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Best bridle set-up for a sensitive, fussy and teeny tiny bit bratty mare.

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  • Best bridle set-up for a sensitive, fussy and teeny tiny bit bratty mare.

    The mare:

    Coming 7-year old. Has a good year and a half under saddle. Knows all the basics: WTC, moving off pressure, light and responsive. Beginning to develop a very nice head set.

    She's a very good girl most of the time but she has always been fussy with the bit. She chomps, she tries to spit it out, she tries to rub it off on her own legs - she tries to rub it off on unsuspecting bystanders.

    Currently in a plain ol' bridle & caveson. No flash. French link full-cheek bit w/keepers.

    All physical causes (that I know of) have been ruled out. Her wolf teeth were removed as a 3-year old and her teeth have been floated regularly.

    I have heard about some horses having a low palate and that can create an issue - but how do I check for such a condition?

    Does anyone else have experience with a similar "type" of horse? What kind of equipment worked for you?

    If you need more information just say the word, and thanks!
    We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others, by their acts. ~Harold Nicolson

  • #2
    have you tried copper? I've found that fussy horses like to mouth and chew copper.
    Riding the winds of change

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    • #3
      put her in a loose ring with a crank for padding, and a flash, tighten both

      Comment


      • #4
        The last thing I would do is put a crank and flash on a fussy horse and tighten them both down. It's just going to make the horse even more pi$$y.

        You might try a different bit though. My mare likes a plain eggbutt mullen. I've had her for 6 years, and never thought to try one for her until recently. She's decided that is now her bit of choice and she will not tolerate anything else. Your mare might just need something other than a french-link fullcheek. I know my mare has always hated a french link in anything.

        Comment


        • #5
          There are lots of various good ideas being fired off on the 'open mouth issue' thread as well

          I am another who would never use a flash or crank for such purposes (or ever, really). Deal with the root of the issue.
          ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
          ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
            The last thing I would do is put a crank and flash on a fussy horse and tighten them both down. It's just going to make the horse even more pi$$y.

            You might try a different bit though. My mare likes a plain eggbutt mullen. I've had her for 6 years, and never thought to try one for her until recently. She's decided that is now her bit of choice and she will not tolerate anything else. Your mare might just need something other than a french-link fullcheek. I know my mare has always hated a french link in anything.
            Originally posted by naturalequus View Post
            There are lots of various good ideas being fired off on the 'open mouth issue' thread as well

            I am another who would never use a flash or crank for such purposes (or ever, really). Deal with the root of the issue.
            Thank you Hampton Bay, the mullen is one I was hoping to get some insight on. I have heard in the past that some horses prefer them. Where did you end up finding yours?

            naturalequus, I will check out that other thread. Thanks!

            I agree with you both - a tight flash/crank might hide the issue, but I'd rather fix the issue.

            Has anyone had any experience with a boucher bit? I've heard good things about them as well - I've read that the added steadiness of them in the horse's mouth sometimes improves upon certain fussiness issues.
            We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others, by their acts. ~Harold Nicolson

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Rhyadawn View Post
              have you tried copper? I've found that fussy horses like to mouth and chew copper.
              Yes, I am a big fan of copper. I haven't noticed a real difference with copper bits though. Her french link doesn't have any copper, but before I switched to the french link she was in one of the 3-link eggbutts w/the copper bean in the middle. It seems difficult now to find bits that are mostly/entirely copper unfortunately. I have one full cheek w/a full copper mouth but it's too small for the mare in question. I bought it ages ago at a garage sale!
              We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others, by their acts. ~Harold Nicolson

              Comment


              • #8
                I would put a big ring snaffle on her and wrap the bit wth latex so she can chew and get happy with it. IMHO ~ After work I ~ would put it on her halter with bit clips and take her out for a graze so she gets used to it. IMHO ~ don't flame me ~ it has worked for several horses/ponies of mine.
                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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                • #9
                  Hello! I am new to this group....

                  As far as your fussy mare....I wouldn't try copper, since this is a Dressage forum and copper is illegal on the bits in competition.

                  My mare, also fussy and VERY bratty.... had some of the same issues. I went to a Lucinda Green clinic (we event as well as do Dressae) and she suggested for my mare a "Nathe" bit for XC (she said it was extremely rare for her to suggest bitting down for XC...but my mare is LIGHT mouthed). I had to order it...it is in Dressage Extensions as well as Bit of Britian...loose ring. It looks a lot like a happy mouth (mullen type mouth) but is the texture of a piece of cooked spagetti. I was using a happy mouth mullen mouth and it was still too harsh. I have been very happy with it, however I had to have a "bit seat" put in my mares molars as she found that she could use her frist molars to grab at it for entertainment and rip little chunks of the material out. I said she was bratty....haha...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Copper is legal in competition, as long as it's not a copper roller.

                    For my mare, I have found that the shape of the mouthpiece is more important than the metal or the cheeks. I do have a boucher for her, and it used to be her favorite bit. The action is almost identical to a full-cheek with keepers. There is no poll pressure, but it is stable in the mouth.

                    My mullen came from VTO. It's just a plain stainless eggbutt mullen. It's a 4.5", and normally she uses a 4.75" or 5". I've not tried any of the plastic bits as she's NOT light in the mouth, and I have a feeling she would just ignore me entirely. I'm not sure why she likes the mullen to be honest. I know it cannot poke her in the roof of the mouth, and it's obviously smooth since there are no joints. My gelding hated it though because it seemed to smush his tongue too much. So I really don't know, but she likes it so I go with it.

                    I do like the curve to the mouthpiece on the JP bits, so if you have not tried one of those see if you can find one to borrow. Or SmartPak sells the loose ring single-joint for $17 or so.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As much as *I* prefer a french link, not a single one of my HORSES does.

                      There is so much out there to try.

                      I too am a fan of the JP, and Myler--JP is slightly thicker and MUCH cheaper.

                      I had a mare that mullen was The Magic Bit for. Went from barely TL to working in 2nd and playing with the P's in a summer with that change. Hers was the HS Loosering Mullen. In my colleciton I also have a plain SS mullen, and a Nathe Mullen I'm borrowing (that I need to return! ) that the Young Master Irrenaeus--grandson of the mare that loffed the HS Mullen--really likes.

                      If she doesn't like the Fullcheek w/ keepers, a Baucher isn't going to float. Unless it's a different mouthpiece. Action is almost entirely the same. If folks think they might want a Baucher, but have a fullcheek--I recommend they try it with keepers. The Baucher holds the bit in the same position, so the joint always acts the same way, the arms always lie the same way on the tongue and bars etc.

                      You don't mention breed... Arab breds (including Traks, etc.) can have really low pallates, fat tongues and very little room in there. Thicker is NOT always kinder, sometimes as thin as a Myler or a bradoon is what a horse needs for a 'fat' mouth.
                      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with PP in regards to thick bits. Neither of my horses likes a thick bit. One of them cannot close his mouth around anything even remotely thick.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Consider trying a couple of things. One..take her to a very very mild bit...even more mild that what she's in. Also a bit that has less to play with. A french link is a double joint with more flexibility and for fussy horses, that is not always a good idea.

                          I really like the mullen mouth Sprenger Duo bit. It is great for sensitive horses with a low palette and works great on my 14:2 hand stallion who I had a hard time getting to accept the bit at first. I also like the Fulmers with one joint. It's a very quiet bit in keepers and does not encourage a lot of chewing and fussing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I had a young TB mare that sounded very similar, although she would just perpetually mouth the bit and chomp on it.

                            I found that with her, less was MUCH more.

                            She was small and had a small head- almost a cob bridle size, but not quite. She was extremely sensitive to the bridle and everything else about how she was ridden (although, oddly, was the least spooky horse I have ever owned).

                            I had very good luck with her with either a loose ring snaffle or a boucher. If you do a french link, make sure it's the kind with a rounded nut in the middle, NOT a flat key (as these can dig into the tongue if seated improperly, or depending on the bit, if it's put in upside down). Either that, or a regular link in the middle.

                            A few *key* things to watch out for:

                            1. The bit isn't too wide. If it is, and it sags on the outer edges, this pulls the middle of the bit up against the roof of the mouth. Ouchy.

                            2. Thinner can be better. If you have a horse with a small mouth, you may think a nice fat bit would be "softer." However if the palate is low, there may not be room for a thick bit in there. Some of these horses will really like a thinner bit, but you as a rider must be ultra-careful with your hands.

                            3. Check the fit of the bridle itself- make sure the browband isnt' too tight, the cavesson isn't being pulled against the back of the ears, etc.

                            When I sold the mare mentioned above, her new owner had a terrible time getting a bridle that fit her right and she was all over the place with her head.

                            Spectrum.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have to say I too have a mare that was fussy with her bit. After trying quite a few snaffles, my trainer suggested a Mylar mullen. Holy Moly, what a difference! She's a very happy little mare now.
                              http://www.tamarawiththecamera.com

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                              • #16
                                Try dropping the bit a hole too.
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                                • #17
                                  Our "magic bit" is a HS loose ring conrad leine, the thicker one (21mm). he LOVES it!
                                  Monty & Theo http://community.webshots.com/album/...tneese?start=0

                                  http://www.raccoonscooteroo.blogspot.com/

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                                  • #18
                                    To Hampton Bay...

                                    When did they change the ruling that copper is legal? Haha...I think I may have been in this too long...but I remember that the rings and mouth piece had to be the same metal. Maybe they've changed that rule? It is nearly impossible to keep up....or I am confusing it with some eventing rule which is entirely possible as well.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Just my two cents...

                                      My very sensitive and small-mouthed (and opinionated) mare is happiest in her HS KK Ultra loose ring (she gets cranky even in a mild D-ring). Had to get length and width "just right," and can't put it up too high or let it hang too low. Also, I never use a crank or flash (I do make sure her nose band is well-padded, though).

                                      Good luck!

                                      And Alianna, hi! I'm new too.
                                      Will He Win
                                      May 3, 1989 - March 22, 2010
                                      I will miss you every day until I see you again. I love you, Willy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Alianna View Post
                                        To Hampton Bay...

                                        When did they change the ruling that copper is legal? Haha...I think I may have been in this too long...but I remember that the rings and mouth piece had to be the same metal. Maybe they've changed that rule? It is nearly impossible to keep up....or I am confusing it with some eventing rule which is entirely possible as well.
                                        The two metals is fairly recent, but you've always been allowed to have a bit with the entire mouthpiece of copper.

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