How many of you use the same bit for hacking at home and hunting? I hunt my guy in a D-ring waterford, and he goes like a star in it. I've always tended to ride him in a different bit at home (always a snaffle, either french link or single joint), and he is almost always fussy and I find myself changing his bit every few months. When I have ridden him in the waterford at home, he's always gone well... thoughts??
I ride my Arab in one of three things. He goes in a bitless sidepull for trail riding and general hacks. I use an oval mouth eggbutt for most flat work and over fences schooling as well as hunts. I use a Mullen Pelham for really important hunting days because I like the more formal look. I could hunt my guy bitless and get the same result as either bit. I don't hunt bitless at this point because people feel better with the horses bitted and I'm the new kid on the block at the hunt.
Use whatever bit your horse likes best. Especially at home. I expect my horse to behave himself regardless of what he's wearing on his face. Therefore, I just have several copies of the same bit for his different bridles. He likes it and goes well in it.
All mine hack in snaffles.
3 hunt in snaffles, 1 hunts in a twist with figure 8, 3 hunt in gags (in the hands of an expert rider, nothing but a snaffle - 'til you need it!), 2 in pelhams, and the pony in a kimberwicke.
But they all train/hack in snaffle bridles. I think that's pretty typical.
Pretty much what HR said. Current gelding does everything in a snaffle. Ditto the mare (Waterford is her preference) though she hasn't hunted yet. Others over the years have hacked/schooled in arena in snaffles and hunted in 'something else,' usually a pelham.
My TB mare goes in a hackamore for most riding except when we are doing something in dressage, then she wears a Happy Mouth Mullen mouth bit. When we have hunted she goes in a dressier version of her hackamore.
One of mine hacks in a French link snaffle and hunts in a Pelham, the other hacks in a fat hollow single joint snaffle and hunts in a thinner French link snaffle. Depends on the horse but I always want a little extra out in the hunt field.
Every horse is different. I have five hunt horses:
1. Hacks, events, French link, loose ring snaffle, Hunts - 2 ring gag. Really quiet horse except in the hunt field.
2. Hacks, events XC, Hunts - Wonder bit, Dressage loose ring snaffle. Kind of hot horse, can get nervous
3. Does everything in a mullen mouth snaffle and hardly pulls. She'd rear and go over if I used anything stronger, very hot horse with a very soft mouth.
4. D ring snaffle for everything. 18 yr old very quiet horse.
5. Mylar snaffle for everything, hard mouthed but generally quiet.
Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted
Ours wear the same bridles all the time - one's in a mullen mouth snaffle with cavesson noseband, the other is in a French link snaffle with a cavesson. Neither wear martingales - ever, or dropped nosebands of any description. I like keeping things as simple as possible =)
I have had horses who needed to be bitted up for hunting. My solution was to have two bridles- one with their hacking bit and one for hunting. My current hunt horse goes in a two ring gag bit year round. When hunting I ride her on contact, when hacking there is a loop in the rein.
I might be wrong, but doesn't a waterford have quite a different action from a snaffle? If the horse prefers it then I'd stick with it. Unless you want to compete in a discipline where it would be illegal, or he starts ignoring it on the hunt field then I can't see a problem. Heaps of horses round here are ridden in just the one bit.
Horse 1 can hack in anything. Usual bit is a fench link loose ring. Hunts in a double twisted wire full cheek with running martingale and pulls like a freight train non-stop in anything else.
Horse 2 hunts and hacks in a simple slender sweet iron loose ring snaffle, about 3/8" thick. Tried a thick french link, 3 ring, and slow twist snaffle but he goes happiest in the slender snaffle. Doesn't pull unless it's at a full gallop.
My OTTB hacks and shows in a plain ring snaffle but has to hunt in a full bridle (a Weymouth, consisting of snaffle bridoon with short-shank (Tom Thumb) curb). He's 27 now and it hasn't slowed him up a bit! One of the greatest horses I ever was privileged to own. My Curlies both hack and hunt in the same bridle: the gelding in a full-cheek snaffle, and the mare in a French link snaffle. (She's a darling and I've owned her since she was a foal, started her myself, so there's an advantage.)
My mare hunts, hacks and shows in a sprenger loose ring snaffle and I'm just trying a micklem bridle but I had her in a figure 8. I consider her unusual that she does everything in that one very mild bit.
I have many that go in different bridles for hunting vs hacking/showing. Some group-hack in their hunt bridle but ring work is in a different bridle, etc. I expect most hunt horses to have two bridles, personally. If they have one, bonus, but I don't expect it, especially since many of my horses double as school horses and eventers and need a dressage legal bit.
And please remember that a snaffle is not inherently a mild bit. A waterford is a strong bit if you use it strongly, but is very mild when horsey is listening and the hands are still. A pelham or kimberwick can be a much milder bit for a less educated hand, depending on the horse's choice of evasion and the set up. The action of a waterford is totally unique and can be highly effective for some horses. If your horse goes well in it, I wouldn't change it out unless you feel it is ineffective or pissing the horse off.