Bit suggestions

Bought a new horse. IMO he’s very green and has mostly been cowboyed on.

Got 3 rides of him. First two were with a basic loose ring snaffle. Totally took advantage of me the first 2 rides. Uses a basic western shank bit today, with a chain curb rein. Went a lot better. Still didn’t love the bit (it’s probably just me)

He trots around like a donkey. The only other western horses I’ve ridden have all had a solid neck rein.

Any suggestions?

You’ll have to teach him to neck rein. (Welcome to my world).

My suggestion? Go back to the snaffle. He won’t go well in a curb until he understands how to carry himself and give/flex/yield to the bit, and that requires working well in a snaffle first.

If he’s lugging on a plain snaffle, pick a different mouth. Most of my young horses love-- and go well in— a twisted snaffle with a “dogbone” link in the center. Reinsman makes a great one in a “western dee” style. But you can try various styles on your horse.

Then work on lots of bends and circles, always using your leg to push the horse’s body, not just your hand/rein aid to pull the horse. Soon add a small half-halt just before you start your turns/circles/add your leg pressure. And then begin laying your outside rein against the neck. So (in a turn to your left) you’re half-halting slightly, tipping his nose to the left with your left rein, and then pushing with your right leg as you also lay the right rein against his neck.

Eventually your horse will respond to leg aids and neck rein with very little need for pulling or relying so much on the bit for guidance. Hopefully. :wink:

Who knows, maybe all your horse needs is a refresher course on the basics!


Go back to a snaffle and start him over. Most likely he is taking advantage because he has no idea what is going on.

At least he’s cute. (Well I think so) I called his bluff yesterday and got him to trot/canter.

We saw his ad in December. Wanted him but he sold before. Local horse trader bought him. Three weeks later he was available again. I’m guessing because he’s a knucklehead. Husband really bought him to go in a pack string. I’ll have to order some more snaffles. image|539x500

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Omg CUTE :heart_eyes:

I’d forgive some amount of butthead!

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Sounds like he’s just really green like you wrote and will need some training. Go back to snaffle and take your time or find someone who will.

He is really cute! But he’s also on the, uhm, “stout” side. I can see how he’d get a little luggy on your hands. Have fun!

No, he’s not a knucklehead. He’s just NOT TRAINED. It’s not his fault that he hasn’t been taught correct riding from his prior two owners (that we know of - maybe he has been passed around more).

I would restart him from ground zero. Treat him like a horse that has never been ridden and start over.

If you don’t know how to do this, then send him to a trainer for at least 90 days who knows what they are doing.

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Excuse me? He is a knucklehead. He has a goofy little personality. Sorry if that did not come off correct.

Sounds like he needs training, not more bit.
Not sure what you are referring to by a basic western shank bit, that tells us nothing about the mouthpiece and shank shape and length.

Unfortunately, when a rider is having an issue with a horse in a particular bit, they tend to think they need to switch bits instead of switching training methods.

The only variation in bits you should be worried about at this point with a green horse is what mouthpiece he prefers. Single break, double break, lozenge or French link and loose ring, fixed d or eggbutt or full cheek.

Make your thoughts, your horses thoughts. That means not getting into a tug of war. That means going as slow as needed. In my opinion, if he’s dragging you around in a snaffle, the horse has no business loping until that’s addressed.

Long lining could be beneficial, also the help from a qualified trainer or coach. It’s much harder to untrain a horse that wants to fight pressure than it is to teach them to give to pressure from the start, don’t dig your hole any deeper.

I did interpret it as derogatory toward the horse, based on the context you used it.

Rest of the advice still stands. Sounds like he just needs to be trained.

You have a different definition of knucklehead than many people do. :wink: I’d call your horse a goofball a knucklehead not so much.