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Bits

Bits

Postby mm » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:11 pm

I dont own a horse and I dont know much about them. I am trying to learn as I would like to get one in the next year or so. At field trials I rent a horse and the horse has a bit. Many people ride the horse every day. This past year the horse had a injury to its mouth due to the bit and people pulling on it and it was giving the horse trouble when I rode it. Throwing her head up and down. The wrangler told me that was the problem people pulling to hard on it.

I ride at another place upstate NY and the people there dont use bits. There are ropes for reins , one on either side of the head. I think the horse is more comfortable and I seem to find it easier to control and they even showed me how to do an emergency stop pulling the head to one side hard all the way around.

I have never seen this type of set up at a field trial. I was told it is a natural horsemanship way. I asked a guy who has a lot of horses and is known to be knowalagable about horses about this. He blew it off as no good and the natrual horsemanship as all bull.

Is he right ? Do any of you use this setup at trials? Can a horse that has always had a bit be changed to this method?
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Re: Bits

Postby Neil » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:44 pm

With a gaited horse you have much more control with a proper long shank bit, you can ride Arbians, quarter horses, standards, and the like with a hackamore, but I would never ride in a trial without good brakes. The horseman you consulted is right.
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Re: Bits

Postby mudhunter » Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:19 pm

Especially as a relative new person on horses I would not consider riding a horse with a proper bit at a trial! Ive seen very calm horses explode, as Neil said you want some brakes!
The beauty of your own horse is that you will be only the only hands on the reins. When your the only one riding a horse you will both get to know each other and you will find a lot less of those types of problems.
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Re: Bits

Postby shags » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:00 pm

The hackamore with bosal is traditional vaquero tack. Instead of reins, a long ropelike mecate is used.

Do not be mislead, a bosal in the wrong or untrained hands can be very harsh. It's no more 'natural' than a bit.

I attended a trial where the wrangler had a mule with a ruined mouth - the result of clueless riders. The wrangler replaced the bridle and bit with a hackamore and bosal. The poor mule's face was a giant bleeding sore caused by the same sort of ineptness.
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Re: Bits

Postby Neil » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:24 pm

As a young lad I used to ride what we called Indian style, bareback with a single strand of bailing twine tied to the Lower lip. It is as natural horsemanship as I can imagine, I good way to learn to move with the horse, but very unsafe. You don't control the horse, you are just along for the ride. Not appropriate at a trial.

There is nothing abusive about a bit, just the rider.

BTW there is no one bit that fits all, you need to find the proper fitting and use it with a firm, but never harsh hand. Stick with what works, not some fad.
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Re: Bits

Postby tn red » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:46 pm

Does long shanks = breaks?
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Re: Bits

Postby Neil » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:59 pm

tn red wrote:Does long shanks = breaks?


No, the long shank gives you leverage, so you do not have to jerk to get a reaction. The port adds to the brakes, but my earlier point was without a bit (or hackamore) you have no way to stop the horse. Turning it with a halter is not stopping. There is no need to reinvent this stuff, it has been perfected.

After you have been at it awhile, you can experiment, beginning do what works. You can hurt the horse, others, and less importantly, yourself.
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Re: Bits

Postby mm » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:16 am

So I guess you should stick with the bit the horse is using when you buy him assuming he is what you need and like at the purchase. Would that bit come with the horse because it is broke in to him or can you just buy one and use it.
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Re: Bits

Postby shags » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:01 am

If I was considering a horse that the current owner had in a harsh bit I would question why they needed it. If a horse is well trained it shouldn't need a harsh bit. Some owners and trainers when they have difficulties with a horse, think the answer to all problems is to move to harsher and harsher bits when they ought to be backing up a few steps and doing some retraining.

A harsh bit in the hands of a novice rider can be cruel. It takes knowledge and finesse to use one to best advantage. No beginner needs a fire-breathing animal in the first place; a more appropriate horse would be one whose 'brakes' are properly installed and which can be activated by gentler means.

Our young field trial horse was purchased as a two year old and came with a twisted wire gag. WTH? For a two year old???
We switched to a comfort type bit ( very mild) and he has been great with it for several years now.

See if you can get the DVD 'Gaits From God' by the late Brenda Imus from your library. It has some very good information about the mechanics of various bits. Granted, she's selling her own brand, but the information remains and several other bit makers have choices similar to hers. As a matter of fact, the DVD set has lots of good information about gaited horses in general ( demonstrations of various gaits, conformation, etc) that could benefit a horse shopper.
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Re: Bits

Postby kninebirddog » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:15 pm

shags wrote:If I was considering a horse that the current owner had in a harsh bit I would question why they needed it. If a horse is well trained it shouldn't need a harsh bit. Some owners and trainers when they have difficulties with a horse, think the answer to all problems is to move to harsher and harsher bits when they ought to be backing up a few steps and doing some retraining.

A harsh bit in the hands of a novice rider can be cruel. It takes knowledge and finesse to use one to best advantage. No beginner needs a fire-breathing animal in the first place; a more appropriate horse would be one whose 'brakes' are properly installed and which can be activated by gentler means.

Our young field trial horse was purchased as a two year old and came with a twisted wire gag. WTH? For a two year old???
We switched to a comfort type bit ( very mild) and he has been great with it for several years now.

See if you can get the DVD 'Gaits From God' by the late Brenda Imus from your library. It has some very good information about the mechanics of various bits. Granted, she's selling her own brand, but the information remains and several other bit makers have choices similar to hers. As a matter of fact, the DVD set has lots of good information about gaited horses in general ( demonstrations of various gaits, conformation, etc) that could benefit a horse shopper.


I cringe when I go to trials ...Saddles not fitting right to stirrups not set right causing the saddle to shift and the bars riding on the spine to bits not fitting the horse right to people that have high and heavy hands ...people who fast pace back to the trailer jump off and feed the horse then wonder why they have a horse chomping at the bit trying to blow through their hands. one of the biggest pet peeves and actually is extremely dangerous is the horse that will not stand still to be mounted and moves off before the rider is seated.
When getting lessons people go to a basic arena rider trainer unfortunately they do not teach practical riding skills which help a rider know how to handle riding on the trail much less what goes on at a trial and how to get the horse to be cuing off of you not the horse which is losing its marbles next to you or the spooky boogy man things when in new places.

Being in the saddle not just on it and ride with communication with the horse if you feel that the horse is fighting the bit check what you are doing as the horse maybe fighting your hands not the bit :wink:
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Re: Bits

Postby mudhunter » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:23 pm

mm wrote:So I guess you should stick with the bit the horse is using when you buy him assuming he is what you need and like at the purchase. Would that bit come with the horse because it is broke in to him or can you just buy one and use it.
mm


What you NEED to do is buy a horse from someone you trust and KNOWS horses! Ride him in a trial or two first or at least work dogs off of him. Don't go cheap, with horses you often get what you pay for. The bit will often come with a horse but if not make sure to find out what it is and have help getting it set right in the horses mouth.
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Re: Bits

Postby Neil » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:39 pm

mm wrote:So I guess you should stick with the bit the horse is using when you buy him assuming he is what you need and like at the purchase. Would that bit come with the horse because it is broke in to him or can you just buy one and use it.
mm


It used to be customary for the bit to come with a gaited horse, at least in the Mid-South. With a new horse I either negotiate for the bit or check that I have or can buy one like it, if the horse seems comfortable. When I sell, I always include the bit. Still overtime a horse's fit will change even if you float their teeth and other oral hygiene practices. As said saddle fit is important, but more so is a proper bit, properly adjusted. Most giving ridding lessons do not know this.
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Re: Bits

Postby mm » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:46 pm

Well lessons are a joke here where I live. It is all about fancy clothes and jumping. I spent hours going around a circle in a ring before I quit. They would not even let me climb on the horse without a mounting block and that was the thing I needed the most practice with. I went to ride with these people http://www.ridenys.com/ and I did more than I ever thought I would on a horse. They helped me feel better about riding and I have even handled my dog off horse now. We got our first horse placement this spring. I am no expert I was never around horses as I live in the city but they helped me to feel better about riding. I rent a horse at the trials from the same person and I try to stick with the same horse. This has been working but she is not at every trial. I have ridden one friends horse one time and he was nicer that any I have ever ridden as he is a trial horse and he has been going to trials a long time. The difference between him and the rented guy was night and day and I like the rented guy a lot. That is why I feel if I could get a good one for my own, riding would be even better. It will be a while before I move but I am looking for a place that allows horses so I can get one. In the meantime I am trying to learn about them. I have a lot of questions and I like the answers here because you use the horses like I want to.
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Re: Bits

Postby tn red » Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 pm

shags wrote:If I was considering a horse that the current owner had in a harsh bit I would question why they needed it. If a horse is well trained it shouldn't need a harsh bit. Some owners and trainers when they have difficulties with a horse, think the answer to all problems is to move to harsher and harsher bits when they ought to be backing up a few steps and doing some retraining.

A harsh bit in the hands of a novice rider can be cruel. It takes knowledge and finesse to use one to best advantage. No beginner needs a fire-breathing animal in the first place; a more appropriate horse would be one whose 'brakes' are properly installed and which can be activated by gentler means.

Our young field trial horse was purchased as a two year old and came with a twisted wire gag. WTH? For a two year old???
We switched to a comfort type bit ( very mild) and he has been great with it for several years now.

See if you can get the DVD 'Gaits From God' by the late Brenda Imus from your library. It has some very good information about the mechanics of various bits. Granted, she's selling her own brand, but the information remains and several other bit makers have choices similar to hers. As a matter of fact, the DVD set has lots of good information about gaited horses in general ( demonstrations of various gaits, conformation, etc) that could benefit a horse shopper.

THIS is spot on....only thing id change is the Imus & get a Myler bit ..just me but i think they are hard to beat even on one somebody else has ruind in the mouth,also Myler has a great dvd ..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqGXCWVSS0Y.......
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Re: Bits

Postby Fozzie's Mom » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:59 am

shags wrote:If I was considering a horse that the current owner had in a harsh bit I would question why they needed it. If a horse is well trained it shouldn't need a harsh bit. Some owners and trainers when they have difficulties with a horse, think the answer to all problems is to move to harsher and harsher bits when they ought to be backing up a few steps and doing some retraining.

A harsh bit in the hands of a novice rider can be cruel. It takes knowledge and finesse to use one to best advantage. No beginner needs a fire-breathing animal in the first place; a more appropriate horse would be one whose 'brakes' are properly installed and which can be activated by gentler means.

Our young field trial horse was purchased as a two year old and came with a twisted wire gag. WTH? For a two year old???
We switched to a comfort type bit ( very mild) and he has been great with it for several years now.

See if you can get the DVD 'Gaits From God' by the late Brenda Imus from your library. It has some very good information about the mechanics of various bits. Granted, she's selling her own brand, but the information remains and several other bit makers have choices similar to hers. As a matter of fact, the DVD set has lots of good information about gaited horses in general ( demonstrations of various gaits, conformation, etc) that could benefit a horse shopper.



As far as natural horsemanship goes, it DOES work, and is not a bunch of horse-pucky. That said, how effective it is and how well the horse behaves is all a matter of how well the person did training it. Any horse will have holes if trained and/or handled by someone who doesn't know what they're doing or are just looking for a quick-fix. Most well-trained horses using natural horsemanship methods are typically less-likely to blow up in a scary situation from what I've seen because those people typically spend more time desensitizing their horses to odd things and situations. A halter, or simple snaffle can be just as effective as a heavy bit if that horse has been properly trained to respect it. Plus. . . .a one rein stop is an absolute god-send if you need it, too, whether you're using a halter, snaffle bit, or curb bit with long shanks. I'd be really cautious of a horse that needs a heavy bit for control. It's a bandaid that usually means the horse does not have a good stop or control. . . . .and using a heavy bit usually causes the horse to need a heavier bit down the road. . .and heavier. . and heavier. It shouldn't be a replacement for good, solid foundation training.

Typically, the "heavy" bits in the hands of a good horseman are meant to be used for refinement, not for better control. I've worked with plenty of gated horses that will gate well with just a simple snaffle. It's about body carriage (collection) and giving to the bit. . . .regardless of what bit you use. IMHO the heavier bits are meant for people concerned with the type of refinement you're looking for in the show ring, not on a trail ride or field trial.

Longer shanks put a lot more physical pressure on the inside of the mouth (think long fulcrum in terms of physics), so horses are usually more sensitive to them. IMO, that's the easy way out of training a solid foundation into a horse.

But don't think you can jump on a horse that is used to wearing a heavy bit and be effective with a snaffle or like :? Retraining a horse that has been taught to be hard in the face to be soft to a soft touch is a process that doesn't happen overnight.

There are more than one way to skin a cat, and natural horsemanship is just one of them.
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Re: Bits

Postby jstevens » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:24 pm

shags wrote:The hackamore with bosal is traditional vaquero tack. Instead of reins, a long ropelike mecate is used.

Do not be mislead, a bosal in the wrong or untrained hands can be very harsh. It's no more 'natural' than a bit.

I attended a trial where the wrangler had a mule with a ruined mouth - the result of clueless riders. The wrangler replaced the bridle and bit with a hackamore and bosal. The poor mule's face was a giant bleeding sore caused by the same sort of ineptness.

I am a horse person, grew up on a cattle ranch, rode every day, and have showed and won on cutting horses for about 15 years. A horse that throws its head isn't usually one that's been hurt by hard (as opposed to soft) hands. The horse is throwing its head because it doesn't want to 'give' it's head to pressure. It is mostly genetic, and it's a hard headed POS. The only way to cure the one that doesn't give it's head is to kill it as a rule. I have slowed down some, but for years rode about 40 hours a month working horses to prepare for shows, if you get a two year old that doesn't want to bend and give its head, sell it, it won't get better. In the same vein, if you are looking at horses, and there is a colt that fights all the others off feed, leave him alone. You want to train the submissive one, the alpha one will be a stubborn fighter every time you try to teach him anything, and he will never be sensitive.

The bosal, as the guy above said, if you tighten it down so it's tight around the horse and manhandle one, the corners of the mouth will get raw as heck. I've also seen that a lot of people who haven't spent a lifetime around horses want to use a very weak bit, cause they think they keep them from being 'hard mouthed'. I remember one who had a cutter in training, she was still using a ring snaffle, and the horse would take about two steps after she pulled on him before he thought about stopping. The trainer went over and looked at the bit, the lady said she was still using a ring snaffle to keep his mouth soft. His reply was, if he's taking a step after you pull on the reins, isn't that the definition of 'hard mouthed'? A more severe bit with a soft hand is easier on a horse than a snaffle with an idiot jerking on it.
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Re: Bits

Postby shags » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:47 pm

If there’s a problem with throwing its head, look to saddle fit before you shoot it 8) We’ve fixed some bad cases of head throwing just by getting a saddle that was better for the horse, and those horses turned out to be excellent rides.
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Re: Bits

Postby Devilscreekw » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:17 am

+1 on the Myler bits. I don't even use my long shanked walking horse bits any more, just a 5" (I believe) Myler comfort snaffle. Excellent product, and actually very similar to the Imus. One of my trial partners has one, and he is happy with it.

I will tell you that a horse at a trial acts VERY different from normal behavior during training and casual riding. It takes a while.
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