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WWYD: When a mullen mouth happy mouth is too much? [Update on Post #45]

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    I might have made him out to be a monster, he's really the most responsive and most in-tune horses I've ever ridden, I just would like to make him as happy as he makes me and not have him worry about a little half halt or a little forward leg (lateral leg he'll respond to all day, but you squeeze him forward and he REALLY moves off).

    I may work on "un-tuning" him (which is crazy in my mind) so that he isn't quite so sensitive. He also jumps like a complete freak and if I don't land right in the middle he shifts every direction my unstable body leans lol. I know that's totally on me, just have to learn to ride his huge, round jump with his extra kick over the apex. Different topic all together.

    Thank y'all so much for your suggestions I'll definitely start playing around!
    EdgeBrook

    Comment


    • #22
      My guy has always had a light mouth. He came to me in an extremely thick, hollow eggbutt snaffle which he hated. It was so light it didn't give him any support (if that makes sense) and he'd open his mouth the whole time being ridden. I switched to a heavier, thinner loose ring snaffle which was a little better but he'd would foam and foam at the mouth, leaving little droplets of foam all over when ridden. Finally, I switched to a KK ultra D ring after my vet told me my horse's mouth was small. The bits simply weren't fitting properly in his mouth and the action of a regular snaffle kept poking the roof of his mouth. The KK was a dream. It fit his mouth, didn't poke him, and was soft enough for him but strong enough for me if he decided to act the fool.

      Another mare i rode was super sensitive - sounds a lot like your guy. Not just in the mouth (like my guy) but to leg, contact, etc. She wasn't mine and the owner had no interest in changing bits. Basically, the mare had to live with a plain snaffle. I rode her with super light hands because she didn't like the contact MY horse liked and she too had to get used to the fact that my leg on her side wasn't an option. She eventually became a lesson horse and quickly got 'desensitized'. I rode her a few times in my guy's bit when I still had her (it was too big for her to use all the time) and she too loved it.

      Comment


      • #23
        My horse came to me in a plain d-ring snaffle. it was too much for him and he would toss his head (not okay with hunters)...put him in a black rubber d-ring snaffle and he is just a happy camper. i find that the black rubber is a LOT softer than happy mouth plastic/rubber stuff. maybe he would prefer a joint in the bit.

        Comment


        • #24
          I'd try an HS Duo (my sensitive boy hated the bumps on the happy mouth mullen) then just add leg and light contact and require him to deal. Don't drop the contact when he tosses his head -- soften it when he softens and comes round through the topline. It takes time but worth the effort -- now mine is lovely on the flat when he's working well.

          Comment


          • #25
            I say try the hackamore too, something like this: http://www.smartpakequine.com/englis...FQyk4Aodh1YA7A

            I've seen horses that overreact to bits go really well in them.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by EdgeBrook View Post
              I may work on "un-tuning" him (which is crazy in my mind) so that he isn't quite so sensitive.
              I don't think it's about "un-tuning" him, so much as asking that he be appropriately reactive. I keep using my mare as an example, and I do apologize, but it wasn't about making her more dull to my hand and leg, rather asking her to be more receptive and react in an appropriate, consistent manner. I absolutely detest riding a horse that is dull, hangs on your hand, or doesn't react off your leg, so I had no interest in creating that particular monster, but I did need a horse that would give me a relatively consistent response to a consistently applied aid. I'm just an adult amateur fumbling away on my own though, so take it all with a grain of salt! Best of luck with your guy.

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by candysgirl View Post
                If you don't have to show in a bit, how about a sidepull? I have a "jumping hackamore" made by Tory that's just a rolled leather noseband. You attach it to the bit hangers and take off the bridle's noseband. My mare goes in that 100% of the time (she had her tongue nearly severed by idiots with a harsh bit and no amount of 'just making her accept a bit' will work at this point). She went from a rearing flinging people mess that got sold (I knew her years ago and wanted to give her a retirement home.) to a kids lesson horse. It really gives about zero breaks as its about as harsh as riding in a halter, but you don't necessarily need 'breaks' on a sensitive horse.

                My gelding started out way sensitive and I broke him out in that noseband also. He ultimately decided he likes JP Korsteel's oval mouth eggbutts or a Mullen Pelham.
                I had a sensitive horse that went very well in just a side pull.
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                • #28
                  The Dr. Cooks bitless bridle may work well for you and it comes with a trial period. I know another horse that was assumed to be sensitive in the mouth and a Micklem worked wonders (with a plain rubber snaffle)
                  The rebel in the grey shirt

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by JWB View Post
                    The Dr. Cooks bitless bridle may work well for you and it comes with a trial period. I know another horse that was assumed to be sensitive in the mouth and a Micklem worked wonders (with a plain rubber snaffle)
                    This is what my jumper goes in. He LOVES it. I can the the same amount of finesse and flexion that I can get in a bit.
                    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                    My equine soulmate
                    Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      http://i1292.photobucket.com/albums/...e/IMG_4324.jpg

                      That's the hack I use on my Jumper. He LOVES it. It's similar to that of the one smartpak sells I think.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Definitely try a nathe or a double-jointed snaffle with a "bean" in the middle. Some Nathes have a low port, which gives a little room for the tongue that they don't get in the happy mouth. I have one who despises, and I mean really despises, the happy mouth mullen bits, but goes very happily in a Nathe.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                          I had a sensitive horse that went very well in just a side pull.
                          Me, too. I made mine out of a grooming halter and a bit of sheepskin for the bridge of his nose. The whole thing was tight enough to be stable on his head.

                          I channeled Jimmy Williams and remembered that it doesn't make a lick of difference what equipment the horse goes in so long as I have the rideability I want, the beast is engaged with the ol' hiney and agile.

                          Keep looking until you find what works for this horse.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Nathe, Duo, a slim rubber mullen mouth (hard to find but they are out there), or a Micklem bridle set up bitless. I have used all of the above on various horses who were sensitive. One little mare, when she was young, went in a slim rubber mullen mouth for dressage, then went to her "big" bit to jump...a Happy mouth mullen mouth I had one horse who could feel VERY overbitted in a Nathe or Duo but was awesome in a bitless Micklem bridle (could never get his owner to be brave enough ride him like that all the time, though, so we stuck to a Nathe most of the time).

                            All of these horses were well schooled on the flat (they were all event horses, so HAD to be accepting of the hand). But there is a big difference, I think, to accepting a steady, soft, consistent contact in the dressage ring, and over reacting to a half halt that may or may not have been warranted over fences. My horse is a sensitive type, but is extremely well schooled on the flat. But in the heat of the moment, if I over half halt, I can go from a 13ft stride to an 8ft stride in one step (which is usually NOT what I want). I work on being really smooth with him, but I'm not perfect, and sometimes he just needs to be told to keep a lid on it...it would just be nice if I just didn't get such an indignant reaction!

                            I also am a very firm believer that it's the HORSE'S mouth. Bitting is one of the few places I willing make concessions for the horse. It is THEIR mouth and if they hate a bit that I think should be perfect, then, fine. We'll find something else. I do not think that they should just get used to it, and I want them to be happy and comfortable so that they are happy and willing to work for me and accept my contact.
                            Amanda

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Small Change View Post
                              I don't think it's about "un-tuning" him, so much as asking that he be appropriately reactive. I keep using my mare as an example, and I do apologize, but it wasn't about making her more dull to my hand and leg, rather asking her to be more receptive and react in an appropriate, consistent manner. I absolutely detest riding a horse that is dull, hangs on your hand, or doesn't react off your leg, so I had no interest in creating that particular monster, but I did need a horse that would give me a relatively consistent response to a consistently applied aid. I'm just an adult amateur fumbling away on my own though, so take it all with a grain of salt! Best of luck with your guy.
                              Exactly.

                              The horse must respond to the aids, but also ACCEPT them.

                              Training the rider to walk on eggshells by overreacting to everything is not appropriately responsive.
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                              Comment


                              • #35
                                I have used Latex wrap on bits for the sensitive ones. I like a french link wrapped in latex. It's soft and more flexible than the mullen mouth happy mouth.

                                Has a really good dentist looked at his mouth? I know one horse who had a cracked tooth for years that no one noticed. He had a wierd tilted head way of going and it was believed that he was just like that until the tooth was finally discovereed. Another pony I had on lease, had a tiny sliver of a tooth stuck in her gums that was missed for years. Pulled the sliver out and this hot pony became a slug within days.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  My TB mare is fairly sensitive in her mouth. If we absolutely need to use a bit it is the Happy mouth mullen. However, the rest of the time she goes in a hackamore. The curb on her's is leather rather than a chain.My mare used to shake her head alot with a bit, and would get "offended" if you needed to take more of a feel. With the hackamore she does not fret if I have to take more of a feel.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    In re-reading the OP, I'm hesitant to say that this horse needs to accept hand and leg more. He just seems super-sensitive to me, but not an over-reactor per se. I do have one question----is he adjustable when flatting? If he's not adjustable, but all-or-nothing when flatting, it's quite possible that he's just not bridle-wise, and doesn't really know how to do that yet. I've come across some impossibly-talented jumpers who clearly had holes in their basic training because of their talent---they jumped so well, nobody bothered to finish them.

                                    If this is not the case, and he is educated in his flatwork, I would definitely try a hackamore---not one of the mechanical ones, but one of the really basic, hard-noseband/no shanks ones. If you do want to lessen his sensitivity to leg, you can deaden his sides a bit by riding bareback, legs hanging down (close the arena gate, lol). Wear jeans and sneakers (no stirrups, obviously) so that he knows this isn't a typical training session. Just walk. Practice nothing more strenuous than leg yields and stuff, and let him get used to it. Eventually he will become less anxious. With my super-sensitive horse, our first 10 minutes of walking is with my legs hanging down and my feet out of the stirrups. When I pick up my stirrups, he knows we're about to start working.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      He sounds like a lovely horse, actually The super-sensitive ones do teach you to ride veeeeerrrry quietly, lol!

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                                        I don't know, I supported two horses and myself through college. I just didn't have any money for anything else. While all my friends were buying houses and fancy cars in their mid-20's, I was supporting the horses. Now that I'm in my late 20's with a "real" job, I have finally managed to scrape enough together to support my three horses and buy 7 acres on which to keep them. I know a lot of 20-somethings who do what I did/do, and I strongly feel it's because none of us spend money on the other "luxuries" that people spend money on (vacations, houses, fancy cars, etc). I haven't even been to a concert or a pro sporting event in years because that $65 will buy a set of shoes for my boys!
                                        Yup, same here. When I was in college, my parents didn't (couldn't) provide any financial support for my horses beyond some property for them to live on. I worked 35 hours as a private tutor in order to pay my tuition and support my horses. Now, in addition to my full-time job (which admittedly pays quite well for someone my age) I also do a lot of freelancing to help with the extras (show fees, winter training et cetera.) This means i do a lot of my riding at 5 AM or in the late evening. Yesterday I worked 10.5 hours and managed to get a ride in. I expect to do the same today.

                                        So I don't have a lot of sympathy for everyone here who's saying they can't afford it. I think those who really want it will make it happen.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          um, whoa. I don't know what just happened. The post above was supposed to be in an entirely different thread. New forum weirdness??

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