My mare loves her single jointed rubber D ring. But it's turning out to be not quite enough when we're jumping. I tried a KK loose ring with the oval/lozenge center, and she HATED IT. And I realized that I changed up a bunch of things on her. So I'd like some opinions about what part of her rubber D she likes so much - and keep that part, and amp up the control on another piece.
Options if I only want to change one aspect of her current bit at a time:
Single joint metal D - this would definitely be a stronger bit.
Single Joint Rubber Loose Ring - doesn't scream 'more control' to me.
Single joint rubber full cheek with keepers - this would be a hair stiffer than the D, right?
Double Joint Rubber D - do they even make this? And wouldn't that be milder?
OR - keep her bit and add a flash. But she doesn't really open her mouth as much as just run through the bit. For 5 months she went in a Nathe and loved it, learned to accept contact and then one day 'oooh, I can just barge on through here' so we went back to the rubber D which had been too much bit.
I know she hated the bit vs hating the extra control/mental aspect because while I had more control at the event, she seemed a little fussy, and the next week left it on her bridle and she was terribly fussy, even hacking. Put her rubber D back on and "oh thank you".
She has a very wet mouth if that makes a difference.
Yes- and the reason I stopped using the Nathe at all was that once she realized she could just run through it, she did - both on the flat and over fences. She still respects the rubber D in the dressage ring, but out galloping around I have begun feeling a bit out of control so I would like to switch to something that allows me to still have the softer bit on the flat - she has just started to ignore it so I think I have the time to sort it out.
I have sort of ignored the out-of-control feeling because I am not jumping - I use a bridge and the occasional one-snap pully rein because it's winter and I'm out on the trail - I don't need that finesse, but she's getting stronger (good) and more confident (good) but also more cocky- where I need to be able to have some control.
Rubber pelham just seems way over the top, but maybe not? I am fine with 2 reins.
I went through the same process with my big horse... We started with a big fat hollow eggbut, went to a happy mouth d with a link, which was sometimes enough for XC, sometimes not, so I tried a loose ring metal bit and that worked, but I wasn't strong enough to get him to change his shape while galloping faster when we moved up to training (he's a big powerful guy with a monster gallop and I'm not that big).
So we've settled on a full cheek(with keepers) dr bristol with the dr. bristol part flipped over (so its essentially a full cheek with a link)
"Hell yes I can ride. I was riding when I fell off!"
I would go with the metal D first. A very simple step up. I highly doubt you'll get a noticeable difference with the other options, and she may hate the double jointed rubber just as much as the metal one.
You could also try a similar Happy Mouth. I sometimes think of HMs as a middle step between rubber or Nathe/HS Duo and metal.
My guy *loves* his single jointed rubber full cheek. He is a million times more accepting over it than any other bit. He hated the HS KK D that I tried him in first, tossed his head on the flat and just leaned on it when galloping. Now he is jumping with a single jointed *thin* loose ring snaffle. He is still fussy but he respects it enough.
One thing to note, you can also try adding either a running martingale or a figure-8 for jumping. Even for a horse that doesn't open their mouth, a figure-8 can make a difference if they are resisting by crossing their jaw slightly. It will also lift the bit up in their mouth a bit which can change how they act. A running martingale can give you a bit of extra umph when you need it without changing anything else.
Try a metal single joint first-- but if she's really running through it, I like a soft rubber pelham. You can ride off the snaffle rein exclusively, but the curb rein is there for the times when you need an "emergency brake." My horse needed a nathe for six months as he learned to accept contact and take a half halt; however he got quite strong at times jumping, and any kind of double joint made him curl. The rubber mullen pelham was similar to the nathe, but gave me a lot more control when needed.
I later transitioned him to a single-joint happy mouth, a single-joint metal eggbutt, and now (many months later) he is going really well in a KK. Since he's learned to carry the bit, seek contact, and accept a light half halt, he no longer curls in a double-joint. I still use the pelham for xc, if I expect him to be a little too fresh.
“A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
? Albert Einstein
Thanks! I think I will first try the regular metal D (especially since I have one!) - but good to know the rubber pelham isn't out of the realm. I really do like the option of riding with 2 reins and only invoking the curb when you need it.