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First Bit for Baby *UPDATE post 15*

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  • First Bit for Baby *UPDATE post 15*

    I'm getting ready to introduce my 20-month-old TB cross to a bridle and bit (he had his wolf teeth out earlier this month). Any suggestions on the best "first" bit? I was thinking of one of the following (bits I currently have that would fit him):

    - Full cheek Happy Mouth
    - Loose ring Nathe
    - Regular single-jointed full cheek
    - D-ring French link

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
    Last edited by KellyS; Nov. 1, 2009, 07:52 AM.

  • #2
    not a loose ring

    I usually start with a D-ring. Full checks are good...but been stabbed too often when the green bean attempts to rub their face on you!

    I usually start with metal bit single jointed snaffle... but one that doesn't have a nutcraker action (can't remember its name)...I think it is a Herm Springer bit. I only move to a non-metal bit after I have started them if that seems like the right thing to do.

    Of the bit choice you gave...I'd pick the reg. single jointed full cheek (but wouldn't put keepers on the full cheek)
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • #3
      A friend of mine (whose horsemanship I very much respect), who brings OTTB along for CANTER, recommends the herm sprenger duo. I had never even heard of it---but it is apparently even softer than a happy-mouth-whatever bit.
      You can either be a good example or just a really horrible warning...


      • #4
        Pretty much any soft bit

        I do find that many people make the mistake of thinking BIGGER is better and often a giant fat rubber snaffle or FAT eggbutt is just too much and the horses end up learning to be super busy with their mouths or trying to spit it out. BIGGER is not always more comfortable.

        Take a look at your horses pallet as some horses have high or low.. The low ones sometimes have trouble with the normal snaffle and french or say herm sprenger Duo (i like the slimmer one) or the nathe or good choice for almost all babies I get in or start.

        PET PEEVE: Dislike the Happy mouths and especially with the babies as they can create sharp points on them overnight by chewing as babies will do.

        I use the duo in the D ring or just a nice D ring normal snaffle for almost everything.
        To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart


        • #5
          My fillies who have a smaller mouth seemed happiest in either a thin-ish D or full cheek snaffle or a french link snaffle.

          I had a fellow with a big mouth--high pallet, small tongue--who liked a fat bit best. Most seem happiest with a plain snaffle.


          • #6
            Originally posted by JumpingBug View Post
            I use the duo in the D ring or just a nice D ring normal snaffle for almost everything.

            I move to the due in the D ring pretty fast...it just isn't the first one that I grab (but it is often the second one). They are expensive bits but one that is worth having in your box.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


            • Original Poster

              Thanks so much!

              I do have a Duo--but it's a loose ring as well.

              I'm thinking I'll start with the plain full cheek--this baby is really mouthy (he always has something in his mouth!), so I think the stability of the full cheek will keep him from playing with it too much (versus a French link). I was concerned that the Duo/Nathe/Happy Mouth bits had mouthpieces that were too thick to start with--he's got a fine head (TB fineness in a pony-sized head).

              We have a Duo liverpool for our driving pony and he just loves it! Great bit. He goes in a Happy Mouth eggbutt or pelham for riding. He's the first pony/horse I've had that HATES jointed bits; it's fun figuring out what they like best.

              Funny story about Rally (the baby)--my sister and her husband were visiting and went in the barn to see the horses. She came out to me and said, "Did you teach Rally a trick?" I'm like, "no....why?" Her reply? "Well, we walked up to his stall and he picked his halter up off the hook and handed it to us. I guess he wanted to go out." This is also the baby that carries around sticks in the paddock--I'm always yelling at him not to poke anybody's eyes out!

              I'll try to get some pics from this weekend. To add to my HUGE album (175 pics and counting) of Rally. I'm worse than a new mom!


              • #8
                A full cheek is the way to go, because they can't open their mouths wide enough for the bit to slide through their mouths, and the full cheeks give them more stability, and helps them learn how to turn.
                "Hell yes I can ride. I was riding when I fell off!"


                • #9
                  Outrageously expensive, but my favorite for babies and youngun's and I've had several with the tiny mouth
                  OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                  • #10
                    Rubber loose ring mullen. Worn with the reins attached to the rings on a sidepull.
                    ... _. ._ .._. .._


                    • #11
                      Good beginner bit buy

                      ditto scubed but here's an affordable version at Jeffers


                      I just bought this bit in the eggbutt style (wanted a fixed ring vs a loose ring for my bit arsenal) and my 3 yr old just did his first dressage show in it and he loved it.

                      and I used a code "try" ZZJ1-0 for $10 off a $50 order it is written on my invoice that I got

                      or try ZZJ1-99

                      these are supposed to be good thru today 10/30 keep entering codes until one works

                      HW10100 $10 off of $100
                      HW555 $5 off of $55

                      I bought my winter wormer and supplies too, no ship charge over $50 I believe. can't find my catalog right now.
                      Last edited by pony grandma; Nov. 1, 2009, 09:11 PM. Reason: fixed link
                      Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.


                      • #12
                        I start most of my babies in a thick, balck, "dogbone" lose ring. I feel that is encourages them to take a bit of a feel, and have not had one yet that did not go well in it in the begining. That said, my former advanced horse ran all three levels in one as well. It works for me

                        The best thing is that they are about $10 from most tack store.....easy to replace

                        "Animals can sometimes take us to a place that we cannot reach ourself"

                        ** Support the classic Three Day Event! Ride a Long Format **


                        • #13
                          D- ring, eggbutt, anything of that type. full cheeks are great for the mouth but there's too many things around to get caught on.


                          • #14
                            I avoid single jointed bits and loose rings. Anything mullen mouth (rubber or metal) or double jointed and soft (french link, bean) would be fine as long as its not too thin or too thick.


                            • Original Poster

                              Okey doke.

                              Tried the plain full cheek snaffle on Friday...and he ha-ha-hated it. I think when he was mouthing it, it was poking him in the top of the mouth. So yesterday I tried the loose ring duo--much better! He still isn't quiet with his mouth yet, but a few times he'd just close his mouth and you'd see the lightbulb go on ("Well, maybe it's easier to just let it sit here").

                              I'm not too worried about the loose ring because I'm not touching the bit at all; I put a halter on over the headstall to lead him, and will keep doing that for awhile before I connect anything to the bit. However, I am worried that it is too thick for his tiny mouth. I did some online searches but can't find anything thinner. Of course, as he grows, it may become a nonissue.

                              I decided that the happy mouth or a plain mullen mouth will put too much pressure on his tongue (the duo has the tongue relief). Might try the French link as it will be thinner and lay across his tongue more (versus poking the roof of his mouth). I don't think I mentioned that he wears a 4.5" bit (!) so my options are somewhat more limited than if he wore a 5".

                              He is really funny though...the first few minutes of having a bit in, he goes through his "death throes". Eyes rolled back in his head, hanging his tongue out, moaning...the works. He is a drama queen with a capital DQ. Thankfully he was very nondramatic about wearing a saddle for the first time.


                              • #16
                                OMG Kelly...he is too cute! I've used a Myler for the horses that seemed to want a thinner bit. It is a little trial and error to find what works best for them.....but I do try and give them a little bit of time before changing unless it is obvious that they really hate it.

                                This is the bit that most of my horses go in and seem to really like.


                                It is legal for eventing dressage but not regular dressage (except FEI levels or the Young Horse classes--go figure)
                                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                                • #17
                                  wow, he IS cute!!!

                                  No expert on bits for young horses but in terms of thin bits... my giant horse is happiest in a thinner bit (must be his equally giant tongue taking up all the space in there), and I use a bridoon from a friend's double bridle -- it's a HS double jointed, but thinner than you can buy as a regular snaffle bit. He really likes it, although it looks a bit odd in his big mouth (don't know if there are any pics of it in my link as those are all jumping pics.. we added a wonder bit for jumping when his enthusiasm outran my ability to balance him up at speed...but he is 17.2, so...)
                                  The big man -- my lost prince

                                  The little brother, now my main man


                                  • Original Poster

                                    So yesterday was the 3rd day of "bitting." And I have to say that it was quite successful! Used the loose ring duo again; he was very mouthy at first, but I put his halter on over the headstall and then lunged him and once he had a "job" he totally forgot about it and trotted around like he'd been wearing a bit all his life. Of course, once we got back to the barn, he was like, "Oh, I forgot about it...time to try to spit it out again," but I think we are on the right track.

                                    And thanks BFNE and Asterix--he is such a good boy! It's hard to ever be mad at him because he's just so darn cute...and he knows it! He is pretty much "all Thoroughbred," except that he's pony-sized, is obsessed with food (and fat) like a pony, and has those tough pony feet. He has good depth to his body so hopefully once he's all grown up I won't look too silly riding him.

                                    It's tough when you've never brought one along from scratch before--you don't have the experience to fall back on...and you worry that you're doing it all wrong and going to mess them up for life! But this has been the most rewarding horse experiences ever.