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by Downunder Horsemanship

How to Introduce the Snaffle Bit to Your Horse

Like all pieces of equipment you use to train your horse, care needs to be given when introducing a bit to your horse. When starting a horse under saddle, Clinton recommends using a hackamore. “The hackamore gives horses a chance to learn how to give and soften to pressure while I’m on their backs without having to deal with a bit just yet. It also allows a smooth transition for a colt going from responding to a halter on the ground to responding to the same type of pressure under saddle. The softer you can get a horse in a hackamore, the softer he’ll be in the bridle,” Clinton says.

Between a horse’s 10th and 14th ride, he switches him over to a snaffle bit. “I don’t recommend putting a bit in a horse’s mouth until you have him flexing well from side to side, you can stop him by sliding one hand down the rein and he’s following his nose in the hackamore,” Clinton says.

When a colt can do all those things, then he begins to use a smooth-mouthed snaffle bit. “I move all of my horses out of the hackamore at this time because I think that you can get more softness and collection in a bit compared to the hackamore,” he says.

In the training guide, “Introducing the Snaffle Bit,” Clinton outlines the steps he takes to switch a horse from a hackamore to a bridle. The detailed steps can also be used to help any horse that’s developed a bridling problem.

Read the guide now on the Downunder Horsemanship website.