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  1. #1
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    Question Another Bit Dilemma Thread - Searching for just the “Right One” - Thoughts Please?

    Sorry for another bit thread, and thank you for taking the time to read it! My brain, and fingers (from googling EVERYTHING- and searching COTH) will thank you! I have been on a desperate bit search for my 6 YO OTTB. He has been under saddle for about a year, though the first 4-5 months were as much under saddle work since most of it was spent on learning to trust/mounting/ small things, but things for him that were huge due to his previous situation. We are now to the point that we are looking into different bits. I think I found one for flat that he likes, but am looking for something for Jumping and XC. I tried him in a double jointed happy mouth elevator and it was just too much for him- he did OK in but just curled away from it too much and wasn’t a happy camper so have been looking for another bit that might be a better contender for him and what he needs.

    I tried him in a D Waterford and he seems to really like the bit but would rather not have a D and would like something with maybe a little lift so was looking at the below bits but not sure if one is better than the other or less severe other pros and cons. Googling it you find everything and thought I would bring it here an try to give my brain some rest and see if anyone else as any experience with this bits or similar and what you, personally use them for. Thank you!!!

    - Swear, I’m not sure which is worse- saddle shopping or bit shopping….

    Bits in Question:

    http://www.horsebitbank.com/waterford-jumper-69.phtml - Like the sound of this but- but is it more or less then the universal (elevator below) or just different action?

    http://www.horsebitbank.com/waterfor...ersal-93.phtml - Seems to be the same action as the 2 ring happy mouth I tried, but he liked the Waterford sooo??

    http://www.horsebitbank.com/waterford-balding-gag-406.phtml - Have also heard these are good for pullers but have never seen one in action or used one.. So truly unsure of use benefit ect.

    http://www.horsebitbank.com/ns-water...14-mm-53.phtml - Then there is just the Waterford Baucher- I know he does well in each, so maybe the combination of the two would benefit him (I know it doesn’t supply poll action- which isn’t what I’m looking for anyway. I like that is helps it be more stable in the horse’s mouth)

    I would Ideally like something that when he’s not pulling, there is NO action on him. I would prefer something that when he pulls/leans ect there is a quick action to lift- if needed and then back the preferred mild action


    Background:

    Since I have had him, we have had him in a Loose Ring French Link, and as a starter bit, it was great – he’s a very sensitive horse and in the beginning didn’t handle changes very well. Used to be a very bad puller/rooter, and sometimes even like he’s playing with the bit and popping his head back in forth at an angle- he’s VERY playful and anything he can get in his mouth to play with he will, so it’s almost like he playing the bit (plays fetch and likes to pick up big sticks and chase other horses around in the pasture- so anything he can play with he will).

    Over the last few months he has come leaps and bounds and his pulling is minimal on the flat- nice centered canter and beautiful trot. His halts when using your voice are awesome, when sitting deep in the saddle and asking him with your body, are slow but decent; but when you apply the bit, he then leans into the bit and stretches all the way down. Though this to has improved a LOT. We work on a lot of flat, transitions, up/down/ lateral work/ ect and am working with a trainer. I started getting the feeling that I wanted to try something else to see if there was another bit he/we preferred more. Being home sick gives you a lot of time for googling- the Verdict for the flat (hopefully) French Link Baucher- And he seems to like it, more responsive and not as playful with his head- I think it being more steady in his mouth is a huge benefit. Currently looking into getting the Stubben version or the Cotswoldsports version.

    We recently started jumping little things with him and he’s going well, nice and even after the jump( for the most part) but approaching the jump can be a hit and miss. Sometimes he’s great and steady right to with head were it should be- other times, he’s can get his head down LOW LOW LOW and pull, and it’s usually only on the approach to the jump, so it’s hard to ask for the raise through pushing him forward since forward is the jump, if that makes sense. Even though his leaning has improved 99%- when he decides he wants to- HES STRONG!!! And he is perfectly content cantering with his head down and almost to his knees so I feel like we’re going to fall over the jump rather than jump over the jump. This is even more exaggerated outside of the arena. So that’s where the jumping bits come into play.
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  2. #2
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    If he is so green....why so much bit?

    Just about all my horses go in the same bit on the flat as they do jumping....for a long time. As especially for the green horses, most of jumping is just flat work with a few jumps in between.

    I can only think of one horse out of 15 that went in a different bit at any level below training level. If they got quick...we trotted until the half halt was well enough installed to hold the canter.

    Just to be clear...I'm not against bitting up if needed. But most green horses need miles and training and since you can still trot...even at Training level...while jumping. So to me, the great bit search just sounds a little pre-mature.

    What you are describing is just a green horse. Not something that I would be changing the bit on yet (other than one you like on the flat with him)....but one that I would probably still be trotting to fences.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    It sounds like he's green enough to still be figuring it out. I recommend gridwork and trotting low fences until he coordinates himself. Otherwise I think his balance will prevent the progress you hope to gain by changing his bit.



  4. #4
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    I like and use one of these three bits for both flatwork and jumping on virtually all of my youngsters:

    http://www.bitofbritain.com/Herm_Spr...p/772-rent.htm (not legal for dressage)

    http://www.marystack.com/myler-bauch...rel-mb-02.html

    http://www.doversaddlery.com/happy-m...nk/p/X1-01117/
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqsiu View Post
    It sounds like he's green enough to still be figuring it out. I recommend gridwork and trotting low fences until he coordinates himself. Otherwise I think his balance will prevent the progress you hope to gain by changing his bit.
    This is where I was thinking of going with the Baucher Waterford, but i also know that not all bits are created equal, and finding a nice one, material and fit wise can be difficult so wanted review all options.

    I also don't want to "fight" him- and not the appropriate term, but yes on the flat, if he gets low, you can push him forward and get his head up from the back forward, but also in working with him- he likes his head low and hes very balanced in doing so. So if little " mechanical " help will assist him in setting back and bringing his head up- with out having to interfere with his face much, but have an immediate correction, then i wanted to explore those possibilities as well, even if its just learning more about them.

    We do mostly flat work and have jumped sparingly since May. (one small schooling trip to just get him around it, 2 hunter paces with the ability to skip jumps and just do the little logs if hes behaving and some jumping of X- he hasn't really don't anything over 22' as there is no need to work on height until we can conquer rhythm and HEAD UP

    Mostly have been trotting jumps since even though his canter is nice on the flat, he gets very heavy when approaching the jump, almost like chomping down and tilted. With his canter approving we have started to canter him to the jumps, but then if he gets to pulling and correcting, then it throws him off balance and hes not set up for the jump then either.

    So doing a lot of trot in and canter away, or combos of trotting in and cantering in between. Does help- But you can still easily get an excited horse who wants to lean pull. That's where something would be nice to assist IF needed but stayed almost dormant unless engaged.

    I hope I'm explaining it right- or at least trying. And I get that I may be jumping the gun, but I am also trying to take into account my horses history and progression and temperament.

    Thanks!!
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by scubed View Post
    I like and use one of these three bits for both flatwork and jumping on virtually all of my youngsters:

    http://www.bitofbritain.com/Herm_Spr...p/772-rent.htm (not legal for dressage)
    Like that one! and hunting for a used on on Ebay, but b.c of the coast is why I am considering the Stubben.

    The others- hes not a fan of the rubber, plus the one I tried, he chopped a HUGE dent in it .... And have never tried a Myler before, though would be interested to.

    I will admit I'm HUGELY indecisive, and as I said i know all bits are not created equal and am keeping my eye out for a used HermSprenger to see if maybe the lozenge and metal will make a good difference as well.

    I want to keep him soft, b.c on the flat you really DO NOT need a lot of bit with him, but nor do i want to let other areas progress that might improve with a little help for both of us. ....?
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  7. #7
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    Some horses will lean on a bit that they find to be too much. My older mare is that way. She did fine for years in a loose ring french link, but one day I tried the Myler mouthpiece that scubed posted, and she was so much happier. Half halts went through better, but she was also more willing to stretch into the contact without leaning. She also seemed to like the Waterford for XC/hacking in a group (where she can get really strong) but that was way too much for any work in a ring.

    She also could get very heavy jumping when her fitness wasn't good enough. Several very good trainers/clinicians over the years had us focus on adjustability--not the leaning per se--and strengthening exercises and the leaning seemed to go away on its own as she got stronger.



  8. #8
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    Confo shot if it helps any to see how hes built. Also teeth Good and the Chiro is out 1-2X a year. (Was just out a month ago)

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...type=1&theater
    Last edited by RoseBud143; Jan. 28, 2013 at 04:50 PM. Reason: add.
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
    Some horses will lean on a bit that they find to be too much. My older mare is that way. She did fine for years in a loose ring french link, but one day I tried the Myler mouthpiece that scubed posted, and she was so much happier. Half halts went through better, but she was also more willing to stretch into the contact without leaning. She also seemed to like the Waterford for XC/hacking in a group (where she can get really strong) but that was way too much for any work in a ring.

    She also could get very heavy jumping when her fitness wasn't good enough. Several very good trainers/clinicians over the years had us focus on adjustability--not the leaning per se--and strengthening exercises and the leaning seemed to go away on its own as she got stronger.
    He gets ridden 3-5 days a week for 45 mins at a time ( 15 of it is a SLOW SLOW warm up. I start out with a QH jog with absolutely no momentum and then it builds up to BIG TB trot ) Just his preference.

    The other thing I noticed that has helped him is simple lead changes- keeps him from getting bored and he cant get the change if hes on the forehand. So as we do figure eights, we transition to a trot for 2-4 steps and then pic up the opposite lead. Keeps him thinking and light and has help with his leaning on you.

    I have used the Waterford twice now, and tried not to do any collection work in it as I didn't really want him to associate the bit with a lowering effect lol.

    So loose rein and even head carriage and he did pretty well in it and a noticeable difference in him for the positive.
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  10. #10
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    I agree with bornfreenowexpensive.

    It sounds like he is still pretty green. You can probably "fix" what you are trying to fix with a bit but he may not necessarily learn what he needs to learn.

    I was taught from a young age, while training horses, make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.

    He's green enough, I wouldn't even bother trying to fix him before the fence, he doesn't have the knowledge base to understand. Fix him after. Make his life uncomfortable when he isn't "right."

    So, he comes to a jump with his head down and pulling, after the jump make him work, circle, do transitions, work hard for a short amount of time, even just 1 or 2 minutes (have the "fight" let it be ugly, if need be then go on with life). Come to the fence again, if he pulls, rushes etc jump the jump and immediately put him to work again. Repeat until he figures out if he comes to the jump and is "good" that his life is easy and he gets petted and gets to take a break etc.
    Once they figure this out, they figure it out and it sticks. You may need to have this conversation more than once with your horse, but it really does work and teaches them that its their job to be good and if they aren't then life will be just a little uncomfortable.

    Just my thoughts on what I would do before I started looking for a new bit.
    -Chelsie
    "Hell yes I can ride. I was riding when I fell off!"



  11. #11
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    I don't like to jump greenies in anything but a plain, simple snaffle... in other words, their dressage bit. As they get further along and more confident, yes, some of them benefit for a different bit to give them a little lift or back them off a bit, but when I'm jumping a baby, I want them in a bit they won't be afraid to jump into. If they lean a little bit here and there, no big deal ... Just means they need to work on their dressage a little more. It is far more important to me to have a confident horse. And with a simple snaffle, if you or the horse makes a mistake, it is a lot more forgiving.

    As he learns his job and the fences get bigger and the courses more demanding, he may eventually jump better in a different bit ... But I think at this stage you would be best served to keep using whatever bit he schools dressage best in, and just work on getting him more responsive to your aids on the flat while you build his confidence over jumps.



  12. #12
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    Hey Mickey- completely agree, but the problem is, he might fight and pull to the fence, but land and canter off beautifully- no pulling leaning- not fast just a nice slow relaxed canter- That's something I don't want make hard for him since the chance of him associating the "make it hard" with the actions before the jump and not the nice landing hard.

    Now I can definitely apply this before the jump, where I circle and come at it again if hes rushing it, I can make this more work- but to the extent of after- its hit an miss because I don't want him to loose the nice canter away.
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Situation View Post
    , but when I'm jumping a baby, I want them in a bit they won't be afraid to jump into. If they lean a little bit here and there, no big deal ... Just means they need to work on their dressage a little more. It is far more important to me to have a confident horse. And with a simple snaffle, if you or the horse makes a mistake, it is a lot more forgiving.
    .
    This is why i didn't like the elevator- he would come off the jump and kind shoot back before going forward waiting for a pop- didn't like it- He finally figured out after a few small jumps i wasn't going to pop him in the mouth- but i still didn't like the hesitation after.

    Part of the reason i was curious if anything else was a happy medium....
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  14. #14
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    Rose--where are you in FL? I ask because I'm in Tallahassee, and have some of these bits if you're nearby and would like to try them.

    I urge caution in moving to a stronger bit, just from my experience with my older mare. Several riders wanted to put a pelham on her. What she actually needed was a very mild bit, to learn that leg = activate hind end, and gymnastics set up to reward her when she was balanced and attentive.

    Wherever you are, I would encourage you to find an event or SJ trainer who is good at setting up gymnastics that teach the horse. Even if you can only ride with that person occasionally, get a homework "program" from them and have them explain it so you understand the "why."

    Meanwhile, hill work (if you have hills), cavaletti, and transitions in your daily work will help strengthen his back and hind end so he is better able to carry himself in balance.

    PS--Jimmy Wofford will be in FL next month. He'll be in Tallahassee on the 17th, and I think at Longwood later that week.



  15. #15
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    I am about an hour south of Tampa, so no hills here and am Working with a local eventing trainer so in lessons we do the gym. lines.

    during the week, when we jump, we do small cross rails and poles (to avoid having to get on and off to and reset them)

    We jump about 2x a week and other then that its flat work and transitions. rollbacks and transitions. lots of downward.

    I'm still looking for a loose ring, i don't want to completely rule it out until hes able to try a quality one and not just a typical $20/30 one since material and make do make a difference- also want to continue with the baucher since he did seem more responsive in it and it is pretty stable- its just a very expensive game of trail and error.
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  16. #16
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    What about a hackamore so there's nothing to pull against?



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by baxtersmom View Post
    What about a hackamore so there's nothing to pull against?
    I have thought about it- but don't even know where to start on getting an English hackamore- and then spending the $$$ to get the full thing (?) and he may not liking it... But I have given it some thought, just don't know where to go with it, and have only ever heard one personal exp with it...
    Posted with my Android smartphone.



  18. #18
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    You can get an inexpensive Korsteel hackamore for $20-25 pretty much anywhere. Just make sure it's adjusted properly (high on the nose, above the cartilage).

    I use it on my guy for all jumping (and hacking) etc. You can play with whether you want a strap, a chain, or even a pad/ vet wrap under the chin to vary how it feels; you can also adjust how quickly the leverage action comes into play.

    You *will* have to steer more with your eyes and your legs. That said, if Baxter blows off my half halt, I can go after him a little without igniting a major TB meltdown. I've also used it with a bridoon hanger/ bit/ two rein set up, and only use the hackamore if I'm not getting an answer from the bit.

    You can see mine in my photo below...



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoseBud143 View Post
    I am about an hour south of Tampa, so no hills here and am Working with a local eventing trainer so in lessons we do the gym. lines.

    during the week, when we jump, we do small cross rails and poles (to avoid having to get on and off to and reset them)

    We jump about 2x a week and other then that its flat work and transitions. rollbacks and transitions. lots of downward.

    I'm still looking for a loose ring, i don't want to completely rule it out until hes able to try a quality one and not just a typical $20/30 one since material and make do make a difference- also want to continue with the baucher since he did seem more responsive in it and it is pretty stable- its just a very expensive game of trail and error.
    He sounds like he really needs to just develop his strength and learn to jump out of a rhythm ... And that is more of a step in the training process than a bitting problem.

    The gymnastics should definitely help him. Another exercise I like to do, which is very simple but really seems to help horses and/or riders who want to anticipate and rush, is to set a small jump (whatever height you are comfortable with ... Depending on the horse and rider it can be a ground pole or a 3 foot vertical) on a large, 30 meter or so circle ... Just work on trotting or cantering circles until you establish the quality of trot or canter you want, and really focus on not letting the rhythm change. Eventually you just move your circle so that it incorporates the little jump... But your riding stays EXACTLY the same as if the jump wasn't there.

    With green horses, the more you get in their face trying to back them off in front of the fence, the more they tend to rush and pull. One of the most important lessons learned riding green horses is they have to see jumping as no big deal.



  20. #20
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    It also sounds to me like a green horse thing. I'd put him in a mild French link of some variety and call it a day.

    I'm not sure what your hangup with the less expensive bits is? My guy actually prefers the $30 JP Korsteels over the different, more expensive metals.

    Tory makes a 'jumping hackamore' that turns any bridle into a sidepull. You hang the new noseband on the bit hangers and remove the bridle's noseband. They're under $30 if you want to try one. They pop up on eBay every now and again. Mechanical hackamores just attach to the bit hangers of whatever bridle you already have. Mechanical hacks are relatively inexpensive as well and are often popping up on eBay. You could try a used one and see how it goes before getting a nice, new one.



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