Hot Sensitive Young Horse ...

I have a coming 5 year old hot and spicy mare. She carries mostly TB and is true "blood type" horse. She is well schooled to the leg and understands her lateral work and so forth. Biggest issue is she wants to lean down on the bit and lug during transitions or canter work... I often feel I want to "lift" her as I go into the downward transitions. My instincts are that she is very bit sensitive and is getting strong and either getting behind the bit, bearing down, or running in an attempt to escape the contact through the transitions down or half halts into canter. She also gets "panicky" as I try to maintain contact in the upward transition to cantering flings her head up and around the first stride or two. I started her in various 3 piece snaffles and tried a single jointed rubber wrapped in latex (which was the bit I've used most until it was "not enough" in canter/jumping) ...other various single jointed snaffles...and a mullen mouth (which she seemed the worst in) . She was too strong in all of these once I began any canter or jumping...forcing a harsh 1/2 halt which resulted in her being resentful. I have tried to be patient in hopes that time and flat work will resolve this but no such luck... Gut instinct tells me she is not comfortable in the bits Ive used and needs something "soft" yet something I can have some control when she gets her blood up. I also have read here about the fact she may be "running" or pulling/lugging on the bit as an evasion...That is my thought too... In desperation I tried a double twisted snaffle and she does not bear down or pull ... I get decent 1/2 halts when she is strong and she stays "elevated" but I feel that this is a harsh bit and not a long term solution and does not allow for any "rider error" on my part or else she gets punished by it. Any ideas.... I was thinking waterford or the ported barrel? Also I do not use a flash or cavasson on her . She seems worse if I do this. Without a flash she keeps her mouth closed mostly and strangely with the double twisted snaffle she kept her mouth closed the most and really developed a foamy mouth. Also she has had her teeth and such checked and is naturally a balanced and fit mare

Posted in General, asked by rehbeccah burkhart, 2 years ago. 633 hits.


Hi Rehbeccah,

Your instincts are great! You are spot on with why your mare is leaning and occasionally panicking. She is not happy with where the 3 piece bits place pressure in her mouth. It is the tongue pressure that she is objecting to. She goes better in the Snaffle because it doesn't create as much tongue pressure as the double jointed bits, but it's still not perfect for her.

The Ported Barrel is a good choice for her because of the tongue relief that it offers. You will find that once the pressure has been removed from her tongue, the panicking will stop and she will be far more controllable when she gets excited because she is not trying to avoid the bit as well.

I suggest staying with a plain Loose Ring, so as not to introduce any additional pressures, which she may well object to, but if you need a little poll pressure and leverage on the mouth piece, then the 2½ Ring would be my suggestion. It is quite a soft cheek piece, and the back strap will allow you to regulate how quickly or slowly the leverage on the mouth piece comes into effect.


Claire @ Bombers
2 years ago
Thank you for the prompt reply! Just for clarification could you tell me the main difference between a ported barrel loose ring and the loose ring happy tongue (other than the roller) as far as control goes. I am very afraid of "over bitting her" even though she gets excited and a bit strong and such... she's a smart and sensitive horse so I think time and training will get her over some of this if, as you say, she is not more concerned about escaping a bit. Does the ported barrel offer more snuff as far as "brakes" ? Same question would apply to the 2 1/2 ring version of both (happy tongue versus ported bit) I am thinking the 2 1/2 ring bit (either ported or the loose ring happy tongue might be my best bet because she has a habit of tossing her head I think more from excitement than anything at times... the poll pressure could help with this possibly? Of the 2 1/2 ring bits ...ported or happy tongue...which is softer? - rehbeccah burkhart 2 years ago
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