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Featured Bits for Starting Colts

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Touch the Sky, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    So, i just got into a HUGE argument on facebook with a "trainer" (and i use this word in the absolute loosest of terms) Over what bits, or rather the lack thereof, i use when starting colts.
    I've always been a firm believer in "less is more". I start ALL of my horses in a rope halter. Yes, they wear headstall over it to get used to the feeling of the bit, but most of the time, i will do the first several rides at least in just a halter. No matter what discipline, they all start in a halter.
    This chick went in on me for not immediately starting all my horses in a bit. Like, a shanked bit.......i was like. "what??" Yeah, she said any western horse should go straight to a curb bit so they learn whats expected of them. What is that even supposed to mean? I don't know. all i know is, i will NEVER be sending her any of my horses......
     
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  2. 250girl

    250girl Senior Member

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    English, western, don't care what direction the horse is going - French link snaffle. Always. Usually a full cheek.
    And generally I like to keep them in that too.

    I've started lots in a rope halter too, nothing wrong with that. Depends on the horse.
     
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  3. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Huh..well there's always a reason to trust your instincts. I've never heard of anyone advocating shanked bits for starting greenies, ever. :(
     
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  4. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    She likes to call herself a trainer, but all her horses are absolutely horrid, and know NOTHING. she is basically an idiot with money and animals, which is the most terrifying type of idiot ever.
     
  5. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    You can start them in whatever you want. But if you want the horse to RIDE in a bit, which most all people want, put a snaffle in the mouth, two or three piece, dependent upon the depth you have to work with, then do flexion exercises in it to get the horse used to following a feel. After he's really good, like you only have to pick up the rein, no pull at all, and his nose follows your every movement, then start riding the horse in a bit.

    Not bitting the horse tells those who start horses that you are a beginner. It takes more time to teach a horse to accept and flex in a bit than it does a halter. Afterall, your horse ALREADY knows what halter pressure is, so you aren't training it to ride IN a bit. You're just training it to ride off nose pressure.

    This is why you get flack for that. We don't teach our driving horses to drive in a halter, they will NEED to drive in a bit and the same goes for RIDING horses. It's just not considered to be professional.

    Doesn't matter if she's an idiot with awful horses or not; biting a horse is essential to it's training.
     
  6. 250girl

    250girl Senior Member

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    Do you feel this is discipline specific at all? I feel like I see a lot of western trainers starting their horse in a rope halter but almost no English trainers. Of course all of the "Natural Horsemanship" people around here swear by the rope halter method.

    I personally have done both, with the rope halter method obviously being further behind but never causing a problem , IMO.
    I also don't do it professionally in any way shape or form.
    Having done both I prefer to just do it properly from the ground in a French link, but don't see a halter as being WRONG, just further behind.

    Any insight on why it seems discipline specific ? Or is it just the local hacks around here ?
     
  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    LOL. Your thread title doesn't really match your agenda. The question is which bits to use for young horses. Traditionally, curb bits are not used; the traditional bit to start a youngster is a mild snaffle bit.

    And no, that's not the most terrifying type of idiot. The most terrifying idiot is a religious zealot with a gun and lots of money. Especially if other people think he's their savior.

    For what it's worth, I think that you're just as wrong as she is and that debates where both sides are wrong are a waste of time.

    Insisting every horse or even most horses, should or even could start in a rope halter is just as dangerous and foolish as what she's advocating. A knotted rope halter start isn't ideal or safe for many horses.

    There is a very long and successful tradition of starting young horses in a very mild ring ('snaffle', to open a can of worms) bit. There's nothing wrong with doing that. There's a very old tradition of starting western horses in a bosal and then adding a very mild snaffle bit, eventually working up to a curb bit. If a person exercises a reasonable amount of intelligence and commonsense in picking which way to start either can be very successful.
     
  8. NBChoice

    NBChoice Senior Member

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    Oh Facebook. What a wonderful invention.
     
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  9. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    ^^ what she said. ^^

    You aren't doing anything wrong at all but starting her in a snaffle is on the onward and upward path in her training. It's important she learn to carry a bit in my opinion. I personally see nothing wrong with the rope halter to start with at all but moving into that snaffle is the next step -

    Edited added - even the bridle horses I know of transition from a snaffle to the bosal, then to the curb.
     
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  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I think the idea of starting a youngster in a rope halter is actually fairly recent, at least, the idea of completely replacing the bosal with a rope halter, is very recent. Among Western riders who didn't use a bosal to start horses(starting a Western horse in a bosal wasn't a universal practice in America by any means), using a snaffle bit has become more commonplace in recent years, though trainers like Monte Foreman were starting colts in snaffle bits 50 and more years ago. I think it took a very long time for the practice to trickle down.

    In the past a shanked jointed bit might have been used; but I have seen plenty of people start Western horses in a regular curb bit, over the years, at least among 'your average guys' it was not unusual. For a long time, starting a horse in a snaffle bit was more typical of English riders and it has been amusing to see that change over, over the years.

    I don't see much point in starting a dressage horse under saddle in a rope halter; most English riders don't do that and it's not part of traditional sport horse training, although you occasionally see sport horse folk handling a horse with a rope halter.

    I'm not sure that as a dressage rider, I want my horse to respond to pressure on his nose in the way a rope halter would teach him to respond. And in any case, the way we train the horse before getting on (some brief longeing) is going to teach him to handle a bit any way. So there really is no need for it.

    Generally, I wouldn't use a rope halter on a horse. I used to, for a long time, actually. I don't any more.
     
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