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Any other 1st level riders using a full cheek?

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  • Any other 1st level riders using a full cheek?

    Long story short, my horse "graduated" to an eggbutt about 6 months ago, at the urging of my trainer, who's reasoning was he really didn't need to go in a full cheek anymore, as that was more for horses who need more lateral support. According to her, as the training progresses they shouldn't "need" a full cheek. He did seem fairly happy in the f/c, but what she said made sense too, so we made the switch.

    Sometime between then and now, he started with a bit of resistance in transitions, and fussiness in the canter. Harder to get working front to back, and stiffer in the jaw. He was due for dental floating, so I had it done, and the situation improved somewhat, but not entirely.

    We're currently schooling 1st and 2nd level movements. He's been really struggling going to the left with the 10m 1/2 circle at the trot, change the bend, and do another 10m 1/2 circle at the trot. I've been trying different exercises to address the stiffness. Shoulder in, spiraling in and out on a circle, etc. He still gets tight and rushes. So that he doesn't become fried and anxious (he's a sensitive TB) we've been mostly doing the movement at the walk.

    Today's ride: supple, relaxed. cantered both ways on a soft contact with no problems. Lengthened the canter a bit and got him right back. Stretched him down, picked him up, no worries. He's in my hand and working back to front - awesome trot! Encouraged, I tried the 10m 1/2 circle movement, and he did it softly, without rushing, and stayed balanced and happy in BOTH directions. We did it several times with no issues whatsoever.

    So I finish and as I'm untacking I notice that I had a massive brain short-out this morning and put my greenie's bridle on him by mistake. Which is a full cheek snaffle bit. (I know, it looks nothing like an eggbutt, but he used to go in the full cheek, and I guess I had a flashback). He went better in his old friend the full cheek - a LOT better. Is there anything that unusual with working a horse at this level in a full cheek?

  • #2
    Do you use a flash? This is one case where I would suggest if you don't it may add stability to the bit when you use the eggbutt, and your horse may appreciate that.

    Are the eggbut and full cheek both similar mouthpieces? That could create a difference, too, and it may not be the full cheek aspect of it.

    My horse likes as much movement as possible from the bit, but we've found my mom's horse prefers the most stable bit possible so she's in a full cheek. While she's not a show horse, we work 1st/second level-ish (ie lateral work, lengthening, collection), and the full cheek is what she tells me she MUST have in her mouth to stay soft and responsive.
    Originally posted by Silverbridge
    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


    • Original Poster

      Sorry I forgot to add that, yes the mouthpieces are the same on both bits, both are just regular jointed snaffles. And yes to the flash, with both bits I use one.


      • #4
        ride your horse in whatever is legal that he goes well in.
        unless your instructor wants to invite him to tea, and try to persuade him into thinking an eggbutt is better, you are better off sticking with what works well.
        chaque pas est fait ensemble


        • #5
          If it ain't broke don't fix it. I will ask if you use keepers with your full cheek. I have a couple of TBs with whom I use Baucher bits. They do not like a bit that lays across the tongue. An F/C with keepers has much the same feel, in that it is stabilized in the mouth. If you just can't ride in the F/C, a Baucher with the same mouthpiece would be my next choice.
          "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


          • #6
            If you want the more dressage "look", try a baucher. Pretty much the same effect as the full cheek with keepers.


            • #7
              Have you experimented with any double jointed bits? (like a french snaffle or kk?) My trainer and I had a similar conversation except in regards to eggbutts and loose rings. My horse used to seem pretty upset at the amount of wiggle in a loose ring and he is absolutely wonderful in it now. Basically moving to the most gentle mouthpiece we could was really helpful in making the transition.
              My blog:



              • #8
                I rode my horse in an eggbut when I first got him. Felt I needed a little more stability, and i changed to a full cheek eggbut. My trainer asked me for a year straight to try a HS KK ultra, and I thought a frenchlink snaffle would me nothing in my hands like the full cheek. Boy was I wrong. My horse loves the KK ultra. I now have had him in this bit for 4 years, and he absolutely loves it. He is so much more soft through the bridle, on the bit easily and talk about salivation. Nonstop white foam from the beginning to end of ride. I am now ordering a Weymouth and bradoon from HS KK line. I am in love!
                Esmarelda, "Ezzie" 1999 Swedish Warmblood

                "The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse."


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
                  If you want the more dressage "look", try a baucher. Pretty much the same effect as the full cheek with keepers.

                  I don't have much to contribute (other than agreeing with "if it aint broke don't fix it). But this reminds me of a memory of my old eventer/jumped. He jumped wonderfully in a ported, uxeter kimberwick, He liked his reins on the top slot, but what struck me as funny was how uncool/out of fashion the bit looked compared to other jumpers/eventers. Most had lovely figure eight bridles, often with a gag, whereas Fancy (big lovely TB) and I rode in a bit I had only seen on naughty school ponies in! Very uncool look (what with the jingly chain & all), but he liked it.

                  Use what works for your horse.
                  2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
                  Our training journal.
                  1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
                  I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.


                  • #10
                    Is there any reason he "needs" to "graduate"? Is there any reason you can't continue to ride him in a full cheek?