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Bit Question: For western horse gone english

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  • Bit Question: For western horse gone english

    Hi guys,

    I have a little 13 yo chesnut QH project who has only been ridden western (mainly trail stuff). I've taken her on as a little project and it's going really well; she's super sweet and has a nice little jump to her. On the trail, she's ridden in a western hackamore with a shank, but when I ride her in english tack, I throw her in a basic hunter D. She's okay in the D and she's decently responsive but I don't think she likes it. I've never taken on a western horse as a project, so I'm kind of curious to hear opinions on bits for this one. I'm thinking she prefers something with a shank, but I'm not really certain if this could be a legitimate explanation. She loves her hack but doesn't mind a bit in her mouth, so I'm just wondering if you guys have any suggestions for me. Thank you so much!

  • #2
    Some horses go well in double jointed bits depending on their mouth anatomy. Others like mullen mouth. It may just take some experimentation.
    A proud friend of bar.ka.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thank you, Hunter Mom!

      Actually my first thought was to try a mullen mouth. You're right; I think I'll just have to experiment! Thanks

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ellamenopea View Post
        Hi guys,

        I have a little 13 yo chesnut QH project who has only been ridden western (mainly trail stuff). I've taken her on as a little project and it's going really well; she's super sweet and has a nice little jump to her. On the trail, she's ridden in a western hackamore with a shank, but when I ride her in english tack, I throw her in a basic hunter D. She's okay in the D and she's decently responsive but I don't think she likes it. I've never taken on a western horse as a project, so I'm kind of curious to hear opinions on bits for this one. I'm thinking she prefers something with a shank, but I'm not really certain if this could be a legitimate explanation. She loves her hack but doesn't mind a bit in her mouth, so I'm just wondering if you guys have any suggestions for me. Thank you so much!
        You need to base your bit decision on the conformation of her mouth and her preferences. It is not about whether she was or is an english horse or a western horse or a horse from Mars Basic hunter D - single joint? Definitely consider double-jointed or a low-ported snaffle (both provide tongue relief) in addition to thickness, etc.

        Shanked bits are intended to be used to refine communication, for subtler more intimate communication (after a solid foundation is built), that's it. You need to simply use the bit that is appropriate to her (which she will like), that serves the purpose its intended and that does what you need it to
        ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
        ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Natural equus: Yes a single jointed D. My current personal horse goes in a double jointed-- I'll definitely have to try it on this one. Thank you for your input! I'm not real sure of her history at all-- she's my boss' horse, and he got her from auction. I guess I'll just to play around with my options. Thank you!

          Comment


          • #6
            For sure play around and figure out what works. Good luck!
            ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
            ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

            Comment


            • #7
              My TB mare who has a fairly small head/mouth was started as a hunter and had a variety of bits from rubber snaffle to a mylar bit, and briefly a pelham. For the last 6 years she is ridden in a english hackamore. If we absolutely have to wear a bit for a show it is a happy mouth mullen. I never school in it, just pull it out the day of the show.If I do school in it, she tends to start fussing and leaning.

              Comment


              • #8
                I've reschooled a handful of western trail horses to local level hunters. The type of bit really depends on the horse, how it was "trained", and the type of bit it was ridden in. Most of the ones I've had responded very well to a mullen or jointed pelham because they were trail horses going in the requisite tom thumb curb bit.

                I find the biggest obstacles to be head set and/or being a bit downhill, and they typically do not understand leg or hand. I like the pelham with light contact because even if one is quiet enough for a D snaffle they can initially be too heavy on the forehand for a bit without leverage. But, every horse is different so...If she doesn't "like" the D it may have more to do with the contact on her mouth and the new leg aids than the actual type of bit.

                QH's are really smart and athletic, the right ones make great hunters. Sounds like a fun project, good luck to you!

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by kelsey97 View Post
                  I've reschooled a handful of western trail horses to local level hunters. The type of bit really depends on the horse, how it was "trained", and the type of bit it was ridden in. Most of the ones I've had responded very well to a mullen or jointed pelham because they were trail horses going in the requisite tom thumb curb bit.

                  I find the biggest obstacles to be head set and/or being a bit downhill, and they typically do not understand leg or hand. I like the pelham with light contact because even if one is quiet enough for a D snaffle they can initially be too heavy on the forehand for a bit without leverage. But, every horse is different so...If she doesn't "like" the D it may have more to do with the contact on her mouth and the new leg aids than the actual type of bit.

                  QH's are really smart and athletic, the right ones make great hunters. Sounds like a fun project, good luck to you!
                  -You're describing my issue exactly! i was thinking some kind of pelham just because she's used to the tom thumb. She is VERY very downhill and doesn't really understand how to be "light" but we're working on it. I think I may start with the mullen mouth, then the pelham if that's not working. She's definitely SUPER quiet, she's just really heavy on the forehand with a bit without leverage. Thank you

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ellamenopea View Post
                    She is VERY very downhill and doesn't really understand how to be "light" but we're working on it.
                    She'll start to understand not as a result of the bit you use but as a result of how you ask her to work - as she engages and works from behind she will naturally become light.
                    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My formerly Western QH does best in an eggbutt mullen. It fits his mouth best and he's very willing to take contact with it. He also goes well in a double-jointed snaffle with a bean. He doesn't care for a single-jointed bit as much; I think it's too much for his small mouth. He is learning to be soft and light despite his downhill build and is a decent mover, placing well in local hunters and dressage.

                      He also completely understands the difference between the English bit and his Western curb and goes accordingly. He knows that shanked bit=slow, loose rein, neck rein and (for him) peanut roll and snaffle=take up contact and move out. Interestingly, he doesn't neck rein well in a snaffle; I think he expects more direction when he's wearing one. But I can bounce him back and forth and he totally gets it. He's had tricolors in the same day in hunters and Western.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It also may have something to do with her not being used to contact. Depending on what point you are at in her retraining, she may not like any bit until she gets used to the contact. It goes without saying to be very soft with her in the beginning.
                        Southern Cross Guest Ranch
                        An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I recently switched my trail horse to riding english. I used to ride her in a Myler comfort shanked snaffle.

                          We tried a few different bits.
                          What OveroHunter said - my mare wasn't used to contact. We found my mare really likes Waterford bit.
                          Moving on doesn't mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happended and continue living.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            ellamenopea, I have an exercise that may help to lighten your girl's front end. Canter raised ground poles, mine are landscaping timbers with a small piece nailed underneath, they are about 5 inches high.

                            Set the rails as a series of "bounces" 8 to 9 feet apart. Trot through them, then canter through them. Try not to help her with your hand, but push her with your seat and legs. This will help develop her hind end, force her to use it, and she won't be able to use your hands to carry herself. If you feel her just laying in your hands drop the reins and canter forward, she can't lean if you give her nothing to lean on

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