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RE: snaffles, kimberwicks and curbs

	I have to agree that every horse is different. For what it is worth, I have
been riding in endurance for the past 12 years using sidepulls and saving my
bit for arena work. My mare is a very dominant, competitive horse (retired
to broodmare status now), yet I could ride her in a very soft sidepull. She
just gave to the nose pressure, the sidepull allowed her to eat & drink as
needed and I loved it because it was my halter during vet checks.
	My big gelding goes well in a slightly heavier sidepull. I do use a running
martingale with him at times. It usually just hangs there. I only have him
wear it when he is acting anxious. At the beginning of a ride he can get
anxious and he is a neck wringer. I use it as a backup if he tries to bring
his head way up to wring (as to avoid myself getting hit in the nose). Most
of the time I can get him past his anxiety by riding him very engaged,
riding very deep seated with lots of leg for confidence, in large easy
circles, breathing deep and talking to him in a very soothing (guided
imagery-like) voice. Then he becomes mine and forgets the hustle & bustle
around him. We both relax and are prepared for the business of the day.
	An emergency brake is probably is a poor excuse to use a RM but it works,
most of the rest of the time it just hangs there. I rarely use the emergency
brake in my SUV but I am glad it is there if my other brakes fail. I have
the RM adjusted a little long so that it doesn't engage except in those very
rare occasions. As he matures and becomes more confident I can use it less
and less. Marilyn

-----Original Message-----
From: Karen Sullivan []
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2002 10:11 AM
Subject: RC: snaffles, kimberwicks and curbs

Regarding all the discussion on different bits and training, I offer the
following opinions-it is all well in theory.
It's amazing what can be done over time with a young horse; to get them to
go nicely in a snaffle, rope halter, or sidepull, even in big, group events.
What bugs me, though, is those that tell you how awful certain bits are, and
all the "nevers", like never use a curb with a running martingale, never use
a Tom Thumb, etc, etc.

I'm sorry, but all horses are different and have different backgrounds.
Nobody has the right to judge what someone is using of their horse, or what
they try!  I have two horses that hate snaffles; one in a mild Kimberwick
and one in a huge, 'honkin' curb with a high port and roller.  Personally, I
dislike the action of a simple snaffle-I do not like the idea of the joint
in the middle-seems like a bad idea, and I cannot tell you the number of
people I see with horses that stick their noses up the air to avoid that
bit.  A snaffle with a french link, or "dog bone" in the middle makes more
sense to me and won't poke the horse in the pallate like the single joint
will.  A snaffle is a mild bit, and it is lovely to see a well-trained horse
going well in one, with a rider with a light hand....

BUT, some horses just to not do well with this in big group situations, like
endurance rides.

My big mare was more or less given to me at age 8 when the owner gave up on
her. The owner never did ride that horse (but lots of money to the trainer
for arena work in a snaffle).  She also had prior Western training with
cows, practical stuff. The Student Equestrian team tried this horse for 6
months, and gave her back in horror.  She is the strongest, most opinionated
horse I have ever had, and the best thing I have found, after years of
dealing with this beast, is the curb....with the martingale.  My theory is
that neither the curb OR the martingale have any adverse effect (I ride
loose rein and rein Western), UNLESS she decides to be a butthead and argue
with me.  In that event, I DO have the means to stop her, and she KNOWS it.
This makes us a much safer team out on the trail with others.  And, there is
nowhere now wouldn't go with this horse, or anything we couldn't handle.  We
don't need others to "babysit" us.  I would be happy to hand this mare over
to any trainer that claims they can get her going well in a snaffle, or
sidepull or milder bit, and then send them out on an endurance ride!

Personally, the bit I dislike is the Tom Thumb, but I do have friends that
use them who am I to judge it? Their horses seem to work
well in them.

Every horse is different, and every rider approaches things differently.


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