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Thread: introducing the bit

  1. #1

    Smile introducing the bit

    how do you go about introducing a bit to a young horse? have had his teeth checked and everything fine and ready to move forward but have never done this before also how do you measure them so you get the right size bit for them? the dentist and a few friends reckon he will be a 5 1/2 but dont want to get one thats too small or big any advise would be much appreciated

  2. #2
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    I have never had a problem with gently putting a bit in a young horse's mouth. try a 5.5" and see if it fits, there should be a finger's width between the bit ring and mouth.
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  3. #3
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    I just whack them in! I have masses of bits and can normally judge roughly what size will be ok initially.

    Start mouthing them everyday increasing time the bridle is on. Never had an issue, i guess because i don't make a big issue out of it
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  4. #4
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    I judged by eye based on my older horse's bit size and used a measuring device (downloadable from http://www.horsebitbank.com/assets/bitmeasure.pdf and printed onto heavy card) to confirm. In the past, I usually go for the old marking off on a stick method, but I knew there was no hope of me getting my youngster to accept a stick long enough for me to mark it.
    I actually bought two bits, one of the size she measured up at and one a little bigger, just in case and was able to return the larger one because it never came out of the packaging after the other one ended up being a nice fit. If you're not 100%, it may be worth trying a bit bank and getting a couple of sizes to try out - start with a slightly larger bit to avoid pinching and if it's definitely too big, try the next size down.

    I spent a lot of time getting her used to me touching her lips and slipping my finger into the corner of her mouth and the first time I put her bridle on, I let the bit down at one side so I could put the bridle on and fit it, then slipped the bit into her mouth and fastened it onto the bridle and literally gave it a couple of minutes before taking it off again. I used a little bit of molasses on the bit (just a smear from the back of a spoon) so that she associated it with something nice. We did that every evening for a few minutes and gradually started increasing the length of time. She was never any bother and it just wasn't a big deal.
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  5. #5
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    I guess it probably depends how sensitive your youngster is but everything I've ever done with mine, biting, rugging etc i've just done it and have no problems.

  6. #6
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    Use a wooden spoon and mark on it with a marker to measure the mouth.

    As for introducing it, depends on how sensitive they are. I have mostly just not made a fuss over it and encouraged it in and they've took it and I've just tjen built up the time they wear it.

    However I do have one who wasn't so easy after a bad experience with other people clanking his teeth with the bit and then that led to him rearing with it etc. so I had to go down the route of golden syrup on the bit to encourage him to take it and now he has his bridle on straight away with minimal fuss without any syrup.

    As long as you are gentle let them take it in and gently put the bridle over their ears they are fine with it normally. Also very important to allow them to drop it gently when they are ready when you take the bridle off as that's when it's easiest to clank their teeth.

  7. #7
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    I still have one of the old fashioned key bits that I use - to start with I normally tie it onto the headcollar with baler twine and then introduce a headstall once they've got used to having the bit in.

    I just leave them with it in and let them munch away on a haynet. So far none of them have made a fuss

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red View Post
    I just whack them in! I have masses of bits and can normally judge roughly what size will be ok initially.

    Start mouthing them everyday increasing time the bridle is on. Never had an issue, i guess because i don't make a big issue out of it


    I'm just bitting my youngsters atm, not having any issues and I just did what Red says and whacked them in. Can pretty successfully judge by eye what size they are.
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  9. #9

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    l started mine in a straight bar mullen to see how they took to it (and showed little stallion in hand for 3 years with just this} From this l was able to gauge if they needed jointed, hanging cheek etc. My mare prefered a hangng cheek as it seems to sit quieter in their mouth when the rein is applied.

    As far as actually measuring and introducing i used lots and lots of peanut butter! l did the same when introducing wormers...

  10. #10
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    Midas loves EVERYTHING in his mouth so bitting was no issue lol, just guessed a size based against experience and estimate of his size (love the wooden spoon idea though) , I only had a single joint saddle but Midas was keen to try.
    have a shettie at yard, older pony but owners keen to long rein and maybe drive him, he needs exercise to keep weight down...he would not bit, they just had a Mullen mouth, bit was correct size but he would sooner rear then take it. A bit of maple syrup and he soon changes his mind...louts no problem now lol

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