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In need of a hunter-appropriate bit...

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  • In need of a hunter-appropriate bit...

    Hey COTH --

    I need some help. I am currently working with a green bean who has the best mind and is uber smart. Though he might not excel as a hunter he could stand to hold his own in the future (and probably in the jumpers too).

    But the only issue we seem to have encountered (and I have encountered before in horses) is the lack of breaks at shows. At home, he schools PERFECTLY in a single-jointed happy mouth 2-ring elevator, yet obviously that isn't allowed in the hunter ring. When we jump - he just seems to forget that there is a rider until about 3 strides after the fence, which wouldn't be an issue really, except for in the lines...

    We have tried a bunch of different bits including a corkscrew, a broken segunda, a single and double twisted wire (he seems to prefer D-rings to full cheeks). We have yet to try a pelham just because he would probably get offended at the curb chain (he actually does have a very soft mouth - he just looooooves to jump and kinda forgets that he has someone other than himself along with him too).

    So I was just wondering if there is something to try that I have skipped over or missed.

    We're all different people all through our lives, when you think about it. That's okay. That's good. You've got to keep moving. So long as you remember all the people that you used to be. - The Doctor

  • #2
    I would try the pelham (both a broken and mullen mouth). Most of my horses have very soft mouths, and they universally go fine in a pelham (usually a broken). I have breaks when I need them, but the curb chain isn't so tight that it comes into play every time you touch the reins.

    Pelhams are wonderful bits...
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


    • #3
      Rubber mullen mouth pelham. Put a gel cover on the curb chain if it offends him.


      • #4
        Try a pelham. You can run the curb chain loose, and the bit will be a little more like an elevator without the curb chain coming into action. Or, cover the curb chain with a gel cover so that it still works, but doesn't bite as much. Experiment to see which way he goes best in the pelham. Had a horse once that went best in a three-ring, but couldn't show hunters with it, so we used a pelham with the chain relatively loose.


        • #5
          Have you seen the Stubben EZ-Control Bits? I'm not sure if it's what you are looking for, but they have it in a Hunter Dee and Fullcheek and it may be something to look at for over fences. Has anyone tried them before?


          • #6
            What happened when you used some of the stronger D-rings? Were they too much or not enough? I usually have found ones that go well in a 3-ring have gone well in the broken segunda. Have you tried many mullen mouth type bits? I use to ride a horse that went the best is a happy mouth mullen mouth even though she was sensitive and could get strong.


            • #7
              If you haven't been able to stop him in a segunda, bits aren't your problem. With a young green horse, I'd look at things like balance, overfacing him causing nerves, or lack of fitness. Also rider using enough leg to get him off his forehand.

              Try a happy mouth mullen mouth pelham, but if that doesn't work, look at the items above.


              • #8
                Taking it one further, see if you can find a pelham that has a sliding cheek.

                If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


                • #9
                  I like using the old leather curb straps personally, many horses with softer mouths do very well in them and they are less bulky than the gel covers which never seem to stay centered well for me. But yes, pelham with curb looseish.

                  Some horses prefer a jointed pelham to a mullen, I've had two in particular that didn't like the rigidity of the mullen/curb strap but did well in a jointed pelham and also went well in a jointed 2 ring, so I might consider trying one of those as well since your horse already goes in a jointed 2 ring.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by whbar158 View Post
                    What happened when you used some of the stronger D-rings? Were they too much or not enough? I usually have found ones that go well in a 3-ring have gone well in the broken segunda. Have you tried many mullen mouth type bits? I use to ride a horse that went the best is a happy mouth mullen mouth even though she was sensitive and could get strong.
                    He got really offended in the broken segunda, yet ran right through the single twisted wire and corkscrew. He was best in the double twisted wire but only until we walked into the ring and then he ran pretty much right threw it too. I would keep him in the double twisted wire but am not a big fan of how much I have to pull to get his attention back (if that makes any sense). In his 2 ring elevator, I can half halt, and release and he continues around like a gentleman. But in the double twisted wire, I'd half halt, he'd go well for a stride or 2 and then I'd have to half halt again or better yet, I'd half halt in the middle of the line and I'd get nothing in return. I hope that makes sense.

                    Thanks for the input and options - I'm going to go out later today and dig threw my bit box and see if any of my pelhams (rubber, single joint, mullen mouth) work. Even though I'm just flatting him, I can test our brakes. I'll post an update after today and after we jump later this week.
                    We're all different people all through our lives, when you think about it. That's okay. That's good. You've got to keep moving. So long as you remember all the people that you used to be. - The Doctor