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View Full Version : Houghton Bit - how does it work?



toomanyponies
Mar. 31, 2011, 08:45 AM
Hi, I'm from the hunter jumper world but I'm always looking for new ideas - I saw a Houghton bit and was wondering how it sits and the theory behind it? when would you use it? benefits? drawbacks?
http://www.bigdweb.com/HAUGHTON-BIT-SS/productinfo/965/

Xctrygirl
Mar. 31, 2011, 09:37 AM
Ok this just seems wrong to me, and maybe its because its rainy and I am already a little grumpy but...

*IF* you don't know how the bit works, then maybe you shouldn't be using it. Especially on a show horse.

Haughton's are useful bits on the track for stronger horses that try to move their jaw around a lot to avoid being rated well. (Or at least the ones I used with it) I would no more put this bit on any of my eventers or jumpers than go to Charlie Sheen and ask for marital advice.

Just saying....


~Emily

jengersnap
Mar. 31, 2011, 10:23 AM
We've used it for horses that want to lug in or bear out for no physical reason. Sometimes horses just want to exit stage left to go back to the barn before the race is over, or take a hop over the inner rail for a dip in the infield lake.

Xctrygirl
Mar. 31, 2011, 10:51 AM
Hey Jenger,

How warm does those infield lakes get up there??? I imagine Canadian infields are cool-cold year round....

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr :lol:

~Em

ladybugred
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:11 AM
Does the whole thing go in the mouth?? So only the rings would be visable. Or does the rectangular part act sort of like a curb chain?

I've never seen one before.

LBR

MightyBobbyMagee
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:32 AM
One of my horses trained in one in the track for the exact reason jengersnap said. He galloped all over the place.

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v339/132/3/687060047/n687060047_3961556_2509.jpg

Xctrygirl
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:32 AM
See here:

http://barbaradlivingston.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Rachel-Alexandras-final-workout-Saratoga-9-27-10/G0000mi9oG_e80rs/I00003RC5YTiBD4k


The "cage" is fixed and goes behind the lower jaw and keeps the jaw straighter so those tricky buggers can't evade the contact by slipping their jaw around.

~Emily

ladybugred
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:40 AM
Thanx!

LBR

ladybugred
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:44 AM
Thanx MBM & XCG!

Why is it leather covered? Does that make the mouth piece softer, or encourage salavation?

LBR

Bacchus
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:52 AM
Ok this just seems wrong to me, and maybe its because its rainy and I am already a little grumpy but...

*IF* you don't know how the bit works, then maybe you shouldn't be using it. Especially on a show horse.

Haughton's are useful bits on the track for stronger horses that try to move their jaw around a lot to avoid being rated well. (Or at least the ones I used with it) I would no more put this bit on any of my eventers or jumpers than go to Charlie Sheen and ask for marital advice.

Just saying....


~Emily

I hope your day gets better, Emily, because from this reply to a simple question, it must really suck. For a second, I thought I was on a snarky board;)

jengersnap
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:53 AM
Hey Jenger,

How warm does those infield lakes get up there??? I imagine Canadian infields are cool-cold year round....

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr :lol:

~Em

Funny you should ask. Puss n Boots is our famous one for doing it up here at Fort Erie. He has a local stakes named for him, and the winning jock (often the trainer as well) jumps in the lake after the race in his honor ;)

http://www.internationalhorseracingdigest.com/node/466

The snow does melt and the grass grows in the sun for a few months a year up here. I'm not native, and I don't think I could do perpetual winters.

The leather is like a rubber D, it does make it gummy/softer. We've used it with and without the leather depending on the horse. I don't think it would be a good choice for jumping though. I think it comes from the harness world.

sk_pacer
Mar. 31, 2011, 12:29 PM
I think it comes from the harness world.

Yes it does. Was developed by Billy Haugton a good while ago

ladybugred
Mar. 31, 2011, 01:26 PM
Thanx

LBR

jengersnap
Mar. 31, 2011, 01:39 PM
Yes it does. Was developed by Billy Haugton a good while ago

You guys get all the cool toys!

http://www.bigdweb.com/images/418b.jpg

sk_pacer
Mar. 31, 2011, 02:05 PM
You guys get all the cool toys!

http://www.bigdweb.com/images/418b.jpg

That particular toy is a great thing, brush roll and is used on horses that don't go nicely with a shadow roll and jump over non-existant holes and the always evil blowing leaves and things. With the brush, everything in front of the eyes moves all the time so they just ignore the horse eating hoofprints and blowing leaves and stuff. This one looks to be a cross between the brush and the fingers which are no more than tire ties put on a shadow roll.

What I always found intriguing were the variations on driving and overcheck bits.....still fascinated by that.

red mares
Mar. 31, 2011, 02:27 PM
Good on the OP for looking outside her world and asking questions. Being a multicultural horseman isn't a bad thing.

I think standardbred boots are almost as good as their bits. They've got one for every joint.

I was thinking about a brush or fan roll for my crazy old road horse. Maybe she won't notice the scary yellow lines in the road. :eek:

Xctrygirl
Mar. 31, 2011, 02:54 PM
I hope your day gets better, Emily, because from this reply to a simple question, it must really suck. For a second, I thought I was on a snarky board;)

OK stop making me smile.... I was just getting set into "being a grump" mode. And if you don't believe me, have a look at my overly opinionated self replying like a mad woman over on the Eventing board today!!

To be fair however I have a very big (personal) issue with people putting on new bits just for the sake of trying a new bit. A horse's mouth is far more sensitive and vital to the quality of how it goes than I think many can comprehend.

A Haughton is not a bit to "play" around with. It's effective for horses that need it, but having said that I know we tried very very hard to avoid putting it on any horses in any of the track strings I worked for.

And when you throw in there that the OP is coming over from hunter jumper land and is interested in a bit that a lot of quality racehorse trainer try to avoid... well I hit my threshold today for silly ideas.

Riding takes skill and training and groundwork and time. Cute and fashionable and new bits, gadgets etc, just prolong the amount of time before you hit an all out wall and need to fall back, take 3-6 months off and retrain your horses the basic foundation that you should already have to be competitive and succesful in the show ring.

(**NOTE, I am not saying all "non snaffle" bits are bad. What I am saying is that bit selection should be done purposefully to compliment the training you are putting into your horse(s). And whenever possible staying with something less complicated and gadgety should always be the goal to allow the mouth of your horse to stay soft as nature intended and not cause a horse to coil up and fail to use its neck and spine as intended)


~Emily

ladybugred
Mar. 31, 2011, 04:21 PM
Would jumping in this bit, if the horse played with his jaw a lot, hurt the horse? Wouldn't the bit act like a mullen mouth with the addition of the "jaw cage" (sorry, couldn't think of a better term).

I'm not planning on using one, it's curiousity based on the "not good for a jumper" response.

LBR

Equilibrium
Mar. 31, 2011, 04:26 PM
Ok this just seems wrong to me, and maybe its because its rainy and I am already a little grumpy but...

*IF* you don't know how the bit works, then maybe you shouldn't be using it. Especially on a show horse.

Haughton's are useful bits on the track for stronger horses that try to move their jaw around a lot to avoid being rated well. (Or at least the ones I used with it) I would no more put this bit on any of my eventers or jumpers than go to Charlie Sheen and ask for marital advice.

Just saying....


~Emily

Then go to Charlie Sheen and ask for marriage advice. I gave one to a BNT to use and on a certain horse and wow, he went out next week and won a 100k Grand Prix. Loved the bit for that horse.

Terri

Xctrygirl
Mar. 31, 2011, 05:34 PM
Shall we throw you a party then???

A BNT with a 100k jumper is not the type of person who inquired here.

Pro's are capable of trying new stuff and using their skills to try it wisely.

Ammies.... not so much.

And I am gonna stick with my original position on this.

It has no more place in jumpers than draw reins. And yes I do realize how much they're used. I am entitled to my opinion too.

~Emily

Equilibrium
Mar. 31, 2011, 05:50 PM
Used them in both. Why are ammies crap riders? Don't consider myself a pro but I galloped some of the best horses in the world, ridden some of the best jumpers in the world, have good hands, and common sense. It's a versatile bit. A friend sent me one for my mare over here. Wanted to try it just in case. Not her thing as these things go, but tried none the less. Can give a horse some much needed security.

You were the one being higher than thou and you got called on it. Not my problem.

Terri

Laurierace
Mar. 31, 2011, 06:03 PM
Actually that is one of my favorite bits for whatever that is worth. It doesn't give you much in terms of brakes so I usually save it for race day. It definitely helps with horse that lug in or out and the solid mouthpiece helps prevent displacing and/or getting their tongue over the bit.

danceronice
Mar. 31, 2011, 08:36 PM
So on the subject of racing bits/equipment for off-track usage (with the caveat the horse in this case raced for five years) what is a good bit for a horse who spends a good chunk of time trying to get his tongue over the bit in addition to lugging out (the barn has your typical harness-farm training oval without a rail and there have been days when I am galloping him that I'm not 100% we're going to actually TURN on the turns as he just goes progressively farther right)? And on the track or in the ring he devotes a bit of energy to trying to get his tongue over the bit. I can see from his win photos he had a tongue tie on, but I can't see what sort of bit he's got in. I do know he is NOT a fan of jointed bits--he goes in a rubber mullen D most of the time, but he's not overly thrilled. (Show-ring legality is not an issue for us. Stopping power is also not a big problem as he needs a lot more go than whoa 99.9% of the time.)

jengersnap
Mar. 31, 2011, 08:48 PM
Dancer, if he was racing, that would be a good bit to try. If you're okay with not having a lot of whoa, and someone has one to borrow, why not try it for a few and if it works graduate him from it later. There are also racing bits with tongue depressors built in:

http://www.bigdweb.com/Racing-Bits/products/336/

A dexter ("ring snaffle") is a maybe to help with control, but I do remember walking my horse in the ring once and he actually got the ring flipped under somehow. Never seen one do that before or since, and probably a freak thing lol

toomanyponies
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:04 PM
Shall we throw you a party then???

A BNT with a 100k jumper is not the type of person who inquired here.

Pro's are capable of trying new stuff and using their skills to try it wisely.

Ammies.... not so much.

And I am gonna stick with my original position on this.

It has no more place in jumpers than draw reins. And yes I do realize how much they're used. I am entitled to my opinion too.

~Emily

Ahh, my friend Emily, possibly you should check your sources BEFORE you cast aspersions. I havent WON a 100k grand prix but I've ridden in a few. Feel free to visit my website. I'm a judge too. I ride very well, but I'm always looking to educate myself further. I thought this might possibly be a bit for a leaner,without a sharp mouthpiece.

Sorry you've 'having a bad day'.

citydog
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:14 PM
So how does a Norton bit work?

http://www.bigdweb.com/NORTON-BIT/productinfo/1745/

MightyBobbyMagee
Apr. 1, 2011, 07:55 AM
So how does a Norton bit work?

http://www.bigdweb.com/NORTON-BIT/productinfo/1745/

Found this with a google search:


Norton Bit – for horses that pull hard - to help overcome that problem. The Norton bit has the normal 2 rings (one on each side of the mouth) with 2 mouthpieces (bits) and a nosestrap. The reins pull on the bits causing a double scissor action within the mouth which pulls on the top of the mouth. A horse can still get it’s tongue over this bit although it is certainly harder for that to happen than with a normal bit. A tongue tie is often used in conjunction with a Norton bit to make sure a tongue problem is out of the equation.

DeeThbd
Apr. 1, 2011, 09:38 AM
Funny you should ask. Puss n Boots is our famous one for doing it up here at Fort Erie. He has a local stakes named for him, and the winning jock (often the trainer as well) jumps in the lake after the race in his honor ;)

http://www.internationalhorseracingdigest.com/node/466

The snow does melt and the grass grows in the sun for a few months a year up here. I'm not native, and I don't think I could do perpetual winters.

The leather is like a rubber D, it does make it gummy/softer. We've used it with and without the leather depending on the horse. I don't think it would be a good choice for jumping though. I think it comes from the harness world.
Our infield is considered one of the most beautiful in North America, too! :)
Regarding the temperature...it is warm enough that a rider from WV would take her daughter frogging for supper some summer evenings!:D
We have also had many incidents of Canada geese getting involved in turf racing on the inner course. Feathers galore, and VERY offended geese!
Dee

ETA: For a horse getting his tongue over the bit, how about a Sure-Win (not pretty, but worth looking at), or (IIRC with the name) a running W?
Also trying to see what my youngest gelding ran in - don't think it's a ring bit. He apparently pulled pretty hard (I've encountered that exactly once with him and it was quite something!)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29582338@N02/2766241799/in/photostream/

Napoles
Apr. 1, 2011, 10:16 AM
Ahh, my friend Emily, possibly you should check your sources BEFORE you cast aspersions. I havent WON a 100k grand prix but I've ridden in a few. Feel free to visit my website. I'm a judge too. I ride very well, but I'm always looking to educate myself further. I thought this might possibly be a bit for a leaner,without a sharp mouthpiece.

Sorry you've 'having a bad day'.

:D Sorry couldn't resist having a giggle! Oops!

Xctrygirl
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:10 AM
Ahh, my friend Emily, possibly you should check your sources BEFORE you cast aspersions. I havent WON a 100k grand prix but I've ridden in a few. Feel free to visit my website. I'm a judge too. I ride very well, but I'm always looking to educate myself further. I thought this might possibly be a bit for a leaner,without a sharp mouthpiece.

Sorry you've 'having a bad day'.

Ok great you're an accomplished rider and a judge. And herein lies my problem... You're looking to bit up a horse that leans. And the question posed to us here (of the racing forum) is if a racing bit would be useful for a horse than leans in the h/J world, without using a sharp edged bit.

Ok now this is great... comraderie between the disciplines. Awesome. Right?

I don't agree.


And yes me and my ideals are hard and fast and if I judged you as an ammy and not a pro, I will apologize for that. BUT as a pro, trainer and a judge, it'd be my hope that you'd not set an example for the non-pro's of running around trying out different bits, but rather work on more investigation as to WHY said horse is leaning. And God forbid, but maybe stop jumping for awhile and go back to the poles and flatwork and time spent trying to ferret out the root of the leaning.


And I know this thing will get ugly. You'll get mad that you do do that. I'll insist then that if you could solve the root of the issue you wouldn't need to overbit the horse with a racing bit and so on and so forth.

So how about we cut to the chase. I won't use race bits on non race horses. And you will. Difference of opinion.

Good luck in your quest to win.

~Emily

jengersnap
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:23 AM
Also trying to see what my youngest gelding ran in - don't think it's a ring bit. He apparently pulled pretty hard (I've encountered that exactly once with him and it was quite something!)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29582338@N02/2766241799/in/photostream/


Dee, blew up the photo linked below (the other in the album) and its a houghton with the extra metal bar in the rings. I can see it on the off side, as well as the metal bar that goes under the chin. I think one we have is like that, not sure what the bar is for but it is a variant.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29582338@N02/2766251989/in/photostream/

Timex
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:46 AM
God forbid the OP ask an innocent question in an attempt to educate herself. Seriously? Some people need to lighten up. A lot. Yes, you are more than entitled to your opinions, as am I. But there are much better ways to express yourself than to be nasty for no good reason.

Equilibrium
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:54 AM
I agree focus on more flat work. For me having common bits between disciplines should not be such a stretch. Some I'd never have occasion to want to use. Leaning can be mouth issues, hind end issues, back issues ect so sometimes simple flat without looking into other things is more than bit. But this wasn't about that so I didn't chime in.

For me, I knew what my mare's issues were. First, hyper flexion of her back. A far wider range of motion than most horses so it means she's crazy flexible but yet takes longer to get stronger. No gadgets as that will make her sore and miserable. Two, I had a bad flipping horse dentist. I already ranted about that and whoever wants to have a go at me can. Sorry didn't think I needed to go to dental school to make sure I didn't get screwed. So I thought since I just had teeth done they shouldn't be an issue.

So my mare was reluctant to move into the bit and she started jumping left. Partly greeness, partly issues not of her doing. As I have had luck in getting a horse to move into a cage bit and for it to give them security I tried it. She hated it. But in the meantime we got her other issues ironed out. She went in a hackamore for about a month and did very well, but the intention was to always get back to a bit. So she now goes in a skinny eggbutt. When I had a real dentist show me how her mouth was made it was easy to pick some bits she might like.

But I really think you should take it down a notch. It is actually quite ok to try different things even if it's not specifically for your discipline. It's called thinking outside the box and being a well rounded horseman.

I will chime in on some of the other bit questions and suggest a Waterford for horses that pull. I've had luck with it both galloping and jumping. But again it really depends on what's going on with the whole picture.

Terri

olympicdreams04
Apr. 1, 2011, 11:54 AM
I am with Emily on this one. Racing bits have no place in the show ring except in very experienced hands when all other options have been exhausted. I would also assume that a rider and judge of such esteem would not employ any training device they were not thoroughly acquainted with. Ammies are not crap riders by any means, they are the bread and butter of our industry, but I have a hard time fathoming that someone well educated enough to judge and rider in 100k classes would not need a bit up a horse with a training device they have no knowledge of. Ask not 'what a bit can do for you'. Ask 'what you can do for your horse' to address the source of the problem.

Timex
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:13 PM
And how, pray tell, are you supposed to know what a piece of equipment even *does*, without asking? Innocent question that deserved a good answer, not get the OP's head bit off.

And note, I'm not saying a thing about the bit, how appropriate it may or may not be. I'm just astounded by the TONE of the response of some posters.

moonriverfarm
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:19 PM
Thanks for the info on the bit. Some of us would never know these things unless a question was posted. So thank you OP for asking - as an owner of many OTTBs I am always interested in what they may have been ridden in vs the plain old happy mouth they respond so well to now. I have found that leaning and bowing are best corrected by teaching lateral movement, not by bitting up, but I am just a pleasure rider.

danceronice
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:23 PM
Dancer, if he was racing, that would be a good bit to try. If you're okay with not having a lot of whoa, and someone has one to borrow, why not try it for a few and if it works graduate him from it later. There are also racing bits with tongue depressors built in:

http://www.bigdweb.com/Racing-Bits/products/336/

A dexter ("ring snaffle") is a maybe to help with control, but I do remember walking my horse in the ring once and he actually got the ring flipped under somehow. Never seen one do that before or since, and probably a freak thing lol

Heh, I'd have to borrow from someone on here--the only people I know who race are some friends of the BO with harness ponies. (They do the fair circuits around here.) Even if they had one, it would be too small!

I'm thinking that he ran in a Dexter ring bit, looking at the side rings in his win picture. That seems like overkill for tooling around at home. He has an odd issue on the flat, that I initially thought was discomfort from teeth until the dentist came out and he kept on doing it, in that unlike most OTTBs, he would rather evade than lean on it (my old OTTB pulled like a freight train--if only we'd known about Waterfords with him) and he HATES jointed metal bits. Those result in head-flipping. With the rubber bits, he tries to get his tongue over it, but doesn't object like he does to metal.

Equilibrium
Apr. 1, 2011, 12:32 PM
A bit is only severe as the hands that use it. I'm guessing that is why I personally don't understand the uproar.

Tell me, is a Dee-bit ok to use on a jumper? Just wondering as that could be considered a racing bit. And a Houghton just is not that severe. So not understanding the uproar. An eggbutt snaffle in the wrong hands can be severe.

Tip on the ring bits if you're worried they will flip. Get some thin nylon rope that fits through the bit connection in the middle. Tie the ring in place to that. Cut and burn. Wa la, no flipping.

Terri

citydog
Apr. 2, 2011, 07:41 PM
Found this with a google search:

Yeah, I'd seen that, but just couldn't picture what attached where. Just found this image, though, which made it easier to visualize. http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i259/phoenixbauer/UNI_0688.jpg

DeeThbd
Apr. 5, 2011, 10:04 AM
A bit is only severe as the hands that use it. I'm guessing that is why I personally don't understand the uproar.

Tell me, is a Dee-bit ok to use on a jumper? Just wondering as that could be considered a racing bit. And a Houghton just is not that severe. So not understanding the uproar. An eggbutt snaffle in the wrong hands can be severe.

Tip on the ring bits if you're worried they will flip. Get some thin nylon rope that fits through the bit connection in the middle. Tie the ring in place to that. Cut and burn. Wa la, no flipping.

Terri

Terri, the first trainer I ever worked for did a modified version of this; he'd use cotton string (like the kind feed bags are sewn up with) instead; it needed replacing more often, but if they swallowed it it is digestible.:D Very short- maybe half a finger in length.
Dee

Pat Ness
Apr. 5, 2011, 02:59 PM
Actually used this bit for my horse cross country and it worked very well.

as far as leaving it on the race track for those that know how to use it - well - I have watched a lot of riders in the morning and have cringed with the disrespect I have seen to many a horses mouth...

propspony
Apr. 6, 2011, 01:27 PM
First off... seriously guys... the Houghton was used by the old timers to START BABIES in harness racing. It's still used that way sometimes. It isn't one of MY favorite bits, but it's not evil incarnate. geez...

Second... that picture... with the roan/appy. Where was it taken? I see a BIRD CAGE and what looks like a BED in the background!!! LOL!!