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Switching to a milder bit? Maybe?

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  • Switching to a milder bit? Maybe?

    Lately I have really been considering switching bits for my pony. He is 9 and coming out of the green stage and putting his 'big boy' pants on. Right now he is in a full-cheek snaffle but I don't think he needs it anymore. He used to be very difficult to steer, but he has changed a lot and I think he is ready for something more mild. I was thinking about a D ring french link copper mouth. Just for reference, he is a welsh/TB mix and he DOES NOT like anyone getting in his mouth whatsoever. He can be a head-tosser at times, but thats either if he gets excited or he feels you are pulling on him too much. Any comments/ideas/thoughts on if a french link D ring copper mouth would be good for him, or any other bits you think might work? thanks

  • #2
    My sensitive mouthed TB likes just a plain loose ring snaffle He HATED the french link.

    but really, there's nothing you can do but try it and see what the horse likes. If I could afford it I'd be trying even more bits because I feel like he doesn't like this one as much as he could.
    RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012


    • #3
      dressage extensions and bit of britain both have bit rental programs so you can try everything out. even if you don't end up with a sprenger bit, you can at least figure out what works without any obligation to buy



      • #4
        Do you have a trainer? Bits can be tricky. It is usually best to get recomendaiton from someone who has seen the pony go or knows the pony better then we would. Every bit has a purpose, but not every horse is going to like every bit. Also, some trainers have an assortment of bits that you can try out before going and buying one (obviously you want to make sure they are cleaned before and after use).

        In general the french link is a pretty common mild bit. I used a non-copper one in my TBxPercheron from breaking her to this fall (4 years). Switched to something a little stronger since she decided to get a little more attitude. But I'm certainly a fan of the french link.


        • #5
          If he's super sensitive, I wouldn't use copper. Reason I say that is because EVERY very touchy sort of horse I've put copper on HATED it. Could switch them to the exact same type of bit sans copper, and they were fine. Obviously, I'd share this concern with your trainer if you have one, but otherwise I'd try a bit rental program or look at used/sale bits at your local tack store.

          I lovelovelove french links for pretty much everything. If you're looking for less steering, I'd try a french link eggbutt. A dee is supposed to be a little less steering, but I find the straight part on the dees these days are so big that there really isn't much difference (except for the bit keeper thing, which some say gives a bit of leverage). If you're looking for way less bit, I'd try a loose ring french link.

          Also, consider the link itself in your choice if you go the french link route. Some horses prefer a flat link (not a Dr Bristol, just a normal length but flat) link, and some prefer a rounder, fatter link.

          I'd also play around with mouthpiece widths (i.e., a hollow mouth is much softer but bothers some smaller mouthed horses, but a thinner mouth is a bit sharper) and maybe even a happy mouth.

          Good luck!
          Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


          • #6
            My sensitive Arab likes JP Korsteel's bits. They're relatively inexpensive which makes me love 'em. The one he liked the best is the eggbutt oval mouth. I have both the one with and without copper. I use the one without for dressage and the one with is on my trail bridle.

            He also likes a mullen mouth eggbutt, but accepts a mullen mouth pelham (with two reins) as well provided his rider has light hands.

            He prefers the JP Korsteels over pretty much anything else I tried on him - including the Sprangers and Mylers.

            His true preference is bitless though. I trail ride him in a rope halter sidepull and have completed an endurance ride in it. I've done hunter paces/chases on him in a jumping hackamore (http://www.amazon.com/Kincade-Jumpin.../dp/B000B9OO8Y) that turns any bridle into a sidepull. It looks traditional enough that the majority of people don't even notice. The ones who do, generally think its pretty cool.


            • #7
              That jumping hackamore looks EXACTLY like what I would like to have on my horse! He loves to be ridden in a halter but I've never been able to find a gentle enough true hackamore that he wouldn't object to (the curb chain on them freaks him out, or it used to at least). I'm going to have to bookmark them for when I have a spare $30.
              RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012