Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/Teaching a colt to take the bit?


Hi I am wondering how you would recommend I teach my young horse to take the bit. She has already had a few rides on her, but in a hackamore. She has not been ridden faster than the walk so she does not know to much about riding yet. I'm think she's going to be my reining and or show horse because she has the bloodlines for it, so I need her to take the bit
When I pit the bit in her mouth she plays with it and tries to get away from it because it's just the bit, not the headstall. I'm really just looking for some pointers, thanks!

Hi there,

Teaching a horse to accept the bit when they are young can be an easy thing to do if gone about it correctly. How old is your filly? I generally don't begin that part of their schooling until aged 3, but I know some people like to start a little early.

It sounds like she already takes the bit; however, I would recommend putting that bit on a headstall because in the "real world", that is what it would be attached to. She should learn to accept the pressure that the headstall places on the bit. It's great that she is getting used to the idea of it being in her mouth but the reality is that the headstall will hold the bit in place, not your hands. She is attempting to get away from the bit because it is just that: the bit. Once she has the headstall AND bit, she can try to evade it all she wants to, but it's not going anywhere, and that's what you want her to understand.

Being that she is young, of course she's going to play with the bit. It's in her mouth, and she's a youngster, so she's trying to figure out what all she can do with it. If she's able to be lunged in it, take her into the round pen, or put a halter over it and lunge her for a few minutes in it and let her figure out that no matter how much she fidgets with it, that bit isn't coming out.

You have the right idea, but the headstall is a must.

Hope this helps :)


Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

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Brittney Alexander


I can answer any question about English riding (pleasure and equitation), Western pleasure, transitioning into bitless riding, behavior, what to look for/how to buy a horse, & schooling issues. I can also answer questions about leasing contracts, as well as dealing with issues with boarders, barn managers, barn staff. Trying to find jobs with horses, or exercise riding jobs? I can answer questions about that too.


14 years total experience 4 years of initial professional training (as a rider) 7 years experience as an exercise rider 3 years experience as a trainer Currently working as a full time stable hand/groom & assistant barn manager I'm still learning everyday as working with horses is a learning experience everyday.

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