Of course, when using a new bit, I allow my young horse to acquire a feel for the new gear by riding him quietly for a day or so until I think he is ready to advance in his training. Rarely do I ever have to go back to his earlier equipment to reassure a young horse, but this option is always open. How Bits affect Pressure in the Mouth In a snaffle, a horse feels pressure most in the corners of his mouth. Then, as the horse becomes soft through the poll and learns how to carry the bit, the bit also exerts some bar pressure. The Billy Allen mouthpiece with the roller in the center reduces the scissor action of the previously described bit, so creates a little more tongue pressure than that applied by a snaffle. When the curb chain is introduced on a shanked bit with snaffle mouthpiece, pressure is applied to exterior points on the horse’s jaw. That’s because the mouthpiece’s hinged center creates a scissor effect, so pressure is applied on the outside of the bars. Palate pressure is created with a high-port spade bit, which, when engaged, puts pressure on the roof of the horse’s mouth. Headgear & Communication by Dick Pieper Headgear The headgear I use – bosals, bits, bridles and other equipment – has a critical effect on my ability to clearly communicate with horses, so it’s important that I choose headgear carefully. Headgear selection is always an important consideration as a horse’s training progresses. Although many people start colts in a snaffle bit, I prefer starting a young horse in a halter, then go to the hackamore and then later change to a snaffle bit. When a horse responds well in the snaffle, the initial leverage-type bit I typically use is a short-shanked bit with a snaffle-type mouthpiece, followed by a long-shanked snaffle, usually a Billy Allen bit. After that, any one of an endless varety of bits might be selected for a particular horse. In addition, I might use other equipment in conjunction with a bit to achieve specific things when I’m training a horse. But not matter if that item of equipment is a noseband or cavesson, a martingale of some sort, or draw reins, once I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, that added equipment goes back in the tack room and I resume riding the horse with only the bridle. Dick Pieper is internationally recognized as a horseman’s horseman and this iconic individual has influenced and developed the careers of riders and trainers for decades. After fifty plus years in the horse industry, his name has come to stand for a special brand of arena excellence that never compromised the welfare of the horse Introducing Different Headgear I normally like to introduce new things to a horse on Tuesday or Wednesday. After my horses are off on Sunday, I like to have a day or two for a refresher course in familiar equipment before I change anything. Then, when I introduce a different bridle, I have three or four days to familiarize the colt with the new equipment before he has another day off. Whether I am changing from a hackamore to a snaffle, from the snaffle to the hackamore, or from either one of those to a short-shanked leverage bit with a snaffle mouthpiece, the transition should be smooth if I have done my work properly. List Your Products & Horses for Sale, Stallions, Services and Events on our Website! Marketplace.HorseDigests.com www.PerformanceHorseDigest.com 56 Issue 6 • 2015