with before events, it makes it quite hard to work on correcting the problem prior to a competition. So just focusing on the bit...

I haven't bought one in SO long, I'm out of touch. Suggestions? I"m not worried about price, so give me best of the best. All the other miles with no competition around we ride on the buckle.

Bank of Dad
Feb. 26, 2011, 10:10 AM
I got a little more stop with the Mylar Comfort Bit with the curb chain on.

That said, there are some horses that just get so competitive with others in front of them. I had a seasoned 17 yr old retired 100 miler, and he was great alone and terrible with others in front of him. I didn't keep him too long.

Yours might be better with just more miles and experience.

Feb. 26, 2011, 12:12 PM
Try putting a flash noseband on him to keep his mouth closed - if you aren't already doing so.

A kimberwick or a gag bit works well for those that "forget" that when a bit says "no"...it means "NO".

Also a hard fast workout the day before the LD would help take that edge off. He might just be more amiable on ride day because he's a bit tired from the workout the day before.

Good luck!

Feb. 26, 2011, 02:57 PM
Ahh, the bane of the endurance rider's existence, a competitive horse that pulls your arms out ;) This is more common than you think and I agree with you, you can't practice it "at home" as it usually just happens at a competition.

There are various thoughts on this, and they are more training-related than equipment-related. One is to ride out last, with everyone else out of sight and then casually walk out of camp and give the horse a sense of "this is just another conditioning ride." The problem of course is that sooner or later you will catch up with someone and your horse may start misbehaving again.

You may also want to connect with someone and not ride by yourself but still leave late and casually. Just having one other horse around may also evoke more of a "conditioning at home" feeling.

Another idea is to get off and walk a lot. Get back on when things have calmed down, get back off when he's pulling again. The idea here is that no matter what, you're both going at the speed that YOU decide, mounted or not. You don't deserve a sore body from fighting and neither does your horse.

Ideally, if you can spare the entry fee, use one ride solely to school but you may have to enlist the help of a friend who will stop and wait while you do your backing up, serpentines, and circles. You may progress slowly but the idea is to have your horse focus on you all the time and have your bond become stronger than your horse's natural herd instinct.

As far as equipment goes, you probably saw it at the WEG. A lot more riders than I expected used (running) martingales. These are supposed to be training aids so I was surprised to see them in competition (don't see them often in our region) but it may be something you want to look into in addition to behavioral training. Best of luck!

Feb. 26, 2011, 07:45 PM

This is my all time favorite bit. Very mild, but has the nose band that applies pressure when you need it.

sign of Grace
Feb. 26, 2011, 10:35 PM
Oooo thanks guys. Good suggestions! I will look into the Myler's but also like the idea of getting off and walking every so often.

The whole reason the bit idea got brought up was due to my first launch from my 17.1H "friend". Haven't been off anyone in about 15 years (lucky!) and never off him. But of course he got me off during the 4 months while I am on blood thinners!

So if my husband EVER lets me ride again---I'll try some of the suggestions!

...I SWORE to him I would NOT come off while I was on blood thinners....quick mathematicians, what is the dang probability with that?? 15 years clean riding and bucked off during the 4 months I'm on Coumadin?

Feb. 28, 2011, 11:55 AM
how about a hackamore or bosal?

Lady Counselor
Feb. 28, 2011, 12:54 PM
Personally, I would change to a slightly stronger snaffle, like a slow twist rather than hop up to something like a gag bit. I really like full cheek bits too. I can work the corners of their mouth and give them something to focus on rather than allowing them to get a strong hold on me.
And it can be as subtle as tightening and loosening your fingers on one side or the other as needed, or asking him to give you his nose for a moment.
The slow twist is less pleasant for them to clamp onto as well and they generally accept it OK. It's actually the strongest bit I have to use on anything in my barn. Also, keep in mind that the narrower the bit, the harsher, or 'stronger' it is, so in an eggbutt, you have a pretty 'soft' bit going.

Feb. 28, 2011, 02:25 PM
You know, snaffles in general are just not all that functional of a bit and they can be really uncomfortable for a horses mouth. I also highly recommend a Myler Kimberwick that has swivel joints and multiple joints. Your horse will thank you and you will have more control. I have a couple of them and what a relief it has been for my horses and me. I do arena work in a type of Myler snaffle but it has numerous small barrels with swivel joints and is soooo much better that a single or double jointed snaffle bit. The Myler Kimberwicks that I use are two different mouth pieces. One has a medium sized port and swivel joints. this works really well for a horse that I have with a low palette. She hates having a bit on her tongue. the other kimberwick has the same mouthpiece as one of the comfort snaffles, multipe swivel joints with a small barrel piece. They are very expensive but there are several tack shops on-line that will rent you the bits to test out before buying. A really good way to trial a bit.

Oh, I also use short shanked english style hackamores but they can really lean into those hard.


Halcyon Days
Feb. 28, 2011, 04:05 PM
I really like the Myler ported snaffles, kimberwickes and combo bits, really common to need a bit "more" bit at an endurance ride, just like an eventing rider switching from a snaffle for dressage to something else for cross country. Safety out in a group in the wilderness is so important, you wouldn't be riding on contact for 25 or 50 miles, but something that will get their attention fast in an uncomforable moment is a wonderful thing

Mar. 1, 2011, 09:23 PM
I have the same problem with my QH. I ride in a 3-ring gag bit, (smooth mouth), also known as the Wonder Bit in western circles. It gives me 3 options for rein attachment, depending on whether we are schooling dressage, or trying to take off for the first 12 miles of an LD. The top "snaffle" ring rides a bit more like a Boucher, than a regular snaffle, which works great on my peanut roller wannabe. His behaviour got progressively worse at the start of competitive rides our 2nd season. He had figured out what was what and he liked it a little to much. Another thing that helped at the end of last season was doing 2 days of LD in a row. He's pretty smart, and he had an "Oh crap. We have to do this again?", moment on the second morning. Definitely learned a lot that weekend. I'm hoping he'll rememeber it all this spring.
Good luck with your boy!