Bit broke while riding! Terrifying experience! Have you ever heard of this happening?
I just bought the FES Wide Barrel Curved Eggbutt Snaffle and used it for the first time Thursday for a brief flat. On Friday morning I had a lesson and showed the new "myler knockoff" to my instructor. She commented that it wasn't as well made and didn't have as much give as the myler but agreed to give it a try since it was on my bridle.
I was half way through my lesson in a very nice 20m canter when I suddenly felt slack in the reins. I was in shock when I realized that the bit was hanging out of my horses mouth in two pieces. The metal was banging his head with every stride. That nice canter turned into a panicked gallop with no control. I wish I had sat back and grabbed the pommel but I panicked and leaned forward grabbing mane. I was preparing for a dismount but was going much too fast to dare try. My last memory is seeing the fence line getting closer, I do not remember parting company with the horse. I got an ambulance ride to the ER. I am very lucky to be recovering from a concussion with loc and a bruised body. The concussion recovery is worse than I expected. I thought I would be back at the barn today but spent the day fighting a combo killer hangover/ seasickness spinning room day. Yes, I was wearing a helmet, I always wear a helmet. (I wonder if a different brand would have protected me more?)
I know there is risk when riding and I have imagined some terrible scenarios but a broken bit is not one that ever crossed my mind. I know I bought a cheap knockoff bit but it was only used once and nothing should be sold that is that unreliable. It could have been much worse. Thank goodness this did not happen out on the roads or on xc or when i was alone. Have you ever heard of this happening before?
I can see where that would be scary. I remember a top showjumper had that happen on course at a show. There is a youtube video of it. Also, I think there was a problem with some Happy Mouth snaffles breaking a while back.
I've certainly heard of that, but a brand new bit?! YIKES!!! There's always that recommendation to check tack, especially aging tack, but I would never in a million years expect a brand new bit to break in two. Have you thought about contacting the manufacturer?
Glad you're (mostly) okay, if facing concussion recovery.
Yep, been there, done that, but fortunately it turned out ok. I was in a jump lesson, went down a line, steadied at the end of the ring, and had nothing. Bit (a Myler and not very old at all) had broken and was hanging loose. The freight train I was on just kept going. Trainer was like, what are you doing?! Since we just kept cantering along the rail and not going to the rest of the jumps. I was able to stop by grabbing the standing martingale. Without that, I'd still be cantering...
Happened to a friend on a trail, we were all racking/cantering up an old logging road and he hollered for everyone to stop. We did his horse did to (me and another were in front, two were behind him) It wasn't the most graceful thing I have ever seen but it worked. He rode back in a halter.
saw it happen at a barn fun show, it was an older bit and during the barrel racing luckily the horse had completed the pattern and ran to the gate and stopped , the bit was old enough that the copper joint in the middle had worn down enough that it broke in two
It just happened to a friend about two months ago.
She was working in the cattle sale barn and her bridle broke.
She uses her young horses there to give them more experiences and some are not too broke quite yet and a bit of a handful in that to them scary new environment.
She said the horse took off down the pen into the alley and barely stopped at the end, she though he was going to try to jump the gate there, but didn't.
She said it was one of the most hair raising run off's she ever had.
I had decades ago one such, but it ended in tragedy, the kind you never get over it.
I had started this colt under saddle, he was a high priced imported colt, had been sold the day before for a large figure and they were sending the van to pick up up that day.
The trainer though we give him one more ride, which was his sixth under saddle, thru the forest, following the pony horse.
All went well, the colt was wonderful, when I found myself galloping behind the pony horse with one rein in each hand, but loose, no contact.
I realized the snaffle had broken and all I had holding the bridle on was the browband and over the ears, each half of the snaffle loose at the end of each rein.
That snaffle had been to the olympics 20 years before and had much use and choose that time to break.
I could not guide or stop the colt, that kept running thru the trees.
I yelled to the trainer I was jumping off, he said don't and yelled for the pony horse to stop, hoping the colt would.
The colt blew past the pony horse, missed one tree barely and hit the next one with his shoulder as he tried to miss it, but we were going by then too fast.
I only remember waking up on the ground, making odd noises and my one arm straight out turned around in a way it should not.
I tried to get up, my arm was not working, I tried to grab it with the other hand and passed out again.
Woke right back and the trainer was getting there, my arm was back where it should be and all was fine.
My shoulder had dislocated when we hit the tree and I ended up with a small concussion.
No, we didn't really have good helmets in those days and hardly anyone wore any, other than competing, for looks.
I healed just fine, but the colt's shoulder was broken and he had to be euthanized.
I was unconsolable and will never quit thinking what else I could have done, but it all happened so fast ...
I will never quit apologizing to the colt or the owner, even if it all was a pure accident.
We looked at the snaffle and it looks like it had a manufacturing defect, where the metal had a crack all along.
It worked fine all those years and maybe we banged that bit some that morning and the crack finally went thru and chose that gallop to come apart.
I didn't even have time to be scared, but you never get over from such sad accidents.
I hope you will be ok, concussions have to run their course, take care to heal well.
It happened to me too, however, I must admit it probably was my fault. I bought a new mare last winter and she has been a total makeover. Previous owner had used a Kimberwicke on her and she had no sense of leg, bending, well, nothing! I decided to start over and put an old very soft rubber mullen mouth on her, so old, I can't remember when I bought it and I'm old! Anyway, riding up to the barn from the arena and go to pull back to stop before entering the barn and feel something weird, look down and sure enough, the bit was in 2 pieces. I will give credit to the mare, she just looked at me like WTH and stopped. I really was lucky, it could have been a completely different outcome 15 minutes earlier.
Heal quickly and take it easy for a few days, sounds like a concussion!
I do have a better story, going to take delivery on some cows we bought.
We had rounded the pairs up in a corner of the pasture and were letting them settle and mother up before starting to cut out the 10% the contract asked for to take out.
Looking over to my boss, sitting there nicely on the cutting horse ready to go work, holding the reins, I see the bridle and bit around the horse's knees, nothing on it's head.
The bridle had broken and no one had noticed, not even the rider.
It didn't happen to me but a co-worker had a snaffle snap while driving a clydesdale back to the barn in the city. The horse was already eager to go- which is probably the last stress the fault in the bit could take. When it broke- the bridle- blinders and all, peeled back to everything but the throatlatch around his neck.
They were approaching an intersection with a very large street- about 4 or five lanes across of one way traffic which had just funneled down off the interstate. All that cross traffic *was* stopped at the light... but it turned green- all of the car drivers saw the situation and didn't go at the green except for the one on the furthest side of the intersection- and they pulled out right into the path of the runaway. Horse cleared the front hood and carriage stopped abruptly. The horse made it back to the barn without a scratch, the driver got hurt pretty bad though.
Just understanding that terrible chain of events and how it happened- I have a personal rule now against bridles which don't have nosebands integrated with the bit hanging straps. (meaning a caveson noseband that hangs on it's own seperate strap from the bit is not going to pass my test) I would like that at least if, knock wood, a bit would break- that the reins are still connected to something nearish to the end of the horse's face and a person would have half a change to work with it. I also try to point it out to other driving friends as something to think about.
This is making me think about alot of things - namely my purchases in equipment. I bought a cheap bit and it could have had a tragic ending. I am very lucky. I will be more diligent in caring for and inspecting my tack. I always inspect my leather - but I will never borrow an old bit from someone since most of the stories were failures of old bits. I will only purchase and use my own quality tack.
What about the helmet? I had a $65 Tipperary on. I need to replace it now. I will not skimp on my helmet but how do I choose? I was going through the catalog and you can spend up to $600 on a helmet. Whether it is $35 or $650 they all meet the standards - but do the more expensive ones protect even better? Would a different helmet have absorbed more of the concussive forces on my brain?
Finally, does anyone know what company manufactures FES bits? This appears to be a generic name and I can't find the Mfr. I have a message in to the retailer and hope to talk to someone next week.
Sorry to hear about the accident, but this is an example of why every horse needs to have a confirmed "Whoa" to the voice. There is no bit that will stop a horse if it does not want to stop. Obedience to the voice is imperative for safety. Brakes are non-negotiable. You say Whoa, horse plants all four.
I was riding a stallion in a 8,000 acre park....marathon carriage came out of the woods at speed....horse thought this was a horse-eating contraption and we were doing great side-passes in canter. I said the magic "W" word. Horse stopped. I got off.
Talked to the driver, who it turned out I knew, and we ended up doing a schooling session behind the carriage.
Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress. Alfred A. Montapert
Just a word of advice. If your world is still spinning, you're going to need some time off. Don't push it...the risk of a serious TBI goes up exponentially if you should have another wreck shortly after a concussion.
It may also affect your sense of balance. Don't believe me? Talk to my daughter.
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant
Had a hackamore come apart on the way to an XC fence. He was getting strong so I sat and put in a big half halt... and suddenly had the reins pulling on his neck and my hands were by my ears. NOT a fun sensation.
Unfortunately this horse's reaction to worry was to buck, and there was no way I was getting his head up or riding it out.
Fortunately we were just schooling and I was, of course, wearing all my safety gear. No major harm done beyond a sensitive horse freaked out, and having to show the next day in an unfamiliar (to him) bit.
OP, take it easy for longer than you think you should. Concussions are slow to heal.