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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 26, 2003
    Posts
    200

    Default Bit ideas for *very* light-mouthed OTTB

    So I have a well-balanced ex-racehorse whom I can get round (that is, using his back and in a frame), but he rarely comes completely into the bit. He tends to be just shy of it, is very fussy (especially if a green rider is on). I've tried a nathe, a full-cheek snaffle, a fat snaffle, etc., and I can't really get him completely accepting the contact, partly because of his attitude. It is subtle to the eye, but I can feel it when I ride.

    Any ideas? With the fatter (read: gentler) bits, he simply keeps his mouth open.

    His teeth are good and have been routinely floated with very reputable equine dentists who say he has a fine mouth.

    Thanks for any ideas.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2000
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,142

    Default

    Perhaps a Happy Mouth?
    Visit my farm at www.hiddenrockfarm.com



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2004
    Location
    Camden, De
    Posts
    3,601

    Default

    I like the nathes, herm sprenger duo's, happy mouths, a soft rubber snaffle or try different mouth pieces single jointed, french link, mullen or a logenge in the middle. Some horses have preferences on the types of mouthpieces they like. My most sensitive types go great in nathes althoug the first few rides they might be a bit fussy they settle in. Also, have a good dentist check the teeth. Young horses can often be mouthy due to caps shedding or other teeth issues. On the really sensitive guys sometimes they can not tolerate a rider with bad hands or inconsistent contact.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2007
    Location
    The Whinnery.
    Posts
    785

    Default

    I went through that exact thing with my OTTB. Didn't think it possible for a racehorse to have such a butter soft mouth. I didn't work on it when I got him first and had him listening to my body aids really well. I think I have the whole package now that he's starting to accept the bit more.

    I started him in a Myler comfort snaffle then thought he'd like to 'play' with a french link roller, but he hated that so we are back to the myler & coming along well. (IMHO)
    "Dressage" is just a fancy word for flatwork



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2003
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    653

    Default

    If he happens to have a low palate, the fatter bits will only irritate him - so maybe try a myler snaffle. My old ottb was very sensitive, did well with a nathe but also went well with the myler.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    16,193

    Default

    My sensitive horse goes very nicely in a nathe, but if that doesn't work for your horse...

    How about taking one of the myler bits (thin!) and giving it a couple wraps of sealtex? It would be softer than a regular myler, but still thin.

    Perhaps a chiro visit would be in order as well. If he's "out" in his poll or jaw, I'd think he would not want to really come up to the bit. I'd also keep green riders OFF of him. The last thing you need is for him to start to trust the hand and then have him grabbed--the more that happens, the more work you're going to have to do to get him to trust the hand next time.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
    Posts
    149

    Default

    We always used rubber snaffles with our TB's. They look horrendously thick, but most TB's seem to love them.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2003
    Location
    Georgia.
    Posts
    2,357

    Default

    I had the same issue with one of my OTTB's so I rode him for quite a while in a rubber d-ring then a happy mouth. He finally started taking the bit instead of shying away from it. He's graduated from those now, 4 years later and goes in a D-ring copper roller.

    As others have suggested, try some different ones and see what he likes. Years ago I did ride a horse with sealtex wrapped on a bit and that horse went well with that.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
    Location
    Bluffton, SC
    Posts
    3,124

    Default

    Try a happy mouth or a rubber loose ring.

    That's what I start all my TB's in and they looove them
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 23, 2002
    Location
    Prospect, ME
    Posts
    4,565

    Default

    I've found with some of my fussy horses that the loose rings actually bother them more then help.... the bit keeps sliding, and it makes them uneasy. My guy actually was LESS fussy in this bit then he was in the nice fat loose ring I had him in before.

    My homebred goes really well in a nathe - and he's super soft mouthed.

    Good luck!
    -Jessica



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2006
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    1,200

    Default

    The best bit I have found for my sensitive mouthed OTTB is the Myler Comfort Snaffle. The MB 33 mouthpiece is our absolute favorite.

    He also does well in a shaped mullen mouth Happy Mouth.
    Animals are not disposable!!!
    http://www.pawsnela.org



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2007
    Location
    Behind the Orange Curtain
    Posts
    9,694

    Default

    How about something like the Herm Sprenger KK ultra?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Location
    In A World Called Catastrophe
    Posts
    1,789

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Applesauce View Post
    Perhaps a Happy Mouth?
    Yep. A rubber happy mouth. I have found some that just hate a broken mouth piece and are mosly in love with a rubber happy mouth!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,352

    Default

    I would start with a french link snaffle if he feels good on a regular jointed snaffle but just *not quite* on it. And I would tend to go thinner rather than thicker based on your description of him.

    I had a horse that sounds similar, and I noticed a big difference when I moved from a fat D-ring (regular jointed) snaffle to a sprenger KK snaffle (basically a french-link and a thinner mouthpiece than my fat D-ring). Then I noticed another big difference when I moved from that to a low port myler. That was the first bit he was ever willing to actually lean on and the one I rode him in for many many years.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,136

    Default

    Why use a bit at all? This website ( www.animalambassadors.com ) has ideas. And I've found that horses that open their mouths are usually getting hit in the roof of the mouth with the joint of the snaffle (you know how sensitive the roof of the mouth is if you've EVER bitten into a potato chip wrong). So a flexible mouth with NO JOINT. I've also NEBVER seen a horse that wouldn't get along very well with a Pelham. They were the next step for a horse/pony that didn't do well in a snaffle. People seem to be avoiding them these days on the mistaken that they're "too severe" that they ONLY work because they hurt so much. When did you ever hear of a horse doing better in a different piece of equipment because it hurt more?

    Like the poster right above me ONLY got a bit the horse didn't back off of when she switched to a non-jointed bit. Those snaffles HURT. Only the nicest horses work very well in them.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Location
    In A World Called Catastrophe
    Posts
    1,789

    Default

    Bad at explaining so this is what I am meaning
    http://www.doversaddlery.com/happy-m...01679/cn/1464/



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2005
    Location
    Unionville, PA
    Posts
    3,418

    Default

    It sounds like he's not going to like a rubber bit--to wide. My tb hates them. I agree with the myler comfort snaffle.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2006
    Posts
    878

    Default

    When we first got ours, he was in a latex wrapped snaffle, but we have him in the Herm Sprenger KK Ultra and it's worked out great. It is an expensive bit (at least to me!), though, so might be good if you could borrow one first to see how it works for you.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2001
    Location
    Trailer Trash Ammy!
    Posts
    19,520

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokey View Post
    If he happens to have a low palate, the fatter bits will only irritate him - so maybe try a myler snaffle. My old ottb was very sensitive, did well with a nathe but also went well with the myler.
    Same. I recommend trying a Myler Comfort snaffle.
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2008
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
    Posts
    557

    Default

    You will all probably think I am nuts but what about this.

    http://www.doversaddlery.com/product...&ids=894086697

    My ottb would over flex and stay behind the full cheek I had him in and i switched to this. He loves it. I stay very light with my hands and he responds much better to the poll pressure.
    Proud Mama of a BOY rider



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