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reidhorsegrl10

Bits In The Show Ring

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So I am almost 100% sure that you cannot use a hackamore in classes at shows. I am looking to make my western guy a hunt seat horse as well. Problem is we work in a hackamore (bought him working in that and he's a super light mouthed horse) I personally have no issue with this, however, I am at a lose as to what to try first bit wise. I do not want to change the fact he works great in a hackamore just something to supplement in for shows. After I've rambled on lol any suggestions. I wondered about the rubber mouthed bits but have no experience with them.

Thanks in advance :)

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you need to google the rules for the shows you want to participate in. in varies.

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In general, though, yes, English hunt seat classes don't allow bitless bridles (except for jumping - jumpers pretty much allows everything).

So, here's what I recommend.

First, if he hasn't had his mouth checked in a while, get it checked - sometimes tooth problems that will cause issues with a bit go unnoticed if you always ride without one.

Second, try to find a bit library or a larger barn that might be willing to lend you some different bits.

Now - when you say super light mouthed, do you mean in the hackamore, or have you tried him in a bit? I ask because some horses are lighter "mouthed" in a hackamore and he may end up needing more bit than you think.

If he really is super light mouthed in a bit, then it might be worth trying a rubber mouthed bit *unless* he has a small mouth with a low palate. Rubber mouthed bits are thicker than metal bits - so a horse with a "low" mouth may find them uncomfortable. However, they are good for very sensitive horses.

Regardless of your showing association's rules, you should be okay with a basic snaffle. It's just a matter of finding the right one. Copper mouths may or may not be legal.

I personally recommend avoiding single jointed bits - some horses go well in them, but I have yet to meet a horse that didn't go better in a double jointed or mullen mouthed bit.

As a starting point, I'd try a French link, loose ring snaffle. If he shakes his head from side to side, try an eggbutt instead (some horses find the motion of the loose rings annoying, but the eggbutt bit is slightly more "direct" in action). Or, you could try a mullen mouth rubber bit.

You may find when switching to a snaffle from a shanked hackamore (If that's what you're using) that he doesn't respond well to the direct rein lateral pull - if so, try a D ring, which gives a bit of a clearer direct rein signal. If they're legal, you could also try a cheeked snaffle.

The tl;dr - I would try either a French link loose ring metal snaffle or a loose ring rubber mullen mouth first and then move from there.

(To get better advice - could you tell us exactly what kind of hackamore you're using?)

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Thank you for the great advice Shameless!!!

I have had him about a month and got him from a barrel trainer. She had found him for a friend of hers but they just didn't click. He doesn't like a handsy rider (why he's in a hackamore). He's ridden in the Brittany Pozzi Rubber Nose Hackamore. Has some shank to it. Runs a great pattern in it, but just wanted to get back to my English roots and he would make a gorgeous hunter horse. Light mouth as in doesn't like the contact. I am wondering if it is more behavioral then anything. She mentioned he was in his mouth a lot, I mean I have to say I wouldn't like that either lol!!!

Thought about starting with a D-Ring Snaffle just so many bits out there didn't know if there might be a better alternative?!? And like you said more bit maybe necessary, I didn't know if that would be "enough"

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If he doesn't "like" contact, it may be that he simply hasn't been trained to contact.

If he was bought from a barrel trainer he may never have been ridden English. Also, you shouldn't be riding to contact in a leverage bit anyway. A shanked hackamore like the Pozzi counts as a leverage bit - people think hackamores are "lighter" than bits, but that's not always the case.

MOST D rings are single jointed. I would definitely recommend against a single jointed bit - look for one that's double jointed. You can also get rubber mouthed D rings...but I think the key thing here is also training him to accept contact.

If you haven't done that before, I'd recommend seeking some assistance. A trainer may also have a variety of bits for you to try.

I've found it's particularly important with western-first horses to really ride INTO the contact, and not fall into the trap of trying to pull the horse into it with the hands.

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Thanks again for the great advice! I am actually new to the hackamore world, and have more experience with bits. Bits have always and will always be a very overwhelming topic LOL. Have a few double jointed Ds in my tack room I will give a shot.

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I don't know if you dance, but if you have a partner that offers you a steady and sure hand and a nice feeling hug arn around your waist you're willing to boogie. I really think that's the way horses feel too.

somebody who is trying to muscle with leverage is not going to get a willing horse. I ride with a rope hackamore fairly often for a tune-up so to speak. I can't get the collection that I get with a sweet iron snaffle. he's happy with either one, but he is really powerful in the snaffle.

have fun and stay safe!!

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I don't know if you dance, but if you have a partner that offers you a steady and sure hand and a nice feeling hug arn around your waist you're willing to boogie. I really think that's the way horses feel too.

somebody who is trying to muscle with leverage is not going to get a willing horse. I ride with a rope hackamore fairly often for a tune-up so to speak. I can't get the collection that I get with a sweet iron snaffle. he's happy with either one, but he is really powerful in the snaffle.

have fun and stay safe!!

That is a great way to put it!!!!!!!

Thank yall both for such great advice!

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