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Ported snaffles: hey, when did THAT happen?

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  • Ported snaffles: hey, when did THAT happen?

    Just saw a post from someone saying that USDF (actually USEF) now allows ported snaffles. I am sort of a rules geek and was going to start arguing, but decided to check the rule book first.

    And right there in DR121, page DR27, is the following (in green, indicating a rules change):

    "*Snaffle bits must be smooth with a solid surface. Twisted and wire bits are prohibited. A mouthpiece with more than one rolling part is prohibited. Bits may be made with a rubber or plastic 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. A double jointed bit or snaffle with rotating mouthpiece may be shaped to allow tongue relief. The maximum height of the deviation is 30mm from the lower part of tongue side to the highest part of the deviation. The widest part of the deviation must be where the mouthpiece contacts the tongue and must have a minimum width of 30 mm. (See illustration below.) The mouthpiece of a jointed or unjointed snaffle may be shaped in a slight curve within the dimensions specified above, but other ported snaffles are prohibited. The mouthpiece of a snaffle may have up to two joints. 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, except as pictured above. The center link may be tilted in a different orientation from the mouthpiece but must have rounded edges. The diameter of the snaffle mouthpiece must be minimum 10 mm diameter at rings or cheeks of the mouthpiece (exception: for ponies, the diameter may be less than 10 mm). Any bit combining a mouthpiece with any cheekpiece pictured above is permitted. The type of bit should not vary from those pictured above except where specified, and bits should be attached only as pictured in diagram. A cavesson, dropped, crossed or flash noseband is allowed when a snaffle bridle is used in warmup or competition, except as prohibited for some tests."

    Note a 30mm height on a port is pretty small (just over an inch) but a 30mm minimum width would be pretty narrow.

    I'm not rushing out to change the mare's bit, but she's fussy, so who knows, maybe I will try a little port at some point.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

  • #2
    I don't feel comfortable on Meathead anymore but he went best in a Myler Low Port Comfort snaffle. I'll have to go measure it.

    I never understood why ported curbs were legal and ported snaffles were not.

    OTOH if Sophie doesn't go sound I might be back on the Meathead
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's 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.

    Comment


    • #3
      What might this look like? Trying to picture it.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        http://usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2012/08-DR.pdf on page DR-27 has an illustration.
        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't know if the measurements are legal but this is the Meathead's bit
          http://www.bitofbritain.com/Myler_Lo..._Bit_p/792.htm

          ETA:Probably not legal with hooks
          I wasn't always a Smurf
          Penmerryl's 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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks! Thats what I was pretty much thinking, and it made me think of this:
            http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr....asp?KEY=10251



            .

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider View Post
              Thanks! Thats what I was pretty much thinking, and it made me think of this:
              http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr....asp?KEY=10251



              .
              LOL, yup
              broad space for long and fleshy tongues
              I wasn't always a Smurf
              Penmerryl's 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.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
                LOL, yup
                broad space for long and fleshy tongues
                Hm, sounds like something my mare might like. She is always happier in a shaped bit than a straight one, but I've never tried anything with a port.

                Of course, the usual option of "raiding the trainer's bit bucket" to try one out isn't available, because this rules change is so new, and the trainer and the people she works with feel strongly about working horses in the same bits they show in.
                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bravo to USEF for allowing more humane bits for the big tongued horses! HOWEVER, I think they are quickly going to be adding that "the sides of the port cannot be perpendicular to the mouth piece" in other words no square western ports or ports like on a double bridle. Those are leverage ports and exactly the reason why it took so long for this rule to be written (because it's going to be too easy to misinterpret and abuse).

                  I think they wrote the rule with very specific bits in mind (mylers and HS), NOT to open a whole new world of "Ported Dressage Snaffles".

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by flyracing View Post
                    Bravo to USEF for allowing more humane bits for the big tongued horses! HOWEVER, I think they are quickly going to be adding that "the sides of the port cannot be perpendicular to the mouth piece" in other words no square western ports or ports like on a double bridle. Those are leverage ports and exactly the reason why it took so long for this rule to be written (because it's going to be too easy to misinterpret and abuse).

                    I think they wrote the rule with very specific bits in mind (mylers and HS), NOT to open a whole new world of "Ported Dressage Snaffles".
                    I rather suspect the same. As it is written, the rule could allow a fairly severe port (narrow port space, perpindicular to the rest of the bit.) If they'd just made it clear that shaped bits like the Myler Comfort Snaffles and HS Dynamic are OK, that probably would have been enough.
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting.

                      Still not allowed in Canada.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by quietann View Post
                        I rather suspect the same. As it is written, the rule could allow a fairly severe port (narrow port space, perpindicular to the rest of the bit.) If they'd just made it clear that shaped bits like the Myler Comfort Snaffles and HS Dynamic are OK, that probably would have been enough.
                        As long as the reins are not fixed the port is not any more severe than a regular bit, if the horse has a fat tongue it could actually be gentler
                        I wasn't always a Smurf
                        Penmerryl's 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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
                          Don't know if the measurements are legal but this is the Meathead's bit
                          http://www.bitofbritain.com/Myler_Lo..._Bit_p/792.htm

                          ETA:Probably not legal with hooks
                          Yes, the Myler MB04 is legal, but without the hooks.
                          I'm so glad that they finally passed this as my horse has a huge tongue and he is much more forward with this bit.
                          Elisha

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I do not get the idea of a ported snaffle being beneficial to a big tongued horse. Not saying it isn't true, I just do not get it. Did the USDF do studies on it like they did with the other snaffles to see how these bits really work in the mouth?

                            My thought is that a KK Ultra or similar snaffle is designed to wrap around the tongue in an ergonomic fashion, so the size of the tongue is moot. Really, any size tongue wants to push into the roof of the mouth because that is what tongues do.

                            What I can see a port doing though, is not allowing a small tongued horse to use their tongue to protect the bars of the mouth from the sides of of the bit cannons.
                            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A big tongued horse doesn't have a lot of room in their mouth. A port offers some tongue relief. The bit is rigid, it's not a flexible material like elastic so for a big tongued horse, it can be restrictive. The port just gives a little more room.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by CHT View Post
                                I do not get the idea of a ported snaffle being beneficial to a big tongued horse. Not saying it isn't true, I just do not get it. Did the USDF do studies on it like they did with the other snaffles to see how these bits really work in the mouth?

                                My thought is that a KK Ultra or similar snaffle is designed to wrap around the tongue in an ergonomic fashion, so the size of the tongue is moot. Really, any size tongue wants to push into the roof of the mouth because that is what tongues do.

                                What I can see a port doing though, is not allowing a small tongued horse to use their tongue to protect the bars of the mouth from the sides of of the bit cannons.
                                Horses have preferences and they don't always make sense. I tried a KK Ultra on my gelding and he kept sticking his tongue out, even at a standstill, unmounted. He accepts the Myler ported bit without any issues.

                                OTOH Sophie doesn't seem to trust either the Myler bit or the KK Ultra....she goes best in a nylon mullen mouth
                                I wasn't always a Smurf
                                Penmerryl's 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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  So a few years a go a sumbled upon a bit at a tack sale for $20. HS stamped, german silver, loose ring looked like the mouth piece from a wide, low port weymouth that some one put rings thru.
                                  I bought it. I guess I was thinking I could use it to help transition to the full bridle when it was time. I looked it up ( took a lot of scrounging) turns out it is a KK Ported Mullen Mouth Correction Snaffle in the german silver. Retailed 2 years ago at $240. ( Yipes)

                                  I have been using it on my 3rd, working on 4th. He loves it. Doesnt grind on it, doesnt flip his head and yank the reins anymore and actually takes steady contact. I was like Bit, where have you been all my life? but was bumming as I think I might have time and $ to show this summer so I had to find him another bit to love.
                                  Now I dont! This fits the guidelines perfectly! Thank you for posting this OP, you have made my week!
                                  bad decisions make good stories

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr....asp?KEY=r1005

                                    I've had this bit since 1996ish
                                    IIRC it cost a heckuva lot more than $15 back then!
                                    But then, it was not a bradooon, just a snaffle shaped like this.

                                    Rather than suitable for a large tongue, my thought at the time was for relief for a narrow-mouthed horse. The port prevented the nutcracker effect on the horse's soft palate from rein action.

                                    My dainty-muzzled TB gelding used to suck on this bit he loved it so much.
                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well DANG! Wish they woulda done that 5 years ago!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Spinoff: Legal in Canada?

                                        Now I am worried...

                                        Are either of these bits legal in Canada?

                                        Neue Scheule Verbindend (12 mm) http://nsbits.com/global/index.php/s...erbindend.html

                                        Myler Comfort Snaffle (Level 1)
                                        http://www.doversaddlery.com/myler-l...fl/p/X1-01300/

                                        Thanks for a speedy reply - first show is Sunday.

                                        Comment

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