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Bit reccomendation for horse that grabs the shanks

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  • Bit reccomendation for horse that grabs the shanks

    I have an awesome little QH gelding that I show AQHA ranch riding and hopefully some day reining (he's fully trained, I'm not ). He has one minor, but somewhat annoying quirk. If we are standing still, say waiting our turn to ride a pattern, he will lip at the bit shank until he gets it in his mouth. He does it more at shows, but will also do it at home. I thought maybe it was a bit of anxiety at shows until he started it during a lesson at home.

    My question is, has anyone solved this problem by switching the style of shank on the bit? He currently goes in a correction port with swept back shanks. I've read that a 7 shank or a cavalry shank are good options for horses that lip the bit. Has anyone tried this, and did you see a difference?

  • #2
    I've read that those types of shanks are helpful for that issue, but I don't have any experience myself. I do know that correction bits are not the most comfortable for horses. Does he do the same thing in a curb bit with a gentler port? Maybe he is trying to get relief from pressure somewhere. Just a thought.

    Comment


    • #3
      You need an S Curve, which is a “cavalry” bit , also used on TWH.... and don’t sit and let him fiddle with it, give him a quick bump on the opposite rein, maybe a “no” , little bumpwiththe foot, go walk around or get off while you wait. He’s a little nervous and anticipates the pattern work. Lot of them don’t like standing around before running any kind of pattern, distract him.

      You can also McGyver some baling wire or twine like a lip strap so he can’t get it while you are at home. Every time he does it’s getting more ingrained so get on stopping it.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

      Comment


      • #4
        My mom's mare she used to have would do this. We "solved" the problem by riding her in an old-fashioned cheap grazing bit like this. Since the entire bit was solid, she couldn't do anything with the shank. She also had an amazing neck rein on her so that bit worked well for her.

        Another mare we used to have quite a few years ago did that. We "solved" her problem by grabbing her ear every time she went to grab the shank. She was only 13.1 hands and had a short neck so it was easy to grab her ear. She HATED when we would grab her ear so she figured out pretty quick that we'd leave her ear alone if she left the bit alone.

        So, there's two options for you!

        Ditto to the question on if he does this in every bit you put on him, or only the correction bit?
        It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          He tries it with any bit, not just the correction. I'm not sitting on him for long periods of time either, for example just waiting for a lesson mate to ride a pattern, then taking my turn. Getting off every time is not really an option.

          I spent some time making him work every time he reached for the shank, he figured it out pretty quickly but we need more repetitions before I know if I can eliminate the behavior.

          I did borrow a S-shank correction bit for the show I went to last weekend. It worked great until he figured out that he could flip it forward with his tongue and then grab the shanks. The waiting area was on gravel so I was limited in what I could do, I just tried to keep him walking between patterns.

          I am currently trying a bit with a solid low port mouthpiece but loose cheeks, still an S shank. The next step will be to try a slobber bar, then a totally solid bit. I'm going to experiment with different mouthpieces too, but I'm sticking to bits that I can borrow from friends because it gets expensive to use the guess and test method buying bits!

          He came to me with this habit so it might be something that I can't fix, but I'm going to give it a shot. He's otherwise a wonderful, very well trained horse, I can live with this one quirk.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I'm also trying to find a bit with rollers to see if that would keep him occupied instead.

            Comment


            • #7
              The correction bit is a lose jaw, right? Meaning the shanks are attached so they move independently of the mouthpiece? If so, get a solid shanked bit with similar mouthpiece. They grab the shank on the loose jaw, everything gives and moves independently, like he can flip the whole thing. So it’s fun for him. Grab it on a solid sided bit and the whole thing comes to the side being grabbed including the opposite shank being pulled hard against his lips.

              He wants to yank the but out of place? Let him, but with a solid side it is going to smart some.

              You can get the solid sides on any those mouthpieces. Whole “ correction” bit thing is more marketing then substance, you use th bit that works best for your horse,

              Word of warning can learn if they grab the shank, they can leave and riders cannot stop or steer them. Instant gratification, For the horse. Could be an old habit nobody will admit too. Could be a new habit just waiting to blossom into an embarassing situation. Needs to become aformer habit ASAP
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by findeight View Post
                The correction bit is a lose jaw, right? Meaning the shanks are attached so they move independently of the mouthpiece? If so, get a solid shanked bit with similar mouthpiece. They grab the shank on the loose jaw, everything gives and moves independently, like he can flip the whole thing. So it’s fun for him. Grab it on a solid sided bit and the whole thing comes to the side being grabbed including the opposite shank being pulled hard against his lips.

                He wants to yank the but out of place? Let him, but with a solid side it is going to smart some.

                You can get the solid sides on any those mouthpieces. Whole “ correction” bit thing is more marketing then substance, you use th bit that works best for your horse,

                Word of warning can learn if they grab the shank, they can leave and riders cannot stop or steer them. Instant gratification, For the horse. Could be an old habit nobody will admit too. Could be a new habit just waiting to blossom into an embarassing situation. Needs to become aformer habit ASAP
                Yes, the correction bit is loose jaw, but it's not one of the bits where the shanks completely swivel independent of the mouthpiece. And yes, correction bit is a misnomer, I'm not trying to "correct" anything. He'll ride in pretty much anything, he's not picky. A solid bit is on the list to try, I just need to locate one I can borrow.

                When I say he is well trained I really mean it, this horse can be ridden bridleless (not with a neck rope, truly bridleless), I'm not concerned about him taking off with me. I do worry about him injuring himself if he gets the shank stuck, which is why I'm troubleshooting and trying to find a solution.

                Comment


                • #9
                  They make some with a sort of tapered dee shaped solid side, thicker around where the mouthpiece joins it and gradually thinning to where the reins attach. Realize the skinny shanks are in fashion now but the dee sides are, IMO, attractive and have been popular in the past. Plus the purpose of that shape is to discourage fooling with or grabbing the shank. Sure your trainer has at least one of these around.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What about a bit hobble? I had one that would grab at the shanks but a hobble made it physically impossible for him to do so.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Called a lip strap in English, and it goes through a link in the curb chain or strap. Reining probably doesn’t allow anything extra running from shank, thru curb chain/strap to other shank. And they check. Could be used at home but that’s not when horse pulls this stunt.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Check your rules, but we use lip straps.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          A slobber bar/bit hobble is the western equivalent of a lip strap and they are legal for reining. The slobber bar doesn't pass through the curb chain though, it just connects to the shanks. It was already on the list of things to try and it sounds like a couple people have had luck with it so I'll have to dig one up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Stitch In Time View Post
                            A slobber bar/bit hobble is the western equivalent of a lip strap and they are legal for reining. The slobber bar doesn't pass through the curb chain though, it just connects to the shanks. It was already on the list of things to try and it sounds like a couple people have had luck with it so I'll have to dig one up.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Correct, they just run between the bottom of the two shanks. Sometimes they are metal and keep the shanks from not only moving too far out but also too far in. A cord hobble only prevents the shanks from turning out too much.
                              And both are legal in nrha competition.

                              Comment

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