Monday, October 1, 2007

Bits and Things

On my last post about BubbahMonkey (hey, it made Farmmom laugh, I have to use it) a nice discussion about different bits vs. bosals and hackamores was sparked.

Mustanger is worried that the wrong size bit will be detrimental to the horse, and wonders about bosals and hackamores.

Horse Prof likes the snaffle for training, but once the horse is well broke to the snaffle, wants to go to a spade bit.

Me, I like curb bits for the well broke horse. I've had some that needed a roller to entertain themselves with (I think Monkey is going to be one of those, he likes to chew on his bit when he's bored and a curb just doesn't have the flex to allow that) but the curb is what I grew up using, it gives you a certain level of sensitivity, and minimizes the chance of really hurting the horse if something goes wrong (the horse spooks, etc) and you go off, but keep the reins (always keep the reins if you can. Why chase a horse if you don't have to?)

As far as hacks and bosals.. I prefer having a snaffle on a green horse, now that I've had some experience with them. For me, hacks and bosals are for the well broke horse that already neck reins. Horse Prof brought up futurities and high-end competitions where two handed reining is required in a hack, and I understand that. Those horses have been trained in the hack since they were started, though, and they're being ridden by fantastic horsemen. I am not on that level, by any means.

I'm also looking at it less from a competition angle, and more from a working cow horse angle. Not a competitive athlete, but a working ranch horse that's required to do a little bit of everything, consistently, when it's called for. I think it's probably more difficult to train one of those than to train a competition horse, because you can't afford to focus on one thing at the expense of others.

That's what I'm trying to do with Monkey. Right now we're focusing on just riding well and behaving. Once he's doing really well on that, which actually shouldn't be long now, we'll start volunteering to help with the rodeo practices and actually working with the steers and calves. This summer, we'll get more cow work in because I've already warned Farmmom that her cows are going to have to be pushed around to train the horses to do what we want them to.

But for me, a willing horse can be put in nearly any bit that you like, as long as you have the ability to communicate clearly what you want.

In other news, it looks like I may have a full summer ahead of me, my former boss (from road work... more on than in another post) has some three year olds that she needs ridden out. Just miles on the saddle kind of thing, but she's hinting that she might have me ride them out, and she's offered me a two year old for when I do the starting colts program. So the three year olds, along with the turn arounds from the auction, ought to keep me entertained well enough this summer.


Holly said...

It's never the bit that makes the horse but I'm sure you know that already.

Farmgirl said...

You're right, it's not the bit that makes the horse, but the right bit can make a huge difference with the individual horse.

Anonymous said...

I'd say it's, with each individual horse, a good measure with the individual rider. (Now, ya'll keep in mind I'm not targeting anyone on here.) I recall it being already mentioned that some personalities don't mesh well... I'd say some turn out more like sandpaper. I see it all the time around here and I was telling Mom about my observation today... a lot of people seem to be all about image and they say they hate certain horses because they can't wrassle, fight, and conquer the horse. In reality, I think a good many in my area are mad at the horse because they themselves are too big a wimps to work *with* the horse and get a more harmonious outcome.

Regarding spade bits which horse prof mentioned, I've read an opinion elsewhere that a good rider doesn't need one and any less a rider shouldn't be allowed to use one. Horse prof did say they're not for everybody. Now, here's me recalling articles I've read... someone (writing in Western Horseman) opined that the spade bit are one of the most misunderstood of horse equipment. For one thing, there are different mouths which fit different horse's mouths. Another thing is that if the spade bit is used as a signal bit, they said the curb could be adjusted so the port/spade would never contact the horse's palate. They said a horse who listens to the bit will respond to the spade/port lifting off his tongue before the curb pressure starts. I like the sound of that, but it'll still require light hands.

I was thinking of another of horse prof's comments about snaffles and fit... I understood him/her (I'm sorry, not sure which) to say a snaffle that seems to have some slop in it is preferable for use as a "signal bit" as opposed to direct pressure. If that's the case, then the snaffle I have is fine. Duke didn't have that big a problem with it... just that he seemed to constantly wallow it around. If all he was doing was treating it like a roller mouth, then big deal; he's probably just fine with it.

I've been thinking on this stuff for the last couple of days since the last posts in the other thread. I'll have to go over it and remember what else I was thinking to bring back up.