View Full Version : evading the bit
4th Jan 2002, 10:55 AM
I have always had problems bitting my horse.He has a particually large mouth which means finding a bit big enough has been a problem.When i got him 4yrs back he was ridden in a pelham which was a least one inch to small,and he was at a riding school-so he has a really hard mouth.I have tried many bits for him and found that he went well in a hanging cheek snaffle.He has been in this for nearly a year ,but he has started running through the bit.If i apply the slightest amount of pressure on the reins he will take the bit in is teeth and plunge his head forward to the ground or will put his head so high in the air he nearly knocks you out.Can anyone suggest anything to help? I had his teeth rasped in november ,and regualy check the fit of his saddle , he currently wears a flash noseband as he opens his mouth to avoid the bit.
5th Jan 2002, 06:55 PM
If your horse was going OK in the hanging cheek snaffle until recently, it sounds as though something in his mouth has changed. I personally don't particularly like the idea of any noseband that keeps the horse's mouth shut, because it removes what might be his only way of telling us there's something wrong; if he's happy in his mouth, there's no reason for him to yaw at the bit, get his tongue over it, grind his teeth or whatever...but that's just my opinion.
Although you say you had his teeth rasped not long ago, was it by a specialist (some vets, for example, are very switched on about teeth, whereas others are better in other areas)? Also, were you starting to have problems at the time, and if so did you mention it? It would help if the person examining your horse's mouth - vet, dentist or whoever - knows you suspect a problem, because they will probably take a much more careful look at what's going on - not just at the teeth but at the mouth as a whole. It could, of course, be something else, but if you think it's always related to pressure on the reins then it does sound like a mouth problem of some description.
Just checking - I assume you've had a good look at your bit and it hasn't developed any sharp edges, and you always make sure it's clean?
6th Jan 2002, 11:20 AM
Thanks for your advice ros.
He was going well in the hanging cheek snaffle but he always has evaded the bit to a degree but never this bad.The equine dentist is aware of his problems ,and also the fact that he is a head shaker (allergies in summer).He doesn't mouth the bit and never has since i have had him.I've had the equine dentist out yesterday to check him before i rode him and suggested i put him into his happymouth mullen snaffle because although he couldn't find anything,he thought the change to a milder bit untill he's settled down again would be beneficial.He was fine on saturday in his happymouth but took him out this morning and hes worse.Another problem is that hes very old and has learnt the best tactics in doing everything he wants! His bit was new feb last year and i check it often and clean his bit after very ride and apply a caramel bit spray before i ride him.Will try him without his flash noseband next time i ride and see what happens,
thanks for your help!:)
7th Jan 2002, 10:14 AM
I tend to agree with wha Ros has said really. Have you alway had your flash noseband on him Skye? Have you ever tried him without? You say he's an old horse and well,.."old habits die hard" as they say!!
When I bought my first horse, he came to me with his mouth strapped up and personally I do not like them, although they work for some horses, I have to admit (but I still don't like them!!). I took mine off and for the first few times, my horse went round with his mouth open, tongue over the bit, you name he did,,...I'm sure it was because this new found freedom felt absolutely wonderful and he was enjoying every minute of it, fearful of me 'strapping him up' again!!!
Suffice to say I didn't put the flash back on and through the summer (it took a few weeks of patience!) we worked with soft, forward hands and eventually the penny dropped that I wasn't going to put this noseband back on and he really relaxed in his jaw/mouth/poll/neck, his way of going improved 100% and we were both well on our way to being 'happier in the bridle'! :o
That's my experience you understand and I realise that all horses are unique, however, there's no harm in trying this approach skye, it certainly won't hurt. From a tack point of view I've always like to think along the lines of 'keep it simple and safe'.
Let us know how you get on..
7th Jan 2002, 02:28 PM
Hi Lancashire lass,
He's ridden in a plain cavesson in the summer and a flash in the winter.The reason i only use a flash in the winter is because he is ridden less and stabled at night,which he isn't in the summer.I also don't use it if we are riding alone ,but if we are riding in company i do put it back on-I really need the extra brakes. I'm going to try riding western style with the reins (eg limited contact) and see how we get on.I've also had a look at his mouth and there doesn't seem to be much room for a bit as his tongue his huge! any suggestions on a bit for this case?
thanks for all your help!
7th Jan 2002, 07:53 PM
Skye - I know this is probably a daft question, probably totally unrelated to the problem and you certainly sound sensible enough to have realised already if it was anything to do with it, but how is your horse fed through the winter? I only ask because you say he's keener in winter - and of course it may just be because he's stabled overnight rather than out 24/7 - but I wondered if there's anything in his winter diet you could cut out that's sending him a bit over the top?
As far as the size of his tongue is concerned, I assume your hanging cheek snaffle is jointed? Is it single- or double-jointed? My own inclination would be towards a double joint, or a half moon mouthpiece in a non-jointed bit; some people advocate a nice wide (but not high) port, but I wouldn't like to recommend that as I've never actually ridden in one. The western idea could well work, and I'd be interested to know how you get on if you do try it.
11th Jan 2002, 12:32 PM
Not a daft question at all! his diet this time of year is totally different to that in the summer! He is one of these horses who never fills out regardless of what he is fed,unlike in the summer when he fills out nicely!
He is currently fed,400gms of equimins advance,0.5kgs of alfa-a ,0.5kgs of alfa-beet 50gms of airway herbs and un-limited haylage at night.I've tried riding him with really long reins and this seems to be helping.Also i have changed the way i ask him to stop,I don't use my seat to ask to stop anymore just my legs ,hands and that seems to help.His hanging cheek snaffle is single jointed,i have tried a french link on him before but he absolutey hated it! I'm not really sure what you mean by a double jointed mouth piece (me being thick here)!:rolleyes: could you describe it a bit more? I have looked at low ported bits and came across a bit called magic bit (derby house saddlery) is that simular to what you are describing? many thanks for all your help,much aprreciated:D ;)
11th Jan 2002, 07:31 PM
Don't worry - by "double-jointed" I just meant any bit with the french-link type middle (two side pieces with some sort of link in the middle); those bits follow the contours of the tongue. Some horses go nicely in them, but others don't like them at all and it seems yours is one who doesn't!
The Derby House Magic Bit might be worth trying as it has a small port which would give you more tongue room, and at £12.50 it wouldn't break the bank: however, I don't imagine it has much stopping power by itself, and I'd still be wary of using an unknown bit with a flash, because he can't get away from it again. You said your horse was originally ridden in a Pelham (albeit too small) and I wonder if you've ever ridden him in one that's the right size? Do you happen to know how he went in it? If he doesn't like tongue pressure or the action of a jointed bit, he might actually be happier in a mullen mouth Pelham, which would give you a bit of stopping power if you needed it but would still be a mild bit in its own right, and with more tongue room than a straight one. Oh, the joys of bitting horses...!
12th Jan 2002, 12:13 PM
I spoken to derby house about the magic bit,to see if they can get it in his size,as they only go up to 5.5" and needs a 6"-6.25"! (he is only 14.1hh).I changed his pelham for a larger one days after i got him ,even though i only had him on trial.He did go fine in his pelham ,for a while .Then he started headshaking! of course the pelham wasn't much good for this as the poll pressure caused him to flip his lid! so we gave up on it.I have tried him since in this bit and he kept backing away from it.When i try a new bit with him i do remove his flash.Although i have put him back in a plain cavesson at the moment and apart from taking the bit in his teeth and pluging his head to the ground whilst i was remounting on a hack and tanking off he has much improved!Many thanks for all your advice ,hope i can return the favour one day!!;)
thought you may like to see a pic of the little rascal!
13th Jan 2002, 11:33 AM
Have you considered using a bitless bridle?
Check out www.htsequestrian.com
13th Jan 2002, 04:26 PM
thanks for the tip,i have tried him in a hackamore,well lets just say after about 10mintues i was sat in the middle of a gorse bush! :rolleyes: with my horse no where to be seen:o
14th Jan 2002, 09:04 AM
These bitless bridles have a different action to a hackamore and are far less severe than some hackamores can be. What was it about the hackamore that he objected to?
14th Jan 2002, 12:05 PM
I'm not particualy sure what he was objecting to about a hackamore,just the whole thing in total i guess.I haven't got an arena or suitable field to ride him in only open countryside.I asked him to turn left on the ride ,he reared up bucked and tanked off need less to say i couldn't stay on and ended up in the middle of the gorse bush with him being the blob in the distance! i did catch him quite easily once i had caught up with him,even when i was leading him home he was carrying his head very low and even though i only had contact with the reins on the floor he kept backing off of it,so i didn't try it again!
I have had a look at the bitless bridles but i'm not sure whether they are the right sort of thing for him as he reacted so violently to the hackamore!
14th Jan 2002, 07:32 PM
Skye - you said your horse started headshaking a while back. Do you think there's any connection between this and your bitting problems? Did the dentist know about it when he saw him?
15th Jan 2002, 12:02 PM
Interesting one! my horse has several respiratory problems (COPD and the summer version of it aswell!)He was quite a violent head shaker when i first got him .I put that down to his bit being the wrong size,he was later diagnosed with copd.I have had absolute hell trying to control his allergies,but so far this winter he hasn't had one bout! where as normally he would be on his second course of ventipulin.The equine dentist is aware of his head shaking.I rode him out this morning and he does seem to accepting the bit well in trot and canter .Although he is still evading it in walk .but hey we have progress!!! :D
thankyou so much for the help and advice you have given!!
15th Jan 2002, 01:04 PM
If he's a headshaker and has problems breathing it could explain which he reacted so violently to the hackamore, couldn't take the nose pressure? What sort of noseband do you have on him at the moment? Have you tried riding without a noseband? You might find that his bit evasion is not actually connected to the bit at all but is to do with the noseband itself.
15th Jan 2002, 02:58 PM
I don't think the hackamore would affect his breathing.It was fitted carefully so wouldn't cause any problems.I have ridden him without a noseband on several occassions(sp)? and he doesn't seem any different.
I have him back in a cavesson at the moment.
thanks for the help
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