Thursday, March 10, 2011

Long shanks

"Edward I was a tall man for his era, hence the nickname "Longshanks". He was also temperamental, and this, along with his height, made him an intimidating man, and he often instilled fear in his contemporaries." ~ Wikipedia

It's a good thing that 'long shanks' in today's horsemanship does not conquer up the same ideas of  fear and intimidation as Longshanks did! 

This wasn't always the case though was it?...

Short shanks
I remember as a rider in my youth, the old fearful idea that long shanks on a bit meant severe and many people stayed away from them out of fear and lack of understanding. They were imitating to some. Remember?
I am often asked about shanks on a bit and the length and of course, which one to use when.

Shanks: No - tiny - short - medium - long  - extra long
"The mouthpiece is for the horse... the shanks are for the rider." ~ Dale Myler, of Myler bits

OK!... The shanks are for the rider. (please reread as long as necessary) Great!  Now we're getting some where!
Medium shanks

Short shanks
'One size does NOT fit all.'

Shank length general basics (several factors apply so keeping every factor the same for now... important to note):
1. The more rider hand movement, the shorter the shanks need to be (so as not to have repeated discomfort with the very frequent pulls on the bit). This applies to horse and/or rider.
2. The quieter and/or more skilled the rider's hands, the longer the shanks can be to refine communication.  ie. Longshanks!
3. The more timid and unsure of a rider's cues via the reins/bit, the longer the shanks need to be (so the communication is loud and clear for the horse and not vague.)
4. The rougher the rider's hands, the shorter the shanks need to be (as the rider is yelling at the horse via the reins/bit and may cause discomfort in the mouth).

Long shanks?
How long do your shanks need to be?

Need more help with this? please feel free to comment and ask questions. Love to have them!!

Putting my spin on bits and long shanks!
@KISS Reiners

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