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Help! Choosing A Bit...

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  • Help! Choosing A Bit...

    I am looking for your opinion. I am trying to decide on a new bit for my horse as he just doesnt stop in the copper eggbut I ride him in now.
    So here is a little about my horse:
    He is VERY strong in the mouth. He doesn't respond to down transitions very quickly.(This is our biggest problem) BUT, He can get very supple, round, good impulsion, and just give this WOW presence after I get him bending and using his back, He just wont stop when I ask him too. He does not lean on my hands, he just barrells through them some times. Sometimes he is okay, but most of the time he just wants to go, go ,go. So I am looking for a bit that will give me some better brakes so that I dont have to fight with him. I am not looking for anything too much. It still needs to be soft as I was told by his previous owner that if you bit him up too much he hollows his back out and carries his head 50 ft. in the air & I am a strong believer in less is more. I want something simple, something he can connect into and be soft and supple. Oh yeah, it cant be copper of course. Any suggestions? I dont really want something more harsh, just something that get the message across a little better.

    I was thinking about a French link, a Dr. Bristol, or What about a waterford?

    HELP ME!!
    Last edited by spmoonie; Jun. 21, 2008, 10:19 PM. Reason: I took out the links to the ugly bits.
    "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong

  • #2
    What a hideous bit!!! (sorry), as well as illegal (so too is a slow twist). Bits dont make horses change per se, timing of the aids does. Horses can only be strong if a rider partipates in the drama, break the connection, use hh. Reward self carriage. Learning that repeated hh alert them, you can teach the horse hh/hh/transition without bracing in a fairly short time. But hh must also appropriately change the balance of the horse so that they do not feel the need to brace against the hand or onto the forehand. Horses tend to hollow when the rider lowers/fixes the hand. Why cant it be copper?
    I.D.E.A. yoda


    • Original Poster

      Copper is illegal for dressage.(isnt it??) I thought that bit was hideous too, but I have heard it is pretty soft. Trust me, I dont think I would have bought it, too expensive. So slow twist is out. I will work on his transitions more and hh's but the problem is that about 50% of the time he doesnt listen to the hh's and wont transition. And when he does, he imediatly breaks back into the trot or canter. Unfortunantly, I end up having to jerk on him to get him to stop, which I HATE. It makes me feel bad.
      "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong


      • #4
        Copper is not illegal if it is ALL copper in the mouthpiece; I think that is only mixed metal bits.

        have you tried the myler? legal, and I know horses that respect it more than a plain snaffle.

        Have you tried some time in the round pen, trying to get transitions from your seat only? It's fun, too.... and has really helped my seat in many ways. Are you sire you are not leaning forward with your upper body when you ask for the transition? Just melt into the saddle....
        (But I am sure you have tried this, sorry.....)



        • Original Poster

          I will look at the mylers. I have tried just about every approach to the transitioning, but its okay. I will try again!
          "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong


          • #6
            DR 121.14. The provisions of DR121 apply to both competing and non-competing dressage horses from the time horses are admitted to the grounds which are designated for the Dressage Competition. Figure 1. Bits Permitted in Dressage.
            All bits (in A and B below) must be smooth and with a solid surface. Twisted, wire and roller bits are prohibited. A bushing or coupling is permitted as the center link in a double jointed snaffle, however, the surface of the center piece must be solid with no moveable parts. The mouthpiece of a snaffle may be shaped in a slight curve, but ported snaffles are prohibited. ......... Bits (including curb and/or bridoon bits of a double bridle) must be made of metal or rigid plastic and may be covered with rubber; flexible rubber bits are not permitted, except as noted below, under A..................
            Any of the above may be made with a rubber, plastic or leather covering, but the bit may not be modified by adding latex or other material. Bits with mouthpieces made of synthetic material are permitted, provided that the contours of the bit conform to the contours of one of the bits pictured above. Flexible rubber or synthetic mouthpieces are permitted.

            Doesnt have to be of one metal.

            If a horse doesnt listen to hh (or breaks) then it is out of balance and the timing/aids/balance suggested needs a different application. You do not have to jerk, you need a different methodology. If nothing else ride toward the wall and hh, horses merely defend themselves.
            I.D.E.A. yoda


            • Original Poster

              Haha. It just gets more complicated: Our arena doesnt have a fence around it so there is no riding towards the wall. Our main problem is after do a little canter work, my boy gets so excited and just wont walk, which is a problem in our dressage tests. I appreciate you trying to help me figure out this peculiar and complicated situation. P.S. So can it be copper or not?
              "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong


              • #8
                I just noticed your thread after posting mine and I have been wondering the same thing-looking for a bit that can help me to communicate in the most effective way possible. Unfortunately part of the problem is me, but I have a similar problem to you where the downward transitions are 95% of the time fine, yet the other 5% she runs through my hand. It's frustrating and I feel your pain!
                Luna's Equine Designs - Custom stall signs and more! https://www.facebook.com/LunasEquineDesigns


                • #9
                  Copper is OK BUT

                  The only way through this IS transitions, transitions, transitions. However, they must be asked for properly and consistantly on your part.

                  You need an instructor who will teach you how to do transitions on the longe-no hands- then you and your horse can begin to understand how to work together.
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                  • #10
                    Transitions yes, but based upon hh which fold the hindlegs and get the horse up and (more) open. Most hh dont work because the rider has manipulated the horse low and excessively flexed, then the horse braces into hand in order to stay upright. Equally most riders have their upper arms away from the trunk (with straight elbows) so the seat doesnt 'work'. The riders needs to learn timing/alignment, and the horse likely needs a person who can ride an effect hh to (re)teach them how to react appropriately. And that rarely comes from a new bit.
                    I.D.E.A. yoda


                    • #11
                      back to the basics. if you can't stop your horse, he does not respect you, your aids, or your equipment (bit)

                      horses do not get to "choose" when they want to react to an aid.

                      if you say "whoa" and use your reins, your horse better stop. now.

                      later, you just say whoa, and your horse better stop, now.

                      then, you use just your core, and deepen your leg, and your horse better stop, now.

                      progression to easier, lighter aids is great, as long as you don't lose the quality of reaction somewhere along the line. the point is to heighten reaction while diminishing the strength of aid.

                      three things that NEVER get compromised on with my horses starting at 3 yrs old under saddle are Go, Stop and Turn. everything else is moot if you can't do these three things every time.

                      yes sometimes things get a little tougher, the reactions may get a little slower when you are trying to introduce a new concept (hh) BUT, respect is respect, and you have to make your horse have submission to your aids, especially to the bit. there is no grey area in that concept.

                      so bitting up hor horse is putting a band-aid on the issue that he doesn't listen to you, and certainly does not have respect for your aids.

                      back to the basics
                      Nothing worth having comes easily.


                      • Original Poster

                        I am not trying to bit him up. I continuously work on transitions with him, but he is like a train. I have never ridden a horse sooooo strong. I agree, he doesnt respect my aids, and he still needs more work on the basics but I still think he needs something a little more. He has a tough mouth. What do you think about a french link with more narrow "bars?"
                        "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong


                        • #13
                          Tough mouths are either because the nerves are injured or because the balance is incorrect. If need be, start all over (on the ground) to educate the mouth (to chew), etc. Teach the horse to react to pressue on the lips (not the bars/tongue). And perhaps take off off caveson. A tough mouth is an immobile jaw or a fixed one which is self defense. No bit will change that. Whoa originates in the seat/balance/work in hand/progressive education of the horse.
                          I.D.E.A. yoda


                          • #14
                            french links dont educate a horse to "whoa". they do encourage chewing, and help prevent leaning or pulling...

                            but the horse needs to understand whoa in a halter on the ground, and one the longe first.

                            when you longe him, can he do a canter-halt within seconds from your voice command only? that is a tool that is very, very helpful to have.

                            bitting up a horse is just choosing a more severe bit than the one that is on it now, to help you ride him easier. that is what you are trying to do.

                            I agree with ideayoda, you need to establish respect on the ground and on the longe first.

                            plus, i am guessing your horse is extremely stiff in the neck and ribcage since he is so tough in the mouth.

                            a tough mouthed horse can not be easily suppled in the rest of his body. the mouth is the window to the body for the rider. tough mouth = tough body.

                            soft mouth = softer body (most of the time)

                            as in, you need to address your horse's whole body stiffness, not just the mouth, but it is where the initial submission has to me created.
                            Nothing worth having comes easily.