View Full Version : Finding the correct bit for my hunter
Jan. 13, 2010, 09:48 PM
Jan. 13, 2010, 10:20 PM
Before you spend the money...
If he isn't engaging your hand at the trot, either he isn't properly trained, or you aren't using enough leg, or both.
At the canter, if he pulls down, just lift your hands up, and I mean straight up. When his head comes up put an equal leg on, then drop your hand to an appropriate level while keeping the leg on.
Keep in mind that a 6 year old is a very green horse, one way or another. A bit is not going to fix engagement problems. If he can't do it in a simple snaffle or french link, you have bigger issues. Fix those first!
Jan. 13, 2010, 10:33 PM
I would eventually like for him to be able to go in a simple snaffle (wouldn't we all!) but he definitely needs something a little different for now. He has a huge stride and needs help collecting and not pulling. Has anyone had any luck with these Myler bits? http://www.horsemall.net/images/Myler89_22335DeePortedBarre.jpg I have heard that they offer a bit more tongue relief and encourage them to not pull down or get behind the bit but wanted a few opinions before I spend $90 on the bit :)
Jan. 13, 2010, 10:38 PM
Looks like that bit has lifters which are a no-no with many hunter judges. While nothing is "illegal" in the hunter ring strictly speaking, judges are free to penalize anything they consider non traditional ... and lots of judges won't use a horse with one of those.
Personally I'd just focus on very disciplined flatwork. You solve the behind the leg thing by installing the GO button with your leg (or possibly, your stick.) Only when you can make the horse go frankly forward can you fix anything else!
If he pulls at the canter but not other times, my guess is he has a balance issue. I'd do a bazillion transitions and work on strengthening that hind end. Lots of half halts on that outside rein.
I am not a plain snaffle only purist (in fact, I think a lot of horses go better in other bits) but those two particular issues are not bitting situations, IMO.
Jan. 13, 2010, 10:47 PM
Ok thanks! I have seen those bits without the hook things as well. His trot to walk transitions are great, but downward transitions from the canter are definitely a work in progress!
Jan. 13, 2010, 11:54 PM
I'd be investing in a dressage whip to help install the "go" button before finding a new bit. If he doesn't move forward without diving behind the bit, add a little leg. If he still doesn't move forward, then a tap with the dressage whip behind the leg WITH the leg will help wake him up.
And Lucassb said everything about the canter that I would. Transitions, transitions, transitions!
I'm not the biggest fan of Myler bits, but that's beside the point. Personally, I prefer French Links or something with a lozenge, like a KK Ultra. But that's just me. But I'd only change the bit if he needs something softer and after the transitions & "go" button work. TONS of flat work, nothing else.
Jan. 14, 2010, 01:52 PM
I second the 'work on the flat' aspect of making him engage his hind end. Circles help bring up the front end and sitting back in your tack will help set him on his haunches. Lots of shoulders in, etc will be your best bet in the long run. It'll help strengthen his back and teach him to carry himself (which is really the problem you're having).
But to answer your question...
I've noticed that Myler's with that funky billet in the middle tends to catch on the horse's tongue. I usually end up wrapping it with latex (which the horses don't like so much).
I have a young mare who recently discovered she's bigger than I am. I put her in this: http://mylerbit.com/dyn_prod.php?p=89-31315&k=88136 for a couple rides and she got the picture that running through my hand is a big no-no. The three joints across the mouth don't seem to pinch like the other Mylers. The only catch is that you have to have VERY educated hands, otherwise they'll get very cranky in that bit. I use two reins on that bit as well. I normally ride her in a Dr. Bristol or a Herm Sprenger French Link Loose ring when she's not towing me into the corners.
I'm a big believer in flatwork but sometimes you do need just a little more leverage. You might want to try working with an elevator type bit that you can either choose to either make a snaffle or an elevator at any given moment (prepare for multiple reins) at home so that at shows your horse can go nicely around in a snaffle.
Jan. 15, 2010, 08:02 PM
The elevator with two reins might be a good option! I know his flatwork needs a ton of work, but when I physically can't stop him from running through my hand and dragging me through the turns, all form of productivity goes out the door :D I think once he builds up the correct muscles and understands how he needs to carry himself, he will be able to go back to a snaffle. Thanks for the info!
Jan. 15, 2010, 10:06 PM
If the horse is so pully at the canter that you can't stop him but is behind the bit at the trot, you've got a flatwork/balance issue...not a bitting issue.
At the trot, you need to push the horse forward with your leg into steady contact. Make him chase the bit and fill out the reins
If he's strong at the canter, you need to do transitions and circles/spirals. Use half halts to back him off. To install the half halt...use full halts. Until he listens.
You have two divergent scenarios that indicate biting is NOT the problem. Lack of good flatwork and a rider that doesn't know what to do are the problem. Sorry to be so harsh, but you've had a number of people explain this to you and it seems like you haven't heard them at all. BITING is rarely the solution.