I am looking for general opinions on this bit - Do you like it? What are the pros and cons of this bit? What type of horse do you think this bit would work well for? What specific issues does this bit help address?
I did read about the bit on Mikmar's website, but am looking for opinions from people who have actually used the bit. TIA.
My experience is that it's great with horses with complicated contact, but basically leaners, not for horses that avoid contact (I wouldn't recommend it for a sensitive horse).
Usually it is used on horses that constantly lean on the bit, with a stiff poll, or that "steal your distance" a couple of strides away from the jump, stretching the neck just two or three strides before jumping (although I don't recommend using this bit for jumping unless you have a very trained hand and only for correction, not as an everyday bit...).
I used it only for flatwork on a mare that would change her balance constantly, speed before jumps and get a rigid poll. I would use it the day before a show to remind her how I wanted her balance/pace and then used a three ring gag (Pessoa bit) with double reins (using the snaffle and bottom ring) for the show.
It has also helped with horses that were very bad leaners. It taught them how to balance (but remember, this will only happen if you use your leg aids properly...miracle bits don't exist!) and maintain it through an even pace, keeping your back relaxed since you don't have to be lifting them constantly.
I would rate it as a useful bit. Most jumper riders should have one in their bit collection because, if you ride several horses, it will come in handy one day. Remember that it is not an everyday bit, though!!
Over what hill? Where? When? I don\'t remember any hill....
I've used it with good success on two horses- the first horse was an older mare that had been ridden in draw reins so much she would really lean on the bit or get high headed and try to run away. It helped her learn how to not fight the bit, learn to carry herself properly and introduce collection. She loved the bit- much more so than any other bit we ever tried on her. The other horse I school in the combo occasionally, she has a larger tongue though so I try not to use it too much since it is a lot in her mouth.
Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA Mare
In Loving Memory of Tally, April 15, 1983 - June 2, 2010
I have one in my arsenal and I've used it with great success on several horses.
I did have one horse that was freakishly sensitive about bits. I tried probably 20 different bits on him before trying the Mikmar combo bit and it was the only bit he ever allowed me to maintain contact with. It was an everyday bit for that horse and worked beautifully for the 3 years that I used it on him. But he had an incredibly low, fleshy palate, and I think that the shape of the bit just happened to fit his mouth perfectly.
I had another mare who would stiffen her neck and poll and try to haul me down to jumps, and I loved using it with a rein on the bit and a rein on the nose rope. I rode her in a Myler as her everyday bit and showed her in the Mikmar.
I was hoping to be able to use it on my TB who hauls me all over the place at shows, but it was a little too much for him the last time I tried it, so I've opted for a rubber gag instead. Every now and again I'll pull it out if I'm having a particular issue with a horse (it works as well to keep a horse from curling as it does to keep them from evading contact through inverting).