LMK1975

Bit Suggestions

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My horse is being used by three 10 year olds for beginner lesson's once a week in a round pen (at least for now). He is really laid back and calm but he is large and he knows it. He is a 15.2H stout fellow. The teacher told me he was doing very well except sometimes he is trying to eat grass. The kids are small and are no match for him, especially since they are beginners. They are having a hard time getting his head back up. She wants to try another bit. Right now I am using a Myler Comfort Snaffle, D ring. I don't want to go to something harsher because they are beginners and will bump him in the mouth on occassion. A regular jointed snaffle will not work because of his previous owners not knowing how to ride. He puts his nose in the air and evades the bit when you use that. He likes the 3 piece action of the Myler bit.

Is there a bit that will allow the kids a little umph without really being harsher? She suggested a french link but I have no experience with them or how or why they are used. The only bits I have other experience in are leverage bits which I would think may be too harsh for this horse. Kimberwicks, pelhams, a grazing bit for WP or the infamous twisted 'O' ring snaffle they start all WP horses in. They will NOT be using that one!

Any suggestions?? Or other options besides changing bits?

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I don't think a french link is going to give the kids any more "oomph" than the Myler he's currently in. Honestly, at 10 I think they should be old enough to learn how to stop him from eating and putting his head down. It's not just about pulling his head up, but using leg to drive him forward. Even as beginners they should be able to learn how to keep him going. That would be my suggestion rather than putting a stronger bit in the hands of beginners.

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have you thought about an Anti-grazing device? they work pretty well! I agree the kids need to learn, but you don't want to frustrate them into quit'n right off the bat!20$ Horseloverz.com

Edited by GlowingTrickPony

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I agree they need to learn. The one girl is on her 8th or 9th lesson. The other two are just on their 3rd or so. I think what is happening is that he is fine until he doesn't want to do it anymore and then he just starts grazing. He is 15.2 and really a stocky big boy. And when a horse doesn't want to do something then he is big enough to stand his ground and not do it. All three of these kids are tiny, petite kids with like no strength. And they really haven't learned to use the leg effectively at all.

I'll mention the anti-grazing device. I would rather not use a harsher bit. That reminds me when I was young and we would go on trail rides, the instructor would tie bailing twine from the bit to the saddle so the horses wouldn't stop and graze. It would be as loose as it could be without them being able to get their head all the way to the ground to eat. Most of the horses didn't even try when it was on because they new it was no use and if they threw thier heads down then they got popped by the bit. HHmm, that might be the best option. I should go watch a lesson too to see how she is teaching them to get his head up.

Edited by LMK1975

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I agree with the grass reins. My old barn had a lot of school ponies that liked to take advantage of kids that couldn't ride, so we'd take two pieces of nylon corde, tie them to the bit rings, feed them up the inside of the cheekpieces of the bridle, tie them in an overhand knot at the middle of the crest, feed them through a d-ring on each side of the saddle, them tie them together in front of the pommel. That way the head is not tied to the saddle, and he can still move his head, but he can't put it down to eat. If that needs any clarification just ask and I'll see if I can get a diagram :)

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I talked to the instructor yesterday. She is not 'comfortable' using any of the items suggested. So she wants to try those rubber reins. My horse has a long neck and since the kids ride with a loose rein they are on the slick part of the reins not the braided part. She thinks if they have something grippier to hold on too then he won't really pull the reins out of their hands. I am not changing bits. She has been hating on my bit since I moved there 7 months ago. Oh well. Learn to like it! It's just a snaffle!

I still want to go see a lesson to see how she is teaching them.

Edited by LMK1975

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Changing the bit especially to the french link is not going to solve the problem. He will still try to eat no matter what you put in his mouth. The kids being as old as they are beginners or not they should be able to keep him out of the grass or at least if he does get to it get him out. If they can't kick hard enough then have the instructor have the kids use a riding crop to give that extra application of saying "hello, wake up here working not eating"

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I would absolutely go see what is happening during the lessons. Her first job is to have a learning environment. Any new rider young or old doesn't have the slightest idea how to correct nor should they have to at this point. The riders are more overwhelmed by the fact that they are on such a huge animal than they are able to think about how to correct. I would weedwack the ring to be sure the grass was out of reach of the horses when working outside when I was giving lessons before I moved to where I am now.

If that's not an option she needs to be working with the riders on how to spot when a horse is going to dive for grass then show them how to stop it when the horse is thinking about doing it not after their nose is buried in the turf. That is a key riding lesson right there. Innovative thinking on her part would have solved the issue with out her coming to you to ask for a harsher bit. Working with what one has is part of a trainer/instructor's job. Bit upgrades out of laziness or a lack of creative thinking in NOT a solution. To me that says it's the instructors lack of quick/creative thinking, not the horse or the bit.

I say try suggesting using it as a learning tool rather than adding tack or changing bits out. That is the safest and best solution. You will probably want to say it nicer than I did though LOL. If she says that you are telling her how to do her job just smile & walk away, that will leave her with something to think about. HA!

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I definatly agree with Pocolass. I'm in a similar situation. My horse is being used to teach beginners dressage. He is the EASIEST horse in the world to get on the bit (when asked correctly). The trainer asked me if she could use a harsher bit because the students weren't able to get his head down. I told her you don't get a horse's head down through your hands to the bit, you get it down by asking them to use their back end and rounding their back. You don't get that through a harsher bit.

Anyways, not the same case but very similar. I basically told her to teach her kids how to ride, then they won't need a stronger bit.

Good luck!

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I agree that the kids need to learn to drive him forward by the use of their legs. Though, I understand how hard that can be to get it through their heads to use their legs, so maybe try a crop? Teach them how to use it - properly.

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Likes what Pilot said!!

Too many times I have had people say ok, 'now set her head'.....umm...just because I set the head doesn't mean she is working correctly!

Obviously the teacher is missing something. They should try a lesson on "how to spot when the horse is going to try to eat grass, and this is how you deal with it".

I have the same worry about my gelding with my daughter...she is TINY, but a harsher bit isn't going to work. I'd either try the anti-grazing device, or "not eat grass" lessons, lol. (my daughter is too little to understand it yet).

Good luck!

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The only bits I have other experience in are leverage bits which I would think may be too harsh for this horse. Kimberwicks, pelhams, a grazing bit for WP or the infamous twisted 'O' ring snaffle they start all WP horses in. They will NOT be using that one!

Um, not sure if you mean at your barn they start all WP horses in twisted O ring snaffles, but that's not what I've ever seen ... Usually it's a smooth mouth snaffle at least where I'm from that's the going norm. Anyway...Sorry off subject a little! My point was maybe your trainer likes the harsher bits and goes to them more quickly than she should?

Ok so about your horse grazing during lessons...I agree with the other people here, a harsher bit is not the answer. Why does the instructor have a problem w/ anti grazing reins?? That's much better (in my opinion) than sticking a harsher bit in the hands of inexperienced riders. I'm kind of worried about an instructor that wants to jump to that and not try to teach them to use the aides they have and watch for what the horse is about to do.

Edited by apples&oats

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Well first off the problem is that the horse is being used by children with no experience. It's the instructors job to make sure this horse is fit for duty. A french link snaffle is going to be LESS severe than the Oring snaffle because it elimates the sicsor action.

Your best bet would be to keep a halter on the horse, and tie his lead rope to the horn of the saddle with enough slack that it will be out of the way but just enough that the horse can't get far enough down to graze.

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