My gelding does this too but he’s consistent about it. Easy ride? Training ride? Western head stall with no nose and, english bridle with…different bits. When you give him the reins to relax, he will reach down and rub. I’ve chalked it up as a release type behavior.
My pony really hated any jointed bit and went brilliantly in the Herm Sprenger Duo with the D-ring. Comes in 4 3/4 which was just what she needed.
She chewed up a couple but it was totally worth it as just exactly what made her comfortable.
I reach for this bit again whenever I can.
As second choices, I also rode her in a metal mullen eggbutt (less comfortable for her, but she’d tolerate it and couldn’t destroy it) and also a Windgren mullen. The Windgren, I didn’t use it very long with her, but she was unable to put teeth marks in it, as they advertised. The downside is that it is a much thicker mouthpiece and she didn’t love that. A larger horse probably wouldn’t mind as much.
Good luck finding the perfect thing!
This only happened to me with one mare (aged Arab-Welsh).
I had been using the Fager titanium bits with very few problems as long as the Fager bit worked with my hands (all the horses I ride vehemently told me that Mullen mouths and tongue relief bits were instruments of torture.) Since I had such great results with the Fager titanium bits that work with my hands I tried one of their sweet iron/copper bits.
Her front leg arthritis IMMEDIATELY got worse, a LOT worse. Instead of stepping gingerly with some flinches I started feeling like she had a line of naked flames going down her front legs. It was very unpleasant, the mare was not happy at all, and that particular sensation went away when I went back to the titanium bits. I also tried a Fager titanium bit with a copper lozenge and this mare WAS NOT HAPPY with the bit, my contact, or with life in general as long as there was copper in her mouth.
I love the Fager titanium bits. The horses relax into good contact, they willingly reach for the bit and they have not cussed me out about contact since I switched to the non-tongue relief or Mullen mouths (including the ones that turn solid in the mouth with contact.). So long as I stay with the titanium mouthpieces, either double or single jointed, the horses will work with me inspite of my handicaps (no propriceptive sense, hand tremors, and wandering hands from my MS).
This mare is the only one that I got that emphatic NO about copper in over 50 years. Most of the horses I ride either like or are not bothered too much with the copper. But this mare? She gave me a big NO.
I like the stainless steel Sprenger max control bit for my horse that prefers a single joint or a duo. It is a normal stainless steel three piece bit that operates normally when the horse accepts the bit but then has a locking mechanism for when the horse leans or pulls. The Sprenger version is legal as it has no sharp edges; the Fager locking versions are NOT legal because they use a sharp edge to lock. While the Sprenger bit is called “max control” it is a very gentle bit and allows me some finesse when the horse is through and gives the horse security of a mullen when the horse is tense.
I agree with the two folks who mentioned trying a mullenmouth. The joint(s) are obviously hitting her in the roof of the mouth and causing discomfort.
Also, and no one has mentioned this yet - are you using a flash? Remove it immediately. Second, make sure that the cavesson is not tight at all. Her response sounds (to me) less like bit annoyance and more like - you’ve tied my mouth shut and I can’t breathe.
I changed the bit and he did it twice I think during the warm up lungeing. Actually I only remember him doing it when lunging, not when I am on. Both bits are copper. Maybe I should try stainless?
Curious about how she is when she’s lunged in a bridle with whatever bit you choose. Does she do the same behavior (head tossing, etc.) ? I’m talking about lunging her first with no contact on the bit. If she’s ok, then adding side reins with minimum contact, and going on from there.
The Bomber Hanging Cheek tongue Relief bit was a godsend for my fussy mouthed young horse.
@Mondo her cavesson is not tight…it’s just tight enough not to flop around on her nose, but not tightened down at all. I’ve done with and without a flash…she is actually a bit better with the flash than without. Again, it’s not at all tight…just tight enough that it’s not so loose as to flop around and annoy her.
@Mardi1 good question…I’ve actually never lunged her! I know that sounds odd with a 4 yo…and I know I should integrate some lunging for training purposes (she has been lunged when she was first being started). I will say that the head tossing is not there when we walk on the buckle in the beginning or end of the ride…although the rubbing with the NS bits is immediate when we are just walking on the buckle. If I do the stainless bit, the head tossing or mouth open is only with the contact. With the NS bits she will rub and fuss when you are just hand walking her or riding with no contact at all
I have a HS double joint that arrived today that I will try tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see what her response is tomorrow. The HS duo is on order (ugh…I was so trying to get rid of bits, not add more!!).
Agree with those suggesting a mullen mouth. For some, it isn’t just the comfort/lack of joint but also the stability. Duo, Nathe, Fager, Bomber Happy Tongue…you can likely find something she likes with a cheek she’s also comfortable in!
ETA I sometimes find that these types like a Micklem style bridle, too.
My old horse just hated the Verbindend. He is not really the dramatic type, but he let me know in no uncertain terms that was not working for him!
He was very happy in the HS sensogan with the bean in the middle. He likes a thinner bit, as well.
I have a face rubber, but it was his noseband - even completely adjusted loosely - the regular cavesson makes him angry. Might want to try her with none at all and see if that’s a factor. He doesn’t seem to mind a figure 8 so it’s clearly something in about where a regular one sits that is cheesing him off.
A mullen with a roller was his go to and stopped the angry head tossing, but the rubbing didn’t stop until the cavesson went away. Now I can ride him in a plain copper single jointed loose ring. I plan on figuring out where it might be able to be adjusted where it doesn’t drive him nuts since he doesn’t really NEED the figure 8.
He still rubs when he gets foam. Once he tried rubbing AS he was trotting by lifting his leg and ducking his head. Shoulders…free…steadiness and compliance - big fat ZERO lol
So today I tried the HS Dynamic double joint eggbutt…no go.
She did the sneezing and coughing thing at the start (so maybe @IPEsq is right on with her doing something with her tongue that impacts her airway when she doesn’t like the bit)…as it doesn’t happen with the single joint. She has quite the ability to pull her tongue back…I was checking the bit in her mouth and watched her pull that tongue all the way back - she didn’t put it over, but definitely has the ability to do so. And the bit was not sitting too low in her mouth either…she does have very short lips.
We didn’t have rubbing like with the NS (she wanted to stop and rub, but I could pull her up and stop it, which in the NS there was no pulling her up). She was sucked back with the HS and not wanting to go forward. When I did get her moving, she had moments where she felt nice…but then had an angry head toss here and there. But she did have more foam with this bit, which hasn’t happened with the other bits I’ve tried. When I use the single joint, she is very forward and easy to get off the leg.
I am certain it’s not the cavesson that causes the nose rubbing, as I am using the same bridle (just adjustments to the bit and bit placement) when I’ve switched…if it is was the noseband style, I would think that she would do the rubbing/fussing every time. When she has the single joint, there is zero rubbing/fussing/sucking back.
Waiting for the HS Duo (found an eggbutt one) to arrive. Also going to try a thin single joint rubber…of course I have one…in a 5.5 size, so had to order a 5in to fit her. Fingers crossed one of those will work for her.
I’ve had good luck with Bombers ported barrel loose ring , Poponcini harmony loose ring , and Fager bits…also the Comfitec Bridle helps my mare who does all the head tossing etc
Sending you a PM.
This is a timely discussion as my horse, who has other allergies, violently shakes his head and rubs the side of his mouth when I use the brand new, very expensive NS bit that the bit fitter recommended. Got fed up with this and dug out a korsteel french link that I had laying around and the shaking and rubbing stopped right away. I don’t think he likes the french link particularly but it was much easier to ride him without the drama. Not that I blame him if the bit really bothers him.
I took him to the bit fitting clinic because he started the head shaking with a loose ring snaffle with a different metal in the middle that I’ve been using for a while. Switched over to a rubber bit that I used on my other horse and the head shaking stopped immediately. Bit fitter hated the rubber bit, don’t blame her as I picked it only because I didn’t really have anything else with a neutral metal mouthpiece. I’ve had the NS bit for about a month - he didn’t start the head shaking until this week.
So I just ordered a Korsteel bit with similar bars to the NS but no fancy metal - we’ll see how that works. It was only $50 so I didn’t feel too bad about trying something else.
Bit fitter said she’s never had a horse be allergic to a NS bit but of course my special snowflake would be the one. As a fellow barn pal said, never say never when it comes to horses!
He got a brand new well fitted bridle too so I don’t think that’s the problem.
Will report back…
ETA: I’ll probably have a talk with the bit fitter about these new developments and see what she has to say. She had many good tips about my horse and his equipment and needs so I don’t want it to sound like I thought she took advantage of me.
You seem to be switching around a lot. Has she really had enough time with any bit to figure them out? I suggest lunging in a bridle for a few sessions with the same bit, then ride. She seems to be dramatic. I have one of those I broke as a 10 year old (long story). It takes time for her to understand and accept anything new, bits included. It might not be the bit, it might just feel different and she’s having a meltdown. Slow your roll a bit and see if she chills out.
So interesting as I rode my mare in the NS bit for about 4 weeks without any issue and then all of a sudden the rubbing/fussing/drama. And it continued if I used any style NS bit…but stopped with a stainless bit. I will be interested to see how your guy goes with the bit change too.
@PalominoGirl it probably sounds like a lot of switching, but she’s been home since April. So there have been periods of time where I’ve left her in the same bit to see how things go. She is only dramatic when she doesn’t like something…because 95% of the time she is the easiest mare! But, if she doesn’t like it, you know and it’s very clear! LOL As soon as you address the issue, she instantly becomes super easy. So I have to trust her that there is something not comfortable, because she really is one of the best mares I’ve ever had.
I rode her the last few days in the Fager Greta (single joint titanium with a tiny bit of angle for tongue relief)…this is an improvement. Very forward, no head tossing or rubbing or stopping. The only thing I don’t like is she was really leaning onto my hand. Not rooting, but just getting very heavy and a bit braced. But that probably is more a young horse and balance/strength thing. The good part was the rubbing/head tossing/drama was zero.
I tried some of the Fager tongue relief bits. The horses I ride LIKE the non-tongue relief Fager bits.
The two horses I tried them on were doubtful at first. The minute I picked up contact the head flinging started. It is not just the Fager tongue relief snaffle bits either, I also tried the Fager tongue relief Weymouth curbs. The horses I ride did not like these either (for reference I can ride on contact with a Cambridge mouth and Mullen mouth curbs on contact without any (noproblems.)
I gave up on all tongue relief bits, with my hands the horses do NOT like them at all.
They love the regular Fager snaffles and Mullen mouth curb.
I ride school horses. If I am not using a double bridle their favorite Fager snaffle bit seems to be the Bianca, titanium 3-piece snaffle with a titanium roller in the middle. They just prefer the double bridle with the Fager titanium bits without any copper. With the double bridle I use the Alice (?) bradoon whose mouthpiece is just like the Fager Bianca snaffle, it just has smaller rings.
Hope this doesn’t derail your thread too badly-- what bits would people recommend for a horse that doesn’t like bar pressure? One of mine goes great in the double jointed Veribindend, the other immediately told me it was too much bit for her.