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Bit breaking

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  • Bit breaking

    My new horse, I'd say I'm breaking her but she really already seems like a vetran. First time I saddled her she stood at the mounting block, walked on the rail, went over "the bridge" walked over poles etc... She takes to everything like a pro so of course there has to be at least one thing that's not easy with her. It's the bit/bridle!

    She will raise her head As high as she can to the left, right, back, around, up, down, you name it! Anything to escape the bridle and bit! I resorted to taking off the caveson and left just the bit and brow band, usually un-doing the but and putting that in her mouth seperately then attaching it to the leather. It's a battle though.

    So anyone have any tips to get a horse to accept the bit nicely. Don't take me as the person looking for a one day miracle, or rushing and fighting with my horse, but this just needs to end. Shes far too bright to put up a fight with the bit.
    "I am going to teach you about men. distances are like men. Never grab the first one you see; it's never the best one, and more will come along."-George Morris

  • #2
    When I'm starting a young horse I always leave them with tack, especially the bit and bridle, in the stall for extended periods of time to allow them to get used to it. Have you tried letting her wear the bridle until she is more comfortable with it? It might take some time.

    Just be careful about how much food she has access too. A little is fine, because it gives her something to do to keep her mind off of the bridle, and they tend to stress about it less when they realize they can still eat and the bridle isn't restricting them, but if she can shovel too much food into her mouth, she might choke.

    Comment


    • #3
      I like to start mine in a sidepull... get them doing well with no bit (w/t/c, steering) then add a bit to the mix under the sidepull- just wearing it, not using it... and do EVERYTHING over, in sequence. (Roundpen, ground drive, longe, ride, w/t/c, steering). THEN use a sidepull with a snaffle attached (or rig something that shares the pressure between nose and bit) and repeat (roundpen, ground drive etc...). Then switch to the bit.

      I'll leave all that, but having re-read your post, you can't get her to TAKE the bit? How is she once its on? I have a gelding in training right now who I'm working through some bitting anxiety with. He was bought from a horse camp situation as a youngster- they'd used him as a 2/3 year old in camp. When he got to his new home, it was found he had his wolf teeth. He had them removed and quite a few months off due to different circumstances. He used to evade like crazy to put the bridle on, but now "only" shakes uncontrollably before it passes through his teeth. Once it slides through his front teeth, he's fine. I do ride him in a sidepull mostly, to reassure him we're not going to hurt him. He's been checked and rechecked and rechecked to make sure there isn't anything else going on with him, so it'll just take time, at this point, and he is improving.
      Big Idea Eventing

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        shes perfect once the bit is in, does not fight it, listens to it well. It's accepting the bit during tack up time that's the big issue!
        "I am going to teach you about men. distances are like men. Never grab the first one you see; it's never the best one, and more will come along."-George Morris

        Comment


        • #5
          I would bridle the horse a LOT. And not necessarily when I was going to work her.

          For instance, I'd bridle her before she got her breakfast, let her stand a few minutes, then take it off and feed her.

          I'd bridle her to take her out of the stall, out to turnout... then take it off and let her hang out in a paddock.

          I'd bridle her just for the heck of it a bunch of times during the day, let her wear it for a minute or two, and then take it off and give a treat...

          In other words, until it got to be no big deal and there was no association with bridle = work.

          I think it's fine to start with just the headstall and bit, no caveson if that makes it easier. I'd also work a lot on teaching this horse to lower her head when asked - do it when you walk in the stall, when you're grooming, etc. She may be afraid of the bit banging on her teeth or she may just not like the feel of the bridle, but with very slow, patient repetition I am sure she will get over it. I start a lot of my young ones with happy mouth snaffles; maybe try that and see if she is more accepting. Oh - and another thought. Is it cold where you are? If so, do you warm the bit up for her in your hand before it goes in her mouth? Just a thought!
          **********
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
          -PaulaEdwina

          Comment


          • #6
            step one: buy really fancy cookies (greedy horses will take the cheap ones).

            step two: Get bridle on, this may take a while which is fine.

            step three: stuff fancy cookie in mouth.

            step four: take bridle off.

            step five: repeat steps one - four about sveral times in a row for several days in a row. A horse that reared in the crossties to avoid bridling figure it out in about 3 days.

            Usually takes about 2 - 3 days for them to figure out that bridling means a cookie. Then you can just hold the bridle up and they put in on themselves.
            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
              I would bridle the horse a LOT. And not necessarily when I was going to work her.

              For instance, I'd bridle her before she got her breakfast, let her stand a few minutes, then take it off and feed her.

              I'd bridle her to take her out of the stall, out to turnout... then take it off and let her hang out in a paddock.

              I'd bridle her just for the heck of it a bunch of times during the day, let her wear it for a minute or two, and then take it off and give a treat...

              In other words, until it got to be no big deal and there was no association with bridle = work.

              I think it's fine to start with just the headstall and bit, no caveson if that makes it easier. I'd also work a lot on teaching this horse to lower her head when asked - do it when you walk in the stall, when you're grooming, etc. She may be afraid of the bit banging on her teeth or she may just not like the feel of the bridle, but with very slow, patient repetition I am sure she will get over it. I start a lot of my young ones with happy mouth snaffles; maybe try that and see if she is more accepting. Oh - and another thought. Is it cold where you are? If so, do you warm the bit up for her in your hand before it goes in her mouth? Just a thought!
              Yes it's quite cold! Will try warming the bit. I've been using a happy mouth full cheek bit I'll try my D ring.
              "I am going to teach you about men. distances are like men. Never grab the first one you see; it's never the best one, and more will come along."-George Morris

              Comment


              • #8
                Fruit rollup around the bit.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by x View Post
                  Fruit rollup around the bit.
                  Best thing I've ever heard!
                  "I am going to teach you about men. distances are like men. Never grab the first one you see; it's never the best one, and more will come along."-George Morris

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I put some honey or other sweat flavor on the bit the first time or times depending. Makes it a very nice experiance the first time! I also would keep the bit/bridle on her for a while when she is in her stall.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Colored Sporthorses View Post
                      I put some honey or other sweat flavor on the bit the first time or times depending. Makes it a very nice experiance the first time! I also would keep the bit/bridle on her for a while when she is in her stall.
                      Not sure it needs to be said, but you would take the reins off if you did this, right? And keep an eye on the horse in case they got the bridle caught on something in their stall...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        try getting a bottle of that bit-flavoring spray--it's made for horses just like yours. you could also just try getting a jar of honey or something. put a spoonful on and there you go ! or applesauce..
                        (|--Sarah--|)

                        Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I use maple syrup in a squeeze bottle and just squeeze a little on the center of the bit. Mine get so happy about being bridled that It's hard to halter them when you take the bridle off because they keep putting their heads down and opening their mouths.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I usually pop a treat in at the same time as the bit (the hand putting the bit in also puts a treat in). Then I just phase it out over time so that they don't expect it every time. It usually helps them to start thinking positively about accepting the bit. I've heard the fruit roll up trick before, haven't tried but it seems like a good idea.

                            One other thing -- have you checked her teeth? Either sharp or if she's young, maybe the back teeth coming through? I broke one mare who increasingly became difficult and panicky to bridle, but was fine when the bit was inside. We realized that she had teeth coming through.
                            Gentleman J - "Junior" - My been-there, done-that jumper

                            Send Your Love - "Serena" - Aug 10th 2009, Rest in Peace

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