Curb bits and itching

On one of the other boards, someone posted a freak incident with a curb hook. I thought I’d share something I’d never thought could happen.

Ages ago, I had saddled my horse, and sent him into the arena while I closed the gate (normal routine for us, he just stands and waits). While I was closing the gate, he reached around to itch his side and managed to get the shank of his bit hooked thru the stirrup. Fortunately for me, he’s not prone to panic, so just stood until I got him out of it. I no longer just send him off on his own. :eek:

I tell you, they’ll always find a way to give you a heart attack.

Scary! I had borrowed a sweet gaited mare for a trail ride one time. The owner alwasy rode in short barrel reins with curb bit and the reins had clips to hook onto bit instead of buckles. I’ve never liked clipped on reins. Well halfawy through the day, we stop at a pond to let the horses get a drink. Mare rubs on her leg and the rein comes unsnapped.

I nearly panicked. I am used to riding drafts. Luckily, this mare had a short little neck and I could reach up and re-clip the rein on. But not a pleasant feeling


I think it’s an important reminder to not only remain aware of possible hazards but also to teach your horse to give to pressure without panic. At some point, every horse/rider is going to get into a sticky situation, no matter how careful we try to be. A horse that has been taught to always stop and look to its rider/handler for assistance may briefly react but will quickly stop and wait. A horse that panics at the first sign of pressure can get itself and/or anyone near it injured or even killed.


I honestly think a lot of why he didn’t freak is that I tied him around a little bit as a young horse, so he was used to that feeling. Plus, like I said, he’s not a panic prone horse to start with which helps a ton.

I have heard of this happening with full cheek bits used without keepers as well, and had a horse years ago as a kid who broke the browband of a bridle by rubbing and getting it caught (and I didn’t allow him to rub with tack on after that). Looking back, it would’ve been a good idea to teach him to properly give to pressure had I known how to do that.