Kate asked what kinds of bits I was trying yesterday. The first was this bit, but WITHOUT the twisted wire. Regular smooth mouthpiece. He played with it and tried to get the shanks in his mouth.
He wore it for a while and then we went to the round pen to try it, since we've never used anything like this before. He did great. He seemed less distracted by this bit and mostly followed my body cues with very very little use of the bit. But he played with it a lot and I can see why they call that roller a "cricket." It makes a lot of noise. I'm going to keep riding him in it over the next several days and see if he settles into it.
Why am I trying new bits again? Tonka plays with and chews on his bit constantly. It's very distracting to both of us. I'm hoping to find something he likes in his mouth, that he will mess with less. And if it distracts him less, I can use it less, because he'll be paying attention to other cues, and if we use it less, maybe he'll be happier and play with it less. I know, I'm grasping at straws. I don't know if this will help, but it shouldn't hurt.
I don't like any of the bitless options, I'd rather find a way for my horse to be comfortable and quiet in a bit. I also will not tie his mouth shut. If he really needs to play with his bit, he can.
Anyone else have a bit-chewer? What did you do to fix the problem? Changes in gear or the way you ride or handle your horse in general? Don't worry, I'm not just looking at the bits, I'm looking at myself as well.