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Tying up the Snaffle
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cdodgen
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 Posted: Mon Dec 3rd, 2007 06:45 pm
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Dr. Deb,

In the Inner Horseman 2005 I came across a series of photos and your comments on a Ray Hunt clinic were a young colt was being worked for the first time in a snaffle and having trouble following the feel.  In your comments you stated that Ray had suggested that the snaffle be tied up with twine to relieve the colt's bar/tongue until he could figure it all out for himself.  I also found this same suggestion in the Dorrances' series of works.  Could you expound upon the anatomical reasons behind this and the proper technique to utilize in tying up the bit. 

Thanks Cheryl

cdodgen
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 Posted: Tue Dec 11th, 2007 02:49 pm
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Okay, have you ever been in a room with a group of people and asked a question where everyone turns around and looks at you like "I can't believe you just asked that question; haven't you been listening to anything we've been saying?"  Well that's just how I'm feeling about right now.  So, Dr. Deb, did I ask a stupid question or are you just waiting for me to have a light bulb moment?  If it is the light bulb moment, can you a least tell me upon what wall I can find the light switch?  If I just asked a stupid question can someone please rectify my stupidity?  Thanks Cheryl

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Dec 11th, 2007 06:10 pm
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Cheryl, there are no stupid questions. I have to prioritize the order in which I reply to things, due to my own busy schedule. No one who writes in here should or can expect replies on demand, or sometimes, any reply at all. I will answer when and as I can. I do appreciate your having asked the question. -- Dr. Deb

cdodgen
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 Posted: Tue Dec 11th, 2007 06:25 pm
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Dr. Deb,  Thanks for the clarification.  I apologize for getting impatient!   Cheryl

Val
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 Posted: Mon Dec 17th, 2007 08:22 pm
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Hey Cheryl, you jogged my memory, there was a bit of a discussion on this a while back. check out this thread: swallowing and chewing while the bit is in mouth on this forum.  is this the kind of info you are looking for? it was early on: maybe page 4?

hope it helps,

val

lucrechyna
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 Posted: Tue Dec 18th, 2007 10:36 pm
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Cheryl--possible what you are referring to is what Ray showed us to stop a horse from getting it's tongue over the bit.

Tie a length of baling twine to the join in a snaffle ,then loop it up and around the top jaw and tie it comfortably. then tie to the brow band or forelock to stop it slipping down.

  This has the effect of raising the bit towards the roof of the mouth .taking pressure from the bars and tongue and making it very hard if not impossible to get the tongue over it .

  If I am wrong ignore this !!!!!!!!

  Brenton

 

Brenton Ross Matthews
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 Posted: Tue Dec 18th, 2007 10:40 pm
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The reply by Lucrechyna was by me Brenton Matthews---my mistake in not logging in

  Sorry all

  Brenton

cdodgen
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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2007 12:38 pm
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Val and Brenton:

Thanks for the responses.  They both have been very helpful in my search for an answer to my question.

Cheryl

Val
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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2007 03:17 pm
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Hi Cheryl, for my part, thanks for asking the question.  I don't fully understand this information, and I appreciate the prompting to go back and review it.

val

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2007 09:18 pm
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Yes, Brenton, thanks very much, you answered on this one before I had time to get to it.

To be noted in addition to the technique is the reason why it is sometimes a good idea to do this. Obviously it is to help prevent the horse from getting its tongue over the bit, but that begs the question as to why horses do sometimes try to get their tongue over the bit.

One of the beliefs people have about bits is that any bit that bears upon the bars has got to be severe. And it is true that some bits that are designed to bear upon the bars ARE innately severe, in other words, very difficult to use without hurting the horse.

In general, we want horses to learn to carry whatever type of bit upon the tongue. They need to learn to carry it upon the tongue without doing any of the following things:

(a) Retracting the tongue to the back of the mouth/stuffing the base of the tongue into the pharynx

(b) Pulling the tongue back and then putting it forward again, over the bit

(c) Pulling the tongue back and then putting it forward again, outside the mouth

(d) Continually pulling the bit up and back, or playing with it or rattling it all the time

(e) Pushing the tongue or tongue plus braced neck forward against the bit

In many cases, when a horse is first bitted, their reaction seems to be that they will do whatever they can to avoid touching it with their tongue. This is the basic reason why they pull the tongue back, whether they later put it forward again or not.

Our task in teaching the horse how to work with a bit is to create the conditions whereby he will understand that he doesn't need to do this -- and also so that on an emotional level he deeply accepts the bit.

This is, then, the deeper reason why we tie the bit up. It isn't so much to prevent him from putting his tongue over it; it's more about taking some of the weight and pressure off the tongue, and, even more, making the biggest possible space there so he knows and has no doubt that he will always be able to slip his tongue forward underneath the bit.

Tying the bit up for a few days in the initial stages allows the horse a chance to learn that he can put his tongue forward under the bit and it isn't disgusting or harmful.

On the other hand, if he retracts the tongue, the base of the tongue is stuffed into the pharynx, and this partially cuts off the horse's air. This is why tongue-ties are used at the racetrack, because the horses there very commonly have no idea how to use a bit. So when the trainer sees that they are retracting the tongue (this will show up as reduced speed, since racing speed depends upon air intake), he'll apply the tongue tie. This of course is a mechanical means that merely puts off the time when the horse may meet someone who can educate him as regarding a bit.

But I am not against tongue ties at all, neither am I against the dental technique of installing bit-seats, which, like tying up the bit, causes the bit when it is pulled back to rise in the mouth so that there's plenty of space for the tongue to go underneath it. Bit seats have saved many a racehorse from having to wear a tongue tie.

But the ultimate solution can only come through the rider's feel. There has to come a point where you let the bit down. Generally, this is done gradually over a period of days. You watch the horse's reactions -- he should become quieter.

You also make sure to never bit a horse in any bit that does not properly fit him, and you educate yourself as to how to adjust the bit once it's in the headstall and in his mouth. Dave Elliott goes into this pretty extensively on our "Anatomy of Bitting" DVD. For there are multiple ways of adjusting any kind of bit, that are going to impact how it feels to the horse and how well he can accept it.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

cdodgen
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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 12:53 pm
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Dr. Deb,

Thank you for your time and response. 

 I have obtained the Bitting DVD series and have completed viewing the first disc; this one disc alone has changed the way I will look at a bit now and forever.  "Facts" that I knew about bits was challenged, exposed and corrected in a way that I had never before had the opportunity to hear and see. 

So here is a heart felt endorsement: If you care the least little bit (no pun intended) about the horses in your care, you will get your hands on this series and sink your teeth into it (pun intended ;0).

Cheryl


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