Young Horse..... To mouth or not??

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by bscards, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. bscards

    bscards New Member

    I have a rising 3 year old that I'm contemplating the decision on regarding mouthing for accepting a bit or to train bitless all the way?
    I have never done any showing but would like to have a go at it with this guy once ready. Would someone be kind enough to fill me in on what you can and can't do show wise bitless? Can you show in hand bitless until the age of 3? And wondering what ridden shows accept bitless if any?
    Thanks :)
  2. Caroline

    Caroline Well-known Member

    Dont mouth him unless you are going to start him to saddle! He wont have a mouth left if you do it before.**)
  3. GoWelshCobs

    GoWelshCobs Well-known Member

    out curiosity caroline how come ???
  4. wattle6180

    wattle6180 Gold Member

    I showed my 13mth colt earlier this year. I preferred to have him in a bit as many shows like to have colts & stallions bitted. I'd already taught my colt to lead properly, so absolutely no pressure was put on the bit, it was just their for "show".

    I'm currently mouthing 2x2yo ponies, as they will go under saddle in the Summer :D

    I don't know of any "shows" that allow you to ride bitless, but this, IMO, will change over the next years as more awareness is being raised of other (not saying better/kinder) options of riding become accepted.

    Some breeds, like western breeds, don't need to be shown bitted, they have their own style inhand halters. All other breeds, I believe, don't have a cut-off age to use a bitless inhand halter, but it's the norm, so have understanding if someone who's using the "normal" turnout and is experienced in this, might place above you :) If you're showing for fun/experience....wear whichever halter you feel is neat & tidy and complements your horse :D
  5. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Why? My show horses are usually mouthed as yearlings before being broken in as 3yos and I have never had a breaker complain or have anything less than a soft mouth on them ';'

    Personally in the OPs case I would definitely mouth when breaking even if you choose to ride bitless as if you ever have to sell the horse most people want a horse who can be ridden in a bit ;)

    As for in hand showing... what breed is the horse? If you want to show under saddle the horse needs to be ridden in a bit at this point in time. Showjumping can be done bitless though.
  6. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    If you mouth a horse properly then I don't see the problem ';'

    I'd mouth him bscards. He's only a baby and whilst you may want to only ride him bitless there may come a time when you need to sell him and given that a vast majority of people these days still ride in a bit then it will make selling him that bit more easy.

    If done properly it will do him no harm. All the horses myself, my mother and my sister have broken in go just as well when ridden in a rope halter as what they do when ridden with a bit.

    ETA: SNAP Mirawee
  7. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    I think there is a bit of a misconception sometimes that a non bit device (bit less bride, hackamore, bosal etc) are more ethical than a bit when really in some cases the worst case scenario in some bit less devices can lead to broken facial bones. With anything used to control the steering of the horse it is always the incorrect use that leads to trouble and that goes for metal bits or pressure devices.

    The best starting process i have seen uses a bosal for the first few rides and then transfering to a bit. You can stay in a bit-less device forever but it will restrict your showing and as others have pointed out it could create a barrier for sale. Also and it is just my opinion you cannot get the degree of lightness using a bit less device that you can with a bit. Training a horse to be really light and responsive to the bit is more ethical than putting face pressure devices on horses and thinking you are being kind because you are not using a bit!
  8. bscards

    bscards New Member

    Thanks for your replies. I had thought this would be the case regarding showing and I'm thinking I will have him mouthed as like previously said if done properly can be beneficial for various reasons. He will be 3 in October and has already started learning to accept saddles etc, leads beautifully from the ground and other horses. I just wasn't sure how accepted the bitless revolution (if you like) is in the show world. I'm not biased either way, just thirsty for the knowledge :)
  9. ClubIgnite

    ClubIgnite Well-known Member

    Theres any old mouthing system and then there's THE BEST MOUTHING SYSTEM IN THE WORLD. Make sure your horse is done using THAT method. **)
  10. bscards

    bscards New Member

    Would you be referring to the John O'leary method club ignite? I've been reading a lot of older threads and see a lot of people recommending it?
  11. Lilac

    Lilac New Member

    Just be very carefull of who you use for the above method. It can be done wrong !!!!
  12. Brucey

    Brucey New Member

    I'm curious to know what you mean too Caroline? How??
    The best mouthing system in the world is the way to go bscards! :)
  13. ClubIgnite

    ClubIgnite Well-known Member


    It can also be done right, thoroughbred yearling, 8 rides.
  14. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    I'm pretty fond of that "best mouthing system in the world", got two youngsters broken with it and they're pretty cool. **)
  15. Elanda

    Elanda Gold Member

    On what do you base this statement? Obviously horse wasnt correctly mouthed to start with :( My boy was mouthed at 18 months as he is shown in hand in a bit. He has just been broken in and has a very light responsive mouth and he was not retrained at all.
  16. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    Personally I would bit him bscards. You 'should' have more control with a bit in his mouth in case something goes wrong and with a young large horse at a show - well, safety is always paramount, so yeah, that's my view.
    If you mouth him and then hang off his mouth on the ground (or allow him to hang and be rude) then obviously he will become less and less sensitive to the bit and over time you will end up with a horse with no mouth. However this is no different to sitting in the saddle and hanging or allowing him to hang - he will end up resistant with no mouth either way no matter how you mouth him in the first pace ';' The goal would be too keep him light and therefore submissive whether you are handling a horse on the ground OR in the saddle :))
    Whatever training method you use to mouth him (and John's will certainly produce a very light & responsive horse) how the mouth remains after that will depend on the quality of handling he receives.

    ETA- for the life of me I can't see how John's mouthing method could be done wrong? Its hardly complicated even for an amatuer or a beginner and his DVD leaves nothing out so there is no guessing. Its certainly not rocket science. If you are interested in that bscards, I would recommend it. And if you are unclear after you have watched his DVD, John has always been very generous with his time, so if you need some clarification, just give him a call.

    So, the thread is asking if a 3 year is too young to mouth (or not) and in here we have a yearling apparently, proudly being schooled under saddle. I must be way out of touch or something but THAT is too young - never mind about mouthing!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2012
  17. Ali

    Ali Well-known Member

    When I think of mouthing a horse/pony I always remember what someone told me years ago "What would you do to create a hard unresponsive mouth? Well..... do exactly the opposite and you'll be right" Not the most informative info but its something I've always remembered. I mouthed my PB arab gelding I had years ago and then when he was sent off to the breakers to be fully backed and fine tuned for a month they got me to pick him up after just 2 weeks because they said that he was already ready to come home and they said what a lovely soft mouth he had. I don't see anything wrong with mouthing a horse/pony when young as long as its done properly and care is taken also with the teeth as they develop.

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