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Horses/grabbing hold of the bit


Hello Lynne. this is a question on horses that GRAB HOLD OF THE BIT. none of the experts are answering this question. hope you can answer it.

Question : i work in a thoroughbred racing stable. i am aware that horses grab hold of the bit through their premolars, runway with the bit round the track wasting their energy. why do they do it especially babies? my stable jockeys keep complaining that's the horse grabbed the bit. that's the reason why they had no other option other than just sitting in the saddle patiently. please explain me what is the cause and how to fix the problem.

note : this is a sincere request not to ignore this question

Having been licensed as a trainer on the race track and will warn you that my answer contains some info that may be considered heresy to some people U.S. race trackers.

In general, horses run in the U.S. are UNTRAINED runaway rocket ships. Jockeys, are often justifiably a little afraid of all that uncontrolled power and tend to lay on the horses mouth.  What would you do if you had a sensitive mouth and a 110 pound jockey was sawing on it with a metal bit?  I am certain you have noticed that some horses naturally have lighter mouths than others.

If you look at statistics, horses that worked BUT NOT RACED in their two-year old year have less injuries as three-year olds than horses that are not worked as 2-year olds or horses that are run as 2-year olds.

My solution was to ride my horses as two year olds after cattle, on the trail, swimming and other ways to develop their muscles and minds without putting too much stress on them.  Long rides with trotting and later in the summer long SLOW gallops.  All this time I was teaching them the same thing I would teach any other horse, to give to the bit.  Now when I took the same horse to the track, they might give too much when the jockey pulled on them.  My solution was to wrap a wide snaffle in latex bandage. Now my soft mouthed horse could tolerate the jockeys unrelenting pull but was still controllable.

back when I was much younger and used to ride mornings at the track, I would occasionally draw one of those bit grabbers.  Sometimes I could finesse my way out of it...often I couldn't.  Since there is no way to get your riders to stop laying on a horse's mouth, train your horse before he goes to the track.

I understand that trainers with lots of colts don't have time to do this right.  However, ask yourself what you would say to Olympic coach who explained to you that when he was training athlete to run a mile, he planned to lock them in a closet for 23 hours a day and bring them out for about an hour and either have them walk in circles or run them through their event and then stuff them back in a closet.  I am sure you would note that an hour a day is not sufficient conditioning and in addition, the isolation of the closet would build sociopaths.

I had a Thoroughbred who won an English Pleasure class exactly one week after he won his first out by 9 1/2 lengths, one half second off the track record. The week before that race, he was camping up in the mountains with me.  He was a trained athlete, not a runaway rocket ship.


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Lynne Curtis


I do not participate in shows any more so some of my show specific knowledge could be out of date.


I have been involved in horses for approximately 45 years. I showed hunters, jumpers and stock horses. In the 80's I was licensed as a trainer on the race track. I have run broodmare operations, delivered foals and taught everything from what to feed and which end the shoes go on to advanced jumping. I tend to be impatient with owners who think their horses prefer to be locked up in confined spaces. Even my show and race horses rarely spent more than only the night before an event in a stall...the rest of the time they had room to run. In 1975 I rode a Quarter Horse Stallion and a Thoroughbred Mare solo from Minneapolis to San Francisco.

The Long Riders Guild (an international organization of equestrian explorers who have ridden over 1,000 miles for non-commercial purposes)

"The Long Ride" Published in Women Sports Magazine March of 1975 an article regarding the author's cross country horseback ride from Minnesota to California. "A Horse is a Horse,of Course" An article regarding investigating horse incidents and the Equine Liability Act for investigators and attorneys. published in The Legal Investigator, February 2004 "Investigating Animal Cases:" A chapter written at the request of the editors for a professional textbook entitled Advanced Forensic Civil Investigations published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing June, 1997 "Murder by Another Name:" An article published in The John Cook Fraud Report, December 1994 regarding the intentional killing of horses for greed and insurance fraud. "The Responsibilities of Horse Owners in Rural Communities:" A paper presented before the Regional Seminar of the National Association of Legal Investigators in November 1987 at Phoenix, Arizona. "The Old Gray Mare is Worth $10,000,000 Now." A professional paper on the investigation of cases involving bloodstock and racetracks presented before the National Conference of the National Association of Legal Investigators in Washington, D.C., June 1986.

Approximately 3 years of confined degree. Advanced degree from the university of experience :>)

Awards and Honors
Recepient of the 1st place Anthony M. Golec Editor-Publisher Award 2004

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