right bit for Misty

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by crisco41, Feb 11, 2013.

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  1. Feb 11, 2013 #1

    crisco41

    crisco41

    crisco41

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    I have been line driving Misty in just her halter. I want to get her going in a bit now. I ordered a ss half cheek snaffle 3 1/2 inch driving bit.When I put it in..there is no room on either side of her lips. So now I am going to order another bit. Do you think 3 3/4th would give the little bit extra needed? Do you think a half cheek snaffle is an appropriate starter bit? Do you have another you would think is better? I don't think she has ever been bitted before. I know the one was a bit too narrow. She certainly chewed it and chomped it and tongued it to death. She is VERY good in a halter. I do not want to cause her discomfort. Open to help here:>)
     
  2. Feb 11, 2013 #2

    Rhondaalaska

    Rhondaalaska

    Rhondaalaska

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    Did you measure with a string first. That is what my ridding trainer had me do to size Diva.

    You put a string in her mouth and mark both sides. Then the measurement between marks is the size.
     
  3. Feb 11, 2013 #3

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

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    Any bit that you try - when she is first bitted - is going to cause her to "chomp and chew" until she gets used to having a foreign object in her mouth. Some don't do well or like stainless steel and do better with copper (when we bitted our western riding horses - we used "sweet iron" which then rusted - a good thing and many horses love it. They don't have sweet iron bits for driving horses or for minis), some don't. Part of the purpose of the bean or french link, imo, is to have them salivate and to chew a little - this actually encourages a soft jaw and resulting soft mouth. There is a difference between chomping & chewing, chewing litely/occasionally and gapping at the mouth.

    Some "chomping and chewing" could be because it's either too small or too large in diameter -however you won't know that until she's worn it enough to get past the initial accepting phase. Hmm, how to better clarify that...

    To get her used to it - she needs to wear it. I generally start mine while they are eating. I bridle them when I catch them and tie them up (they are tied by the collars they wear - in front of their own bucket). I am generally not too far away and will keep checking on the ones I have bridled while catching/feeding the rest. Thus far, I've never had any issues with them geting hung up or pulling the bridle off - but it is a possibility. They learn to move the bit around and that they can't spit it out while they are eating. I also bridle them while grooming - they learn to accept it and ignore it when nothing is happening to it. I lounge them while they wear it - with no lines hooked to it.

    To get them used to pressure - after they've learned to turn and stop from halter/drivingt lines, I use the line/leadrope hooked to bit and halter at the same time. I flex them around to each side until they learn that it's ok and they don't root out or pull against the bit pressure, then I take the line around their haunches on the side opposite from where I'm standing and step back, slowly and gradually pulling. If I'm standing on the left side, the line runs from the right side of bit and around the haunches, behind the tail over the hocks to my hand. When I pull, as she gives to the bit - she'll tip her head to the right, then turn her head more fully to the right and then step around and follow the pull. I keep her coming right around until she completely faces me again... And praise her. Repeat several times. Then switch sides and again repeat. Several times. Since you've already started ground driving her in halter - you should then be able to step back and start ground driving with the bit/halter hookup and get similar/same responses. You just constantly keep working until she responds and keeps her mouth closed w/o rooting out against pressure. When this is going well - you switch the line to just the bit - and repeat with flexing, then flexing into turning around and then step in behind her to start driving her.

    When she is accepting and going well, you start finessing your rein/line handling and what you want is to get quicker, more responsive gives or responses...

    Not sure how long this will take - personally it's taken a long time with one of our ponies (a hotter model). She constantly "gapped" her mouth - everytime she felt pressure. She'd be fine for the flexing and the turning around - until you started ground driving her, then she'd root out and gape her mouth. But we didn't work more than 60 days at a time and didn't even always work more than 3 days a week dureing that time frame - so it took longer to get what I wanted. This spring she is finally "getting it". Her mouth isn't strapped shut and she's light and lovely. She started ground driving late in her yearling year, was ground driven during her 2nd year and ten again last year as a 3 yr old at which point she also was hooked to a drag (but was still ocassionally gapping at the mouth)...
     
  4. Feb 11, 2013 #4

    crisco41

    crisco41

    crisco41

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    No. I just put in a 4" I had from ages ago..and it was way big so went with a 3 1/2"> I think I need the 3 3/4. I was lazy..and now have this bit. But I think it will fit my smaller mini so its all good.

    ttrying to decide between frenck link? and half cheek snaffle. I have ridden plenty of horses in a snaffle..never used a french link before tho.
     
  5. Feb 11, 2013 #5

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

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    U can get a french link 1/2 cheek.

    [​IMG] This bit is a little too narrow - yet when she quit chewing and chomping - it actually laid pretty nice in her mouth w/o any problems.

    [​IMG] Same bit - no winter hair and no gapping, chewing - see different fit? This is 5 months later.

    [​IMG] and here the bit is too large on both the middle pony and the one driving on the left. But until I was able to purchase and get better bits - they both learned to pick up and pack the bit and respond to the signals on the lines. This is the first time that the 3 were driven 3 abreast - taking a while for me to get the hang of it and the middle pony was all about resisting - a lot! Incidentally - the darker mare on the end is grinding her teeth not because of the bit but because her filly has just butted her udder and I wouldn't let her turn and bite her.

    [​IMG] and here is the pair last October - I've literally attached the bits to their bridles the nite before this class at the Halloween Spooktacular show in TX. It's a little narrower, with a narrower diameter and it's got the full copper mouthpiece with the french link. Yes, the blaze faced mare is missing her noseband. It broke, so I removed it and had left the extra one at home...long story.

    Heres' the link to the bits I ordered - http://www.minitack.com/bits/sldbp1.htm
     
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  6. Feb 11, 2013 #6

    crisco41

    crisco41

    crisco41

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    paula

    thanks for the detailed description. It sounds like I will just have to repeat how I started out long driving her in her halter. We will get

    there. I am in no hurry. She is 6 or 7 yrs..

    It almost seems that a french link may be a better bit. I have read that it does not fold on itself and have the potential to poke the mouth like a snaffle can. I am assuming that the "action" is simular though? I have) 0 experience driving. I just want to be as ez on her mouth as possible

    thanks lori lol we keep posting at same time:>) so u think half cheek french link may be a good starter?
     
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  7. Feb 11, 2013 #7

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

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    As for the width of the bit in her mouth, you may need to get someone experienced to check. Sometimes we second guess ourselves too much in our anxiety to do the right thing by our animals. What I thought at first was too narrow of a bit was confirmed to be just the right size by an expert. That gave me peace of mind.

    My 32" boy uses a 3 1/2 and the 35" boy uses 3 3/4". Some companies may vary a little in their measurement. Welcome to the Bit Maze!
     
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  8. Feb 11, 2013 #8

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

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    French links are better for some and not for others. Hard to explain... In all honesty - a snaffle bit, handled right is fine. Most of mine until last summer were just plain snaffles. BUT I do have a couple that did better in the french link. A french link offers relief as w/ the double break the center of the mouthpeice doesn't hit the roof of a shallow mouth.

    I also have two ponies that don't seem to like the french link at all - they prefer the regular snaffle - one a thicker one and one a much narrower one. Both are 1/2 cheek driving snaffles.

    Now, I've had some recommendations to invest in a couple of straight bar bits (mullen style). OR to wrap a bit - make the mouthpiece larger for a filly that's overflexing - felt to be because the diameter of a bit is too small/sharp for her... She did do better in a slightly larger diameter one - but it's not my bit and I don't have one like that one either...LOL. Haven't tried a straight bar on her yet as don't have one yet... Since a leather one was recommended with it wrapped with latex bit wrap - my braiding girlfreind and i are going to braid a couple of bits from haystring, wrap them and try that out and see what happens.
     
  9. Feb 11, 2013 #9

    crisco41

    crisco41

    crisco41

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    thank you for the pictures! Your first picture looks just like misty. The bit fit about that way..where the ends were right up to her face.

    I can for sure see the longer bits fit on the other picture. That is about how the 4 inch fit her. I suppose it will not hurt her to do as you suggested with the tying, bitting and feeding. I can see that with her mouth gaping I really can't get a handle on the fit. And it isn't like there will be pressure on it from reins as it just sits in her mouth on a trial basis.

    very pretty horses Thanks
     
  10. Feb 12, 2013 #10

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

    paintponylvr

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    Yes, I saw on another thread where you'd clipped Misty's belly and showed her "blue" and dapples. LOVE silver dapple ponies and all the shades they come in! I've bred some nice fillies that I plan on keeping for my hitches from the 3 mares in these pics...

    You mentioned age... The mare in the top pic w/ her winter beard and gaping her mouth is a 1992 mare so this year she's 21 - Bell. That pic with the bit was her first time wearing a bit - Jan 2010. She was barely halter "broke" (no training that I expect and like with mine - I worked until I got her to where I like them) in 2009 when I purchased her. Could catch her and sort of lead her but that was it.

    The mare in the middle of the 3 abreast shot is her full sister. She's 22 this year. This is Bit. She'd had some handling, had been shown as a young pony and had done some saddled lead line work as well but was pretty spooky about new things and didn't have the responses I like when I worked with her. Starting her in harness was ... a long, frustrating "job" as everything from the harness to ground driving to pulling anything that made new noises - upset her. There are many stories of driving her in this forum...

    The dark silver mare (who does have dapples - especially when clipped) is 17 now. Koalah.

    As to sizing bits - several people have already stated great ways to measure for width fit. They do work, [​IMG] .

    The bits - the "big ones" in the 3 abreast hitch are 4" - plain (cheap - used them on this harness until I couldn't and got the new ones I'd ordered) round ring snaffles. The new bits were ordered thru Ozark Mtn Mini Tack. I believe the original bit that I had on her was also a 3 3/4" bit - but I would have to double check that as I"m not positive. The first one is also not a driving bit (not a 1/2 cheek) but it does have a french link on it.
     
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  11. Feb 12, 2013 #11

    crisco41

    crisco41

    crisco41

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    I took your advise and tied misty while I fed her. I put her bridle on and tightened it a notch. She didnt act so worried about it this time. She ate her beat pulp and soaked alfalfa and did good. Now that her mouth is gaping with her tongue pushing all over her self..it looks like this one may fit ok. Pretty comparable tot he picture you put up of the mare gaping and then when she accepted it it fit better. I would say that they fit simular. So do you think the bit you have in the mares mouth size wise is acceptable to use?

    thanks so much for all your help in this. I am excited to start working her with a bit
     
  12. Feb 13, 2013 #12

    horsenarounnd

    horsenarounnd

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    We always start our minis in a straight mullen. The broken snaffle can actually be a pretty severe bit if used wrong as it can pinch the mouth prettu tight. We have some horses that like the french link and one we use a butterfly on, but only after they are well started. We always use the rule that you use the least severu bit you can, and only go to a more severe when you need to because once you go toa severe bit you can't go back. GOOD LUCK
     
  13. Feb 13, 2013 #13

    crisco41

    crisco41

    crisco41

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    so is the mullen the least severe and generally most comfie? She has a good turn, good whoa, good move out and slow down just with a halter.
     

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