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Mullen Mouth Bit

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  • Mullen Mouth Bit

    I have acquired a 15 year old Quarter horse that has been sitting for about three years. He is a well broke horse and the previous owner used a mullen mouth shank bit on him. I personally have never used this type of bit and I've had horses all my life. It doesn't seem that I can bend and flex him with this type of bit. I'm thinking of using something different on him, but not sure what bit would work best if the mullen mouth is what he was ridden with in the past. Thoughts?

  • #2
    About the only thing you can do is TRY! Try some different bits (that you already have) on him and see what he seems to respond to the best.
    It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

    Comment


    • #3
      No way to know without trying different bits. I'd start with some kind of gentle snaffle, a true non-leverage snaffle bit, and see how well he bends/flexes. And if you think he might work better in something with leverage I'd try something like this

      https://www.horseloverz.com/western-...e-hinged-bit-5

      or maybe a double jointed Argentine. But ideally I would want to see how he does in a plain snaffle. He might need a refresher, and maybe not and you'll find better results with a leverage bit. But I like one where the shanks are not fixed and can move independently from each other.

      Comment


      • #4
        You don’t really use the bit to “bend and flex” a Western horse, its much more subtle use of seat and weight. “ Mullen mouth shank” just sounds like an unjointed curb, quite popular in the Western world where they don’t go on contact but a loose rein.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by findeight View Post
          You don’t really use the bit to “bend and flex” a Western horse, its much more subtle use of seat and weight. “ Mullen mouth shank” just sounds like an unjointed curb, quite popular in the Western world where they don’t go on contact but a loose rein.
          But you do go on contact BEFORE the horse learns to go on a loose rein, in most cases.

          I "bend and flex" my horses when I'm picking on them, as I call it, to make them softer and work on advanced maneuvars.

          I've never had a horse than needed a Mullen mouth: Some horses will be happier in one based on the conformation of their mouth. But correct in that you aren't going to generally want to bend-and-flex in a mullen nor ride one on contact in one. That type of bit is going to function better for a more finished horse that goes off neck reining and leg/seat cues.
          It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

          Comment


          • #6
            Is there some way you can find out what this horse knows already?
            I almost really embarrassed myself by putting my horse back in a snaffle and working on bending and flexing. Seemed stiff as a board to me!
            Then I ran into his trainer, who hopped on and showed me how I didn't need to use my hands at all to get spins and stops and all kinds of acrobatics. Just, as findeight said, weight and leg/seat/foot cues.
            I just wasn't asking right.
            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by beau159 View Post

              But you do go on contact BEFORE the horse learns to go on a loose rein, in most cases.

              I "bend and flex" my horses when I'm picking on them, as I call it, to make them softer and work on advanced maneuvars.

              I've never had a horse than needed a Mullen mouth: Some horses will be happier in one based on the conformation of their mouth. But correct in that you aren't going to generally want to bend-and-flex in a mullen nor ride one on contact in one. That type of bit is going to function better for a more finished horse that goes off neck reining and leg/seat cues.
              That depends on the bit and the horse. My hunter/eq horse loved a mullen mouth bit, and I have a shanked bit with a mullen mouth that is just fine if you need to bend and flex. I find that if you are going to bend and flex, you need to stay with a basic bit that has clear direct action instead of one with a lot of feel.

              I don't really ride "on contact" any more like English riders do. I can ride two handed and take all the slack out of the reins, but I still want to feel almost nothing in my hands and have a very soft supple mouth. You will never see me riding with my horse's chin on it's chest bump bump bumping the mouth. I hate that.
              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederatcy against him."

              Comment


              • #8
                So does every other knowledgeable and thoughtful horse person.
                "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- George Bernard Shaw

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is a reason why the John Isreal and Kerry Kelley mullen mouth shanked bits fetch a bit of money, most horses ride good in them no matter the background or what they've been ridden in before.

                  I'll just repeat, ride the horse, get feel for what he knows and what he doesn't, find his holes. Change bits and train accordingly.

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