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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2012
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    Default When to change bits

    I'm toying with the idea of changing bits on my 4 and a half year old Trak gelding, but I'm not sure if I'm thinking everything through.

    I have him in a loose ring french mouth snaffle currently. He doesn't seem to actively seek contact and usually goes around with his head a bit high. He will even throw his head up repeatedly until I really push him forward. I have had moments where he is working through his back and his head/neck relax downward into my contact, just not consistently. Our first show in November doing Intro B and C was good, but the judge said that we needed to work on long and low.

    I tried a plain eggbutt snaffle prior to the loose ring french mouth. He didn't seem to like the point of the snaffle hitting the roof of his mouth. My trainer and I are working on my hands (not the steadiest, especially when he's flinging his head around but better when he's steady), but I do follow his head up and down. His teeth were just floated in early November.

    So should I consider changing bits, and to what? TIA!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
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    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
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    11,514

    Default

    My horse really, really, really prefers a snaffle with a "bean" in the middle (removing the nutcracker action, in other words.) When we were dealing with some contact issues - he is a converted hunter, used to poking his nose out and going on a LOT less contact than is typical in dressage - I found this baucher worked beautifully: http://www.doversaddlery.com/herm-sp...se2jropqmgfr2f

    Horse now goes in a regular loose ring snaffle (same mouthpiece with the center roller/bean.)
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
    Posts
    2,151

    Default

    Him not forward and your hands not steady could be more of the problem than the bit.
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*


    3 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
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    Northeast
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    Default

    I suspect that it's your hands that are most of the problem. Forward is part of it, but no matter how forward he is your hands will get in the way.

    Do remember that hands are attached to wrists, which may not be bent backwards, and must maintain a thumb uppermost. Those wrists are attached to a forearm which ends in the very important elbow joint.. It is there that the give and take must happen so that you can follow the head.

    So there is always more give than take. So simple..........................once you've got it.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
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    3,505

    Default

    Try it and if same results then at least you know its not the bit
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2012
    Location
    MS Gulf Coast
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    624

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
    Try it and if same results then at least you know its not the bit
    Good point NOMIOMI1.

    I'm fully aware that it could be my hands that are the entire problem. He's really bouncy while I'm warming up, so my hands just end up bouncing along with me. During my lesson on Friday, my trainer said that he was going better late in the lesson than early. It seems I have the problem only while trotting. We were working on getting the feel of where my hands need to be along with some other things so it wasn't boring for him.

    He's definitely forward enough. We have the nice, steady rhythm that was missing when I bought him in February of last year. I'm just wondering if the movement of the loose ring french mouth combined with my somewhat unsteady hands at the trot could be helped by changing to an eggbutt with a link in the middle.
    Last edited by LadyNeon01; Jan. 7, 2013 at 05:09 PM. Reason: forgot something



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
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    Northeast
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    Default

    Most people have fewer problems at the rising trot. It is when they begin sitting and forget to disconnect their hands and arms from their body, that the problem starts.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2009
    Location
    Montreal, Qc
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    3,096

    Default

    If I were you, I would try a double jointed ''Full cheek'' (with keepers) or a Baucher (half cheek).

    Those bits won't have the nutcracker effect and will be more stable in his mouth.

    As a rider, you need to be even more quiet with your hands with a loose ring.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,716

    Default

    Loose rings are a "noisy" bit and preferred for horses with too quiet of a mouth. IME not many lower level horses I've met enjoy them as much as the same mouthpiece with a steadier cheek. This may by synonymous with LL riders less steady hands.
    Some horses who prefer a technical rider also prefer a steadier cheek. My horses bradoon even has eggbutt cheeks.
    My go to bit as a starting point is the JP Korsteel eggbutt with the bean/lozenge center.
    If nothing else it'll be quieter for him than your current set up.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2012
    Posts
    18

    Default

    I've found that quite a lot of horses prefer a bit with a lozenge in the middle, which eliminates the nutcracker action on a horse's pallet.
    Also, if your horse's mouth anatomy allows (medium/high pallet without a fat tongue), you may want to consider trying a bit that is thicker (18mm-21mm).
    Since you mentioned that your hands aren't as steady as you would like them to be, perhaps you should try a bit with eggbutt cheeks rather than a loose ring. The eggbutt would provide additional stability of the bit in your horse's mouth. A loose ring may be a bit too wobbly for you and your young horse at the moment : )

    Here are a few links to bits that I have founds on a few websites:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Eggbutt-Fr...-/160716874854
    http://www.applesaddlery.ca/p-6908-s...affle-bit.aspx



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2007
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    1,399

    Default

    How does he lunge with side reins in each bit? That may be the best way to tell what bit he likes because it takes away the influence of your hands. I wouldn't just go by one time lunging because he may anticipate the feeling of your hands. Lunge him a couple of times in each bit, so he can figure out how the bit alone feels.

    I went through a bunch of bits, and I still don't know if I found the right one, but I knew which were the wrong ones. I tried a bunch of saddles too. My horse picked the one he liked and it wasn't the one I was thrilled with but it was better than what I had, so he got it.



  12. #12
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    Mar. 8, 2009
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    Montreal, Qc
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xQHDQ View Post
    I went through a bunch of bits, and I still don't know if I found the right one, but I knew which were the wrong ones. I tried a bunch of saddles too. My horse picked the one he liked and it wasn't the one I was thrilled with but it was better than what I had, so he got it.
    And if your horse is like my mare, he picked the most expensive saddle/tack/bit that's on the market...





    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2012
    Location
    MS Gulf Coast
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    624

    Default

    Thanks everyone! Good to know that I'm thinking along the right lines. I talked to my trainer last night before my ride. She thinks changing bits is worth a shot. There's a double-jointed full cheek floating around the tack room that I can try. We couldn't find a double-jointed eggbutt anywhere, so I may have to get one to try. I was thinking of doing the bit rental thing from Bit of Britain or Dressage Extensions. Thanks for the links, envoke! That's along the lines of what I was looking at.

    Strangely enough, I got a good 10 minutes of long and low at the end of my ride last night. But he was still kind of fussy early in my ride. If it doesn't rain on Wednesday, I'll change bits and ride. Otherwise, I think I'll have to wait until Friday.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2011
    Posts
    121

    Default

    Just remember that the horse accepting the bit takes time TO TRAIN. No bit will change that. But eggbutts or full cheeks can be less noisy. I've never had a horse not learn to accept the eggbutt french links that I use - mostly on small mouthed, sensitive types. I would probably not change to a bean as those can hit the roof of a horse's mouth if they have a low palate - some of those beans are big!

    If the horse goes fine for a while then tosses his head, I'd point directly at the rider's hands stopping or jerking on him. Frankly, I'd stay with what you have and use it as a learning tool to check yourself. Whenever the horse tosses his head, you've done something wrong. Why not use that information?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Nashville
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    Default

    MY Trakehener (but 20!) was fine in his loose ring double jointed "peanut" as long as we were just hacking around and not really working on contact. But I decided to do more with him and started lessons. He sounds a lot like yours, sometimes getting contact but very inconsistent. We moved him into a single joint baucher and he is much steadier (I think a double would have worked but we had a single available). I may also pick up a single or double joint full cheek snaffle, as George Morris on the USEF videos (those are great, be sure to watch the flatwork sessions) recommended that bit. But mostly it is riding riding riding focusing on straightness and bend and not worrying much about the head, just getting him to be rhythmic and move with impulsion, not speed.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2012
    Location
    MS Gulf Coast
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    624

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FatDinah View Post
    But mostly it is riding riding riding focusing on straightness and bend and not worrying much about the head, just getting him to be rhythmic and move with impulsion, not speed.
    FatDinah, that's exactly what we've been working on since I bought him. Both my trainer and I feel like he's SO much better than he was last spring (I feel the difference, and she sees it). He's perfectly happy on a loose rein but as soon as I ask for some contact, he can get fussy. Consistency is seriously lacking right now. The work never ends!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
    Location
    California
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    8,365

    Default

    Glad I stopped in to read this thread - it motivated me to try a different bit with my mustang. He had been going in a Myler comfort snaffle (loose ring), but I had the a-ha! reading about how a horse with a fussy mouth can find the loose ring to be too busy. So I switched to a different Myler that I have (level 2 - looks like a low port) with an eggbut cheekpiece and he was much quieter in his mouth and nice and forward.

    Thanks for a reminder to try something new!
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2012
    Location
    MS Gulf Coast
    Posts
    624

    Default ** Update - on the right path! **

    So I tried the full cheek french mouth that was not being used by anyone at the barn. I've only had one ride in it (due to weather), but I think I'm on the right path. Criss was still fussy but I think that was more to do with the fact that he had a week off (stupid rain). I was hoping to ride in it again yesterday, but it was too wet to ride in the lighted arena (have I mentioned how much I hate rain?!) I'm skipping my core class after work to ride in a somewhat drier ring, although it may be a swamp after last night's rain (ugh). I'll take my chances, especially since I'm showing in 2 weeks.

    I ordered a JP Korsteel oval mouth eggbutt to try out. I like the curved mouth on that bit. It should get here on Friday. Fingers crossed that it works. Thanks for all the suggestions!



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