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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
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    28

    Default Bit suggestions for an OTTB mare

    background on Raven... I bought her greener than grass when she had just turned 4. She raced once as a 2yrold and retired sound. Her first bit was a loose ring rubber snaffle, which she ignored completely. nuff said. We then moved on to a loose ring french link, which she listened to a little, but was very fussy about and tended to be selective on what she wanted to listen to.

    I've had her in an egg butt hollow mouth snaffle with a flash noseband, for the last 8 months and she has been coming along really well. We have solid flatwork, mastered trail riding, and have been jumping things less than 2 feet in the arena. She is a little fussy about halting (nose up and out, eventually halts) now that we have gotten into jumping she's like "weeeeeeeee we're jumping!" won't half halt in a line, and we go tearing around the arena like she's back on the racetrack.

    I think I may just need a little something more, but I'm not sure the best direction to go. I'm a firm believer in keeping a simple, but I'm willing to try something she might respect a little more. Any words of wisdom...?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2001
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa.
    Posts
    5,466

    Default

    Ok it's not a lot of help but I have a 4 yr old by the same sire as yours.

    The mouth on him is quite good and when he leaned we ended up not changing the bit, but rather adding a figure 8 noseband to control the open mouthed lean into the bridle.

    He still goes in the loose ring 3 piece fat mouth bit (like a french link but with a bubble middle piece instead of the flat plate)

    The other thing I don't see enough people doing is being the boss. If you say "ho" then why are you letting the horse keep going?

    It's not abuse to set down the law and continue the relationship of rider (giver of instructions) to horse. (obeyer of instructions)

    We did this at the track, and it should be continued. Commands are given and must be obeyed in the right space and time frame.

    So ask yourself how serious your half halts are and whether or not you're being a strong enough guide to a 5 yr old mare? If you're not, pick your game up and be more insistent and consistent so she can learn EXACTLY what you want from her.

    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Thanks for the input, I'm going to seriously evaluate my half halts tomorrow and make sure I'm fully doing my job. Very cool about sires! She actually came to me from Philadelphia Park



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 17, 2008
    Posts
    609

    Default

    The figure 8 noseband sounds like a good idea! What might also be worth trying is one of those ported myler bits with the hooks or even the Myler Combination bit....also the Mikmars might be something worth trying too ...not forever but to lay down the law...



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 24, 2004
    Location
    Toronto,Ontario
    Posts
    403

    Default

    Mikmars and Mylar combination bits from what you're using now is like going from a shove on a shoulder to a loaded weapon.

    Start with the first suggestion above- maybe a small port- or even consider a twisted snaffle of sorts- they do come in french link options.

    Maybe even a baucher but I would try a heavier slow twisted snaffle- full cheek with useful cheek pieces before anything.

    A broken segunda could stop a freight train- this is usually my next option given the horse isn't the type to go a little light in the front end (rears as a way out).



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2002
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    11,096

    Default

    If she halts like that in her flatwork then logically she wouldn't want to halt at all during the excitement of jumping.

    I'd stick with the bit for now and concentrate on getting an obedient, quiet, quick halt on the flat. Then when you have that ask for it and expect it over fences and if she doesn't respond over fences float her teeth a few times to get her attention.

    I also might consider a running martingale for a month or two if she's throwing her head to resist the halt. I put one on my pony for a few months during her head flipping stage and now that she's more broke she doesn't need it.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
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    8,347

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by enjoytheride View Post

    I also might consider a running martingale for a month or two if she's throwing her head to resist the halt. I put one on my pony for a few months during her head flipping stage and now that she's more broke she doesn't need it.
    I always add a running before I up the bit. Sometimes that's enough.

    It sounds like you don't have a fully installed half halt on the flat, so it's not surprising that she won't halt after fences. I'd spend a lot of time with walk/halt and trot/walk transitions to make sure she's really listening.

    Even if it's not pretty, I'd halt her a few strides after a fence and then ask her to back up a few steps. She may be rushing the fence because she's anxious. I'd trot fences if you are not doing so already to make the whole jumping experience very ho hum.

    Two other things that I find help:

    1) use a neck strap. The pressure on the strap serves to slow a horse down without touching their mouth. I can walk/trot/canter using just the pressure of the strap on my horse.

    2) Teach a verbal slow down cue. I use a trilling sound. Make it during every downward transition. It is a great way to keep your horse tuned in and listening without (again) touching their mouth.

    Finally, are you keeping your upper body back? Sometimes you are giving a horse mixed signals by leaning forward and pulling back. My own horse is very tuned into my body position and I have to be very careful to stay relaxed and upright, especially coming into a fence.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
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    28

    Default

    Thanks for all the responses!

    When we flat, its mostly the first few halts of the day that she protests with. I spend alot of time doing walk trot halt around the arena, and once I'm happy with her halts (which sometimes takes awhile) we move on to somethng else. Only once she is halting and listening to me do we do something like cantering or jumping. And we trot fences right now. We've cantered a few, but only because I felt really good about how she was responding and how relaxed she was.

    She does respond really well to verbal stuff, sometimes I feel like I'm having a conversation the whole time I'm riding, but it really helps to settle her and keep her focused on me. I use a long "annndddd whooaaa" to downward transition, and it seems to work too well sometimes



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2007
    Posts
    929

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    My (pulled like a freight train) mare did really well in a simple waterford bit. It wasn't too harsh, it broke up in her mouth nicely and she was very happy in it. I was happy too, I didn't have to have the upper body strength of popeye to keep her from ripping my arms off! It improved her halt tremendously too. I know not everyone likes the waterford, but it was really the best bit for us.
    Last edited by Capall; Jun. 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM. Reason: Apparently I'm not awake enough to not repeat myself :D



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2010
    Location
    california
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    4,126

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    I've only used a KK sprenger on my OTTB who is 5. Some days he is not interested in stopping and we work on that. I'm pretty much a light bit person even with my crazy OTTB I had years ago. Half halts come from your core not the bit. Good luck and have fun.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2009
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    48

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    I totally agree with the above advice to go back to basic training and get a response to the halt cue and I am a 'less is more' kind of person when it comes to bits. However, when it gets to a point where you feel like you're having to 'get in their mouth' all the time, I will occassionally make a bit change -- I don't like to use stronger bits as a rule, but would rather use something with more oompf than constantly be fussing with a softer bit, at least until they get the point that they have to listen.
    I have had a couple of OTTBs who just want to get strong and pull, and with the really tough ones, have found that if I school in a jointed pelham a couple of days a month, it can 'tune' them up and then go back to the snaffle. I always use the pelham with 2 sets of reins (not a converter) so that I can ride on the snaffle rein almost exclusively, but if the horse starts pulling and ignoring me, I can touch the curb rein and have a little more oompf. I have found that I can ride in my usual Happy Mouth snaffle most of the time, and then switch to the pelham for a couple of days to sharpen up the response and keep them listening, then back to the normal snaffle. Works with some, just depends on the horse. But again, absolutely agree with teaching the horse to listen to the half-halt, just sometimes find with the real toughies that touching that curb rein once in awhile makes them go "oh, you mean you were serious about that?"



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    95

    Default

    I am on my 5th OTTB. I start out on half twist full cheek snaffle for awhile.

    Working on flexing and bending and on the lunge line. All my walk/trot stuff along with halting in which anytime I ask my Thoroughbred to halt I take him towards our 6ft. solid wall or a big tree. If the horse decides not to stop after I have said whoa or halt and sit deep in my saddle he runs into the wall or tree. After about 2 weeks of this be ready cause when I say whoa or just sit deep he is on his haunches head down and stopping.

    When we start the jumping and canter work I change over to Jointed Kimberwicke bit. The curb does give me a little more advantage in getting his attention. When he is good he gets the reward of the release.

    I had to go with the Kimberwicke with the port on my 6 yr. gelding he is a train going around the jumper course. His father is A.P Indy and grandfather Storm Cat.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 12, 2012
    Location
    Ithaca
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    307

    Default

    I have a 4 yr old OTTB mare as well. At first i had her in a D ring roller. I figured to change it up a bit i would use the full cheek snaffle with the rollers. And that made a big difference! She bends a lot better, and listens to my hand better! She seems to realllyyy like the rollers because while shes jumping(which she loves) and while she doing flat it gives her something to focus on. IMO
    Nothing better than an OTTB.... Just Plan Partners,Penny, you have stolen my heart<3

    http://secondchancethoroughbreds.org



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