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Old 01-17-2008, 07:31 PM  
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gag bits?

I know what a gag looks like, and know that they are really harsh. I do not know how the bit acctually works and what makes it so harsh. Is there an acctual need for these things or is it just people trying to look the part? Help?
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:56 PM  
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I don't find them harsh at all if used properly. Of course there are some with incredibly long shanks, nasty mouthpieces and steel nosebands but there are also plenty of "milder" ones.

I like them (I do barrels and penning) because the gag action gives the horse a bit of "pre" warning to a cue coming. They are also much harder for a horse to learn to lean on and get a hard mouth because there is no fixed point.

In fact I start my colts in a plain snaffle then once they know the basics then I switch them to a half moon snaffle gag bit to start them on patterns. I find it easier to teach a horse to lift their shoulders and bend in a gag than I do in a plain snaffle.

I don't use bits with thin mouthpieces, extremely long shanks or twisted wire.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:03 PM  
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What makes the gag bit harsh is the whole thing all together. The mouthpiece is obviously just a regular broken mouthpiece like a snaffle, but what makes it harsh are the cheekpieces. The cheekpieces swivel which pinces the corners of the horses mouth, like a tomthumb, and pain is inflicted from the mouth which obviously hurts and makes them react quicker. The cheekpieces also force the horse to drop their poll to bring their head down. Instead of allowing the horse to give and drop their poll naturally if you trained them correctly, you are making them by manually drop it. Because the bit works off of pain it makes the horse look like it is actually gaging with their mouth open and not giving. It just forces the horse to do what you want by pain instead of a willing give to pressure. It also has to do with the hands that are handling it obviously along with anything else.
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:49 AM  
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Saying a bit is harsh is like saying guns kill and pencils mispell. It just ain't true, these are inanimate tools they don't do anything on their own. However, they can be misused and that misuse can cause a lot of damage. I agree with beth, gags tend to give a colt a lot of warning before they apply pressure. Well properly adjusted gags used by an educated and carefull rider give a lot of warning before applying pressure.

I start colts with and eggbut snaffle then ( I use it for teaching to give to the bit and for later ground driving) then I switch to a wonder bit. I ride my mare in a wonder bit because it gives so much warning that I hardly ever have to apply pressure to her mouth.
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:51 AM  
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I dont find the horriable, IF they are in the right hands. I ride my horse in She is a barrel racing horse. If you think of it any bit can be horriable in the wrong hands, Even a simple O ring snaffle can be!
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:54 AM  
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Gag bits are used alot in the polo world and they really do have a place. When used correctly they are a wonderful bit to ride in and serve many purposes. I agree with Thunder Gurlz when she says any bit can be bad in the wrong hands. Gag bits are like every other bit with purpose, place and time. I use them often and I do not believe they are harsh at all.
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Old 01-18-2008, 07:01 AM  
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sorry buckarett1 but can you show me one bit or hackamore that doesn't work off pain or pressure? the whole point of training is to teach the horse to give to this pressure in certain ways so that we can maneuver them in any way we need in any situation. every discipline and every sport is the same way. even riding in halters there is pain and pressure on the nose and the new bitless bridles put pressure on the underside of the jaw. there's no way to escape it. i've never personally used a gag but i have seen them used successfully and not so successfully. so i agree with what everyone else says they're like any bit and it's the user that matters.
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:58 PM  
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http://forum.horsetopia.com/tack-apparel-equipment/71713-bits-bitting-thread.html

Check out the above link. Gag bits are about halfway down the first page. Used correctly, they are actually really light bits, not harsh at all, as they give the horse a lot of time to respond.
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:24 PM  
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Quote "can you show me one bit or hackamore that doesn't work off pain or pressure? the whole point of training is to teach the horse to give to this pressure in certain ways so that we can maneuver them in any way we need in any situation. every discipline and every sport is the same way. even riding in halters there is pain and pressure on the nose and the new bitless bridles put pressure on the underside of the jaw. there's no way to escape it. i've never personally used a gag but i have seen them used successfully and not so successfully. so i agree with what everyone else says they're like any bit and it's the user that matters."

I never said anything about any other bit or hackamore that works off of pain or pressure. Of course they are going to work off of pressure, the pain is only inflicted by the hands who are using it. But for a gag bit, it does inflict pain on the bars and the tongue of the horses mouth which will a lot of times cause them to elevate their head and pull against the bit, what'll eventually happen is the horse will learn to brace against the pressure. I also want to point out that it is very easy to receive advice from those who watch from the fenceline instead of those that actually do it, for a living. There are way too many people who think they know all of the answers about training a horse or in this case gag bits, but they don't. The reason for people to use correction bits, such as a gag bit, is because they do not have the ability or knowledge to take their horse on any further such as the making of a bridle horse, which is as far as you can go in the training of a horse. Many do not know what a bridle horse is or even ever heard of one, which is the first problem.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:57 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckarette1 View Post
I never said anything about any other bit or hackamore that works off of pain or pressure. Of course they are going to work off of pressure, the pain is only inflicted by the hands who are using it. But for a gag bit, it does inflict pain on the bars and the tongue of the horses mouth which will a lot of times cause them to elevate their head and pull against the bit, what'll eventually happen is the horse will learn to brace against the pressure. I also want to point out that it is very easy to receive advice from those who watch from the fenceline instead of those that actually do it, for a living. There are way too many people who think they know all of the answers about training a horse or in this case gag bits, but they don't. The reason for people to use correction bits, such as a gag bit, is because they do not have the ability or knowledge to take their horse on any further such as the making of a bridle horse, which is as far as you can go in the training of a horse. Many do not know what a bridle horse is or even ever heard of one, which is the first problem.
I'm sorry but I'll have to disagree with you. Only used improperly like any other bit in the world does a horse learn to brace against them. A properly fitted bit no matter what the design or purpose will not pinch or cause pain.

And yes, I do understand and know exactly what goes into creating a bridle horse. And yes, I and many others on this board have ridden true bridle horses. Have I trained one of my own? Not yet but I have a gelding that will be (I hope, it's up to him as well) a future bridle horse.

Please do not make assumptions.
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:37 PM  
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Okay, so this is a debate. I am curious as to what situations everyone would think this bit would be appropriate (sp?). I ride h/j, have a VERY hot horse in my barn and went to the tack shoppe to get a gag and the lady ran me out and asked if I knew anything about horses! Needless to say they were selling elevator bits which are a form of gag. do not know, and i am neither here nor there on this bit, think all problems should be handled with flat work if they are "fixable". There is such a stigma about bits. How would one of these be used correctly? Just gentle hands?
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:40 PM  
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I do like that yall are saying it is not the bits that are harsh but the hands that use them. never really thought about it like that.
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:45 PM  
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I ride Cleo in a sliding gag bit. I had her in a grazing bit which is what they showed her in, but she would toss her head and just seem irritated. I asked what she was trained in and they handed me a sliding gag. I tried it out and she was a 100% different horse. She was relaxed, had her foxtrotter head-shake going on, it was great. Have ridden her with the sliding gag bit ever since. Any bit can be brutal in the wrong hands.
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:50 PM  
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Bah, gag bits aren't that harsh. They're lighter than a fixed curb bit when they're adjusted properly, because they give the horse warning before they apply firm pressure.

I use them when I need a lot of lateral movement and "pick up," or when I'm teaching collection or the above.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:23 PM  
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Quote "And yes, I do understand and know exactly what goes into creating a bridle horse. And yes, I and many others on this board have ridden true bridle horses. Have I trained one of my own? Not yet but I have a gelding that will be (I hope, it's up to him as well) a future bridle horse."

I looked on your bitting thread. If you do not understand what a bosal , nor what a spade bit is used for . You obviously do not understand what makes a true bridle horse. I'm not here to debate with you, but a true bridle horse is what those pieces of tack are used for. Spade bits are as far as a horse can go in their training , if they are fit for it and a bosal is used only for those who go into a two-rein. Gag bits are not in the picture of making a bridle horse , as they are a device or gimmick . They work for barrel horses , which is fine , but they don't work in the bridlehorse world .
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:38 AM  
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First off, buckerette, you quoted the wrong person. I wrote the Bits and Bitting thread, and Beth55051 is the one who is calling you out for calling us out. We are not the same.

However, I most certainly DO know what a bosal and spade bit are. I simply didn't want to attempt to teach others with my own limited knowledge on the subject, so I asked for help from the experts in order to make the information online as complete and accurate as I could. I don't like to make assumptions or put erroneous "facts" where others can see and read them.

I never claimed that I am capable of training the true Californio way. That is a style of horsemanship that I admire from afar. There aren't many vaqueros where I live, and nowhere to learn.

On the other hand, having a horse ride in a spade bit (or making a full bridle horse) is certainly NOT desireable in every instance. You mentioned barrel racing; fine, that's my area of expertise. Having a spade bit in a barrel horse's mouth could be absolutely disasterous. The same with a dressage horse, or a hunter/jumper, etc.

The only problem I have is you attacking us with no provocation, saying that we "sit on the fencelines" and "don't actually do it," as well as you dismissing gag bits because they are cruel and unusual punishment and only fools use them. I beg to differ. Have you every actually studied bit mechanics, as some of us have?
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:49 AM  
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"It is useful in that is provides more control than a basic snaffle bit, but does not increase the severity of the pressure on the tongue or bars of the mouth. However, a gag bit encourages a high, stiff neck"

From Wikipedia

Another great article from a Gold Medalist -

http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...gagbit_021405/
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:51 AM  
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It depends on the particular gag bit as for stiff necks, I think, doyle (by the way, I love the horse in your avatar!). I personally like to use a half wonder bit to teach collection and flexion.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:55 AM  
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I agree with the stiff necks and it beings dependent on not only the bit but the rider as well.
Just qated to quote the whoel paragraph as its in direct conflict to Buckarettes post

"But for a gag bit, it does inflict pain on the bars and the tongue of the horses mouth which will a lot of times cause them to elevate their head and pull against the bit, what'll eventually happen is the horse will learn to brace against the pressure"

And thank you! IU love my boy as well!
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:44 AM  
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A gag bit is a gimmick bit and that was my only point here. I am not here to attack anyone personally or anything, I am just trying to make a point that gag bits are for quick fixes and don't work for those who train horses in persay the "californio" way or just in the making of bridle horses in general. Like what was said earlier, they work great for barrels and other disciplines . And yes I understand the mechanics of how bits work, if not I wouldn't be posting about this.
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