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Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Bits & Bitting – Young Horses

By Dean Briggs

 

April 2013 issue  

 

      Q: Do you start two-year-olds in a halter, a bosal, or a snaffle bit? What considerations do you make for a young horse’s mouth, no matter what headgear you use?  

 

 

      A: I start all young starter colts, usually 2 or 3 years old, in a halter.  I always make them pack a snaffle bit, along with the halter, right from the first saddling so that they get used to the feel of the bit. By about the fifth ride, I start using the bit. By this time, the colt has accepted the feel of the bit and it’s no surprise when I start using it. 

 


      Before I start young horses, I always check their teeth to make sure they have no wolf teeth or sharp points. Teeth make a huge difference in how they start. If there are wolf teeth, they need to come out. Wolf teeth are very shallow rooted teeth, and if the bit hits them, it will agitate the horse. If the teeth have sharp points, the horse feels pain every time you pick up on the reins, because the bit pushes those sharp points into the horse’s cheeks. This can cause problems like head tossing or not wanting to turn in one direction. If the teeth are sharp, they should be floated, which is the process of smoothing off those sharp points.

 

 

      Horses have been the central influence of Dean Briggs’ life. He has competed in rodeos, cutting, and reining and has taken hundreds of horses from beginning to finished bridle horse. He and his wife Wendy own Briggs Quarter Horses and Jefferson Valley Equine Center in Whitehall , Montana . They raise and train horses and teach people the art of horsemanship. 406-287-3670. www.briggsranch.com.    

 

 

Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

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