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Do you train in a bit thats not legal?

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  • #21
    My horse, an OTTB, had a habit of sticking his tongue out and grinding his teeth when I first got him, as a hunt horse. He came with a big full cheek Mikmar snaffle, and had been known to get his tongue over the bit. I hunted him fine last season in a loose ring hollow mouthed snaffle, and we are just beginning our dressage which I am very excited about. I have tried him in a double jointed snaffle, but he does not seem to like it as much as the hollow mouthed single jointed snaffle, though from what I have read and heard, he should prefer the other.

    Could I be reading this wrong? It is mostly just a feeling...why might he prefer this? We are taking lessons and it is amazing how different he feels, so much stronger in the hindquarters! He is very smart and willing. He is getting the hang of this!!

    Sorry, didn't mean to hijack, know they are both legal ( the single and double jointed snaffles...the bit guards OK? and not sure about the MIKmar snaffle but since we don't use it anymore, not a concern), but I have hunted horses in bits that are not legal for dressage....and it seems to me (although I have little experience showing in dressage) that if you need another bit for a different circumstance, or to school in, I would think you could do that and then go in and ride a test in something legal if you could school in in it a few times.

    Know the purists might disagree....


    • #22
      No, I never train in a non-legal bit. In the past I had trainers that advocated pelhams and elevator bits. For a time they would give me this false sense of "lightness", but when I went back to the legal bit, things were worse than ever. Now I only train in dressage legal snaffles (I ride all young horses, so no double bridles yet) If I have an ornery youngster, I will put a running martingale on, but no draw reins or strong bits. I have been very successful this way. However, I should add that I broke all of my horses myself, and they were taught to accept the bit correctly from the beginning. If I had an older horse whose mouth had been spoiled, I might consider trying a non-legal bit. Safety is key and I would never advocate riding a horse in a snaffle if it is not safe to do so.


      • #23
        Houndhill, I don't know.

        That said, I have had a few horses over the years that did not like French loose rings or those similar to that design. They preferred the single joint which I find dead.

        I have always thought those who do not like a double jointed bit find them too "noisy" or too "busy".

        My theory.
        “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
        ? Albert Einstein


        • #24
          Legal for Eventing Dressage but not Dressage-Dressage?

          Hi - can you point me to where I can find out what's legal in Dressage versus Eventing Dressage? I thought it was the same.

          I dabble in Eventing and DON'T do Dressage-Only shows. I may do a CT here and there.

          How do I know what is legal in Eventing or CT Dressage versus "Dressage Dressage"

          Thanks in advance for the reference/source!

          Originally posted by equinelerium View Post
          I'm with NorCal, I ride in the WH Ultra with the roller in the bean. Soooo helpful on my horse who tends to get tense and quick. I heard a rumor they were going to make this bit legal, but alas nadda so far. (It is legal for eventing dressage though)
          Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
          **Morgans Do It All**


          • #25
            Well, with Frodo, there is really no difference in him between the WH and the KK, he goes equally well in both.
            ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
            *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
            *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
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            • #26
              When I showed my horse in the lower levels, I only used legal bits, but I would alternate quite a bit between a single joint, curved Balkenhol snaffle and a KK Ultra--those in various thicknesses--and a dewsbury link snaffle. I have a hot forward horse with a lot of power and it took an enormous amount of patience to get her to supple to the bit--she'd prefer to power through it and she liked to run. I found that in alternating bits, the first few days with a new bit, she'd respect it a bit more. But it mostly entailed spending about half my rides doing 100s and 100s of transitions to develop the submission necessary to get her to come through the bit.

              Now that I'm showing FEI, and she is far more supple to the connection in the double; I still ride in the snaffle a few times a week (mostly transitions) and I use a bit that is only legal for the FEI young horse tests--the WH Ultra with the roller in the middle. She seems to really like this bit and chews it and stays active in the mouth more and since I don't have to worry about showing in it, I use it for our snaffle rides. I have no idea why the USEF has not made this bit legal for dressage--it is a very mild and kind bit.

              My double bits are the Bemelmans curb and the HS Dynamic kk bradoon (curved branches). This combination seems to provide enough room for her fleshy mouth without any pressure points. She is super in the double. Probably though all that work on bazillions of transitions for so many years helped with this.


              • #27
                Originally posted by petarpass
                I have a british friend who has being playing footy for 2 years, only local though
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                • #28
                  Don't misunderstand me; I don't think bitless or a bosal, or a running martingale on a young horse are inhumane.

                  However, I don't like the use of harsh illegal bits, like twisted wire bits, or anything to the extreme. I've seen curbs used on doubles for "training" where the curb arm is 3x legal limit. WTH is up with that?

                  When I think "illegal", I automatically picture the training horrors I've seen....like a triple twisted wire snaffle on a young horse, being used with draw reins to "get him a good dressage headset"........YARG!!!

                  So, with my response, I automatically went to the extreme zone, because that's what jumped into my mid first.

                  I do understand that there are some gentle bits that may suit a horse better or may be more comfortable for him that are not yet approved. Which I obviously wouldn't see any problem with.


                  • #29
                    I ride and school my horse in the same bit that I show in: the loose ring KK Ultra. For hacking out, I use a loose ring French link.

                    I was given to understand that it is poor, uneducated and unforgiving hands that are inhumane, not so much the bit that is used.

                    I was also given to understand that if the training is correct, the horse in general should not be behind the verticle regardless of how they are bitted

                    Regarding the comment about being "dependent" on the curb, I don't believe the curb was meant to be depended upon. I was taught that the curb was there for enhancement and refinement of the aids only.
                    I had the pleasure of attending a Walter Zettl clinic years ago, and watching a beautifully trained Grand Prix horse execute all the grand prix moves in a loose ring snaffle. The horse seemed happy and fluid and performed beautifully.
                    I also remember that half a century ago, wasn't there an exhibition in Madison Square Garden of Haute Ecole where the horse was ridden with only a silk thread? Now that's horsemanship. Not for everyday use but certainly a testiment to the importance of seat and leg before hand.