Please can anyone help regarding bitting a v sensitive connemara mare who fights the bit & tanks off unless ridden on the buckle (& also when ridden on the buckle when she wants to go, she goes!).

She is ridden( English) in a NeueSchule lozenge snaffle & a baucher cheek waterford for XC , we have a 2 ring Myler combination with a no.4 mp, but the mare still sticks head in air, tense,rigid neck & gallops off.
She is 15 & came to us as 2nd home since bought at Goresbridge sales as 5yr old & has always been 'quirky' :was tied down schooling as a youngster & I suspect also ear twitched as with any sort of contact she runs away from bridle & does not like poll pressure at all. 

 I have gone as simple as poss. with the 3 joint lozenge comfy contact NS bit v.loose cavesson & poll cushion for schooling  but she seems to prefer the hanging cheek waterford rather than the Myler 04 combo, but this doesn't make sense to me: she should prefer the Myler, so I must have it wrong somewhere: I am thinking of trying a mullen mouth Kimblewick to add brakes as none at present, but any ideas??
She is currently ridden by my 12 yr old daughter, who has light hands & is not a complete novice(ridden a wide variety since she was 5, but she has not got 'educated' hands by any means!)

Have had mare's back, tack & teeth checked &has been schooled by more experienced professionals who did not get any better results. I am thinking perhaps get osteopath exam: perhaps TMJ pain??

She is a real sweetie and loves XC & jumping but pulls/accelerates all the way round which is scary & is preventing them from doing much.

 ANY ADVICE gratefully received!

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About the bit--horses DO NOT read the book.
Horses consider their mouths as sensitive, almost intimate, living tissue, and they have their preferences about which bit they consider suitable! When I am searching for the perfect bit for a horse I stop changing bits whenever I get a positive reaction to a bit, and ride ONLY that bit for a while to work out the language.
If she favors the Waterford bit it may be because it feels real loose in her mouth.
Once I got a Herm Sprenger bit for a horse I was riding, just to try it out. He did not particularly like it, and the bit he ended up preferring was a JP Korsteel bit, which costs 1/3 of the cost of a HS or Myler bit, and since it was a Dr. Bristol it was a lot looser in his mouth.
If the Waterford bit is the only one she will work well in now, I would concentrate on training in this bit. I suspect, since the Waterford in sort of a lumpy bit, that she can find a comfortable place on the bit to put her tongue, bars, and lips, and since she is more comfortable in her mouth she is more willing to listen to you.
I suspect (no real reason, just a feeling) that she may not like a mullen mouth Kimberwicke. A moderately ported Kimberwick, on the other hand, is a very comfortable bit to many horses who are fussy with their mouths because it sort of mildly clamps down and stays in one place, and when it rotates a little there is more room for the tongue. I successfully used one on a REALLY fussy 7/8 Arab mare, and I could keep good contact with her.
I am very weak, and I have found that when horses start pulling, if I give the slow-down request with the reins only when the horses head is going UP and BACK, that I get a MUCH better and prompter slow down than if I give the signal when the horse's head is going down and forward.
I hope this helps some. It will take time to persuade her to change her habits.
Oh, another thing. I find with a loose type bit that when a horse is just starting to move vigorously forward, that one side of the tongue will first sort of push against the bit, and if I give a rein signal THEN (same hand that feels the movement, just twitching the fingers) the horse often reconsiders her plans. So when you ride keep conscious of the feel of her tongue moving against the bit.
With bits BELIEVE YOUR HORSE over any sales promotions you may hear. You can save spending a lot of money this way.
Another bit I've heard good things about is the Cambridge mouthed snaffle (called the Magic Bit???), which has the same mouth piece as a ported Kimberwicke. It is a stiffer bit (ie. not loose like a Waterford, it is a mild bit), but I've heard some fussy horses going better in it.
I forgot to add, that when I give the signal with the rein when the head is going up and back, I IMMEDIATELY move my hand forward after giving the signal. I find that horses slow down better when they can stick their noses out ahead a little and are not allowed to lean on the rider's hand.
Take when the head moves up and back, then immediatedly move your hand forward. It takes two to pull, and your pony has gotten used to pulling!
Thank you so much for your advice,will definitely try your suggestions. The reason I was looking at a mullen mouth rather than a ported is that the mare has quite a low palate so not much room: what do you think? Will stick with the waterford for now as she does seem happier in it, we are getting slightly more control but still so fast!
We haven't had much luck with getting sensible practical tips so yours is a real godsend! Regards, Helen x
Okay, this is a little technical.
On the Mullen mouth Kimberwicke it depends how it is attached to the cheek pieces. If, when the bit is attached to the bridle, the mullen mouth arches up toward the palate, then, when you get the tiny curb effect from the Kimberwicke, the mullen mouth can rotate to the front and down into the tongue. I am getting the feeling that your mare may also have a sensitive tongue. The Mullen mouth snaffle is different, it is a direct action bit, but the Kimberwicke has some rotation of the mouth piece that the snaffle lacks.
The ported Kimberwicke, when the curb effect comes in, rotates, gives more room for the tongue, and the cannons of the bit come down toward the bars. The port is so low (or should be) that I do not think it will be a problem. Of course I can always be wrong, listen to your horse.
The main problem I have with mullen mouths snaffles (again I'm very weak), is that while they are wonderful for establishing contact I find that after a while the horse learns how easy it is to rest on the bit, and starts "going through" the bit so I have to use more strength to slow the horse down. I have never used a mullen mouth Kimberwicke, they just never made sense to me (though I am sure that they may be the perfect bit for some horses, but then you can say that about almost any bit.)
Some horses like loose, sloppy bits in their mouths, others can't stand anything that moves around.
You may want to check to see if the skin on the gums on your mare's bars is loose. If you can wiggle it, then loose skin can get caught between the bit and the molars sometimes.

The best book I've found on bits is Tom Roberts "Horse Control and the Bit". I am sure you can find it used on Amazon. I really did not understand bitting until I read this book.


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