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bit choice for new horse

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    bit choice for new horse

    I have a 10 year old paint that spent the better part of the last 5 years being a pasture potato. when ridden, he was ridden western, i believe in a hackamore.
    I have been working with him in a rubber snaffle, but he seems to have no respect for it at all. He will throw his head in the air, even with a martingale.
    I'm thinking of trying a stronger bit, such as a slow twisted wire snaffle.
    I'm going to be longing him with side reins as soon as I can get the snow to melt (i'm working on it), trying to get him to lower his head a bit.
    My goal is local hunter shows.
    Any other suggestions?

    #2
    Head tossing doesn't mean he has no respect for the bit. It could be stemming from other issues. Have you had his teeth checked? Maybe the saddle your riding him in is pinching him somewhere.

    Also, side reins aren't a good reason to get him to "lower his head." When working with a green horse, you don't ride the head anyway. Plus, it seems with the past you have given, he's never even had a bit in his mouth.

    Comment


      #3
      It sounds like he just has no idea what he's supposed to do with a bit and a stronger bit isn't going to fix that. If he's never had a bit in his mouth before, how is he supposed to know what to do with it?

      If he were mine, I would ignore his head completely. It doesn't matter where he wants to put it right now. All you need to be focusing on is having quiet hands and teaching him how to carry a bit.

      And I definitely wouldn't switch to a twisted wire. That's quite a jump from a rubber snaffle.
      "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
      -George Morris

      Comment

        Original Poster

        #4
        okay. thank you. i'll let his head be while getting him just used to being ridden for now. thanks

        Comment


          #5
          Make sure everything fits and his teeth are good. Then, try a bit that works off leverage. I would start with a happy bit, Mullen mouth short shank pellham with a curb. He is used to working off the leverage of the hackamore and might not understand what pressure on the bars and port of the mouth mean. The happy bit will be very gentle but effective.
          From there, you can go a lot of ways if needed. Mikmar has a lot of nice choices and the mouthpieces are nice and wide which makes them very gentle. I use the short shank with the nose band and roller on my OTTB who hates the snaffle. He is very sensitive in his bars and poll, has never done well with broken mouthpieces, although he's better with a French-link. I think he also has a very shallow, sensitive port. With the Mikmar, he really gives at the poll, relaxes and listens to this bit better than any other. With a snaffle he fights it, head in the air, stiff back.
          I can fox hunt with this and have all the turn and brakes I need, yet he is more relaxed and happier in it than any other except for the happy mouth. He goes well with the happy mouth but not enough brakes in the field. That is the only other one I've found that he liked and is what I showed Eq in.

          Comment


            #6
            I bought a pasture puff this past spring...after about four months of not touching his head and getting him in shape/working from back to front, his head and neck magically became balanced and normal.
            Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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              #7
              I would continue working him getting him used to going forward and straight. Those are the two most important things to worry about before trying to mess with their heads. If you still feel like the rubber snaffle isn't enough try just switching to a regular D before moving to anything twisted. Good luck!

              Comment


                #8
                Have you tried lunging him in a bridle without a saddle and with a saddle to see if he does this head throwing thing without a rider/with or without tack?
                ::Karley::

                Henry (House of Fortuny) 7 yr old OTTB
                http://dondeestahenry.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Doctracy View Post
                  Make sure everything fits and his teeth are good. Then, try a bit that works off leverage. I would start with a happy bit, Mullen mouth short shank pellham with a curb. He is used to working off the leverage of the hackamore and might not understand what pressure on the bars and port of the mouth mean. The happy bit will be very gentle but effective.
                  I wouldn't describe the "leverage" of a hackamore and bit as being the same.

                  If he goes ok in a hackamore and understands it, you could do what the vaqueros would have done in a similar stage of training using a bosel. You simply *hang* a soft bit is in his mouth while you continue to ride in the hackamore. No reins attached, you don't use it. The horse gets used to packing the bit around. Of course the vaqueros were actually doing this with the horse's first leverage bit, not a snaffle.

                  If I were in your spot and in a big hurry, I might try this technique and see what happened. You might get lucky and discover that the snaffle hung in his mouth makes no difference. Or, you could discover that the bit in fact causes the problems you already know about. Then you know to have a vet look at his teeth, I'd say.

                  But as other posters have said, which bit you choose won't sort out the causes of his head tossing or fix the rest of his body (and education) that will let him cruise around with his head down.

                  I continue to get him fit and educated-- even in the hackamore-- and then worry about teaching him to "translate" between the signals a hackamore uses and those a snaffle does to achieve the same effect.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Take a look at his teeth, and the overall anatomy of his mouth for a low palate and thick tongue. Many paints tend to have a fat tongue- mine is one of them. The rubber snaffle may be too large for his mouth, and could even be pinching his tongue. Try a regular snaffle or a double jointed one. My horse goes best in a ported bit that offers complete tongue relief- right now she is in a Myler ported D-ring. If he has had training as a western horse he was probably started in a snaffle, but remember that there is less contact on the mouth. Try riding with a very, very light contact and see how that goes. Plus, if he has just been sitting in a pasture doing nothing for 5 years and you are now working him on a regular basis, he could be acting out, but I would check saddle fit and everything else before ruling that it is attitude.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hackamore or bosal?

                      [QUOTE=mvp;5319960]I wouldn't describe the "leverage" of a hackamore and bit as being the same.



                      I was assuming she meant a mechanical hackamore. I usually call what the vaqueros rode in a "bosal". If that is what she is talking about, whole different ball game.
                      Last edited by Doctracy; Dec. 31, 2010, 01:51 PM. Reason: Typo

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mypaintwattie View Post
                        Take a look at his teeth, and the overall anatomy of his mouth for a low palate and thick tongue. Many paints tend to have a fat tongue- mine is one of them. The rubber snaffle may be too large for his mouth, and could even be pinching his tongue. Try a regular snaffle or a double jointed one. My horse goes best in a ported bit that offers complete tongue relief- right now she is in a Myler ported D-ring. If he has had training as a western horse he was probably started in a snaffle, but remember that there is less contact on the mouth. Try riding with a very, very light contact and see how that goes. Plus, if he has just been sitting in a pasture doing nothing for 5 years and you are now working him on a regular basis, he could be acting out, but I would check saddle fit and everything else before ruling that it is attitude.
                        Depends on the paint, too. Most of my paints are more TB. They seem to have a thin tongue and low port. Remember, Three Bars is TB so the pleasure and HUS side are going to have a lot of TB. Than you have all the running horses in there that are 99% TB, plus the JC paints and you really have a multi-cultural breed. Gone are the days of short, squatty bull-dog horses.
                        My yearling strings to 16.1 and she is bred for Western Pleasure, her sire is QH and her paint mother is a world CH Western Pleasure Producer.
                        I tend to have to use the same types of bits as on my OTTB although their backs are a little wider. They still have prominent withers and I use blankets cut for TBs on all of them.

                        Comment

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