Have you ever wondered if the bits you use to practice should be different than the bits you use to show? Would using separate bits help your horse and help your runs? Dennis Moreland of Dennis Moreland Tack and Clay Johns of Clay Johns Cutting Horses, Millsap TX, visit about how and why using different bits for training and show is a good practice, and, what to consider when deciding on bits and hackamores for your horse and yourself.
“What bit should I use on my horse is a common conversation point between riders” says Dennis. Although it ultimately depends on the individual horse, there are parameters you can use to help you decide which bits to choose. This holds true for hackamores too. Follow along in the video as Clay Johns describes what to consider when deciding which bits, curbs and hackamores to use for training and practice, versus showing.
Clay says, “finding the right bit or hackamore for your particular horse is important and you have so many choices available. My go to bit for work at home, especially when I don’t yet know the horse” explains Clay, “is a little lightweight aluminum shanked bit with a low port. Since it’s light, a horse will usually accept it, and at the same time you have enough there to control the horse” advises Clay. “This bridle is rigged up with a leather curb which can be used on any bit. If you need a little more feel you can use a chain curb” says Clay. Considering the effect of the curb, and, choosing one that meets the needs of your horse, can be almost as important as choosing the bit.
“When I’m working a horse at home, I want a bit I can train the horse in and show the horse what I want him to do” says Clay. “When I go to a competition, I want a bit with a little more feel. I want to make sure the bridle has good, heavy reins and maybe a slightly heavier bit so my horse will have good feel when I ride through the herd and cut my cows. I want him to listen to me real well on a loose rein” says Clay. Some bits may be too much for a particular horse and some bits won’t be enough so you’ve got to try different bits to find the ones that will work for you Clay advises.
For loping and warming up at a show, Clay suggests using a hackamore to relax your horse and get the edge off. Just before you go in to show, put the bridle on him and be sure to move him around and let him feel it. Be sure he’s listening to you and responding to the bit. “Sometimes at home, I’ll work my horses in a hackamore” says Clay. “A hackamore can be a very good option, especially when you’re riding to keep your horse legged up,” explains Clay. He says he likes a round nose hackamore with the reins tied at the side of the noseband to give more sidepull action than a hackamore with the reins tied at the heel knot has. “For training I really like this type hackamore a lot,” explains Clay, “it gives you that direct rein pull.”
Which bits and hackamores you choose for training, practicing, warming-up and showing depends on the sensitivity of your horse, the age of your horse, and your skill level. Clay recommends experimenting with different choices to determine what’s best for your horse and for you.
Dennis Moreland Tack is your one-stop shop for handmade aluminum shanked bits, swivel shank steel bits, solid shank steel bits, curb (chin) straps and heavy bridle reins. Dennis also makes hackamores for training, loping and showing. If you have any questions email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dennis at 817-312-5305.
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