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View Full Version : Loose Ring Snaffle OK???



Dapple Dawn Farm
Sep. 24, 2010, 10:47 AM
I have a young (3 yo) horse that goes great in this, is it acceptable to show in the hunters? We're not jumping so it's just the hack classes. But does one see them in the over fence classes?

Madeline
Sep. 24, 2010, 10:53 AM
I have a young (3 yo) horse that goes great in this, is it acceptable to show in the hunters? We're not jumping so it's just the hack classes. But does one see them in the over fence classes?

Of course! That's teh most traditional hunter bit. D-rings are , in the great scale of things, a newfangled fad.

flyracing
Sep. 24, 2010, 10:54 AM
You could do a search on this one. There was a recent thread. The jist: yes you can, but a D ring would fit more with current style. I saw a horse win a big large junior division this summer in a loose ring (I asked her why and she said it was a western bit not made in a D-ring) So there you go, put the horse in what they go best in to get the best result. Otherwise spend $30 and get a D ring. The only people that will care are the ones you beat (in my experience).

eclipse
Sep. 24, 2010, 11:05 AM
Of course. I show in a loose ring as my mare goes best in it. My trainer shows her new mare in a loose ring...and she wins at big A shows (Thunderbird). If you put in a great round, it will not matter! Put your horse in what it goes best in and allows you to have the softest and quitest hands and aids possible.

Lucassb
Sep. 24, 2010, 11:26 AM
They are not terribly common but I doubt it would be considered unconventional.

Dapple Dawn Farm
Sep. 24, 2010, 11:42 AM
Yeah, I don't recall seeing them much in the show ring but if it's not illegal, we're good to go!

CBoylen
Sep. 24, 2010, 03:48 PM
It's not illegal, but it's not attractive either. It's not going to help dress your horse up at all, and without the rubber ring guards (obviously a big no) you run the risk of rubs as well. There really should not be much difference in the way the horse goes in a D ring of the same mouthpiece.

shawneeAcres
Sep. 24, 2010, 04:31 PM
Actually yes there is quite a difference to some horses in a loose ring, and I see absolutely no reason it should not be "Accpetable". A loose ring encourages some horses to motuh the bit more allowing more saliva to flow, some horse do not like the "fixed" position of a "D" ring. I honestly think very little about what bit a horse has on in the show ring, unless it is something that should not be in the hunter ring like a three ring or gag. I do not see how it is any more or less attractive than any other type of bit. Yes the "D" rings are in "fashion" just like full cheeks were 20 years ago. I personally use whatever bit the horse goes the BEST in regardless of the "fashion" craze. MAny of mine go in full cheeks, loose rings etc.

StorybrookeFarms
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:01 PM
I have plenty of horses who go in a loose ring snaffle on the B Circuits and below. Obviously on the A you can pretty much count on not seeing them. Your horse is also a baby, so, I would say it's fine.

enjoytheride
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:07 PM
I think if you are going to spend the money and time to show at a bigger, rated show then you should pony up and get the D ring. Yes, mostly because everyone else has one on but if fitting in is to your advantage then why not.

If however, it's more of a schooling experience or you are showing at a local or lower level you will be fine in your loose ring and you will see other riders in the same bit.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:18 PM
I can see shawnee's point re: using what your horse goes best in. However, I would hesitate to use something in the hunter ring that would encourage a horse to be more active with the mouth- mouthing of the bit can and will (often) be seen as hesitation to accept it.

I agree with the others here- horse should go just fine in a D.

kookicat
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:21 PM
It's not illegal, but it's not attractive either. It's not going to help dress your horse up at all, and without the rubber ring guards (obviously a big no) you run the risk of rubs as well. There really should not be much difference in the way the horse goes in a D ring of the same mouthpiece.

I think a loose ring looks much better than a D ring. ;) Each to their own, huh?

Madeline
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:35 PM
...and maybe it would be nice to have something that the judge can remember. "Oh, yep, that was the nice horse in the loose ring..."

CBoylen
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:42 PM
Except the judge is more likely to remember, "oh, the horse in its schooling bridle". Do you really want your TACK to be what makes your trip memorable?
It's like going to a meeting in sneakers.

Thanatos
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:43 PM
As I say every time this subject comes up: My horse shows in all three rings (hunters, jumpers and eq) at A rated and local shows and pins in all three rings in a loose ring snaffle. He goes much better in a loose ring -- he CAN go in a D and has but he goes much better in his Herm Sprenger ultra loose ring and I would rather not "pony up" $200 to buy one in a D and one in a loose ring when I see no reason. He is soft, light and supple and I have never once felt that my bit was why I pinned a certain way either on the flat or over fences.

Big_Grey_hunter
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:46 PM
If the judge is looking at the bit instead of the horse, your horse must not be very memorable.

Use whatever he goes best in, I highly doubt the judge will judge you on your bit choice.

Madeline
Sep. 24, 2010, 06:18 PM
Except the judge is more likely to remember, "oh, the horse in its schooling bridle". Do you really want your TACK to be what makes your trip memorable?
It's like going to a meeting in sneakers.

I was thinking more along the lines of those who intentionally buy horses with a lot of chrome or some unconventional color. In a sea of 50 bay wb's going around 3' courses at 4 MPH, ridden by women in navy coats and tan breeches, something that will distinguish a nice horse from his clones may be a good thing. A good judge is certainly not going to mark off for the most traditional bridle a hunter can wear, but he may remember the horse that's wearing one. And it's certainly a less obnoxious way to distinguish your self than a pink lining in your navy coat!

FineAlready
Sep. 24, 2010, 06:31 PM
I say go for it. I am seriously considering showing my horse at the A shows (though in the non-rated Baby Greens) in a loose ring because I can't find the same mouthpiece in a D-ring and he goes just great in the bit he is in.

I am also not going to use a martingale! Gasp!

I was just now looking at a lovely recent picture of my horse cantering in his loose ring bit, sans martingale and thinking "why would I want to change anything about this?"

Sure, I could stick him in his less suitable former bit (a D-ring) and slap a martingale on him as we used to do. But he went like garbage in that "outfit" so why would I want to do that?

shawneeAcres
Sep. 24, 2010, 07:53 PM
Funny thing is, my stallion was showing in dressage a few weeks ago. The girl that was riding him had him in a full cheek (I usually ride him in a loose ring). The judge actually said to ehr after the ride "How NICE it is to see you using a full cheek and you have used it properly with the keepers" THis is a very well known international "S" dressage judge. In a sea of loose rings his full cheek stood out, and in a POSITIVE way!

flyracing
Sep. 24, 2010, 09:35 PM
It's not going to help dress your horse up at all, and without the rubber ring guards (obviously a big no) you run the risk of rubs as well.

That's the silliest thing I've heard today! Riding in a loose ring with out bit guards is NORMAL and thousands upon thousands of horses are ridden every day in loose rings without bit guards and have no rubs or discomfort. I have yet to see a bit guard with an opening small enough to cover the part of the bit that would actually pinch with an ill fitting loose ring (which is what would cause ribs; a bit that doesn't fit). The reason for bit guards is to keep the bit from sliding through the horse's mouth (same thing with egg butts, dees, full cheeks and so on) so if you have a horse that has a problem with the bit sliding through his mouth there are lots of options for a hunter to go in to not need bit guards, but if the horse doesn't have this issue there is no reason not to use a loose ring.

Beethoven
Sep. 24, 2010, 10:25 PM
I proudly showed my horse in his happy mouth loose ring from the hunter ring to the jumper ring then onto some Big Eq classes. Go what your horse is comfortable in. Yes, D-rings are in, but if your horses doesn't like it then stick with the loose ring!

My horse went in a variety of bits over the years, but it was never due to fashion. It was about finding which bit worked for him and he chose the loose ring.

Timex
Sep. 24, 2010, 11:22 PM
If the judge is looking at the bit instead of the horse, your horse must not be very memorable.

Use whatever he goes best in, I highly doubt the judge will judge you on your bit choice.

this. same goes for what saddle pad/boots/britches/blah blah blah.

dani0303
Sep. 25, 2010, 02:07 AM
I used to showed my gelding in the 3'6 A/O at the big A shows in a loose ring and never saw it effect my placings.

Dapple Dawn Farm
Sep. 25, 2010, 09:20 AM
Obviously at his young age, we're just schooling and looking to gain experience in the ring. So, I guess I'm not that concerned with "bit fashion" at this time. Although (a little brag) we did get a first and 2 seconds on the flat at our last show two weeks ago :)

CBoylen
Sep. 25, 2010, 03:16 PM
Riding in a loose ring with out bit guards is NORMAL and thousands upon thousands of horses are ridden every day in loose rings without bit guards and have no rubs or discomfort.
Not at all normal to me.

baymare
Sep. 25, 2010, 03:58 PM
Ahhh, the hunter fashion police strike again. If only, for the horses' sake, it were the fit, effect, and function of the equipment that mattered, rather than the "look"!

Of course a loose ring is fine. It is the most standard and traditional of all bits. Use it in good health.

Invite
Sep. 25, 2010, 05:06 PM
Excluding those who are in double bridles, nearly every dressage horse I know is ridden in a loose ring snaffle. I have never seen one with rubber bit guards. Those in a double have loose ring bridoons. If properly fitted, the loose ring will not cause rubs!

foursocks
Sep. 26, 2010, 11:59 AM
The only thing mine goes in now is a loosering because it has more give and he's softer in it. He's a jumper so this isn't an issue in his ring, but the fact remains that it's the bit that suits him best, so it's what he gets. Incidentally, the last bit that gave him huge rubs was a big ol' fancy dee ring, so...

Having discussed this very question with an "R" judge some time back, he said in big hunter classes it comes down to performance plus something that makes the horse stand out amongst the sheep- a look at me! sort of thing.

I understand the need for horse and rider to look suitable, but I fail to see how riding one's horse in a traditional bit is going against that. If you and your horse are mediocre, bits and clothing aren't going to change that. If you are competitive, a bit not often seen but obviously effective may help you stand out. It certainly wont hurt- and to me, dees don't dress up a horse, particularly- if it has a plain head, it's got a plain head.

I wonder how some of you even get around- do you need a checklist and a PA to make sure you are following current fashion exactly right? :lol:

Thanatos
Sep. 26, 2010, 03:41 PM
Not at all normal to me.

*shrugs* My horse's Herm Sprenger doesn't have bit guards when he is in the eq and hunter ring. Rubs have never been an issue because: the bit fits him properly and because he goes well in it, he doesn't hang on it, pull, lean, etc., so the bit stays nice and in place in his mouth. I have shown plenty of horses over the years with loose rings and only ever used the bit guards in the jumper ring and not even every time.

If the bit fits properly and it's a bit that works for the horse, they ought not get rubs.

chaos theory
Sep. 26, 2010, 03:45 PM
Not at all normal to me.


Wow... all of those thousands and thousands of poor, abused Dressage and Event horses.


Ahhh, the hunter fashion police strike again. If only, for the horses' sake, it were the fit, effect, and function of the equipment that mattered, rather than the "look"!

AMEN!

enjoytheride
Sep. 26, 2010, 03:50 PM
I think it speaks of a very large gap in the horse world. Where CBoylen has rarely seen a horse worked in a loosering, and when she does it is with bit guards; and the dressage world where I never see bit guards or D rings. This is more of a case of never seeing something in your own circle (where a D ring is part of Hunter gear and improves the look of the head) and less a case of being snobby.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Sep. 26, 2010, 04:31 PM
What's the deal, guys? CBoylen has more experience showing with some of the most well-respected, talented professionals in this sport than most of us could even imagine. The OP asked if she could use a loose ring in the hunters. CBoylen explained that it won't be considered unconventional, but isn't going to win any awards for the horse aesthetically. So? In TODAY'S hunter ring, it's not a popular choice. Pretty straightforward. OP can either decide to make an unpopular choice and stick out, or can spend $20 on a D ring (in which the horse should go absolutely fine for the 10 minutes it will spend in the ring).

chaos theory
Sep. 26, 2010, 04:58 PM
I think it was the insinuation that it is not "ok" to ride in a loose ring without bit guards that surprised people ( I know it did me), not CBoylen's advice about the loose ring not being the "look" right now.

refresh
Sep. 26, 2010, 05:15 PM
Small pony Rico Suave was champion at Devon, and reserve at Washington and Pony Finals in a loose ring; it didn't seem to hurt his placings.

Bogie
Sep. 26, 2010, 05:55 PM
Not commenting on whether or not it's fashionable since I foxhunt. However, a well fitted loose ring doesn't rub.

Many people don't realize that with a loose ring snaffle you need to go up about 1/4" in width precisely so that it doesn't rub. Because the mouthpiece rotates on the rings, the horse's lips can be rubbed or pinched if the bit is too small.

Many of my own horses have been ridden in loose ring snaffles with no rubbing. And the loose ring vs fixed ring did make a big difference for one of them. My last horse hated the loose ring because of the way the bit moved in his mouth. I guess he wanted to be a hunter.

Not coming from the hunter world, I too find D rings ugly!

CBoylen
Sep. 26, 2010, 05:57 PM
You all are reading a lot into my comment that wasn't there. Of course a loose ring will not directly influence your placings to the point that anyone would notice. That's ridiculous. What it will influence is the professional appearance of your horse. Presumably, we can all understand that perception influences judgment, and we all want our horses to look like winners coming out of a professional program. That means attention to a lot of details that separately don't mean much, but hopefully add up to a certain overall look.
And as for bit guards, mentioning that loose ring without guards runs a greater risk of rubs is not accusing people of abuse. When I said it's not normal to me, I meant just that. I don't often see them without, I've never used one without that I can recall, and it wouldn't occur to me to do so with my own tack because it's ingrained in my head somewhere around "pick out the feet before you ride" in the timeline of training that dictates how I do things. If you're using it without a problem, clearly you can keep doing so, and obviously anyone having a problem would stop, so I'm not really all that concerned about what anyone else is using on their horse, even though it's not normal to me.

foursocks
Sep. 26, 2010, 06:54 PM
Fair enough, although in the dressage and eventing worlds looserings are the norm and I can't recall seeing bit guards in that milieu. As someone said you need to go up a size or two or it will rub. I'm a recent convert to looserings- I have a KK Ultra with huge, beautiful rings that you would have to pry out of my cold, dead hands my horse loves it so much.

Again- this is a ubiquitous bit in dressage and eventing, and while it isn't the fashion today in the hunter world it doesn't seem to hurt the few horses at the top who go in one. In the 80s everyone rode in a fullcheek or, a bit earlier, a pelham- kimberwickes were even popular for a bit (shudder). My point is that fashions *DO* change in the hunter world- when we all first started wearing puke green baggy TS's, traditionalists were appalled, despite the fact that the light grey and rust breeches in style then were themselves a relatively new fad! And when we got my first pair of custom boots, the only boot to get was a dress boot- field boots were considered too casual for the show ring.

I'd think with the variation we see these days in coat and breech colors, halfpads coming in and out of style, etc., playing around with bits to find something suitable wouldn't be such a big deal. Who knows- maybe in five years they'll be the bit to have.....

baymare
Sep. 26, 2010, 07:36 PM
"What it will influence is the professional appearance of your horse"

See, it is that word "appearance" that I have trouble with. If we put appearance over function, I believe we are no longer practicing good horsemanship, whatever the discipline.

And foursocks, I have to chide you for thinking that rust breeches were a contemporary fad of grey. Rust goes way, way back as the preferred casual or "ratcatcher" attire in the foxhunting and early show hunter days. And the field boots that you could wear for those casual outings had better be brown, because black field boots were considered a complete contradiction in terms.

But because the evolution of fashion in boots and breeches in no way affects the comfort of the horse, it really is a matter of fashion and therefore just silly and actually rather fun. But applying those standards to what our horses go to work in is not the same thing.

Jsalem
Sep. 26, 2010, 07:44 PM
With all due respect to CBoylen- and I do respect her perspective, I think it would look really cool to show your young horse in a loose ring bit. I think what CBoylen is saying is that it's expected to see a hunter in a D ring bit to really fit in today. If you ride in something more "old fashioned" or "classically traditional" you are making a statement. If you dress beautifully (hunter style) and your horse is turned out like a lovely hunter (i.e. not a "dressage" tail, not a western bridle, not an eventing helmet) I think that a loose ring bit says, "this is what my horse goes best in." You will look fabulous. You will fit in.

Our really nice junior hunter, VanGogh, went in a nathe bit because he was a really quirky horse with an overly soft mouth. I'll never forget a trainer (who was also a judge) referring to him as, "Oh yeah, that cute chestnut horse that went in that funny, white bit."

We currently have a sensitive green large pony (from COTH'er Sugarbrook) that goes beautifully in a loose ring happy mouth bit. It would never occur to me to switch him for a show. He likes the bit.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Sep. 26, 2010, 07:55 PM
This is getting interesting. I don't think anyone here suggested that the horse should go in a D if it goes horribly in one. In fact, most people pointed out that a very basic, simple loose ring, and a very basic, simple D ring are not going to make a giant difference on a horse without some pretty specific bitting issues. If the OP has a horse that ONLY goes well in the loose ring, and whose performance would suffer significantly in any other type of bit, then I don't really think she'd have asked this question to start with...

Fact is, a horse that has a significant issue going in a D ring that otherwise performs just fine in a loose ring is the exception to the rule. We aren't talking about a horse that schools well in a hidden gag.

I also imagine that the OP wouldn't have posed this question if she were interested in becoming a trendsetter. It seems to me like her question was more along the lines of "will I look silly/stick out?". If she's okay with being the only horse to go around in a loose ring, she should go for it. Otherwise, an inexpensive, simple D ring would be a wise choice...

CBoylen
Sep. 26, 2010, 08:00 PM
Oh yeah, that cute chestnut horse that went in that funny, white bit."

I've known people to paint the ends of the nathes so the white doesn't show.

War Admiral
Sep. 26, 2010, 08:24 PM
You know what? Bits are mere fashion trends.

Loose ring snaffles have been 100% LEGAL in the Hunters since before most of us (even me!) were born. If any judge tried to tell me it was "unconventional" I'd file on 'em so fast their heads would spin.

Wear what your horse goes best in, and stop being so silly as to listen to these people.

Madeline
Sep. 27, 2010, 12:41 AM
You know what? Bits are mere fashion trends.

Loose ring snaffles have been 100% LEGAL in the Hunters since before most of us (even me!) were born. If any judge tried to tell me it was "unconventional" I'd file on 'em so fast their heads would spin.

Wear what your horse goes best in, and stop being so silly as to listen to these people.

Next thing you know , people are going to say that standing martingales are mandatory and that brown field boots are unconventional. I've been told in the past that dress boots were not correct for hunters and that men could not wear weaselbelly coats...

Anyplace Farm
Sep. 27, 2010, 08:52 AM
I say go for it. I am seriously considering showing my horse at the A shows (though in the non-rated Baby Greens) in a loose ring because I can't find the same mouthpiece in a D-ring and he goes just great in the bit he is in.

I am also not going to use a martingale! Gasp!

I was just now looking at a lovely recent picture of my horse cantering in his loose ring bit, sans martingale and thinking "why would I want to change anything about this?"

Sure, I could stick him in his less suitable former bit (a D-ring) and slap a martingale on him as we used to do. But he went like garbage in that "outfit" so why would I want to do that?
Another that won't be showing in a martingale here. Mine doesn't need one. I can't see putting one on just because everyone else does. It would be purely ornamental if I were to put it on my horse and that's just stupid. I also ride mine in a loose ring.