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Bitting-LiKe vs Dislike

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  • Bitting-LiKe vs Dislike

    Whilst driving my son to his dads and back, I got to thinking about some things I've read, and this popped up:

    It's (well, as obvious as anything ever is with a horse, anyway!) obvious when a horse DOESN'T like a bit.

    But how do you know he LIKES one, and doesn't just not dislike it enough to argue? (Double negatives and all, I know, sorry!)
    Last edited by Eklecktika; Dec. 24, 2010, 04:03 PM. Reason: How the heck do you misspell 'like'?
    I am not allowed to look at breeding stock.
    Or babies. Or CANTER, et al.

    ESPECIALLY not CANTER, et al.

  • #2
    I can only speak from 22yrs of riding bitless and removing bits from clients horses, that the positive changes in the horses' attitudes and their actions clearly speak volumes. The line of communication between the riders and their horses becomes so much clearer and simpliar.

    An old cowboy that I started my riding with, who used a bosal, told me that he had never met a horse who 'liked' a bit. I have learned over forty years that those words are so true.

    Horses tolerate them because we make them carry the metal in their mouths.
    Ask and allow, do not demand and force.


    • #3
      One mare I ride likes her bit. When I go to bridle her she actually sticks her head into the bridle and grabs the bit like it is a cookie. She carries it softly and happily and rolls it around in her mouth, and only reluctantly lets it go when I take the bridle off. It is a d-ring twisted snaffle (no, not wire, just a twisted mouthpiece).


      • #4
        Originally posted by Eklecktika View Post
        Whilst driving my son to his dads and back, I got to thinking about some things I've read, and this popped up:

        It's (well, as obvious as anything ever is with a horse, anyway!) obvious when a horse DOESN'T like a bit.

        But how do you know he LIKES one, and doesn't just not dislike it enough to argue? (Double negatives and all, I know, sorry!)
        becuase the horse will advade the hand and if the the horse is not relaxed then he wont flex at the poll


        • #5
          I have a six-year-old Anglo-WB who has always been fussy in the mouth. The trainer kept his mouth quiet with either a flash or a dropped noseband. It didn't matter what bit she tried.

          I was recently told he had a very flat, shallow mouth. I looked, and sure enough, he did!

          I attended a Herm-Sprenger presentation and had my doubts and skepticisms. I tried the KK Ultra French mouth (their newest design) and I could tell within a minute or two that he LOVED that bit.

          How could I tell? It's hard to explain, but he started with his usual jaw twisting and tongue shenanigans, but quit almost immediately and sucked on the bit.

          However, that has not stopped his mouth fussiness because now, I think, it's a habit of three years.
          Laurie Higgins
          "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."


          • #6
            I think how the horse puts the bit in their mouth says a lot. My TB gelding hates plastic bits. He will not willingly open his mouth for them. Now when it comes to his metal/copper JP oval mouth bit, he takes that thing like it's a treat! So I think just observing their demeanor during bridling can be very telling.

            Also, I look for soft chewing, some salivation, and a STEADY reach to the bit. But I will also say that I don't think the type of bit matters nearly as much as the skill of the riders hands.


            • #7
              The first time I put my older horse's current bit in his mouth, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he started chewing so happily and enthusiastically that he had a giant puddle of foam on the barn floor within minutes.

              When I tried to change to something else (once because a hunter trainer told me a loose-ring was not "huntery" enough) his reactions were as mild as locking his jaw and hanging on the bit, to as obvious as throwing and twisting his head and gnashing his teeth -- something he'd never done before, or since.

              He always takes the bit happily when being bridled, and responds quietly, even if we're out galloping and jumping XC. He loves his bit.
              Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
              They're not just for racing!


              • #8
                I think they clearly tell you! I tried on bit on my horse which he HATED and the next time I tried to bridle him he threw his head up (which he never does). His current bit he gladly takes.
                I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.