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Bit suggestions/education please!

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  • Bit suggestions/education please!

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for some bit suggestions for when I hunt my 17.3HH draft cross. I'm putting this thread in the Eventing forum as that's his other job which he does very well. Not to mention, there's more "traffic" in this forum than over in Hunting.

    Let me preface this thread by stating, all tack fits very well and is checked by a reputable saddler. His teeth are done once a year and checked mid-year. He's healthy and sound and gets all sorts of care and attention and is practically blessed by a shaman every time I ride.

    He goes around Novice XC very nicely in a Stuuben Golden Wings Gag - never pulls or runs off or anything. In fact, I kick on just a bit. He's an educated horse (scores in the mid to upper 20's in dressage) so definitely understands seat and leg. Hunting he can get strong, which isn't uncommon.

    I hunt him in a single-jointed short shank Pelham. I prefer to communicate through the snaffle rein as much as possible, only touching the curb when he tunes me out, and always backed up by seat and leg. However, I feel like I need something a tad stronger to get his attention when he's trying to roll past horses in front of him. He also snatches the reins while we're checked (standing still) which drives me nuts and earns him a kick in the side. He wants to eat, I don't allow it. My old horse would roll hard and snatch too and the slow twist gag I used slowed him down with minimal input from me and stopped the snatching, but I cannot find one in a 6" size.

    I'm thinking perhaps I stick with a Pelham, but try a longer shank (mine is really a Tom Thumb, so not a lot of leverage), or try a different mouthpiece.

    I see Pelhams offered in Mullen mouth, Waterford, single-jointed, double-jointed, and ported. What would be a logical next step for us to try? (Equine dentist says he has a very normal mouth and palate.) How would you rank those mouthpieces in order of mild to strong?









  • #2
    If I were in your shoes I might try the same bit with a mullen mouth, which should give you more purchase with the curb rein. If not, try a longer shank, or a (slightly) shorter curb chain, depending on which action seems to make more of an impression on him.

    Good luck, he sounds lovely.
    The plural of anecdote is not data

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    • #3
      I'd agree with what SecondInCommand said; I'm not a big fan of jointed curb bits, so I'd lean toward tighter chain, longer shank and thinnish mullen mouth.

      The snatching at checks probably won't change with a different bit though.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by lucegoose View Post
        I'd agree with what SecondInCommand said; I'm not a big fan of jointed curb bits, so I'd lean toward tighter chain, longer shank and thinnish mullen mouth.

        The snatching at checks probably won't change with a different bit though.
        Thank you - I will do some searches for something like that. I was thinking a longer shank for sure; the mouthpieces are the head scratcher for me.

        My trainer advised against a Waterford suggesting that it isn't ideal for his issue but more for a horse that leans into/lays in your hands. If anything, he gets high-headed.

        I'm going to keep addressing the rein snatching with a solid kick. That does get his attention. I just need to be more "present" and kick him the second I feel it coming.


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