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introducing a yearling to the bit and bridle

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  • introducing a yearling to the bit and bridle

    newbie here,

    My colt is now 9 months and ready to start prepping for this upcoming show year on the line. He is generally very easy about everything, but really don't know what the best way is to introduce him to a bit/bridle without the experience going south.

    I guess the first question is the equipment. What is the best type of bit to first introduce him to? happy mouth? and then later switch to an egg butt D for the HB classes? How about the bridle? What is the best 'bang for your buck?" fancy stitch or otherwise? He is a very big boy, will need a cob size at a minimum. I would hate to spend $100+ on a bridle he might fit into for 4-6 months.

    Once I have the equipment down, tell me about the process. do you first start with just sliding the bit into his mouth? then attatch it to a bridle and put that over his halter to start? What have you more experienced breeder/s trainers found to be the best methods to make it an enjoyable experience for him?

    thanks guys!

  • #2
    I start with a chifney bit attached to the halter. Let them wear that in the stall or lead them around for a few minutes every couple of days. I go straight to a D bit on a bridle with no reins after that. You can put the halter over top the bridle to lead them around with. Smartpak has very inexpensive bridles that oil up nicely.
    McDowell Racing Stables

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    • #3
      I roll fruit roll ups onto the bit. Makes them move it, suck it etc. and is readily accepted by the youngsters I have done this with.
      Wonderful ponies for family or show!


      • #4
        I like to use a french link. No nutcracker effect, so nothing poking the roof of the mouth when the bit is activated. I start them by wearing it in the stall for a while, then, like Laurierace I start leading them with a halter over the bridle, then finally, without.
        "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin


        • #5
          I like the Happy Mouth Peanut Snaffle- three sections of gentle plastic- very gentle for a first bit. Like the others, I walk them around with a thin rope halter under the bridle and no reins at first.
          "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


          • #6
            I use a copper mouth bit. Typically single-jointed snaffle and not too thick. I do no leading with this bit. Just let them wear it in stall for familiarization. So far they all like the copper taste and bitting is an easy process.


            • #7
              I use a nylon straight bar, not too thick. I use it on a simple head strap with no noseband or throat latch. This is easy, quick and fuss-free to get on without fiddling with extra straps. I put it over a halter in the stable and leave the horse in it for a while. I lead from the halter and then from both - leading gently from the bit but if the horse has a hissy I can use pressure on the halter so as not to catch him in the mouth.

              I've never had a problem at a first show. By the time they get to a show they're so mind blown by the atmosphere that they're pretty keen to stick with you!


              • #8
                Originally posted by MuskokaLakesConnemaras View Post
                I roll fruit roll ups onto the bit. Makes them move it, suck it etc. and is readily accepted by the youngsters I have done this with.
                I LOVE this idea!!!

                I always do as everyone else does, let them wear it in the stall to get used to it then lead from the halter, then eventually lead with reins. I like my rubber mouth D rings. I even show my babies in them. (at least to this point as most of mine don't have extremely delicate heads so they don't look bulky) But the rubber is cheaper then happy mouth, and soft for their little baby mouths.
                First and foremost about the horse.
                Rose Bud Ranch Sporthorses
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                • #9
                  I usually use a rubber snaffle but I'd be happy with a happy mouth. I coat the bit with molasses then slide it in the horse's mouth without the bridle to start. After the first time the baby usually happily anticipates the molasses and eagerly takes the bit. I don't leave it in long at the beginning and gradually increase the time. When I attach the bit to the bridle I start with one side attached then slip the bit in and attach the other side. After this, I find it easy to bridle them normally. Only after I have bridling well established do I discontinue the molasses.


                  • #10
                    We have started lots of TBs the majority of which we have bred and raised so they know us very well. We also “fool” with them off and on from foals on up and make a point of getting them used to having their ears played with. We use cheap “starting” bridles with the adjustment holes “taped out” a bit larger so it is easy to adjust if necessary when on. I have found that an inexpensive rubber snaffle does the job just fine. Most of the time a full cheek but a D has worked also. No reins. We make sure that the bit is the right size for the horse. In the beginning I like the bit to hang just a touch lower then the normal position. Just make new holes where needed. But never too low. We just go in the stall and put it on over their halter and monitor. We put it on about an hour or so before lunch and take it off when we feed. Never have had any problems getting them on or off. The odd one will hold its head high and get a bit stupid about the process but they soon get over it. We don’t do lead line they go right from this to a rider in a couple of days and are doing figure 8s in a week or so. Most are closer to 12 months old.
                    As always to each their own.


                    • #11
                      I believe it was only one model that was claimed to be unsafe to ride in and many were recalled and replaced.

                      All of our horses go in french link dee ring happy mouth snaffles.

                      I've had uneventful horses. I put a bridle on- let them hang out- add a lead shank then eventually reins. Generally start with the french link peanut happy mouth snaffle- the filly I have now has a low pallet so moved to a thinner metal peanut french link and she was much happier for her in hand work.


                      • #12
                        I "bridge" my index fingers through my foals' mouths at imprinting time, and continue to do that twice a month or so until they are ready for a bit. By then they're used to having my fingers in their mouth, and a bit is not much different.