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Just Not Native
Oct. 3, 2011, 09:14 PM
OK, I've tried the following.
1. Nathe Flexible loose Ring Snaffle
2. HS Turnado Aurigan Loose Ring
3. Eggbutt Dr. Bristol
4. Eggbutt French Link
5. Full Cheek JP w/ regular jointed snaffle mouth

Last bit has been the most successful when used w/bit keepers and raised up one hole for a higher position in the mouth. Also, using flash noseband. I am now leaning towards a JP D bit with copper lozenger in the center so the bit does not have the nutcracker affect. Have not been able to locate a Full Cheek with other than single joint except a HS - Wow the prices have gone up on those! As I'm experimenting I'd rather not go there!

I can not get this mare to seek contact.(Except when you ask her for an extended trot...) Yes, I know that I have a problem with following the contact (working on it) and may have made this mess myself, but I am seeking out others who may have had this problem and made some progress.

carolprudm
Oct. 3, 2011, 09:38 PM
Go figure, Sophie likes the hard rubber mullen mouth egg butt I pulled from the bargin bin at our local tack shop.

For $15

dwblover
Oct. 3, 2011, 09:51 PM
Honestly it is the rider's hands that teach the horse to seek contact. Obviously if a bit is painful or does not fit it will be a problem, but the bits you have listed are quite mild. (Except the Dr. Bristol, I really would not recommend that for dressage.) Changing the bit again will not solve your problem. Not trying to sound like a jerk here, but I have FINALLY realized the power of a forward-thinking contact during the last two years with my horse and it is truly worth working and waiting for. You need the right trainer, not a different bit. Are you currently working with someone? Honestly I wish I had not absolutely wasted SOOOOO many years on contact issues all because I had no one to show me the right feeling. Where are you located?

Posting Trot
Oct. 3, 2011, 09:53 PM
Try a baucher, double-jointed.

maxdog
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:21 PM
The Baucher is great. My sensitive mouth TB likes lower sitting bits-maybe he has a low palate? He likes the Baucher (single jointed) a lot and almost leaned into it too much. Ask around and borrow bits before buying. GL!

Petstorejunkie
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:25 PM
Honestly it is the rider's hands that teach the horse to seek contact.

so very very very true.
That said, try a myler loosering french link. most TB's have tiny spaces to fit a bit, and the mylers are really thin. My boy loves his.

sheltoneb
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:25 PM
My TB who thought a either a dee ring snaffle or dee ring snaffle with a french link were too much, goes well in a dee ring happy mouth.

ArabDiva
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:25 PM
yes, I would try a double-jointed baucher or maybe even a mullen mouth. It sounds like she likes the stability of the full cheek. Baucher would give pretty much the same effect. check e-bay and tack sales for full cheeks; they are kind of out of style right now.

The reason I suggest a mullen mouth is you say she will not seek contact. a mullen mouth may give her something more firm/stable to seek after.

crthunder
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:26 PM
Another option is the tester bits from Dressage Extensions. I am actually doing this to make sure I picked out the right weymouth for my sensitive OTTB! We borrowed several and I *think* I picked out the same one but.... :)

My guy is super soft in the mouth and encouraging him to take contact has always been a tough spot. I use the KK training bit (not ultra) in german silver.

Another thing I realized with him is his mouth is smaller than I would have thought! He actually wears a smaller snaffle than my Arab and he likes the thinner mouthpiece.

:)
Becky & the boys

Give and Take
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:34 PM
really like the kk ultra 2 for my ottb jumper.

my 19 yr old semi-retired always went in a loose ring hollow mouth with a square life saver in the middle - even doing the level 4 jumpers.

the mouth is really what you make of it over time.

TwoBrooksFarm
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:34 PM
I'm with dwblover on this. All the bits you listed are mild mild mild so sounds like you may need to pick one and let her learn to trust your hands. Ignore "headset" a while and show her seeking contact is good. So happy I found someone who can show me what it means to have a willing happy horse that loves working forward and seeking contact.

quietann
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:41 PM
My guy is super soft in the mouth and encouraging him to take contact has always been a tough spot. I use the KK training bit (not ultra) in german silver.


Side question: WHERE do you find HS bits that do not have Aurigan mouthpieces? They are too heavy for my mare. I have her in a borrowed, older KK D-ring from the days before Aurigan, but I can't keep borrowing it forever, and would probably prefer an eggbutt KK.

I_Heart_Eventing
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:53 PM
Just throwing this out there since I didn't see anybody else post it, but I am sure it wouldn't hurt to have her teeth checked by an Equine Dentist.

Just to eliminate pain as an issue then go from there. :)

AnEnglishRider
Oct. 3, 2011, 11:03 PM
I finally tossed a halter with reins attached on my OTTB yesterday and rode in that... And it made all the difference. Instead of being fussy and nervous and giraffe like, and backing his head away from the bit pressure, he stretched all the way down even at the trot. And no more tossing his head in transitions. I stuck his bridle back on and he went back to being NOT HAPPY and not even remotely seeking the contact.

I mean, I don't have the quietest hands in the world but they're ok (don't judge me off all my old youtube videos, I've finally gotten some lessons and my hands have gotten a LOT quieter these past few weeks especially), and when he does look for the contact I try to hold steady and do nothing, keeping everything the same, and he still only holds the contact for like one stride before backing off again.

So I'm watching this thread too because there's something he doesn't like about his bit (eggbutt french link snaffle). I'm thinking of trying a happy mouth or something rubber coated thinking maybe he doesn't like the metal, or really anything else lighter weight because my eggbutt is strangely heavy even to hold in your hand. I'm interested to see all the suggestions because I need to make a change.

If that doesn't work? I'm looking at bitless bridles too. Maybe he'll just never enjoy being ridden with a bit like he does without one. I'd rather find a bit that he likes though because he is a little... enthusiastic... about jumping. I'm not even approaching a jump with just that halter on, lol.

I feel like the queen of run on sentences after this post. I'll go crawl back in my hole that I lurk from and go back to rarely posting.

Bogie
Oct. 3, 2011, 11:09 PM
I finally tossed a halter with reins attached on my OTTB yesterday and rode in that... And it made all the difference. Instead of being fussy and nervous and giraffe like, and backing his head away from the bit pressure, he stretched all the way down even at the trot. And no more tossing his head in transitions. I stuck his bridle back on and he went back to being NOT HAPPY and not even remotely seeking the contact.


My trakehner had a low palate and a thick tongue. It made most bits uncomfortable for him.

The bit he went best in was a mullen mouth snaffle.

But he really, really preferred bitless. I used a side pull style bridle as he hated the cross under ones. Night and day in his performance. I even hunted him in a side pull!

Sometimes the bit is what's causing the problem.

AnEnglishRider
Oct. 3, 2011, 11:22 PM
Hmmm... good thought on the side pull. My barn owner has had horses that really liked the cross under kind. I wish she had one I could try out. I know I don't want a hackamore because he's had one of those on before when he was younger and the curb chain on it freaked him out. That was the very first time I rode him (and when his owners asked me to keep riding him that was the first thing I changed... he flipped out when I (gently, because I knew the power of a hackamore) asked him to slow down and not gallop off in the hackamore, in the bridle he's just a little bit nervous).

Who knows? I'll probably never have the money to show him anyway, maybe for the rest of his life I'll ride him in that halter if I never find a bit he likes. If I do that though, I'm buying a nicer halter... the one I have is old faded pink and it's ugly. :lol:

What kind of mullen mouth? was it metal, rubber, thick, thin?

GallantGesture
Oct. 4, 2011, 12:30 AM
I've been riding my ottb in a JP rubber D ring snaffle. I tried all the various "soft" bit like you did, even got him a KK, a Myler comfort snaffle, and a thick copper Stubben boucher, but couldn't quite get the contact I wanted. The rubber bit is so much better. The JP bits are curved, so since my boy seems to not like tongue pressure (he sucks his tongue back in his mouth), I got him the regular snaffle vs the french link, the way it is curved it doesn't look like it can poke into the roof of his mouth. The D rings add stability and aid my steering when he's naughty and leans too hard on it. They aren't real expensive either. I'm hoping I can use this to re-educate his mouth and teach him to trust my hands and carry contact, then maybe switch him back to a KK or something, but I suppose if he is going well in it I may as well leave him in it.

Simbalism
Oct. 4, 2011, 12:38 AM
My TB mare goes in a Happy Mouth mullen mouthpiece D ring when she uses a bit. I only use it when we are showing as she starts to get really heavy and pissy with the bit if I use it alot. The rest of the time she goes in a hackamore.

GreyDes
Oct. 4, 2011, 09:07 AM
My Arab likes the Herm Sprenger Dynamic - it's got a slightly different mouth from the KK Ultra. He strongly prefers the eggbutt to a loose ring.

You can rent them Bit of Britain if you want to try a few before you commit. http://www.bitofbritain.com/Herm_Sprenger_Dynamic_RS_Eggbutt_Bit_Rental_p/2035-rent.htm

One other thought - have you considered a Micklem bridle? It does seem to stabilize the bit, and might help if your horse is bothered by the movement rather than the bit itself. Dover will let you try before you buy. http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-TR804&ids=364267797

GingerJumper
Oct. 4, 2011, 09:33 AM
I'd try a Micklem bridle, then a Myler. My guy really didn't like a flash while he was learning to accept contact, so I switched to a Micklem temporarily and it was night and day. He likes thinner mouthed bits for the most part, unless it's a loose ring snaffle or his beloved normal weight pelham. (I kid you not, he adores that bit.)

Bogie
Oct. 4, 2011, 10:29 AM
What kind of mullen mouth? was it metal, rubber, thick, thin?

I used a Happy Mouth mullen mouth, a Myler Triple Barrel Mullen Mouth or a Pee Wee bit. The last two are metal but are thinner mouthpieces (more room for his tongue).

If you can find one, bits with a Quarter Moon mouthpiece are often very comfortable for horses. I have one that I bought on eBay but I don't see them much in the US.

myvanya
Oct. 4, 2011, 10:38 AM
My OT Appendix QH sounds pretty similar to your guy. He used to be very irrirtated about bits. He would avoid them but was very happy in a halter. However, I had his teeth done by an excellent dentist and there were some definite issues (despite his teeth having been done regularly by a vet used by his prior owners). Even after this was done it took him a while to be really quite in a bit. He is vastly improved though. He currently is in the gentlest, fattest, kk ultra loose ring (so lozenge in the middle and I think aurigan but it is really old so maybe not- I got it as a hand me down) I could get and is doing wonderfully. Much of it was first making sure his mouth was ok, and then lots of training.
I had tried pretty much every thing I could think of. Eggbutts, dee rings (too much leverage), nathe(just nqr), thinner mouth pieces (waaaayy too harsh)....I joke my horse is the princess from the princess and the pea (even though my horse is a he :lol:).

canterhavenfarm
Oct. 4, 2011, 11:11 AM
My OTTB was a serious head flipper when I got him 2 1/2 years ago. Had my vet out to do dental work and he said that whomever did he teeth before did a terrible job. Uneven and some ground down to the nerve. I then switch to happy mouth and less head flipping. Rode in happy mouths for last 2 years, still head flipping when riding a line or turning ( I most do jumpers). So on went the martingales that soon came off. I did not like them and he felt 'stuck' when he had one on.

This year I bought him the Micklem bridle and major improvement. The frequent head flipping immediately stopped. He ability to turn, particularly to the right, improved dramatically. No wide bulging turns, he can make very tight turns now ( His turns got us 1st place at the last jumper show!). I get a little bit of a head flip when I ask him to go forward, jump, then collect if he starts to get long but nothing like it was. Now he seems to be less worried about his face and learning to listen to my body.
My warm up is always dressage work and after riding in the Micklem for ~ 3 months now, my instructor has seen a huge improvement in his self carriage. She said that his front is elevated ( does not go behind the bit like he did when learning how NOT to go around inverted!) and he is round, you can even see quite a bit of slack in my reins. I use it with my happy mouth jointed snaffle. I am still a happy mouth fan.

serendipityhunter
Oct. 5, 2011, 04:02 PM
Quiet, steady contact and forward. I also was using my body more than my leg, which really irritated him, and didn't result in me effectively getting him forward. I have had the most success with the Myler comfort D and a baucher with my guy, he doesn't like single jointed bits and does better with a thinner mouth piece and no flash. Doing lots of flexions in hand and ground work has helped with his bit acceptance also.

BoldChance
Oct. 5, 2011, 04:11 PM
My last OTTB was so fussy with his face, straight off the track, and we had so many problems in the first year...that when a trainer suggested a (mullen mouth? No joints, just straight bar) rubber happymouth... well, I Tried it and he went in that for three years.

Then when he was suitably progressed, I switched him into the KK (ultra? nice fat bean in middle), and he liked it.

That straight-barred rubber bit saved our bacon, though. HE tugged, he flipped, he fussed, he complainted, he threw his head up, down, sideways ... one ride in that bit and he was a different horse.

Alibhai's Alibar
Oct. 5, 2011, 04:15 PM
I have an army of extremely mild bits for the TB I'm riding, and we've had the best luck in the Stubben Golden Wings (http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_x1-010472)loose ring snaffle. Something about the construction of the bit makes it easier for me to keep contact and for him to maintain it. I don't know exactly what it is that makes it milder than my other bits.

Unfortunately, it's not dressage legal, last time I checked, because the "wings" are considered bit guards. But it is a lovely and very mild bit and I plan to ride in it for a while and then move on to something I can show in.

I also like the Stubben EZ Control (http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-010433&ids=579827227) bits. When you pull back on both reins, the bit "locks" into a solid piece, similar to a Myler, and does not completely collapse/fold like a traditional snaffle. This prevented the TB I'm riding from being so fussy with his mouth.

We tried the mullen route, but the Happy Mouths, etc did not agree with him like these other ones did. I think it's an individual thing for the horses, plus has to do with our hands, riding style, etc.

ThreeFigs
Oct. 5, 2011, 04:36 PM
Dang! Everyone's already made the suggestions I'd have made!

1. Mullen
2. Myler
3. Dental checkup
4. Micklem
5. check your hands & riding

I like the curved JP bits for small-mouthed horses.

Dang. There's little left to suggest. It's all been done above.

eventer_mi
Oct. 5, 2011, 06:22 PM
My fussy mouthed Trakehner goes in a Micklem with a loose-ring Stubben EZ control bit. He loves it (and consequently, so do I). He has a tendency to go from uber soft, hide-behind-the-bit to lean and refuse to yield. The EZ control disperses the pressure across the tongue instead of breaking in three parts, so it is like a mullen if they push against it or pull, and it stays nice and soft if they do. I have progressed further with this particular combination than with any other. He is now soft, supple, and swinging across the back with no fussing, faces, or head tossing. Downside is that this is not a cheap bit.

alexshrugged
Oct. 5, 2011, 06:46 PM
I second (third) the Baucher idea, especially since the full-cheek with keepers has worked the best so far. I found that the sensitive mare I ride really likes the stability of the Baucher.

crthunder
Oct. 5, 2011, 09:53 PM
Side question: WHERE do you find HS bits that do not have Aurigan mouthpieces? They are too heavy for my mare. I have her in a borrowed, older KK D-ring from the days before Aurigan, but I can't keep borrowing it forever, and would probably prefer an eggbutt KK.

I wish I knew! I would have preferred a double in german silver but gave up and went with Aurigan. I bought his current snaffle when I bought him six years ago...and I can't recall from where! Originally I got my KK from PetSmart for my first thoroughbred... back when they had horse stuff! I just checked Dressage Extensions and Dover and even though german silver is listed in the description they only have Aurigan as a choice :(

Damn.
Becky

candysgirl
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:46 PM
My fussy Arab likes his JP Korsteel eggbutt oval mouth bit. He also likes a mullen mouth pelham. Anything else I've tried results in flinging his head around like a maniac.

My friend's fussy Arab likes a French link baucher. He flails his head around if his bit has too much movement.

Hampton Bay
Oct. 6, 2011, 12:09 AM
I like the JP oval mouth loose ring for the sensitive ones. It's a little fatter, so it's softer than a thinner bit.

But really, get a very good dentist to check things out. That has made MUCH more difference in my horses than anything else I ever tried. I'm talking power tools, speculum, sedation, bit seats, all done by someone who really pays attention to the alignment of the bite, and goes slowly, checking often.

LaraNSpeedy
Oct. 6, 2011, 09:57 AM
I use the KK on my WB and we have another WB that is a Belgian that is very TB like and she is also on a KK.

However, before you spend all the money.... there are a few horses also in my barn that are in happy mouths - two are TBs and one came to us sensitive but also had been somewhat abused so he would throw his head before he knew he trusted the rider on his back. I was told when we got him that his mouth was ruined and there was no turning back. The happy mouth was key. I think its because it is not cold when put in the mouth in the winter - its light - its smooth....

With a sensitive horse - keep the bit MILD, I would not be putting copper or anything like that in an already-sensitive mouth. Keep the bit simple - with a TB I usually want double jointed.... for dressage I rarely use a full cheek. I stick to loose rings and egg butts. D rings are hunter stylistic but sometimes you pick what works best for your horse I think. The loose ring and eggbutt open sideways more and offer a horse more to stretch into than a fullcheek. The full cheek is more fixed and allows a little bit of leverage by holding the bit still and I see it more as a way to get a horse around a jumping course who tends to bully with his shoulders. In dressage, a horse that bullies with his shoulders needs training that targets that specifically not a bit to help. Of course you fix that with training too in jumping but some horses get aggressive when jumping due to adrenaline.

Petstorejunkie
Oct. 6, 2011, 10:02 AM
Unfortunately, it's not dressage legal, last time I checked, because the "wings" are considered bit guards.

not to derail, but I always thought that was the dumbest rule in the book.