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 The Beginning Rider
 another bit question...
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2006 :  6:38:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message

We have a horse that was a cutting horse before we got him. We were told to put the bit in the left on him by some friends to disengage his hindquarters. The problem is that he carries his head higher now and won't relax with it.Not knowing much about him other than he was used for cutting and is aliitle high strung, what bit would you use?
We had a solid curb in him when we first got him and he would lean into it while running, which is why we tried the reining bit, they told us he needed something broken... I know we will have to break him of this new habit now... He carries his head high and is always on the bit, it is a vicious circle the more he leans the more they try to hold him back, What should we do??

Thanks in advance guys!

Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2006 :  7:02:38 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
I'm not positive, but I think the bit on the left is a Billy Allen bit. It's made to break the mouth piece more over the tongue and spread the pressure more evenly on the tongue. The one on the right is normally termed a mullen mouth bit. The mullen is made to give the tongue lots of room under the bit and is for a horse that can't take a lot of pressure on his tongue.

have you ever thought it might not be the bit your horse is carrying in his mouth but how the horse is being ridden? If I'm having trouble with a horse not listening or acting strange, I will first try to change it by going back to the basics... working from the ground on giving the head to pressure. I would usually try this with a halter and then with a snaffle bit from the ground and then from the saddle.

Then I'd be evaluating how I am riding this horse. Am I applying too much pressure to the bit through the reins? Am I giving him mixed signals through my legs, seat, and hands? Am I giving him every advantage to do the best job he can do, or am I interfering with him somewhere or some how along the way? 9 times out of 10 it is rider error more than equipment error. For example: If he's raising his head when he never did before, he is trying to get relief from too much pressure in his mouth either from too severe a bit or too heavy hands on the reins. A horse will usually lean into the bit to try to get the rider to loosen the reins so the horse can use his head & neck more effectively to do the job he's being asked to do.

I don't know if any of this will help, but that's the way I see it from what you have told us. I hope you can find some of it of use to solve your problem.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2006 :  7:26:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
RH, Thank you, I don't ride him, too push button for me ;) But I noticed a change when we went to the billy allen bit, He used to put his head down and relax being ridden. We were not educated enough to know about things such as one rein stops, ect some one tried to expain it once but we didn't understand it really. So we went with the advise to buy the billy allen... That is when his head came up and he got more anxious, but He whoa'd better, My hubby didn't realize just how much he was haveing to hold him back, you know... dumb wife overreacting,right? lol Then he started, what do you call it, crow hopping, where the front feet come off the ground lightly??
So the riding syle changed because the horse got anxious and wanted to go go go and not stand at all. Now I would have went back to the old bit myself... but the hubby got his whoa he wanted and didn't realize he had created a new problem. Our father in law is the only one who knows anything about horses, but he is a business man and travels alot, so we have to come to you guys...

I really feel like the bit started the problem by making the horse uncomfortable, and the rider then caused the new habit, by forcing him to use it, Does it sound like I am on base at all??

And how exactly do we make him not want to "work" so much from the ground, or the saddle?? I am so lost with this one!

Thank you thank you!

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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2006 :  7:29:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
Is a billy allen bit very severe? what would you rank these bits, which is the mildest and which the most severe?

Thank you so much, I am thinking severe bit and heavy hands both maybe...

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Boots
Beginning Rider



USA
72 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2006 :  10:13:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Boots's Homepage Send Boots a Private Message
RH is on it!

Boots

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn. Ben Franklin
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Truth is not determined by a majority vote.
- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
(Now Pope Benedict XVI)

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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2006 :  12:11:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
There is no way to compare things like balance and weight from photos but ten to one the Billy Allen is balanced more for a Straight hanger so it wouldn't have as much as as quick a release.


There is really no way to rate bits on how harsh they are. These are both good bits. The one isn't a mullen mouth but it does give a lot of tongue relief. The Billy Allen mouth piece is a great on also. Neither one of these is harsher then the other and neither is server but they do act in very different ways.

If you are having to hold him back it isn't the bit its the training and the rider. You should never have to hold a horse back because a human cannot hold a horse anywhere. Curb bits are for loose reins, little contact. If a horse needs so much contact you have to hold him back the training needs addressed. You said he was push button....not if he needs to be helded back BUT he could have been before you got him but if the curb is being over used that would ruin that.

heavy hands yes, but not harsh bit just good bit turned bad by heavy hands. These are both very good bits but not in the hands of someone trying to hold a horse back. That is a tug war and the best way to win at tug of war is to let go of the rope. Give the horse some rein, when he speeds up slow him down, release, speed up, slow down release. Release is very important because if all you do is hold back all you are teaching the horse to do is go slow when you are holding back and run like crazy when you release.

Disengaging the hindquarters isn't going to come from the bit....well it does later on when the horse knows what it's doing. When a horse is highly trained enough you can pick bits to help the horse do things like collect, rate, turn, etc but until the horse knows these things this bits won't help.

Go back to basic stuff with a snaffle, work on getting the hands light and the mouth soft and the rest will come back.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2006 :  05:37:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
I like the Billy Allen on the left. It is a comfortable bit for most horses. The shank is long so it would be easy to able too apply too much pressure without realizing you are doing it. It is also very esay with shanks that length to inadvertently apply pressure all the time without release and the horse will always try to lift to relieve it.

I would make sure that when you release the reins that there is no residual pressure. Try this standing still to see how much force gives you the complete release. That should ensure that the horse is not trying to get release on his own.

If the horse is constantly into the bit to keep him from going too fast or charging take a look at your leg position and make sure that you are not giving him a "go-ahead" signal with your legs by gripping him too tightly. I would think a good cutting horse would take excessive leg pressure as a go faster cue.

In any case if the horse is pushing into the bit, use the bit strongly with firm, not quick, pressure until you get the response, ie slower gait, stop or even just give too pressure. Follow this up with an immediate full release.
For instance:
When standing still with you in the saddle put some pressure on the reins. The horse should give to the pressure, when you feel the sightest give make sure you give full rein release and let the horse know the was what you wanted. Good horse with pets etc. Repeat this until you are sure he understands.
Move this to a walk, slight pressure on the reins, horse should give to pressure now, make sure you give the release. Practise this at the walk until you both have this mastered.
Now you can progress to the gait change. At the Walk, put pressure on the reins, sit back in the saddle a bit, say Whoa firmly, continue the pressure, increasing slowly until you have a full stop, then give the conplete release. Practise this until the slight pressure, seat change Whoa, continued pressure, full stop and full release are mastered. Repeat this for the trot only I would only drop to a walk instead of a full stop. Again, same process, slight rein pressure, shift weight back in the saddle, continued rein pressure, get the new gait, full release and congratulate your horse.
Work up to this over several days and you should see a definite improvement.

Hope this gives you some success and food for thought.


Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2006 :  10:28:03 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
excellent advice, everyone.

TB; does this horse's rider tend to grip with his legs when he rides... even unknowingly? Most horses that are trained to be sensitive to legs cues such as a cutting & reining horse would be very confused by someone who needed to grip with their legs to balance on the horse. This is also true with someone who might let their legs swing with the horse's gaits or let them bump in rhythm again his sides. This, I can practically guarantee, would drive a highly trained cutting horse absolutely crazy. A horse like this would have to be ridden with almost no leg contact at all or legs that are very relaxed and not moving or gripping the horse unless it's to cue him to do something. Then that cue should be released and the legs become still, again.

Stormie said pretty much what I was trying to say. Your problem isn't a bit problem, but a training problem. And I'd go one step farther to say the problem is being caused because the horse isn't being ridden the way he was trained originally. You really need someone to tutor you and whoever else is going to ride this horse to ride him the way he was trained in the first place. Only then will the horse relax, be more comfortable with his rider, and more clearly understand what you are asking of him in the first place. It would also help tremendously if you could get lessons from someone to teach you how to more effectively find your seat and balance on the horse.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2006 :  7:13:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
You guys are awesome! I completly agree with you guys!! My hubby just "sits' in the saddle and does understand how to ride with his whole body. I have started riding my kid broke horse bareback and am learning alot about my seat, He is going to work on it. I am going to take "bud" out in the pasture and work on all this stuff you guys are saying. I really appriciate all of you so much! I love horses soo much and am glad to have you all, sometimes I feel to dumb for these guys... But I am learning!

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