I was wondering if anyone else out there uses a Kineton, and if you do, what you think of it? I've recently put one on my very strong, very hot mare and am really liking the result so far! She's the type of horse that is tough to bit well - too much bit and she'll go up and down instead of forward, but not enough bit and she pulls your arms out of the sockets!
I got reading about Kinetons and wondered whether it would be good for my horse, who has always been fussy about too much motion from the bit, and who also went quite well with the hackamore for a long while (I now realize that it was my fear of putting leg on that lead to her laying on my hand so badly with the hackamore). I was a bit concerned as some things I read made the noseband sound like a train stopper, which is absolutely not what I was looking for.
My horse seems to LOVE the Kineton! I think she really likes the fact that it holds the bit (a French link) very, very still in her mouth, and that she is absolutely unable to lay on it with her lower jaw. While the bit still works on her mouth under normal circumstances, her lower jaw is completely "free" when she makes use of her favourite evasion (opening her mouth and pulling hard). It's amazing how much softer she's become nose-to-tail now that her jaw is soft - it's like a different horse. I really don't find the Kineton to be severe in any way, rather it just to create a totally different action that my horse really seems to appreciate.
I've got my fingers crossed that this good trend continues, and that combined with me being determined to ride more off my leg (thank you to two really good clinicians for getting this finally drilled into my head!), my "new" horse sticks around!
I'm just curious as to whether anyone else out there uses a Kineton, and what your experience has been. I don't know anyone else that uses one that I could chat with in person, so thought I'd turn to the big wide world of COTH.
Try a search in the Eventing forum. I am positive it's been discussed there before. :)
I've used it on two horses--both absolutely hated it. And I mean HATED it. In fact, with one of them we had to pull it off mid-ride, he was very happy to get his regular noseband back. But, to each his own. I know that a lot of horses and riders who really like it, and if I felt like I had a horse that could benefit from a kineton, I certainly wouldn't hesitate to try it again.
I'm glad you found something that works for your horse.
Good thought WW_Queen! Thank you. And c'est moi - this horse is anything but orthodox, so I'm not surprised that she seems happy in something that others aren't. I had tried her in a flash and a figure-8 on occasion, to try to keep her mouth quiet, but both just resulted in more tension (without her usual outlet of opening her mouth) and quite unpleasant rides.
Hmmm, a horse who opens its mouth at the bit, sets its jaw hard against the bit and doesn't like the bit moving in its mouth? I would get my vet or a good equine dentist out to examine my horse (fully sedated in a speculum so they can take a good look around) before I jumped at the new noseband... sounds like a pain thing to me (even if you do have a hot horse, a horse with these symptoms sounds like its in some discomfort). If everything checks out, enjoy your new noseband (although I've always known it as a train-stopper that makes most horses go up instead of slow down - not my cup of tea, but whatever works for you).
A few months after I bought my mare she started to get really stiff, would bolt through the contact (like tear around the ring and I had absolutely no breaks), gapped her mouth at the bit, etc. She desperately needed dental work done. Afterwards, she went in a KK just fine. With regular dental work, she'll go in the KK wherever, whatever, even though she is quite fit and hot.
The point of my story is that before you bit up, make sure there aren't any physical issues behind the behaviour you're trying to dissuade with the new, stronger bit.
Another thought: are you sure your saddle fits? It's not out of the realm of possibility that your horse is showing back pain through his jaw. Not that uncommon, actually. The kineton, being a fairly strong noseband/bit "acessory" could be "convincing" your horse to ignore the back pain (or face the effects of the kineton). This would also fit the stiff horse/horse running away or acting out along with setting his jaw. If his back hurts, he's not going to want to go soft.
Just throwing around some ideas. Hope you find something that works!
One of the pros I worked for rode a mare that sounded like a carbon copy of yours, in the jumper ring in a kineton with a KK snaffle. It seemed to work for her at the time. I would hardly call it a train stopper, but then this was a very educated rider with amazing hands, so it was about smoothing out the details, not just averting disaster.
I hunted a Standardbred mare for many years. She was quite strong in a snaffle and the Kineton worked very well for her but distributing some of
the pull onto her nose she went well.
Nothing worse than coming home exhausted from pulling, let alone how the horse's mouth feels.
It would not be good for a horse that rounds down and puts its nose on its chest.
Regarding teeth, it is important to know there are no sharp edges or the Kineton will squeeze the cheeks onto the teeth.
My horse would get quite strong with me as well. We did do regular dental work and all. I found she responded really well to the Kinetons. I tried all sorts of bits. I held off for so long on the Kinetons because they seemed so pricey but...turns out it worked the best for us. I would've saved more money in the long run if I had of tried it first. Oh well. :P
Too bad you can't wear them in the dressage world. I'm guessing they aren't legal in the hunter world either?
Dental, chiro, massage and saddle fit all check out. :) I don't doubt that some of the behaviour was learned due to discomfort (she had some significant back soreness when we first got her from the track), but the difference with this noseband is pretty wonderful.
Pippigirl - no, you couldn't use a Kineton in the hunter ring either, but this horse is a jumper, so if she stays happy, we'll be fine.