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Bit for a sensitive, slightly crazy mare

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  • #21
    Bonnie clacks her teeth all the time. Has done so forever. It does NOT matter what gear she has on, and in fact she even lacks her teeth when she is perfectly relaxed and happy. So we no longer worry about it.

    Other than that, I would say you simply have to go with trial and error to find one that seems to be acceptable. What makes one horse happy is not going to be good for another. It's also worth a check to make sure your hands are absolutely still, steady, and the grip on the reins is not slipping or inconsistent. Something with which I have struggled for years and am only just starting to get a handle on.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #22
      I don't think there is a magic bit that everyone should use in this situation. I have a mare who chomped and I switched her to a hackamore and she's happy. I have another mare who chomps and is sensitive from a jaw injury. I tried bitless with her and she hated it, mullen mouth caused her to lean, but a Waterford baucher worked wonders.

      You just have to try a bunch of bits out.

      Comment


      • #23
        My super sensitive mare goes best in a nathe straight loose ring (since nathe went under reportedly, I'll probably look to Beris bits when I need a replacement) and a Micklem bridle.

        Jennifer
        Third Charm Event Team

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        • Original Poster

          #24
          Oh, my, so many options!

          To date, Dove has gone BEST in my basic, no frills, 20 year old $20 Korsteel french. Given the feedback here, I may try a french mouthpiece in a baucher or a full cheek and see if she likes the stability. I did have a very nice ride today in this set up. I definitely have a quieter ride if I ask a lot of questions, so perhaps she's also just bored.

          Curious to hear from all here: is a TIGHT noseband ever a good thing? Dove really seems to settle in and work better if everything is quite snug, which is a little hard for this diehard no noseband or very loose plain cavesson person to really accept.

          And deltawave: regarding the clacking...I should just buy a pair of earplugs, instead of a new bit?

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #25
            Originally posted by cmdrcltr View Post
            Simkie, do you belong to English Tack Trader on FB? Just saw this listed:

            https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=1&theater
            Looks like I missed out on this. Did see that it was a black Micklem for, what, $140?

            Any input on the sizing of these things? Dove wears a cob in other bridles and has a fairly chiseled, refined head, so I've been been watching for a cob Micklem. I see on the sizing chart on the Smartpak site, she'd likely wear a regular "horse" size? Not sure how to play this one...

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            • #26
              She could be bored. I've ridden some horses that when you give them even a second of idle time (without contact, leg, engaging the body) they're flipping their head around or clacking. So that's something to consider outside of the bit.

              That being said my previous TB gelding preferred the Baucher or a full-cheek snaffle with keepers. He liked the stability and was quite fussy in anything else. Perhaps try one of those out. They can be acquired fairly for a fairly cheap price new or used.

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              • #27
                These bits are expensive but they do offer a trial (I believe it's 10% of the purchase price for a month) http://www.hastilowusa.com/neue-schu...orse-bits.html. I loved the two that they sent me for my daughter's pony who is ultra sensitive, very forward, and is ridden by a child whose hands are improving but still not "there yet". She also clanks, mouth wide open, etc. (she'll do this, though not to the extent when we lunge and my daughter isn't even holding on to the reins--this is behavioral--not just a response to my daughter's hands).

                The pony bits are so petite! It's amazing to see the size difference. Talk to Annette at Hastilow, she gave me some great advice with what to choose. There was a bit that she sent that wasn't on their site. Also google the company on youtube. They have great informative videos about each bit, how to fit them, and the options. We got the trans universal and the trans beval. I threw my hands up on the Myler bits because I couldn't make sense of them (maybe it was their coding system).

                What else did we do with the pony? We've only had her a month and I do question what we were told about her history. BUT my daughter really likes her and is dealing well with her "issues", (they'll made progress then take steps back--she is able to get moments of calm, relaxed work with her), she's a nice mover, and even though she is anxious, forward, and sensitive, she is honest so I decided to do as much as possible to make this partnership work:

                1. Micklem bridle--helped but change of bit was definitely neccessary (head tossing disappeared with this bridle).

                2. GROUNDWORK--we went back to the basics. I knew that there had to be holes in her training. We're working with a professional on this because while I know the basics, I really wanted an immersion in it and someone to teach my daughter properly (he's willing to work with kids and does really well with them--AND he explains things!). If nothing else this is a great education for both of us.

                3. Ulcers--treating for that.

                Good luck! Keep us updated as to what worked.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                  Oh, my, so many options!

                  To date, Dove has gone BEST in my basic, no frills, 20 year old $20 Korsteel french. Given the feedback here, I may try a french mouthpiece in a baucher or a full cheek and see if she likes the stability. I did have a very nice ride today in this set up. I definitely have a quieter ride if I ask a lot of questions, so perhaps she's also just bored.

                  Curious to hear from all here: is a TIGHT noseband ever a good thing? Dove really seems to settle in and work better if everything is quite snug, which is a little hard for this diehard no noseband or very loose plain cavesson person to really accept.

                  And deltawave: regarding the clacking...I should just buy a pair of earplugs, instead of a new bit?
                  The tight noseband thing to me screams she's looking for stability. Try a baucher and see if you can't loosen that noseband again.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I think you do sort of have to keep trying - I had one who loved the baucher - like another poster mentioned, I thought of it after riding him in his Pelham without a curbchain on the snaffle. He did not like pressure on his bars so we cranked all his bits up so he had 4 wrinkles. The stability & hanging aspect of the baucher worked for him.

                    Current sensitive flower went in a mullen/loose ring Nathe for about 6 months, and is now very happy in a well-chewed rubber D. She's had 3 rubber bits, including the Nathe and all get chewed the same way. I tried a loose ring KK with the round center piece and that was NOT popular. She goes in a cavesson fitted the traditional way - snug but not tight.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      My fairly sensitive 16.2 h.h. half-Arabian (other half is Appy!) actually was "rein lame" in a loose ring and terribly fussy - chucked it around in his mouth like crazy. Equally hated any dressage legal version of Mylar snaffles. He is SOOOOO happy in his French-mouth Baucher (Steubben version, which has german silver mouth and upper ring turned out slightly so it doesn't pinch).

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                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        Okay, ordered several full cheek options and a boucher from Horseloverz. Also picked up a drop noseband and one of those bit guard dealies that comes up the front the face and hooks to the crownpiece. And some bit loops for the full cheeks.

                        Since I have a half dozen bits coming, that all but guarantees that she will absolutely LOVE the first new thing I put in her mouth, right?

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Mine...it has nothing to do with the bit and everything to do with my ride. For a period of time I tried a bunch of different bits and different nose bands. I did find she prefers a thicker to thinner bit. And she HATES a tight nose band. In the end...other then the things she HATES...there is no magic bit or nose band. She is busy in her mouth...and that is her. I need to keep my hands as quiet as possible and my arms and elbows soft and ride 90% from my legs and weight....hmmmm...ride well. She is a diva and if she feels trapped at all we get an over reaction. I actually enjoy riding her but she is not for everyone! For me she is a great teacher, if she is not going well...I can start clicking through my position (especially my arms) and almost always find that I need to tweak my ride a little...and she lets me know when I've got it right. Cheaper than a lesson!
                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                          • #33
                            I've had good luck with a mullen happy mouth eggbutt dipped in molasses. Messy, but the teeth grinding/bit holding has all but stopped; and she doesn't associate the bit with anxiety anymore.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              You might try a leather bit http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...ffle-bits!-FYI!

                              I do find having a steadier bit helps to some degree, but for some horses, it is a habit. Gumbits may help http://gumbits.net/ as you work on the training and getting her more used to the process
                              OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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                              • #35
                                My crazy hot (chestnut TB) mare loves her Myler loose ring (the kind with the barrel in the middle). I ride her in a figure 8, but she's also responded pretty well to a kineton.
                                Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                                Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                                VW sucks.

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                                • #36
                                  How does one use Gumbits? They look like round balls of stuff. There is nothing on the website that explains how they work.
                                  "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                  Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                                  • #37
                                    They are actually made of beeswax coated in sugar. When the horse chews them, they get stuck in the teeth like candy and it muffles the grinding noise. I also think the idea is that the continuous taste of the substance in their mouth causes them to salivate more.

                                    I haven't tried them; too expensive. I'm also skeptical about whether or not my horse would eat them.

                                    ETA: I think there have been some threads about how to make a homemade version.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                      I need to keep my hands as quiet as possible and my arms and elbows soft and ride 90% from my legs and weight....hmmmm...ride well.
                                      This is EXACTLY why I buy horses like this--they challenge me and make me a better rider. I'm doing all I can to give her the ride she wants. We do lots of feeling it out. For example, I found out that she prefers if I get up in half seat, move NOTHING and ask, quietly (verbally) for her to "canter." That's not how I really want to be asking, but it's what makes her happy now and we will readdress it later.

                                      Originally posted by scubed View Post
                                      I do find having a steadier bit helps to some degree, but for some horses, it is a habit. Gumbits may help http://gumbits.net/ as you work on the training and getting her more used to the process
                                      I've thought of this...have also heard of using fruit roll ups wrapped around the bit. Might give something like that a try (or molasses, as mentioned futher up.)

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Simkie, I look forward to reading about what works for you. After a long career of riding sensitive mares, I have a collection of favorites. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.

                                        I picked up Micklems at the Dover basement and Smartpak clearance. I rather like them, but would suggest that you borrow before buying.

                                        I never use tight nosebands any more. They just don't seem to work long term. Snug maybe: tight never.

                                        On my go to list of bits: KK french links for nearly every horse. I have loose ring and eggbutt. If that's not the ticket, I have an old Kimberwick with a low, wide port. I try it without the curb chain. I've had two mares LOVE it. And then I pull out an old bit I got at a jumble sale. It's a ported mullen mouth egg butt. One of the mares that liked the Kimberwick liked this bit even better. AND it's legal! Someday I'll find a Nathe on sale to add to my collection.

                                        As to the clacking: if it's in rhythm with her strides, your mare is relaxed and providing percussion. Several of mine would "sing" along with the clacking when hacking and happy. Sort of like the song of the humpback whale but not quite as haunting.
                                        They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          As to the clacking: if it's in rhythm with her strides, your mare is relaxed and providing percussion. Several of mine would "sing" along with the clacking when hacking and happy. Sort of like the song of the humpback whale but not quite as haunting.
                                          Haha! This is what Bonnie does--clacks AND hums when she's feeling particularly pleased with herself! Her mama hummed ALL the time. Guess Bonnie's acting like her own equine beat box.
                                          Click here before you buy.

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