I am going to be starting a horse (with trainers) for the first time. I've trained horses but they have already been started before. I ride in a 3-piece loose ring snaffle usually, like a kk or the korsteel version.
For a first bit, I was looking at happy mouths and rubber bits, but I'm not sure of which variety would be ideal. Just a plain loose ring snaffle? Or a mullen mouth?
I am more nervous about starting from scratch because, well, any screw ups are my own lol! Want to try to do the best I can with him.
I start with the Korsteel oval ring snaffle and go from there. If the rings seem to bother the horse I'll move to an eggbutt, if the mouth piece doesn't fit well then I may go to a standard snaffle or a mullen mouth. It really depends on the horse.
Three piece snaffle, full cheek or eggbutt, preferably copper or cyprium mouth. I don't love Happy Mouth bits because they get chewed up. And while I like loose rings, I don't like that they could pinch a sensitive cheek
I use it on all my babies and have used it to re-start problem horses. Some of the regular snaffles PINCH....even with good hands. I would never put a snaffle in a horse's mouth without rolling it around every which way, in my own hand. If it will pinch my hand, it goes in the garbage.
best place to start is not in the bit shop, but inside the horse's mouth.
each horse is slightly anatomically different. that's why there's no perfect bit for all horses. You'll want to examine
~where the corner of the lip ends at rest
~how far it can be stretched back comfortably, and where that is in relation to the first molar
~thickness of the lip
~spacing between the upper and lower bars of the mouth (using yor finger as a good gauge)
~put pressure on the bars, how does the horse react?
~peek in and see how much space is there for a bit
~how fat is the tongue, is it oozing out the bar space? is it thin and flat?
~ what is the shape of the palate like? arched, flat, ridged.
then go compare to other horses that are going happily in their bits, whoever seems to have the most similar qualities, start with a bit like theirs and go from there.
We started my young mare in the KK Ultra, and she was super easy to teach to accept the bit I'm not a fan of rubber or Happy Mouth bits. Years ago I started my older mare (now turning 24) in a rubber bit and finally figured out that she hated it when I switched to a copper/steel alloy Big fat rubber bits are not necessarily more pleasant.
My 4 year old goes in a Stubben 5" single jointed "D" ring. We started her last year and tried various bits, none of which were ideal. KK loose rings, etc. The trainer I am currently working with has started many young horses. He recommended a rubber D ring or eggbutt with a single joint. My horse is 16'2, but has a very small mouth and all of the rubber bits were too fat. So, I got a thinner single jointed bit with a curved mouth and covered it with latex to soften it and make it a bit fatter. She loves it and goes wonderfully. Of course this is just what worked for my horse. If you can borrow bits it is a whole lot cheaper. My filly/mare just preferred a bit that was not so busy. Good luck.
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