Equine Studies Institute
Online Course

Bits, Saddle Fitting and Hoof Balance

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          Bits are designed to create discomfort in the hope the horse, to avoid the discomfort, will respond in particular way—a response which satisfies the rider. There is no other way to explain how a bit works.  All the fancy names for bits, all the claims for gentle, kind bits cannot change the facts.  So the key is in choosing a bit which is most comfortable for your horse, and knowing how to use the bit. One of the most surprising things students will learn is that there are only two kinds of bits—snaffles and curbs.

           It would be hard to over-emphasize the importance of the correct fit and placement of saddles.  Horses suffer sore and injured backs more frequently due to saddles that rub or apply uneven pressure than for any other reason; this lesson teaches the student how to determine proper saddle fit for any discipline.

         The shoeing of a horse is a necessity born from our horse management practices and modern life. The goal is to balance the horse’s hoof in relationship to his conformation, and to protect the hoof from damage. Students will learn how to measure the hoof, determine hoof balance and select the shoe and the shoe placement which is of most benefit to the horse.  Various horse shoes and their uses are explained.  Shoeing horses in an attempt to overcome lameness and hoof damage are discussed.

               I. Bits
                    A. Types
                    B. Severe or Mild?
                    C. Mouth Conformation
                    D. Types of Mouth Pieces

             II. Saddle Fitting
                     A.  Determine proper placement
                     B.  Check for correct fit
                     C.  Types of pads and blankets

             III. The Hoof
                     A. Balance
                     B. Anatomy of the Hoof
                     C. Assessment of the Hoof
                     D. Types of Shoes

              IV. Hoof Problems
                     A. Do Supplements Work?
                     B. Long Toes, Low Heels
                     C. Navicular
                     D. Cracks
                     E. Club Feet
                     F. Laminitis

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