I am at a crossroads and I'm not sure which way to turn! Maybe you, or someone you know, might have some advice for me. I sure would appreciate some input!
Pippin is not comfortable in all of the bits I've tried so far. He constantly mouths the bit and often gets his tongue over it. When I bought him they had been using a half spoon snaffle. I had this bit already, but he mouthed it all of the time. So, I bought a Boucher snaffle, having heard that mouthy horses tend to quiet down with the bit. Not so. His driving bridle came with a fixed cheek Liverpool bit with a straight bar. I attached the reins on the large ring, thus having little or no curb action, and the bar was on the smooth side. He was very busy with the bit. One of my trainers suggested a Kimberwick. I bought one the right size (despite having 2 that were too small) and he continued to mouth the bit excessively. Another trainer has now suggested a Glory bit, which relieves tongue pressure. I tried a friend's Glory bit and the mouthing may have decreased a little, but he still got his tongue over the bit at least 4 times in a 60-minute lesson. I could try some sort of noseband to force him to keep his mouth closed. His driving bridle's cavesson is rather tight as Pippin's face is a bit larger than the average horse, so he may tend to be less busy in that than when I ride in a bridle that doesn't even have a noseband. It goes against my nature to 'quiet' Pippin's mouth by tying it shut!
When I got Pippin he had an abscessed tooth. He has had that tooth removed. He had to have several fillings. He has no wolf teeth. His teeth have been floated and at some point in his life he had another molar removed. Obviously, his mouth has not always been in the best of health and probably has caused him a great deal of pain. Little wonder that he dislikes having a hunk of metal in there.
Yesterday I noticed that he has a small sore at the corner of his mouth. We had an especially trying day on Sunday and evidently in some of our maneuvering, the bit pinched him. Another reason to consider bitless!
So, it seems that going bitless is the obvious answer. And....I'm really, really close to picking up the phone to order either a Nurtural bitless driving bridle or the bitless bridle by Dr. Cook. Both of these bridles operate on the same principle, working by by putting pressure on the opposite cheek and poll when you pull on the rein, causing the horse to move away from the pressure. There may be slight differences in other functions of the bridles. (Maybe Sydney at Bitless horse: Science VS Tradition can further enlighten me! Hint...hint...hint!) Other bitless systems that I am aware of include sidepulls, hackamores and bosals. Are there others that I don't know about?
So, why haven't I called to order the solution for my dear Pippin? When I start looking at bitless driving I find very few positive comments. Most people seem to think that more control is needed in driving and that control comes from the bit. What are your reactions? What are your thoughts? Help!
Night Time Encounters
1 hour ago