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View Full Version : Bits other than a 3 ring for a freight train



3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 08:43 AM
I have a horse that rides like a freight train. She is 7 and I just got her just a little while ago so I am doing smaller stuff (1.20 meters) with her while I get the hang of her. Meanwhile, because the fences are small for her, she can get quite playful and tends to get strong. VERY strong.

I am riding her currently with a plain snaffle and those CWD reins which fix your hands in place (they have handle things), as well as a running martingale. The reins are a huge help (was losing my reins on course all the time because she would pull and snatch them after a fence).

I am working on getting her right on the flat, so I don't need any suggestions there ..... but in the meantime, coach says that I need a stronger bit. He suggested maybe a 3 ring. I'm not crazy about 3-ring bits, and was wondering what other bits might be good for a strong puller.

The thing is, I don't want to get too strong of a bit because she is a heffalump German warmblood who loves a LOT of contact when she jumps. And if I get too strong of a bit, I am afraid that it might be too much bit given the contact that she requires.

So these are the bits that are coming to mind :

Kimberwicke
Baucher
3 ring (pessoa)

Thoughts? Other suggestions? Experiences?

Thanks! :)


Edit: just to clarify, the pulling is more downward ....

Vero
Jul. 6, 2009, 08:46 AM
My mare that can get quite strong (same situation, doesn't like jumping the smaller fences) goes really nicely in a mullen mouth happy mouth 2-ring. She did not go well in a single jointed, but she really likes the mullen mouth. I use 2 sets of reins, I mostly use the 'snaffle' rein and only bring in the leverage rein when I really need it.

DMK
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:20 AM
how about a good old fashioned true gag where you can put a rein on for direct contact and have the second rein as the gag for those moments when the occasion calls for it?

That's always my favorite option for a horse that roots before or after a fence, because it can be strong to mild depending on your use of it.

3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:31 AM
Those are both really good suggestions, but I am afraid with the reins I am using (CWD with handle thingys) it might be too complicated with two sets of reins. Dunno, maybe I'm wrong? With normal reins, I cannot hang on ! With two sets, it might be worse.

mvp
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:32 AM
How about something like a Waterford? You could also try a thin, french loose ring snaffle, but the Waterford, built from more links of chain, is the more extreme example of an unstable bit.

I have had success with those for particular types of pullers and personalities. This bit could make things better or worse for your mare.

They work well for horses who first seek contact and then generally get heavier and heavier. The ideal Waterford candidate is smart, secure and changes her mind in a pretty predictable fashion. This kind of horse is one who needs to be set up to have to carry herself because the bit and your hands don't create a steady wall.

The kind of horse this kind of bit will make worse is the scared, "make a big, panicky move, ask questions later" horse. So the one who throws her head and even shoulders around in a huge when when she comes up against a bit she doesn't like will not benefit from a Waterford.

The key to riding with a Waterford is also in the way the rider uses her hands. I think this is a bit that depends on contrast. Contact and support while the horse is going well must be minimal. The minute the horse starts to get heavy, the rider need to apply more pressure rather quickly, especially on the side that starts to feel heavy, and then let go just as quickly when the horse comes back.

To know if the Waterford is for your mare, you perhaps need to decide how quickly she goes from a bit too heavy to freight train. If she is mentally secure, a horse with a "big personality" she may benefit from a bit that feels complicated to deal with even if she is quick about becoming a freight train.

I hope this makes sense.

"A"HunterGal
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:42 AM
Could you post a link to the CWD handle reins? I'm not quite understanding. Is your hand going through some sort of strap to keep it in place?

As for bits, I would stear away from a Kimberwick at all costs. I love the idea of the "true gag", as well as the 3 ring, but you might need to learn to use two reins.

The whole "handle rein" thing sounds odd to me, as it doesn't allow for adjustments.

You could move up to a corkscrew for jumping and then a plain snaffle to flat. Since the heaviness isn't such an issue there, having two bits might work well for this mare. Almost all the jumpers I know have two separate bits, one for flat and one for jump, and the extra power, since it's ONLY used when jumping, doesn't do any damage to their mouths. Just a little extra brake.

3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:47 AM
Thanks, mvp that was a great (and clear!) post.

It sounds like a waterford might be something to try. Despite her strength and pulling, she is really even tempered and not the panicky type. Her 'big moves' are always towards a fence (like going down a line) and sometimes dragging in the corners. She's not the panicky pulling type at all, more of a steady puller which can get steadily worse by the end of the course. It's not sudden moves or throwing her head, it's just a steady pull. She has a lot of scope and a ton of strength (father is world cup level, she will do at least 1.40 meter classes), I am more dealing with brute strength than anything else.

I have a pretty soft hand (or so I've been told :) ), and despite her pulling I do keep an even contact. Is the waterford really harsh? I do want to avoid making her back off too much. No, I don't like pulling BUT I do not mind (and even prefer) a horse that brings me to a fence, if that makes any sense...

From what I have described, does she sound like a candidate for a waterford to you?

Someone had told me that baucher can be good for pullers as well. Do you know which would be a harsher bit?

3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:51 AM
Could you post a link to the CWD handle reins? I'm not quite understanding. Is your hand going through some sort of strap to keep it in place?

As for bits, I would stear away from a Kimberwick at all costs. I love the idea of the "true gag", as well as the 3 ring, but you might need to learn to use two reins.

The whole "handle rein" thing sounds odd to me, as it doesn't allow for adjustments.


This is the best picture I could find (click on zoom to get a better view):

http://www.padd.fr/boutique_equitation_Z00122.htm#

(Sorry, it's in French!)

The reins actually do allow for adjustments, since there are several 'handles' so you can change rein length.

Curious -- why would you stay away from a kimberwicke?

spmoonie
Jul. 6, 2009, 11:06 AM
My pony used to be a freight train. He has never had a very sensitive mouth. I tried a lot of things on him including a baucher(didnt work--a baucher has no more stopping power than a snaffle IMO). What did work is a twisted wire. NOT the kind of really thin twisted wire that barrel racers use or anything. It is a tad bit thinner than a regular snaffle so he can feel it more, and the twist gives me those extra brakes that I need. My pony is much happier now--no more fighting and jerking to try and get him to stop. We are able to communicate better and there is much less frustration. :)

ETA: To address the concern about contact, with the twisted wire, I havent had any issues with my guy not wanting to come onto the bit. He is still soft and accepts contact on the flat and over fences.

mvp
Jul. 6, 2009, 11:53 AM
3eme-- from your original post I thought you might "get" the novel I wrote.

I must say I'm too old (and my current horse too broke) to have figured out how and when to use a baucher. I can't speak of them with nearly the sophistication you would want.

It sounds like you could try a Waterford, or really the whole "the bit is unstable" strategy with a different bit if you don't have one of these lying around. That comes in part from the way you use your hands. This mare might be the "contrast maven" one who wants you to travel with a loop in your reins unless "you have something to say." Perhaps she needs to be abandoned while carrying herself so that the bit means something appreciably different when you pick up contact.

You may have a couple of ugly experimental rides on the flat or over poles where you leave that loop in your reins, invite her to get quick or strong, pick up the reins to ask her to rock back and then set her on her ass once or twice if she doesn't say "yes ma'am" to the rein pressure you give her.

I know it sounds unorthodox, but sometimes smart, forward, "big personality-ed" horse do well when they are taught to hover behind the bit. That way, the bit and educated contact you have offered doesn't come across as an annoying inconvenience. Instead, the new deal you offer them is "You get to do what you want until I ask for something different. In exchange, you need to answer immediately when I do. I won't ask unless I mean it." You didn't set up the situation that requires this, she did. Now you are running out of hardware and techniques to get the "come back now" response you need, so you need to think outside the correct box.

Think of a guy like Jimmy Williams who was willing to draw on whatever strategy worked for his horses. This one-- the "hovering behind the bit" idea-- comes from the western world, and so long as you have engagement from the hind end (which I'm quite sure you do), it doesn't really matter how you ride in your hand so long as it works for your horse.

What you describe in the lines speaks volumes to the problem. I think it's really hard to land with a strong, going horse, know you have no effective half halt that works Now, and then not get into the pulling contest. You have to do what you have to do the get out of the line alive, right?

So I know you don't want or need a flat work lecture. But read what I suggested above about teaching this mare a basically different relationship with the bit and see if that might help.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 6, 2009, 12:06 PM
speak of them with nearly the sophistication you would want.

It sounds like you could try a Waterford, or really the whole "the bit is unstable" strategy with a different bit if you don't have one of these lying around. .


My strong opinionated mare loved her loose ring cherry roller. It is another "unstable" kind of bit. She would take a contact on it but not run through it and not throw a hissy fit if I gave her a half halt. I did discover that she likes "fatter" bits as well. Some times you have sort out what sort of shape their mouth is...i.e. do they do better with thin or fat bits.

http://www.bitofbritain.com/Loose_Ring_Cherry_Roller_Bit_p/732.htm

Alternatively to the bits....you could go with one of the levered nose bands. I've never used one but they are popular with many train like event horses.

http://www.bitofbritain.com/Nunn_Finer_Adjustable_Lever_Noseband_p/0080.htm

Parker_Rider
Jul. 6, 2009, 12:07 PM
are your mare and my gelding cousins because that's what my boy does! He's huge, he's a freight train and he likes to go downhill.... he's trainable and he's learning but God is he hard to ride!! (He also has a neck like a giraffe and is about twice as long as the avg horse...)

We've had him in a slow twist gag with a figure eight for a while and that worked well, but the figure eight couldn't keep his mouth shut - he's very adept at finding ways to avoid work ;) so then we switched him to a short shank (2 ring) myler, with the rawhide noseband, but for Parker it was too much, it made him very nervous/upset that I had that much control - maybe your less-emotional horse (mine is emo to the extreme ;)) would do well in this?

Right now, Park's going fabulously in a single twisted loose ring with a crank noseband and a flash. It's slightly less than enough bit, but because he can't avoid the bid with the crank/flash, he's going really really well and I can actually control him and be able to fine tune our rounds.

It's taken a lot of experimenting with the different bits to figure out what will make him less of a train in. Maybe one of these will help your girl? I'd try everything but the Myler first, unless you can borrow one to try, since I paid ~$110 for that bit ;)

july
Jul. 6, 2009, 12:45 PM
If your mare is so strong that you need to use those reins, I would go much stronger then a snaffle! The hardest part is keeping her (forward) like a magnet on the jump. I've recently had this "issue" with a horse in training - I want the horses to take me to the jump but when you can't get the numbers you want down a line - that's not fun or safe at 1.40!
Did you ask the old riders what they showed her in?
I understand in France you have a lot of bit options at 1.20 (unlike in NL or DE)
What about a pelham with a converter? (I know that sounds so "kindergarden" but you know that the last two year in Germany the young horses are allowed pelhams? - it used to be 3 rings but it's been changed)
You can get the nice converters from CWD which allow you to "adjust" the tention between how much leverage you use on the top vs. bottom.
Gags and 2/3 rings could also work, and you can ride in a gag with one rein when you want!

3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 01:01 PM
If your mare is so strong that you need to use those reins, I would go much stronger then a snaffle! The hardest part is keeping her (forward) like a magnet on the jump. I've recently had this "issue" with a horse in training - I want the horses to take me to the jump but when you can't get the numbers you want down a line - that's not fun or safe at 1.40!
Did you ask the old riders what they showed her in?
I understand in France you have a lot of bit options at 1.20 (unlike in NL or DE)
What about a pelham with a converter? (I know that sounds so "kindergarden" but you know that the last two year in Germany the young horses are allowed pelhams? - it used to be 3 rings but it's been changed)
You can get the nice converters from CWD which allow you to "adjust" the tention between how much leverage you use on the top vs. bottom.
Gags and 2/3 rings could also work, and you can ride in a gag with one rein when you want!

Yeah, woulda asked the former owner. But she was like 13 and did really little stuff with her, getting dragged around at 1.0 meters, until she fell off and broke her arm. :eek: So I'm thinking, I wouldn't want to follow her example bit-wise (or otherwise!)

Agreed about the safety thing. I mean, leaving out a stride now at 1.20, OKAY...but when the fences get higher, yeah I think I'd like to avoid that.

Pelham might be a good idea. Hadn't thought of that.

Words of Wisdom
Jul. 6, 2009, 01:29 PM
The first thing I would try would be a gag. After that, a pelham, probably either a happy mouth or rubber mullen, possibly with a converter if you're set on using those CWD reins. Both will help with lifting her up, both in front of the fence, and on the back side, where it sounds like she's getting away from you.

neigh.neigh
Jul. 6, 2009, 04:53 PM
Yes a pelham would definitely help you! Your horse sounds just like mine. I actually ordered a custom bit from a tack shop at HITS Saugerties. It is a pelham with a hinged mouthpiece instead of a regular snaffle. It keeps my mares head up with more control then a regular pelham.

http://www.equusport.com/item.php?item_id=699&page=2&category_id=60

This is the exact bit I ordered. Mine was $250 but you can get it hear for $300, Pricey but I love it!

klmck63
Jul. 6, 2009, 04:59 PM
I have a pretty soft hand (or so I've been told :) ), and despite her pulling I do keep an even contact. Is the waterford really harsh? I do want to avoid making her back off too much. No, I don't like pulling BUT I do not mind (and even prefer) a horse that brings me to a fence, if that makes any sense...


The waterford isn't particularly harsh, you just have to know how to use it correctly or it looses it's effectiveness as the horse becomes more accustomed to it.

My old mare sounds just like yours, big german warmblood that loves to jump and really drags you down lines. We would alternate between a waterford and pelham, sometimes flatting in a slow twist full cheek for those 'good days' when she was cooperating.

3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 05:01 PM
Yes a pelham would definitely help you! Your horse sounds just like mine. I actually ordered a custom bit from a tack shop at HITS Saugerties. It is a pelham with a hinged mouthpiece instead of a regular snaffle. It keeps my mares head up with more control then a regular pelham.

http://www.equusport.com/item.php?item_id=699&page=2&category_id=60

This is the exact bit I ordered. Mine was $250 but you can get it hear for $300, Pricey but I love it!

dangerous little website you have there.... :winkgrin:

thanks!

"A"HunterGal
Jul. 6, 2009, 05:03 PM
All the bit suggestions sound fine, but am I the only one who has a problem with those reins?? It looks so easy to get your hand caught in a fall and get dragged around! Isn't this exactly why we DON"T loop the reins around our hands? What if you get dumped into a jump and need them to brace your fall, but guess what, your wrist with through the "handle" and now you are essentially tied to the horse?

3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 05:42 PM
All the bit suggestions sound fine, but am I the only one who has a problem with those reins?? It looks so easy to get your hand caught in a fall and get dragged around! Isn't this exactly why we DON"T loop the reins around our hands? What if you get dumped into a jump and need them to brace your fall, but guess what, your wrist with through the "handle" and now you are essentially tied to the horse?

Your hands aren't wrapped up in the reins, and if you fall you just let go, like regular reins. No more dangerous than stirrups, really.

Small Change
Jul. 6, 2009, 05:47 PM
How exactly do you hold those CWD reins? I can't quite figure it out just from looking at them... Do you loop them over your wrist and hold then as per usual, or is there some special way of feeding your hand between the two pieces? Also, I can't see the special "hinge" aspect of that pelham. Does anyone care to explain more? It looks to me just like a regular pelham (although with sort of a "fixed" mouthpiece, as opposed to the ones that are able to move up and down the shank of the pelham somewhat.).

Just curious! (And apparently no good at interpreting pictures, either!)

3eme
Jul. 6, 2009, 05:53 PM
How exactly do you hold those CWD reins? I can't quite figure it out just from looking at them... Do you loop them over your wrist and hold then as per usual, or is there some special way of feeding your hand between the two pieces? Also, I can't see the special "hinge" aspect of that pelham. Does anyone care to explain more? It looks to me just like a regular pelham (although with sort of a "fixed" mouthpiece, as opposed to the ones that are able to move up and down the shank of the pelham somewhat.).

Just curious! (And apparently no good at interpreting pictures, either!)

Yeah, for some reason I couldn't find a picture of the CWD reins on their website, so I posted a link to a similar model of a different brand.

As for how you hold them...you definitely do not loop them over your wrist, you just sort of slide your hand between the two layers from the outside in and flip your reins like you normally would. Sort of hard to explain.

Madeline
Jul. 6, 2009, 06:00 PM
A baucher ( with any mouthpiece) adds stability. A Waterford decreases stability. If one works, the other probably won't.

I would ditch the loopy reins and go with a mullen mouth pelham with separate snaffle and curb reins. A nice rubber rein should keep her from snatching them away.

I would go into why jointed pelhams are instruments of the devil, but the denizens of this bb don't seem to agree with basic physics and horse anatomy, so I won't...

madeline

goeslikestink
Jul. 6, 2009, 06:26 PM
I have a horse that rides like a freight train. She is 7 and I just got her just a little while ago so I am doing smaller stuff (1.20 meters) with her while I get the hang of her. Meanwhile, because the fences are small for her, she can get quite playful and tends to get strong. VERY strong.

I am riding her currently with a plain snaffle and those CWD reins which fix your hands in place (they have handle things), as well as a running martingale. The reins are a huge help (was losing my reins on course all the time because she would pull and snatch them after a fence).

I am working on getting her right on the flat, so I don't need any suggestions there ..... but in the meantime, coach says that I need a stronger bit. He suggested maybe a 3 ring. I'm not crazy about 3-ring bits, and was wondering what other bits might be good for a strong puller.

The thing is, I don't want to get too strong of a bit because she is a heffalump German warmblood who loves a LOT of contact when she jumps. And if I get too strong of a bit, I am afraid that it might be too much bit given the contact that she requires.

So these are the bits that are coming to mind :

Kimberwicke
Baucher
3 ring (pessoa)

Thoughts? Other suggestions? Experiences?

Thanks! :)


Edit: just to clarify, the pulling is more downward ....

how are you schooling her on the flat - and how are you schoolling her over jumps
before a bit change- do you trianer her over ground poles building up into small grids then small courses and as shes rushing what does your trianer do to help stop the rush when trianing to jump

Rosie
Jul. 6, 2009, 08:55 PM
Jeez,
This is very similar to what I am dealing with at the moment. My boy is large (17.3) and strong - and was never taught to WAIT for a distance or add. Trainer thinks they just cranked the fences up until he backed off on his own. Problem with that is - he's SCOPEY. Thinks nothing of the fence heights I'm currently comfortable with. And, his stride is ga-normous....so if he doesn't listen and come back immediately after jumping into a line we ARE going to "leave one out". (Which makes it that much harder for me to become comfortable at bigger fences)

I'm currently using a 3 ring which is working pretty well. I did fear that having two reins to sort out if/when he pulled them out of my hands would be a problem - but actually that is not happening, because when he starts pulling I bring the "curb" rein into action and remind him that I mean business! Combined with dropping down in height and schooling ADDING a stride( or two) down lines, and lots of flatwork to make him lighten his front end, it seems to be working. He doesn't have a tough mouth - and he much prefers that I keep some contact with his mouth over the jumps also so I didn't want to go to a really severe bit -

I've tried the waterford. It worked ok for a short amount of time. Same for a gag. Hopefully, the 3 ring will work until the schooling lessons are permanently installed. :)

Good luck! let us know when you find something that works well.

Small Change
Jul. 6, 2009, 10:11 PM
Yeah, for some reason I couldn't find a picture of the CWD reins on their website, so I posted a link to a similar model of a different brand.

As for how you hold them...you definitely do not loop them over your wrist, you just sort of slide your hand between the two layers from the outside in and flip your reins like you normally would. Sort of hard to explain.

That makes sense. I really didn't think you'd loop them over your wrist, but then one poster made a comment about potentially getting tangled in them, and I wondered what I was missing. :)

Tex Mex
Jul. 7, 2009, 01:30 AM
Someone posted Brad's website, so I thought I'd add that any time I've ever had a bit question, I go and talk to him. He's kind of the "mad scientist" of bits and will talk your ear off. The bits are super expensive but he'll let you try them first and he'll spend hours analyzing everything you are going through to help you find the right thing for your horse. I'm sure you could give him a call or send an email and he'd be happy to help you. Also, his bridles are exquisite. I highly recommend using him!

july
Jul. 7, 2009, 02:44 AM
I'd also say call Equiport in England or Teun van Riel in the Netherlands, Teun probably has the biggest bit collection and caters to the international riders (aka no pink pony polos! :lol:). If you need numbers just let me know.

There are some horses that no mater how many times you train at home, or go training at someone else's place, the show ring is just different for them. (I'm dealing with a light snaffle mouth at home to school, and jump in a completely different bit at the show!!)

nicbarker
Jul. 7, 2009, 03:50 AM
I suspect you'll need to try out lots of the suggestions on here and see what works for your particular horse. I've had pelhams work really nicely for some horses, especially if they are softened by a leather rather than chain curb. My old horse though is a complete tank, and after literally years of trying out pretty much every bit and noseband on the market, I settled for an English hackamore which is is fab in - strong but stoppable and no longer fighting.

His problem is mouth conformation which makes most bits uncomfortable for him, so if thats part of the issue for your mare it may help.

Nic

Treasmare2
Jul. 7, 2009, 07:47 AM
So what is the info on this Brad guy? What are his contacts as I have a horse with a complicated mouth that I would love to discuss with him.

Words of Wisdom
Jul. 7, 2009, 10:57 AM
3eme, as you're in Europe, I'm going to second july's suggestion that you call Teun van Riel (google his name for the number), even if you don't know what you want, he has someone in the shop (I hesitate to call it that because it's huge!) who will have good suggestions for bits.

SOTB
Jul. 7, 2009, 12:25 PM
Try a Waterford. It worked great on my guy that go strong when jumping. It kept him busy and and he went back to having a soft mouth.

RioTex
Jul. 7, 2009, 12:39 PM
Love my three ring. If you took away every other bit in the barn, I would not give you that one. Big fat mouthpiece, so it can be as little or as much bit as you would like. One rein or two, move the rein around based on your needs.

3eme
Jul. 7, 2009, 06:14 PM
Thanks for all of the replies -- very helpful.

I have been going through my bit collection, and I found one that might be a candidate. It is a Myler low port full cheek snaffle with hooks. I haven't ever used this bit, but it looks like it might give the same sort of leverage as a 3 ring, and give me more control than the regular full cheek snaffle that I am currently using.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of bit?