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Young horse tack

what bits does everyone use on their newly backed babies? Mines seems to not enjoy the loose ring was thinking of switching to happy mouth or bouche something with less movement, she’s a little over sensitive about her face…
also when introducing a whip do you use a jumping bar or a dressage whip. She’s decided being self-propelling isn’t her thing anymore and I don’t want her to get dull.

I think your instincts in switching bits are correct. Personally, I would go with an eggbutt snaffle - I think the loose ring has too much movement for a young horse to understand, and your rein aids will be more clear with something that has a fixed ring. My horse is pretty mouthy and even as an 8 year old / 3rd level, that’s still our bit of choice.


I always begin with the dressage whip, but then I use it on the ground with my babies, too, so they are used to it. Short of maybe the very first time backing them, I start with the dressage whip from the beginning to reinforce the idea of leg.

I prefer an egg-butt with a lozenge.

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I start in a happy mouth mullen mouth, usually full cheek. But I primarily train TBs, they seem to like those.

I either go for a full cheek or a large D ring - something to help with the steering aids until the youngster understands the basics and that is very stable in their mouths. Mouth piece wise, some variation of a french link unless that proves to be too little for an excitable youngster.

Egg-butt for stability and the mouth piece I start with an ordinary snaffle. If they don’t take to that a French link see to work for most. Re-training a large driving pony to ride switched to a baucher egg-butt and he enjoyed that immediately.

When I first started bitting my youngster I put every snaffle I had (a lot since I had been a trainer/instructor) in his mouth and round penned him to watch his reaction. A simple jointed loose ring Kangaroo was what made his mouth relaxed and quiet. So try everything you can lay your hands on!

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That doesn’t exist. It’s either a Baucher or an eggbutt. :slight_smile:

The more stable the better for youngsters.

I usually try Eggbutt, Full cheek with keepers and Baucher in that order. All double jointed and quite fat mouthpiece.


My mistake…lol! I meant I went with a Baucher with a French link mouthpiece. DUH…senior moment…lol! Sorry about that…

I go with a full cheek or eggbutt snaffle. I’ll try single and double jointed. I have one horse that prefers singe and another that prefers the double.

I find that most young horses like/need stability in the beginning. The loose ring French link had too much movement for one of my horse’s. He was way too “busy” and unsettled with it.

I start everything in a D-ring, and prefer a mullen-mouth type bit. My go-to bits for the early work are a level one Myler D-ring and a Sprenger KK D-ring french link bit.

I start most of mine with a jumping bat. A trainer long ago told me that with a baby, the most important “sensory involvement” with a whip is the hearing, and that you’re looking for a “WHACK!” sound when you use the whip. So I’ve always subscribed to that, and stuck with a crop for the first month or two (at least). With a dull-type horse, I will switch to a dressage whip when I’m starting to ask them to do a bit more.

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Just keep in mind that some horses have small mouths and low pallettes, and can’t accommodate a Mullen mouth or thick mouthpiece. In the case of my small mare - with a short mouth and low pallette - I used a Myler loose ring. Any thicker mouthpiece would have caused her to be more fussy and unable to close her mouth; she tends to be fussy but has developed a quieter mouth (with better contact) since I switched to the Neue Shula - she started to hang on the Myler. I tried her in a Baucher with a lozenge in the middle, She hung on that too! She has long backed and long-necked and slightly downhill conformationally - so that does not help matters.

In the past, I have started youngsters in eggbutts, French link double jointed loose ring KK ultras, Mullen mouths and Nathes - all good options for many horses! – but first measure your horses mouth and make sure that that is not too much bit for them to comfortably accommodate.