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EasyStreet
Aug. 1, 2011, 08:24 PM
My new horse was always ridden in a rubber pelham during his jumping career and then after his owner retired him she rode him in a hackamore on trail and the little hacking she did with him! So she sees me riding him in a snaffle(loose ring-french link) and said if I use the snaffle, he will have to have bit guards because his lips are sensitive. I bought a pair yesterday and will use them but I come to think of it have never seen them used by any dressage riders. Are they legal and if not why?? I would think if your hands are light and educated enough the use of bit guards wouldn't be nessisary. Thanks for clerification on the use of bit guards!

CHT
Aug. 1, 2011, 08:38 PM
I think bit guards are needed more if you are using a strong lateral pull which pulls the rings into the corners. Dressage riders rarely use a strong lateral pull, so the bit guards should not be needed if the bit is of good quality and fit.

2tempe
Aug. 2, 2011, 07:56 PM
Per USEF equipment regulations, BIT GUARDS ARE NOT ALLOWED. (in answer to "why" I guess just because...)
So- since he was apparently doing fine w/ you and no guards, you might just go ahead and return them:yes:

easyrider
Aug. 2, 2011, 08:33 PM
I don't know how long you've been riding your new horse, or what you're doing with him, or what the prior owner did. Depending on the horse's responsiveness, a loose ring might or might not be the best bit. The fact that you've been doing fine without bit guards seems to indicate that you'll continue to be fine without them, but it wouldn't hurt to check his lips from time to time, since the prior owner may know something you have yet to discover.

I believe the fact that bit guards are not legal relates to "acceptance of the bit," one of the criteria by which the horse is judged. Bit guards by their very nature (and their name) indicate a lack of acceptance of the bit.