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Bit for a little Bit

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  • Bit for a little Bit

    So just looking for suggestions. My daughters current pony is a W/T SS pony and has been teaching kids for most of her 13 years. She is kind and tolerant and SAFE. Did I mention she is a 14hnd QH .

    My biggest issue is she has a tendency to root. She is easy to whoa and do transitions in a plain snaffle but occasionally roots and pony vs my 7 year olds arm strength the pony wins. She doesn't go anywhere but it most frequently happens from walk to halt or simply just standing halted, never during upwards. Daughter rides with a soft hand and if anything errors with too loose a rein.

    Her other "issue" is that years of being a schooling pony have taught her that she doesn't always have to steer with accuracy and occasionally just turns her nose to her knee and keeps walking all contorted until my daughter gets more forceful.

    Photo of daughter and pony so as you can see big pony little girl . She is starting to be more and more independant and I was thinking of perhaps a bit change to give her more leverage against the rooting , lack of power steering.

    My first thought was a tiny pelham . For reference her current bit is just a simply plain D snaffle . The only other cavet that I suspect is that the pony may/does have a low palate and a chubby tongue so perhaps something with a french link ?

    Just hoping anyone has any ideas etc. Pony is a doll if schooled by upper levels she 100% knows who is on her back and can be ridden by even slightly more proficient riders with zero issues.

    Oh and in before dental issues gets checked twice a year and is current.
    "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"

  • #2
    A pair of grazing reins (or bailing twine) will stop the rooting without putting anything stronger in a W/T horses mouth. Just tie them loose enough she can use her head, but can't grab the bit and pull down. As for the lack of steering, a big bit won't necessarily help with that.


    • Original Poster

      Correct but she can't use grazing reins in a class and TBH I have a strange and unfounded fear of her falling and getting hung up in them.

      I should have said she W/T's fairly proficiently knows her diagonals can post w/out stirrups and is working on tiny cross rails. She just lacks the body leverage to be able to close her /leg hand and keep the pony from rooting.

      I'd rather remedy the rooting issue vs use a temp crutch.
      "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


      • #4
        I would suggest a slow twist full cheek snaffle or just a regular full cheek snaffle. That should give her some turning help with the full cheek and the slow twist should give her a little more power should the pony be dragging her around, though I would try the regular full cheek first. It's a common bit on ponies and perfectly acceptable. I would not go with a Pelham because walk/trot is honestly too early to have to learn about double reins and at 7 years old I doubt she'll truly understand the leverage and different function if a curb rein. A connector on the Pelham just deletes the action that your looking for and makes it all curb, works for some horses but probably not this one.


        • #5
          Also to add, maybe you want to get a larger big kid pony rider to hack him around a bit and get his head up and teach him who's boss? An occasionally tune up can really help sometimes and I know a lot of bigger kids that love and jump at the chance to help fix little bratty ponies.


          • #6
            I have a horse that just recently started doing this. I have been using a standing martingale on him, not very tight, but when he tries to root, he hits the end of the martingale and can't go any further, so he stops. The older/stronger riders can correct it, and if they do he doesn't try it again. The younger riders aren't strong enough to stop or correct it. They absolutely know who's on their back and who they can get away with rooting. Have a QH mare that does it too, to her teeny tiny 6 year old rider. She doesn't ever even try it with anyone else.

            Will definitely be following this thread to see what suggestions are given!
            Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

            Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


            • Original Poster

              "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


              • #8
                Yeah. I have two large ponies in my school program, and both of them go in pelhams for that reason. With an older/more advanced kid they are fine in a snaffle, but they will root and pull the reins out of the little kids hands. Putting them in a pelham solved that problem for me. I use two reins on the pelham, and have never had a problem with the littlest kid being able to learn how to handle two reins. By doing it that way they can ride mainly off the snaffle, but the curb is there for when the pony wants to be naughty about rooting.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks X. Any suggestions on where to find a super short shanked 5.25 french link Pelham?
                  "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


                  • #10
                    I would probably go with something like this. http://www.bahrsaddlery.com/for-the-...r-jointed.html
                    I think you're going to have a very hard time finding a reasonably priced french link pelham. They seem to start at $100 and go up from there. They also don't seem to come in a short shank. Most horses I know that go in a pelham, go in a rubber pelham.

                    ETA: I think smart pack has a very similar one and I've heard that if you're in the states they have an awesome return policy and cheap (free?) shipping. Being from Canada I can't shop there so normally don't look or really know their rules.
                    Last edited by LordWentworth; Feb. 12, 2013, 07:57 PM. Reason: adding info


                    • #11
                      My mare goes in a 2 ring french link and that rubber pelham that LordWentworth posted. She really likes both


                      • #12
                        Really? I would not be putting a walk trot kid in a Pelham until they absolutely understand the action of a curb, which they really can't at 7 years old. A Pelham also seems to me to be over this pony. I say start with a full cheek slow twist and then move on to a Pelham if that doesn't work. Going straight from a snaffle to a Pelham is a big jump. If your still dead set on a Pelham, look at a Tom Thumb Pelham which will have a shorter shank and a plain moth piece, the rubber will likely just dull him to the bit.


                        • #13
                          My first horse show at the age of 7 (walk/trot) was on a pony with a pelham. It wasn't hard to hold the reins properly and while I didn't understand leverage, I understand that one rein was harsher and therefore kept a little looser. I'd try the full cheek first and then maybe give the pelham a try.


                          • #14
                            I don't think a bit change is going to correct the rooting behavior. Pony is doing this because she's learned that she can, not because she needs more bit in her mouth. Almost always, the trick to fixing this rude habit is give the pony a kick when she roots. They learn quickly that rooting will have its consequences.


                            • #15
                              When my daughter (also 7) first got her current pony, only ever a show pony never in a lesson programme, she would root at exactly the same point as you are saying. I agree with Satin Filly, a quick kick or little tap each and every time she roots should do the trick. Pony realized that there was a consequence and that it was rude. Must add that pony is wonderful in every way she was only rooting because she had earned that she could as my daughter was quite small.