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Mule Training - Bit Question!

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Mule Training - Bit Question!
  • Started up Sally Mule's training again. She's a sweetheart but evasion is her modus operandi. She is so mellow that it is also easy to forget how little she knows. She's had about 7 rides on her, right now the focus is forward motion, flexing the neck, yielding the hindquarters, whoa and back up. Of course we start with groundwork. She does very well with the rope halter but the snaffle bit doesn't really seem to work out by what I am seeing. If she opens her mouth the whole bit practically pulls through and it gives her confusing signals. I am thinking of trying out this shankless version of a gag/ hackamore combo:http://www.horse.com/item/reinsman-smooth-snaffle-ring-combiniation-bit/E003492/ it doesn't have the twisted wire or shanks that most bits of this type have. I think it will give her the familiar nose pressure that she is used to from the rope halter and also give consistent bar pressure, to help transition more smoothly to a bit. In the meantime I am just going to use a flat-nosed hackamore and do away with the snaffle, its causing more problems than it fixes.
  • just for fun, here is the big gal working with my husband in the roundpen. We both train her, its like having 'mom' and 'dad' - we work together to solve problems and she also learns the subtle differences between our signals, just like a kid does.
  • You have done the right thing, starting with groundwork and going to a snaffle. But training my own horses and working with professional trainers, I would not recommend using a hackamore or gag bit until the horse is more experienced. Putting more pressure or a nastier bit does not solve problems. It masks them until they become much much worse. If you would like, I can come up with a list of non-harsh bits that will get you the same result.