Goats and Bits
#1
In the interest of not letting Cuzco run away with Santa again this year in the Christmas parade, I've been considering putting him in a bit instead of continuing to drive him in a halter. One problem with driving in a halter is that you have to get it super snug to keep it from riding up the nose when you pull on the reins. Even so, it tends to ride up the nose anyway, and it always rubs the hair off because halters aren't really designed for side-to-side pulling. So I've been thinking about trying a bit and I found a tiny little 3 1/2" miniature horse bit at Mini Express. The lady was very amused when I told her I was buying it for a goat, and she couldn't believe that goats come in Cuzco size. I decided on copper since goats usually crave copper (they regularly rewire our trailers and have attacked our internet twice) and I went with a French link snaffle since goats appear to have fairly low palates. I made a little headstall for it which was quite easy since goats with horns don't need browbands or throatlatches. I still need to make a noseband as this will help stabilize the bit and prevent it being accidentally pulled through the mouth. 

As a side note, I used to wonder why driving bridles were made with the noseband run through the cheekpieces. Riding bridles are designed with the cavesson as a separate piece and its only function is to discourage the horse from evading the bit by gaping his mouth or getting his tongue over the bit. A driving noseband has these functions too, but with the strap running through the cheekpieces, it becomes a safety feature since it prevents the bit from being able to be pulled through the mouth. Pulling on the bit can also engage the noseband to assist in turning the head. 

So how did Cuzco react to the bit? The answer is, not much. He shook his head a few times, chomped a little, then seemed to accept it pretty well. I led him around with it the first day and was amazed by how light a touch I could use to direct him. I drove him in it yesterday and he was very light in my hands. This is the first time he has not succeeded in turning the cart around whenever he felt like it. We still had problems on the way home--this is usually when he likes to take off at a run. I successfully held him to a rather prancey walk without much difficulty, but he did a lot of head-shaking, and occasionally he came to a dead stop if he pulled too hard in protest. It wasn't perfect, but at least he was responding. So after 12 years of driving we finally have proper brakes! We're going to need to practice some more over the next couple of weeks before the parade, but I think I may have found the key to driving this goat comfortably without ground assistance. 

I also tried the bit on Finn and Sputnik. They protested madly about having it installed, but Finn accepted it quite well within a few minutes. Sputnik never stopped chomping on it throughout our walk yesterday, and both goats have a hard time taking treats with the bit in, but I think with gentle practice they'll come to accept it as part of the routine. They'll need to grow a lot more before I can start driving them in it because right now it's too wide for their mouths, but I figure they can just wear it for now and get used to the feel.
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Messages In This Thread
Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 11-23-2015, 09:49 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Taffy - 11-24-2015, 11:11 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 04-30-2016, 11:14 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 05-01-2016, 06:57 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-01-2016, 10:35 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-11-2016, 12:30 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 05-11-2016, 07:23 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-11-2016, 05:15 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 05-12-2016, 05:33 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-12-2016, 05:54 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 05-13-2016, 07:59 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-13-2016, 10:40 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-13-2016, 11:34 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-13-2016, 11:35 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 05-14-2016, 05:38 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-19-2016, 06:12 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by hihobaron - 05-20-2016, 10:05 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by DownUnder Gal - 05-21-2016, 12:15 AM
RE: Goats and Bits - by LeonRembowski - 08-21-2020, 05:42 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 08-21-2020, 08:21 PM
RE: Goats and Bits - by Nanno - 08-23-2020, 02:32 PM

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