Introducing the bit for the first time

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Oct 5, 2016
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I"m going to be introducing the bit to my 2 1/2 year old filly soon and just was wondering if you all had any 'Do's & don't's' or tips for bridling the first time ? I'll be starting her in a simple open bridle with a regular half cheek driving snaffle bit per my current plan. Thanks !
I like to put the bridle on mine while I'm out working in the area and let the horse walk around wearing it. Also I put it on under the halter and take him for walks with me.

I am not a fan of the broken snaffle for driving, but I think it is fine to introduce a horse to the bit.

They are so funny, worrying that bit, chewing and chomping. Good luck!
Thanks for replying Marsha ! I figured I'd switch the kind of bit yet too, Magnolia doesn't like the regular snaffle much but seems to like the mullen bit I got her , I want to try a french link next but haven't ordered one yet. I like the idea of taking walks
Besides going on walks or doing ground work, I've often bitted ours while they are eating. It works well for me - I'm in the general area if they get into trouble and can check on them in between feeding each "batch" of ponies.


Oly - you can see he's rubbed the browband up over his right ear here (he rubs his head a lot and you now have to watch him when he's standing still in harness).

It's funny how your bit collection will grow. I even have two that I made - when a couple ponies weren't doing well with a mullen or a french link or a dog bone... They work similar to the leather bit and I drove the one mare that way for months (before I decided she and I just weren't going to work as a driving partnership - single or paired). It did actually help - she seemed to have one less thing that she fussed about while hitched.

I've never had the opportunity to try a Myler bit and the Kelly's that are "knock-offs" of them are very thick in the mouthpiece so I haven't tried them either. I find that ours seem to prefer the much smaller diameter mouthpieces - their mouths stay closed UNLESS they are actually resisting or the hands have gotten too rough.

Length of time? Put it on the first time while you're grooming her. Keep it on her while you take her for a short walk. Then remove it, praising her while you you either groom her again or turn her loose. OR put it on while she's eating and remove it when she's done eating - time can vary.
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Thanks for the great information paintponylvr ! Pretty ponies in the pictures.
Do you think it would be better to start her in my mullen mouth bit ?
I don't think the bit type matters much at first. She is just learning to carry something in her mouth strapped to her head. Easy does it. When removing, ask her to drop the bit and wait for her to process. Sometimes after he drops the bit I put the headstall on and off a few times before ending the lesson.

As to time, however long you happen to be working around. Our walks are 2 miles. Some horses chew the bit longer than others. A trainee can chomp up a copper bit pretty good!
I have not worked with green minis who have not yet worn a bridle, but have worked with horses and minis who are hard to bridle or headshy during bridling for whatever reason and I try to sneak in a tiny treat along with the bit, just so their association with it becomes positive experience. Once they get the idea it's ok and the bridle is not bad, I stop doing it or only treat once in a blue moon so they don't get dependent on it.

Don't forget to make sure the teeth are good with no problems that could interfere with the bit. Wayward teeth can raise heck.

I have a mini who is being restarted, he was worked all summer ground driving and hitched a few times and he still has a "busy" mouth when he gets nervous. So it can take awhile. He really hated a jointed snaffle but is happier in a mullen. I may try something else in the Spring but Im giving him time. I wish they could talk and tell us their preference, it would sure take the guesswork out of it!
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Some trainers say one should talk to the horse, tell him what you plan to do. This works for me, as it helps me to focus. Some trainers prefer minimal talking, as the horse is intuitively geared to body language not speech. Each has to figure out what works best for himself and his horse.

I like my copper french link bit for driving, but I wouldn't use it to introduce a bit/headstall. The horse can really mess up the soft copper link. I think it's good to start with a simple headstall; fewer straps to mess with while fitting and teaching the horse to accept/drop the bit. Be sure the bit moves freely and doesn't bind, which could pinch.

For sure have teeth checked!! Sharp points or wolf teeth can cause a lot of trouble.
Thanks for the info everyone , I want to learn as much as I can about it all and do the best I can my first time through things.;-) It's interesting everybody's different opinions on talking to your horse, I think it mostly just depends on the horse ( of course the setting always plays into things too). I think Magnolia can understand a lot of what I say and both horses respond to me talking to them quite well, I like having as much of a 'connection' with my horse as possible too and I think talking to them helps with that. :)
Well, today was day three with a bit for Suggie. Today I did a little bit of round pen work , took her for a walk , let her eat a bit of grain , then took the bridle off. Today was the longest she's worn it. She's still rusty about getting it put on,she'll settle down once it's in ,sometimes she'll hold the bit before she drops it too , but I don't think she's does every time. Overall , pretty good for just day 3 I think.
Thanks again for all the tips

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