bit clarification

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bit clarification

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:35 am

Hello. I have just discovered your site and found this question of particular interest (http://www.goinggaited.com/Behavior-Q---A-pg-2.html#anchor_273) because I have the same issue w/my TWH with unknown past. I have wondered if the "program" he has possibly been thru and the showing possibly ingrains in them a "racing" mentality. I've also wondered if the same may be true of racing racking horses. From the very little I know of racing TBs, they respond the same way to rein pressure, taking it as a signal to move forward.



I also must ask about the bit that was mentioned by Kita in her original message. She stated that it is a "snaffle/Wonderbit". I had been confused by the various "snaffle" definitions when I first had my TWH. My understanding is that the Wonderbit is NOT a snaffle because the reins attach BELOW the mouth level, making it a leverage bit. Also, because the mouthpiece moves upward in the mouth, it raises the head, making it a gag bit [and not particularly mild]. I believe it CAN function as a snaffle if the reins are attached to the ring at mouth level so that there is no leverage/shank and the gag action is not used. However, when used as designed with reins on lowest ring, the Wonderbit is a gag bit with a considerable amount of leverage and [usually] a nutcracker mouthpiece. In addition, if the mouthpeice is twisted wire, for example, this can be a very harsh bit.

Any comments appreciated!



Barb in Yucaipa, CA
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Re: bit clarification

Post by Paul Williamson on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:09 pm

PAUL-



Hello Barb,



As a general advice - whenever a horse is sensitive to rein pressure, I would always use just a plain snaffle. If you want to reach positive results with an easily excited horse, it is advisable to avoid causing him any discomfort and/or confusion by using harsher bits and other surplus gear. Make sure the horse is completely sound and that his gear is a perfect fit and if you still experience problems controlling your horse using a soft snaffle, look at yourself first. . Fancy bits are for the advanced rider and the well-educated horse looking for that extra something to polish off their performance together. The rest of us should all be using traditional soft snaffle bits with and work on controlling our horses with light hands and feet. It is possible.



Thanks for your concerns.

Paul
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Re: bit clarification

Post by Jeff Sanders on Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:32 am

Hello Barb,
You are absolutely correct that TBs that are off the track have been trained to push into rein pressure instead of giving to it. I have worked with a LOT of TBs and that is almost always the biggest problem that needs to be addressed.
If the horse responds well to the use of a rope halter on the ground then you can build on that. I would use a braided rawhide hackamore but a rope halter can also be used. If you plan to eventually use a snaffle alone I would use the hackamore/halter in conjunction with the snaffle bit. I would use the snaffle for gaining lateral control and the hackamore for getting proper vertical collection and speed control. As things progress I would begin using the snaffle and hackamore together then work toward gaining what you want with just the snaffle.
Traditional Vaquero horsemanship will usually use just a hackamore until a horse is around 6 years old then go to the “two rein”. The two rein is using the bit and hackamore at the same time. Then after a couple of years the horse transitions to “straight up in the bridle” meaning that just the bit is used with no hackamore.
The key is taking a lot of time and patience. I personally do not like gag bit AT ALL. I have found that if a person knows how to properly use their hands, they don’t need a gag. As for a bit being severe it is really more about the person using it. Any bit can be severe in the wrong hands and any bit can be mild in the right hands. Unfortunately the bits that are mechanically harsher are usually used to try to overcome poor hands and they often just end up making the problem worse.
Keep us posted on your progress,
Jeff
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