||SSH Age: 7, we have had , 2 weeks was Professionaly
Trained. Ridden in various headgear in a western saddle in indoor and outdoor
arenas, field, no hills by two riders--one novice and one advanced
Question: This spotted saddle horse came with a gag bit called a "Wonder
Bit" which didn't fit on his bridle right... it is impossible to shorten
the headstall enough to raise the bit into the corner of his mouth, so
we never used it. His previous owner used only that bit, as did the first
owner who raised him from a foal. We have tried both a kimberwicke
curb bit and a full cheek snaffle bit with him. He seems to do fine
in both. I was told however that the gag bit would help him set his
head and help him get into his gait. We are working on the gait,
and are now able to get him into a slow gait more than half the time, so
it's coming along (he would rather trot). I was just wondering if
a gag bit actually would help with his gait. Would it? Also,
he has no shoes. Next time the farrier is out we plan to shoe him.
Is it true that heavier shoes in the back will help him gait better?
And what about toe length? Thank you.
From Panelists Laura
If the horse is very comfortable with the wonder bit and works well
you might as well use it. I've found that this bit encourages
the horse to
raise his front end a little which can help with gait work. You
get a smaller headstall or punch some holes in your current headstall
can adjust it to fit your horse. The curb chain rides a lot higher
horses jawline than most bits (this is okay), just adjust it so you
few inches of loose play on the bit (amount of distance the small shanks
before the curb stops the movement).
If your horse is trotty, putting a little more weight on the hind feet
probably help him. If you aren't riding on rocky surfaces, you
the front feet short & bare and just put a wide-web keg shoe on
feet. Usually, you go with a lower angle (don't get carried away)
From Panelists Nancy
Answer: Forget the gag bit. Your kimberwicke will probably
do or you
snaffle. Once my horses are working well in a plain snaffle,
I like to go
with a loose shank curb with a snaffle mouthpiece, such as a Tom Thumb.
with short shanks. While you're working on teaching him to gait,
him to trot. Right now, if you do both, he will probably become
If you are riding on fairly soft ground, he really doesn't need to
Keep the toes short and be sure the farrier leaves enough heel so he
walking on the bulbs of his heels. Forget any fancy shoeing.
horses gait very well out in the pasture while barefoot. They
can also do it
with you on their back and barefoot. It's up to you to let them
you want. Reward them for gaiting when you ask for it and avoid
the trot for
a while. You have a start already, so work from there and be
sure and let
the horse know he is doing what you want. Don't ask for too much
at a time
or too much speed at this point.