Choosing the right bit

Riders must choose a bit to suit their young horse’s shape and development.

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RIDERS FRE QUENTLY COMMENT ON how “strong” or “heavy in the hands” their horses are and, unfortunately, they are often advised to put stronger bits into their horses’ mouths.

There is no bit in the world that will bring a youngster into shape, or force it to maintain a head carriage. If you want years of pleasure out of a horse, it is essential that you introduce it to activities slowly. Riders tend to want to change the bit for all the wrong reasons. Before you run out and buy a new bit, it is essential that you understand why your horse is resisting.

Is your horse developed enough?
A young horse’s muscles are underdeveloped and it is not used to the rider’s weight. It needs time to learn to carry its rider. It is also very important to allow time for a learning horse to grasp what is expected of it. If you make the experience unpleasant, you will sit with far more problems in the end. It is essential that the young horse’s mouth is not damaged. It takes years of gentle schooling before a young horse can cope mentally and physically with the demands of competition. The bit must complement the young horse’s shape and development. Ultimately, it must make life easier for the horse, and nothing else.

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Is your horse fit enough?
Resistance can be manifested in different ways. For example, horses get very upset and begin to use speed and agitated behaviour as a way of communicating their discomfort. A strong bit makes the situation much worse. It is extremely important that a horse is sufficiently prepared for its work. A horse that is not fit enough to carry its neck will learn to avoid the aching pain at all costs. – Kim Dyson Contact Kim Dyson on 082 • 888 6511.