ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: Bitting problem

Re: Bitting problem

Karin C. Bergener (kbergene@concentric.net)
Sun, 16 Mar 1997 21:24:20 -0500

CBarr6608@aol.com wrote:
> Help! My 5 year-old Arab is a great horse, until we start off on an endurance
> ride. He is a total *monster* until the first vet check. I hope he grows out
> of this. He's done four rides so far, so I know he still has a lot to learn.
> One of our big problems is that he chews on the shank of the bit when he gets
> nervous or excited which makes his gait really choppy 'cause he ducks his
> head when he does it. I ride with a tom thumb. He does wonderful when we're
> out on a trail ride. I feel I need this type of bit for control at endurance
> rides, but I'm hoping that there is another type of bit that will help me
> keep him in check when he's excited yet make it hard for him to chew on the
> shank.
> I've tried spraying the shanks with Binaca hoping this would deter him.
> However, after the first water stop, it washes off and we're back where we
> started. I don't want to keep spraying throughout the ride. Also, when he
> starts chewing, I've pulled on the opposite rein to bring his head up. This
> gets tiresome when you do it constantly for 20 miles!
> I will admit I don't know much about bits. The Tom Thumb was recommended to
> me by another rider. Please, if you've got any suggestions, I'm all ears!
> Carol Barrett
> Hoss & Rocky (the monster)
My guy, who came from a camp in October, did a similar thing constantly
and gave it up (mostly) although he does it whenever I change bits. I'm
a new rider, but for what it's worth, these are the factors I've come
across. Try checking to be sure the size is right. Maybe his mouth is
dry at the beginning (when my horse settled in and relaxed, he had a
wetter mouth - less fussing with the bit). Could it be you need to
change the headstall length? Lost of people seem to espouse the same
bit position all the time, but I found moving it helped. Also, if it's
really bothersome, you might try a noseband for the first bit of the
ride. I've tried all of these, and they've worked depending on the
apparent reason for the behavior. I do try to observe what things are
going on before it starts.

I'll add one thing: it got LOTS better after a trainer observed that
it's sort of an argument, and that if you refuse to argue, the horse
can't! I would not try to correct it by pulling on the bit, as it means
making his mouth a source of punishment - potential to dull it. Try
poking him, and getting him to move. If he's busy, he may do it less.

Good luck. Karin

Home Events Groups Rider Directory Market RideCamp Stuff