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  1. #1
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Default Bit suggestions for the fussy mouth

    Trying still to find something that pleases the big horse.

    He likes a fixed cheek and is currently going in a french link D. He still fusses, but is MUCH happier than in a non-fixed cheek.

    Tried a Myler (granted, it was a loose ring). Tried a KK Aurigan (also loose ring). Tried eggbutt, mullen mouth, rubber (jointed and mullen), happy mouth, tried loose cavesson, no cavesson, flash cavesson, dropped cavesson. I haven't had a figure eight cavesson on him in a while but as I recall he hated it and tossed his head nearly uncontrollably until I took it off. He has fleshy lips and a small but soft mouth. Fat tongue, relatively low palate. Hates single-jointed bits, naturally. On the non-legal side, I've tried a Wonderbit, waterford, full cheek with keys, snaffles with rollers, Dr. Bristol D, and a hackamore. I have a Micklem bridle on it's way, should be here Friday.

    Teeth were done relatively recently. He's turned out 24/7 and eats a diet that consists largely of alfalfa and high-quality orchard and timothy. He's on beet pulp and a ration balancer + joint supplement and MSM, so next to NO grain (only 3 cups of RB *per day*). His feet have been improved recently by a competent farrier, he's been adjusted from nose to tail, and I've made sure his saddle fits as well as is possible for my budget.

    By fussing, I mean he opens his mouth, chomps and generally evades the bit. It's not with any rhythm, and despite the fussing he gives good work and builds a light layer of foam on both sides. I know there is tension, clearly, but short of riding him on a loopy rein and never asking for anything more than stretchy trot circles, I can't figure out how to alleviate the problem. He does it with or without cavessons (of any kind.). I've sought my trainer's opinion, and she chooses to just ignore it. I tried this at first - but it's now been going on for about 9 months, and isn't improving. He is better with bits that don't offer a lot of movement, but doesn't like traditional mullen mouthes.

    Ideas? Suggestions? Just ride him through it, or keep looking for an answer? I haven't tried any of the Nathes, nor a KK or Myler with a fixed cheek, or any of the Ultra HS bits... most of my collection consists of loose rings, and the only fixed cheek bit I own besides the french link D is a waterford. I don't know anyone with any of the above bits that I could try, their horses all seem happy in a plain loose ring french link. And we can't afford to buy multiple $100+ bits right now.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    I assume your bit is thin as well?

    My guy has similar problems with bits, but he likes movement and plays with his bit. His tongue doesn't really fit in his mouth - I can't tell you how many times he has bitten it to the point of bloodiness in turnout! He does have a rhythmic chew now... but it took a long time. It took somewhat ignoring his mouthiness and not trying to keep him from that with a noseband, while developing more and more impulsion. His mouth is only fairly still other than the rhythmic chewing when he is REALLY pushing from behind and using himself. Otherwise, he's fussy and acts tortured for having a bit of any sort in his mouth. It took us over two years for him to consistently *seek* contact rather than just accepting it, and I think now he sees that as a way of stabilizing instead of something to avoid. I have yet to try a bit like yours, but actually want to - before he would act afraid of a bit which was held too still, but I think now it would be a plus for him.


    Basically I agree with your trainer to ignore it and hope it settles down while working on tension in his body. Which I kind of hate as an answer. It's a case where I think bitless would be preferable if it were legal for showing.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  3. #3
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    We've tried both thick and thin (the KK, versus the Myler).

    Your comment about getting him really forward is also interesting. I no longer am riding with the trainer I mentioned, due to finances mostly, but also because she was having me do some things with this horse that I wasn't sure were of positive benefit. She had me slowing him WAY down (nearly to a jog, for him) at the trot - he's a big guy, with a big step, not young (14) and she thought I was letting him cruise around much too fast. I understand that she was doing this to try to get him to engage and push more from behind, but it seemed very contrary to traditional methods. I can say that her methods definitely created even more tension and worry for him.

    He will still fuss with his mouth, even when I've ridden him in a bitless bridle. I don't wonder if it may be residual from some previous problem/pain that he's still expecting to feel.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  4. #4
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    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    I'd say going with your gut on that - and feeling an increase in tension and his way of going definitely would cause an issue! For working out tension, I think both more forward and higher tempo is better.

    I'm not a firm believer in either going faster or slower - for the Friesian cross slowing the trot tempo was absolutely necessary to get her balanced off her forehand and taking longer strides. For my PC grandbaby TB, upping tempo was necessary. It caused lengthened strides then as if a switch had flipped drastically increased impulsion this spring - 2 years after I'd gotten him.

    The increased impulsion and change in how he reacted to the bit were hard to tell which was cause and which was effect due to happening at the same time, though I know it was actually due to the change in carriage - now that he's coming back into work after my back injury and his abscess he hasn't had the impulsion from the start of every ride, and therefore hasn't had the same reach toward contact. Where it's easy for some horses, I think sensitive TBs with a history will always be less likely to go for it unless they are using their bodies in such a way it becomes necessary.

    Incidentally, now I'm finding more forward tends to be slower tempo as Tucson is developing greater and greater strength and more reach with each stride. We're probably covering ground at the same rate as we were with a more active hind end despite far fewer strides per second.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  5. #5
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    I'm not a firm believer in either going faster or slower - for the Friesian cross slowing the trot tempo was absolutely necessary to get her balanced off her forehand and taking longer strides. For my PC grandbaby TB, upping tempo was necessary. It caused lengthened strides then as if a switch had flipped drastically increased impulsion this spring - 2 years after I'd gotten him.
    Did you remember that I have one of these, or was that just incidental? This is my PC grandbaby, also, and he's BIG...and big-moving. I'll try upping the tempo and see if that encourages him to really reach for it...

    There are days (infrequently at this point, but still) where I can feel him lift his shoulders and really drive from behind, up into my hands. I haven't yet figured out what the difference is that causes those days, but I'm working on it. And it's a great feeling. I can hardly wait to get him up into Second and beyond, as long as we can keep him IN the arena.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  6. #6
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    Jan. 12, 2000
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    How did he like the Dr Bristol? Did you try an egg butt version that was a bit thinner? I find that those work well.

    Other people love their Baucher because it hangs in the middle of the mouth more. There's a Kangaroo Baucher that might work. I think Dover had it.

    The other thing is a mullen mouth. I've find that they work well too.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  7. #7
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    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heinz 57 View Post
    Did you remember that I have one of these, or was that just incidental? This is my PC grandbaby, also, and he's BIG...and big-moving. I'll try upping the tempo and see if that encourages him to really reach for it...

    There are days (infrequently at this point, but still) where I can feel him lift his shoulders and really drive from behind, up into my hands. I haven't yet figured out what the difference is that causes those days, but I'm working on it. And it's a great feeling. I can hardly wait to get him up into Second and beyond, as long as we can keep him IN the arena.
    I assumed it was your PC grandbaby was why I said that.

    I remember the first time I felt my guy REALLY lift his shoulders. I looked at my trainer and went "What was THAT!?" I've ridden plenty of horses with lifted backs and all, but the extreme drastic change in how they go when they lift and several inches (or more) of difference between withers and hips when it happened was enough to make me ! I don't remember your guy's build exactly, but if he has the same short back I suspect he has the same VERY hard to sit trot. Just watching what happens to a saddle on the longe makes me realize how strong my horse has to be because there are added twisting and side to side components as they bring their hind legs up and under them. He's not using his hind end as well as he could be here, but you get the idea - THIS is what I feel and couldn't figure out at first!
    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...60493611_n.jpg
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2006
    Posts
    127

    Default Still hands and forward

    I've been working the same issue with my young TB. Going to a Myler bit solved 50-80% of his problem. But he still hates busy hands.

    My trainer (and the other one that I occasional clinic with) says that much of the problem is not pushing him forward enough. But while you do it keep those elbows solidly still (plaster against your side if you need to). The hands and forearms need to be relaxed.

    So now days if he is fussy in the mouth I look to me. It's either too much hand or not enough leg (or both).



  9. #9
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Velvet View Post
    How did he like the Dr Bristol? Did you try an egg butt version that was a bit thinner? I find that those work well.

    Other people love their Baucher because it hangs in the middle of the mouth more. There's a Kangaroo Baucher that might work. I think Dover had it.

    The other thing is a mullen mouth. I've find that they work well too.
    Dr Bristol...eh. He likes the support from the fixed cheek but I don't get the impression that he feels like he can really push into the mouthpiece. The only eggbutt I own is a single jointed happy mouth, which he decidedly does NOT like. I haven't tried a baucher, purely because I don't own one. He disliked the loose ring mullen I tried on him, but maybe it's time to pull it out again. Or the Myler, or... maybe I should just start over going through my collection again.

    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    I don't remember your guy's build exactly, but if he has the same short back I suspect he has the same VERY hard to sit trot.
    Yes, short back. Crappy old photo: Picture He may or may not have been standing in a bit of a dip, his withers aren't so much lower than his croup generally. His trot isn't easy to sit, you're correct, although even when he's plowing around like a freight train on the forehand, his gaits are easy and light.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  10. #10
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    Fixed cheek on a Dr. Bristol? I was thinking an eggbutt round cheeks with the flat plate of the Dr Bristol giving his tongue more room. It will still sit on it, but it doesn't dig into the palate as much.

    Egg butt mullens is what I was thinking with a mullen, too. I tend to avoid loose ring on horses with fatter tongues and not a lot of room in their mouth for a bit. It just makes for less motion to bother them. Then you can push them into the contact.

    You need something that he feels is acceptable. NOTHING will probably make him 100% happy. You have to find what will not hurt him and what he will tolerate better than any other bit, and then let him figure out how to deal with the pressure of it over time.

    It's the best of the evils. Think of it as voting anyone into office. Pick the one that bothers him the least--even if it's not by that much of a margin.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2003
    Location
    Michigan
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    My fussy mouthed boy likes his Korsteel JP Eggbutt with oval mouth. he prefers it most decidedly over a french link eggbutt. It's pretty heavy weight compared to some bits, and the fixed cheek just kind of takes the extra play out of it.



  12. #12
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    Aug. 28, 2007
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    Triangle Area, NC
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    I have a student with a horse like yours, Heinz. Here's what's helped him.
    1. Get yummy, forward throughness at the walk on a long rein with contact.
    2. when in doubt, open your inside rein. Keep your elbow at your side, and swing your hand out away from your horse at the same height above the withers. DO NOT lower your hand, stiffen your elbow, etc.
    Remember to support with your inside leg (the whole inside leg)
    3. Mind your contact in the transitions.
    4. Use your CORE (all the muscles between your belly button and pubic bone) for half halts.
    5. If he starts gaping, or showing ANY signs of tension, go back down to the walk, get your yummy back, and then transition back up.

    This horse was stuck at TL for years (before coming to me) because of his tension and anticipation. He'd fake a dressage shape and trot around with an arched neck, locked lumbar and mouth gaping or clacking, or pushing the bit with his tongue. He went through two lessons on just focusing on him understanding that his relaxation what what we were after, and he was able to score 7's and even 2 8's on his first 1st level test. No bit change needed.
    Put the base of the pyramid where it belongs.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2006
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    Berryville, VA
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    Default My recent bit dilemma and subsequent solution

    So this is going to be a long shot. Recently I was in need of a new bit. I rescued a horse who, similar to yours, was hating everything I tried on her. Now she was un-broke so I would expect her to balk at most everything, but in the past all of the horses I have started have settled into something. This one, not so much. So a visit from a friend, Kitty Garrity from L'Apogee was happening as she was coming to fit me for a saddle, proved to be a turning point for my entire barn, but especially this little Anglo mare we had just picked up.

    Long story short; Titanium bits. Specifically Lorenzini Titanium Bits. The only bit she had with her in the size I needed was a full cheek (not my first choice) but she said that I HAD to try it, that these bits were the miracle bits! Like I hadn't heard that before...I put it on the bridle, sans keepers, and put the bridle on the horse. We all stood and stared at the horse. She stood and stared back, "What?" Nothing, not a thing happened. Took the bridle off, put the KK Ultra loose ring back on and tongue out the side, out the top, over the top swinging head, etc. All of this just standing there. Put the hollow mouth KK D ring on, same crap. Put the Lorenzini full cheek on, nothing...right. I need to keep this for a few days.

    Fast forward a few days and five horses later. You will find quite a few KK Ultra bits for sale on E-Bay as both the barn trainer and I have ours for sale along with a vast array of other no longer needed bits. It is a "freak". I refuse to call it a miracle as there is but one, but it these bits are "freaks". I have a pony who does "bird watching" occasionally when she is supposed to be working her 2nd level movements, perhaps a vestige from a lease by a teen rider? Not anymore, she goes to work, comes back with slobber and foam on her chest even. No more dry mouth.

    I have thought about this, talked about this until I am blue in the face trying to figure it out; what is it about these bits. You know what it is? It is what it isn't. It isn't heavy, it is incredibly light weight. It isn't hot, the temperature warms to the body temperature and stays there, doesn't get overheated like others do. It is a neutral metal, so it doesn't conduct and cause tiny pulses of electricity like other bits do, oh yes they can and do my friends, do the research. It is antibacterial so if you don't clean your bits regularly its okay, well its not okay but it won't make your horse sick. It is bio-compatible with the body, heck they use it for replacement joints. It won't corrode, rust, change color and is incredibly strong.

    You guys get it, I could go on and on about these bits. The one thing they aren't is inexpensive. But I look at it this way. The two most important pieces of equipment you can buy are the saddle and the bit. One sits on your horses spine and the other in his mouth. The two most sensitive parts of his body, they better fit perfectly and be the best for him that money can buy... Kitty is offering a money back trial on these bits. Try one, if it isn't doing what you expect it to do, return it. There is a time period on the trial and I am not sure what it is, but why not try what do you have to lose. It sounds like you have exhausted ALL of your other possibilities... you said you can't afford multiple $100 bits right now. If you try this one and it works you could sell all the others to pay for one!



  14. #14
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvergreenDors View Post
    It sounds like you have exhausted ALL of your other possibilities... you said you can't afford multiple $100 bits right now. If you try this one and it works you could sell all the others to pay for one!
    While this is a wonderful thought, used bits don't go for much. $10, maybe $20 each if you've got something really unique, and KK's can be had for $50 or less these days as used pieces. I doubt my entire collection would go for enough to pay for a Lorenzini, since many are bigger/smaller than "average" sizes. They sound interesting, but I'd have to try one and have it be the "freak" answer to all my prayers to make the investment.

    As for the rest of you...

    I did a couple things tonight.

    1. Full cheek waterford
    2. VERY steady hands and a good, solid contact through bent, but elastic (not locked) elbows and FLAT WRISTS.
    3. Building good, solid contact in walk-halt-walk-halt transitions and then progressing to the same in our walk-trot-walk transitions (duh, but still important to remember)
    4. a lot of opening rein (and still remembering to maintain #2), which consequently forced him into the outside rein...
    5. Focused, while doing 2, 3, and 4, on really trying to ride from my core, lift the bouncy ball with my seat and tuck my tailfeathers (without clenching. never clench.)

    The result(s) were good. Still some fussing, but MUCH less, and LOTS of contact and reaching over the topline. I'm hoping the waterford will be a short stepping stone for him - he liked the drape of the mouth and the contact he could have with it when I was consistent with my hands (which, yes, I know, is the opposite of how a waterford is *intended* to be used, but I'm not going to argue with him right now). I'm intrigued, since I figured he'd hate it being so unsteady.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  15. #15
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    Jul. 5, 2006
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    321

    Default

    Well, this is not inexpensive, but I tried that herm sprenger that is essentially a ok ultra loose ring but has a roller - the one that Lisa Wilcox designed.

    Stunning difference, very first ride. Happy, quiet mouth. But it is a loose ring, so I hate to suggest it.



  16. #16
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    Feb. 5, 2010
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    If your boy likes a fixed cheek, he would probably love a boucher. I've got the Stubben copper double-jointed boucher and my fussy-mouthed horse really likes it. He also loved his old Happy Mouth double-jointed boucher, but those have been recalled.



  17. #17
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  18. #18
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    Jun. 11, 2006
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    Default

    Yes a "freak" would have to answer all of your prayers, but who says it wouldn't? And with a free trial...

    I believe the KK with the roller is illegal in competition or at least it used to be as I have one of those and used to use it on greenies. Lorenzini has a double jointed Baucher, that interestingly enough my pony who used to ride in the Baucher didn't like. She used to be in a Korsteel single joint so perhaps the double was too much for her. She is the one now in the full cheek. I also think the Baucher was giving too much poll pressure when at this point in her training she should not need it. The full cheek, with the keepers, gave me just enough extra umph to keep her attention on me when she would get fussy.

    The sizing on the Lorenzini bits is actually true to size. If it says 5" then it is. So I am unfamiliar as the what you mean by bigger/smaller than average sizes. You are correct if you mean that she doesn't have "pony" sizes like 4 3/4 and smaller. But as they are hand made she can make whatever you want.

    And I guess I've been lucky, or fools have been buying, I've sold 3 HS KK Ultras for $65, $70 and $72, that was enough for a new Lorenzini oh and my trainers Happy Mouth went for $47, God bless E-Bay... just saying.

    Good luck.



  19. #19
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    Feb. 11, 2002
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    My horse doesn't have a fussy mouth, but he has a fussy head, and I think part of it was due to the bit, and me also. So, 2 things I have done (and it sounds like you are on the right track)

    1. Remember the GIVE after the half halt. Half halt, then LET the horse answer you and soften, don't hold it too long. And "hinges" in your elbows. The thing my horse hates the most is a fixed elbow, where my hands are going up and down with my rising trot--even slightly. Remember to disconnect the upper arms from your torso (don't clamp your arms into your sides) and make a hinge/shock absorber with your elbows so your hands stay still relative to the horse, and not go up and down with your posting. And at the walk and canter, make sure to move the arms forward and back and open/close the elbows to go with the bascule of their neck.

    2. My horse doesn't like his 5-1/2" loose ring KK Ultra, it's too rattley and loose, and tickles his mouth and is too moveable. Every time I did a half halt (even if I remembered to use leg first, and release the hand), he raised his head. And he was always wanting to stop and itch the corners of his mouth on his leg every chance he had. I also think it was too wide, and would too easily pull too far out one side or the other of his mouth. I put him in a 5" eggbutt rotation bit (basically a mullen with some give) http://www.classicsaddlery.com/bits/rotation.htm (2nd bit on the page) and it's on clearance as well! Who can beat $14.95?? It's a 16mm, so not overly thick. The rotator link in the center JUST ROTATES, it doesn't bend. And of course the eggbutt sides are nice and stable. He loves this bit, I've never had him stay so soft and round into my transitions, and he's actually starting to chew and GENTLY TAKE a contact instead of pushing his nose out against it or hollowing.

    Good luck!



  20. #20
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvergreenDors View Post
    Yes a "freak" would have to answer all of your prayers, but who says it wouldn't? And with a free trial...

    I believe the KK with the roller is illegal in competition or at least it used to be as I have one of those and used to use it on greenies. Lorenzini has a double jointed Baucher, that interestingly enough my pony who used to ride in the Baucher didn't like. She used to be in a Korsteel single joint so perhaps the double was too much for her. She is the one now in the full cheek. I also think the Baucher was giving too much poll pressure when at this point in her training she should not need it. The full cheek, with the keepers, gave me just enough extra umph to keep her attention on me when she would get fussy.

    The sizing on the Lorenzini bits is actually true to size. If it says 5" then it is. So I am unfamiliar as the what you mean by bigger/smaller than average sizes. You are correct if you mean that she doesn't have "pony" sizes like 4 3/4 and smaller. But as they are hand made she can make whatever you want.

    And I guess I've been lucky, or fools have been buying, I've sold 3 HS KK Ultras for $65, $70 and $72, that was enough for a new Lorenzini oh and my trainers Happy Mouth went for $47, God bless E-Bay... just saying.

    Good luck.
    I'm not entirely sure why you're arguing with me. A Lorenzini bit is not in the budget right now, and I do not wish to sell off every bit I own to pay for one (I do have other horses, and do other things besides dressage, like eventing, where I will need some of those bits). The sizing I was referring to was MY OWN collection being mostly in other than average sizes, not Lorenzini's.

    I wouldn't say no to trying one out, but I don't really want to pay a bunch of shipping fees to do it. I tend to shop locally for the most part. I'm glad you've had such great success with them.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



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