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Bit for English horse/rider moving to western?

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  • Bit for English horse/rider moving to western?

    Looking for some input! My teenaged WB mare and I have been playing around with western and loving it - we're looking at doing some Mountain Trail/Working Eq type stuff eventually. Mare is schooled to 3rd level dressage, could pop around a 3'6" course etc, so fairly educated English. I had a lovely young trainer put some western basics on her and discovered that the horse LOVES it, and she's much happier working like this. She's always been tough in the contact/likes to pull on a snaffle, but very respectful of even some mild leverage with a mild mouthpiece (think bendy rubber pelham). She learned a basic neck reining in about 30 minutes (she already understood an indirect rein from our jumping days).

    Young trainer has sadly moved away but she gave us enough to play with for the time being. Challenge is because my mare is used to some feeling of her rider "at home" at the end of the reins, just riding on a long rein (even heavier split reins) in her usual loose ring snaffle doesn't give any kind of communication through the hand. I've ridden some western horses in leverage bits so I know that you can get that feel, and what it's supposed to feel like, but I have a sneaky feeling I'm not set up for success on the current set-up. Suggestions? Or am I just doing it wrong (entirely possible)?

    Most online resources I've found have been about training youngsters from scratch going from snaffle to leverage, not a horse that already has had a pretty significant education.
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

  • #2
    I'm not sure I understand exactly what you want, so my answer may be irrelevant...

    Maybe take a look at one of the Myler snaffle bits with hooks. They will give you a different feel than a plain loose ring snaffle but aren't quite leverage bits. Plus, some come in a western style.
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson


    • #3
      Originally posted by Ibex View Post
      Looking for some input!
      Suggestions? Or am I just doing it wrong (entirely possible)?

      Most online resources I've found have been about training youngsters from scratch going from snaffle to leverage, not a horse that already has had a pretty significant education.
      I too am a little confused on exactly what input you are looking for.

      Are you asking what bit you should use? If she seems to do better and "feel" the reins better in a curb bit (with leverage) then by all means, use that.

      Do you currently have any leverage bits?
      Personally, I would suggest to find something that has a similar mouthpiece to the snaffle she is used to. That often makes the transitions easier, along with shorter shanks.

      It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.