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bitting up schoolies?

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  • bitting up schoolies?

    I was listening to my trainer talk to an adult beginner rider today about stopping one of the school ponies. He goes in a rubber pelham with only a curb rein (don't ask) and stops really easily. The trainer commented that the pony really should/can go in a snaffle but he is bitted up for his beginner riders (as are other horses in the barn). While I understand that she wants the pony to stop for novices, I don't remember riding bitted up horses as a kid---just d ring snaffles for the most part---and wonder if this is a common solution, or if most barns keep schoolie bits simple and hold riders back until they can control their mounts.

  • #2
    We had some school ponies in kimblewicks because kids just did not have the arm strength and often let their reins get to long.

    We had one thoroughbred in a pelham, he went western and english and I think he just like the feel of a bit with a shank to it.

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    • #3
      With the exception of maybe 2 or 3, the school horses at my barn all go in snaffles. Not all of them are super easy, but only riders that are suitable for the horses ride them. The ones that are in slightly stronger bits are more advanced horses, anyway, and their riders know how to properly use them.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Wizard of Oz's View Post
        With the exception of maybe 2 or 3, the school horses at my barn all go in snaffles. Not all of them are super easy, but only riders that are suitable for the horses ride them. The ones that are in slightly stronger bits are more advanced horses, anyway, and their riders know how to properly use them.
        This. The idea that w/t riders are riding a horse in a pelham with just the rein on the shank is very scary.

        We have one beginner pony that goes in a pelham because he gets stronger with beginner riders, but we use a converter.

        Also, I did the walk trot in a pelham. With two reins. Held correctly (I was eight.) Its not *that* hard, and I'm always surprised when riders have no idea how to hold two reins.

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        • #5
          As a pony-sized college student, I rode a few ponies at the hunter lesson barn in some crazy bits - I vaguely remember a twisted-wire snaffle on one guy. Probably an indication of the tiny kids who usually rode him. He was a great pony, though, and he seemed to go really well (for me, at least!) in that bit.

          At the barn I ride out of now it's the opposite. The horse I ride now is ridden in a bitless bridle, snaffle or curb depending on the rider... you have to ride well enough to ride in a stronger bit.
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          • #6
            I have a large pony that is primarily a WT & X pony who goes in a broken pelham. I teach the kids to hold both reins and we travel with a slight loop in them.

            The bigger kids ride her in any plain Dee. This is a beginny pony, but for the ones who trot on their own.

            She goes best in the Pelham. She is a Haffy cross with a short stiff neck, and when the kids would pull in the plain snaffle, she would pull back, she quit steerring, and my schooling wouldn't correct it. I tried the pelham just for a whim and it really did solve my problems. The kids can move their hand a little bit, she answers and everyone is happier. Now, I would like to clarify that my pelham pony only has 2 regular riders; not 10.

            My other pony goes in a full cheek happy mouth, and my horsey, in a rubber dee.

            There is a barn in my region that goes to the local shows and evey single horse is in a kimberwicke.

            I would have to say, that I think in a good program, it would depend on the horse and the situation. To the tack decision in the OP, that is just poor, lazy horsemanship.

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            • #7
              hmmm most beginners seem ride on a loose rein and if the horse is comfortable in the pelham or kimberwick then I really don't see a problem, however take my opinion with a grain of salt b/c I learned to ride at a western barn and all the horses were in a grazing curb b/c it was what they knew and we were told to ride on a loose rein.

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              • #8
                I do the opposite, I bit down my schoolies. They all wear either fat rubber snaffles, french links, or bitless bridles. They're easily controlled in them and I don't want poor horsey's mouth to get hurt if someone loses their balance and accidently yanks on them.
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                • #9
                  I think it depends somewhat. You have to remember many schoolies are not fine tuned or anything. My friend when she started out had every horse is something very mild because she was worried about kids hitting them in the mouth by accident with something stronger. Over time though she has bitted up some of them that just have harder mouths because they just weren't doing what the kid was asking. None of them were running away with kids at all, just leaning on the bit when they are trying to get them to walk from a trot or halt. Everyone is much happier now with stronger bits (some just being slow twists instead of a regular snaffle) because they now stop when they are told, not just when they feel like it.

                  Kids can be very silly. I have taught some at my friends place and one time a kid was being run away with and she would not pull to stop at all. After we finally fell off I was talking to her about what she should have done (the horse would have stopped if she had pulled in the beginning) and she said to me she didn't want to pull hard because she didn't want to hurt him! I tried to explain that she wasn't going to hurt him and that if hes doing something bad you can pull really hard. Almost all of my friends school horses will stop easily if you really want to stop, but many kids are afraid to pull that hard and get upset when they don't stop right away. So really I have no problem having a stronger bit if the kid can go around with a loopy rein so that they can really stop right away if they want to. These kids have no skills yet on how to use the rest of their body so something as simple as halting can be hard on a horse that just doesn't want to stand there all day anyways.
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                  • #10
                    I work with the equestrian program at a small state University, and work with a lot of beginners. The bitting I use depends on the horse and the activity. Most of the time all the horses are in snaffles with a smooth mouth piece (except for one older mare that goes best in a hackamore). There is one horse that rides in a Kimberwicke because he is a little strong for some of the beginners, and another two that are ridden in a snaffle in the arena, but in a western curb if we go out on our longer trail where they tend to get excited. I find that the snaffles are fine when the horses aren't excited, but a couple of the horses need a little more when they have the excitement of a different place and open fields. I work primarily with college students who are beginning riders, and find that some tend to pull too much, but most tend to have loopy reins.

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                    • #11
                      The idea that a horse was western and therefore gets ridden with only the curb rein on a pelham for english is ridiculous... Or at least should be. Only well trained western horses are SUPPOSED to ride in a shank. The whole idea of a shank in western is that you barely touch the reins and the horse feels it. Therefore, a shank is only used on "finished" horses with long reins and zero contact (for the most part). Snaffles are used in western if any amount of contact is required.

                      Granted, I did just describe western utopia, but its how shank bits are intended in western.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OveroHunter View Post
                        The idea that a horse was western and therefore gets ridden with only the curb rein on a pelham for english is ridiculous... Or at least should be. Only well trained western horses are SUPPOSED to ride in a shank. The whole idea of a shank in western is that you barely touch the reins and the horse feels it. Therefore, a shank is only used on "finished" horses with long reins and zero contact (for the most part). Snaffles are used in western if any amount of contact is required.

                        Granted, I did just describe western utopia, but its how shank bits are intended in western.
                        Woah, if you are talking about my post, I never stated he was ridden with one rein on the pelham. He was ridden with double reins or a converter (only for rank beginners) and he really did just seem to like the bit better. He was also a finished horse that could tote a beginner around, then jump a 3' to 3'6" course with an experienced rider. He could go from a winning Hunter round to a winning Western Pleasure class.

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                        • #13
                          hmmm...good question. I really don't remember what I rode in when I first started because I wasn't educated enough to know the difference. I want to say that most of them were in snaffles, although there is one I remember in a ported solid curb and thats only because the instructor didn't feel like that is what the horse needed.

                          I'm pretty sure at my second lesson barn, the horse I mainly rode wore a D-ring.

                          I think in general most of the schoolies I've ridden didn't need a tremendous stop. They were all pretty much dead to the leg; if anything the "go" button was broken, and the "stop" button worked just fine

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                          • #14
                            whatever it takes!

                            I grew up with lots of pelhams even an occasional double bridle)!)I feel now that the horse needs to be in whatever allows him to jump happily and pull up with one tug!so neither horse nor rider expects or experiences yanking/ hauling on the horses' mouth.
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                            remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

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                            • #15
                              KISS!

                              I liked my horses to go with one kick and stop with one tug and whoa" We do this lesson early on; amazingly they, the students, picked up "half halt very quickly and reminded me of it several times, when I forgot
                              breeder of Mercury!

                              remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

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                              • #16
                                I find that I have to up the "bit power" sometimes on a schooline, ostly due to "stiff necking" a little rider when trying to turn. All of my schoolies stop on a dime! But when they want to go to the gate or go into a corner of my ring they can get very "stiff necked" and little kids can't get them to turn. I have one that goes in a broken kimberwicke, one in a slow twist snaffle and a martigale (to keep him from leaning on a kid), one in a plain full cheek and martingale and one in a simple D and martingale. Works for me, and the kids don't have to work so hard, actually more bit (within reason) means LESS yanking and hauling on the reins!
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