I have a 13 yr old Paint gelding.  He was apparently trained both western and english but really he was more confused than anything.  I'm getting the distinct feeling that he has no idea what the bit means and uses it more to brace himself than anything else.  He is in a loose ring French link snaffle.  He tends to roll his tongue around in his mouth a lot in this bit.  Any suggestions as to what to put him in?  We're mainly working on flat work at the moment (back to basics).


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My go to bit for a horse of doubtful training and English/Western confusion is the Kimberwick.  The ported "curb" mouthpiece gives the horse some tongue room, the curb chain prevents the bit from coming up against the horse's molars, and you can ride English with direct reining and contact.  If you get an Uxeter Kimberwick you can go between putting your reins on for a direct rein like a snaffle or a very mild curb.

Some horses do not like very mobile bits in their mouths, some horses do not like tongue pressure.  Some horses also like their bit to be "suspended" in their mouths.  The Kimberwick can be a good compromise for such a horse.

Some horses cannot tolerate a french link on their tongue.  Try a regular snaffle.  If this doesn't work try a mullen mouth.

Always check their mouth for tooth problems and perhaps a wolf tooth is popping up.

As a general rule of thumb horses with thin lips go better in a thick mouth bit while horses with a lot of thick lips go better in a thinner mouth bit.

I learned most of my horse care from a farrier, who always worked his horses in the mildest bits possible. I would therefore suggest keeping the bit simple and starting with a plain, fairly thick, snaffle, such as one made of nylon or vulcanite.


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