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Bitting advice for high-headed greenie

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  • Bitting advice for high-headed greenie

    Hey everyone - I'm looking for bitting/bridle advice for a high-headed, roman-nosed pony. He's a great pony and has a soft mouth, but he gets strong jumping and tends to evade the bit by flinging his head and/or running through the bit. Obviously he is also green, so time and training will help, but I also think he needs a different bit. He doesn't seem to work with the bit he has now (single jointed eggbutt snaffle) but just sort of chomps around it/pulls against it. I can't ride him in a flash as he gets super pissy and rears (even loose). He does jump in a martingale, but that doesn't curb his enthusiasm and I would like for us to have a better connection overall. Any advice on bits, bridles or both? He is better on the flat (won a hunter under saddle class today!!) but still doesn't accept the bit like I would like him too. I'm not looking for a quick fix, but like I said earlier, would love to get him in something he's happy with and that can help us develop a better connection.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Try something with two breaks or a Mullen mouth? My Arab cannot stand a single break and behaves similarly to what you are describing with one. My fussy mouthed Arab likes his JP Korsteel oval mouth eggbutt with the oval bean made of copper (I have one with and one without copper and he's much softer in the one with).


    • #3
      For a lot of horses, the single joint is painful. When you pull, the bit folds in two. The point stabs the roof of the mouth, and the two sides pinch his tongue. There's a good chance that's why he gets so upset about the flash, he can't open his mouth to avoid the pain of the bit. Try either a mullen mouth or a double jointed bit. A lot of horse like french links, or a double jointed with a 'bean' in the middle instead of a flat piece. I like the happy mouth for a mullen mouth bit.


      • #4
        My fussy one is best in the MYler comfort snaffle with the MB02 mouthpiece. There's bend, no pinching, but the sides remain independent. My preference is for the c-sleeve ring, but I doubt if he really cares. If you look on the Myler website, you can see the bend...

        * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis


        • #5
          You might also try a loose ring rather than a fixed ring bit. There is less to lean on.

          If your horse is rushing jumps and coming above the bit, you could also try trotting jumps until he settles. sometimes rushing is an anxiety response and it can be a sign that you need to take a step back.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


          • #6
            I like a mullen for encouraging a horse to seek connection with the bit. I (and my pony!) love the loose ring Nathe, but Happy Mouth mullens are nice too.
            "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


            • #7
              I use the KK snaffles on all of mine -- they like the "taste" of the metal better than the steel and the bean is softer than the French link (I think). Have his teeth checked!!! A flash or rein pressure causing his head to go up, etc. could be from some pain. Also have a chiro or massage therapist check his back and all over for soreness. Also, check to be sure the bit fits correctly in his mouth and is the right size and the bridle is adjusted correctly. Go back to basics and confirm his flat work, dressage and response/obedience. The high head and rearing could be in response to pain but will become a resistance. You probably need to resolve any issues as noted and gain his respect as the "leader" when you ride through some fundamentals. I've had a wonderful lady starting my youngsters since my bad accident and she uses some Buck Brannaman techniques that "disengage" the hindend that once learned can prevent rearing. Her work really reinforces the respect and obedience in a kind, focused manner. Good luck!


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for all the input! I should have given a bit more background on him. He's a saddlebred pony cross, so he's got a naturally higher head/neck carriage. Trying to teach him to stretch that fancy neck out a bit. Also, he's had regular dentistry (actually getting done again next week, was done 5 months ago when I first bought/rescued him, so he's due and I'm sure that's part of it) also has had chiropractic and regular sports massage. Both checked out with no back soreness but he does have some other issues we're resolving. I know he's green and I'm not trying to rush him into anything, really just trying to find something he's happy with. We're only jumping 2' fences on a regular basis with a few 2'3"-2'6" fences thrown in every now and then because he does need to learn the basics. However, because he totally evades the bit when he's excited we've had an issue establishing a true half halt. Going to try the double jointed bean mouth made of german silver to see what he thinks, then go from there. Hopefully going to also start baby grids next week to get him using his brain a bit more.

                Thanks again everyone! I was leaning towards the double joint anyway, but always love hearing others opinions