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Bit frustration!

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  • Bit frustration!

    Last year I think I spent about $500 on bits Either my mare didn't like it or it caused the corner of her fat lips to crack. I tried every brand, sizing and type. I tried keeping the bit lower and higher. I tried bit butter. I finally deduced that she has an allergic reaction to some types of metals. Not surprising as she has severe rabies vaccine reactions, sensitive to certain fly sprays...your general princess type.

    Last month was at the Dover store and they were having a sale on Happy Mouth bits. Figured what the hey, mine as well try it. If she doesn't like it in the dressage ring at least I can maybe use it when we trail ride. Well, it appears she likes it and it doesn't cause any irritation (thus far) to the corners of her mouth.

    I feel like such a fool and Dressage Queen thinking I needed the expensive fancy German metal bit! I needed a baucher, a mullen, a double jointed, a single jointed, a wide bit, a narrow bit....and it appears all I might have needed was a cheaper plastic bit If she continues to go so well, lesson learned!
    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:

  • #2
    Thanks for the share! I am riding a young horse that is ridden by a strong male rider with a heavy hand, who pulls him onto the bit. The horse is now very mouth aversive (the vet was shocked at how much tranq it took to sedate him enough so she could do his teeth).

    We used to use Happy Mouth bits all the time with young horses, but there is so many different options (Myler, KK, Neue Schule, etc.) I didn't bother thinking of a Happy Mouth. Metal allergy... very interesting idea indeed!
    A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing


    • #3
      If she did so well on happy mouth, might be worth considering a Nathe. A bit more expensive but they are so much more durable its worth it.


      • #4
        I've had my mare in a French link happy mouth for 6 years...she flats, jumps, trail rides and hunter paces in it. She has a soft mouth and it works very well for her. Glad you found the right fit without spending a fortune!


        • #5
          I would look at the bits by Neue Schule Bits that can be purchased through metlar-us.com. They are amazing for fixing horses with mouth issues. This is not an ad as I am not at all associated with them, I just purchased a bit last week. My trainer purchased two types while she was in Florida a few weeks ago and I was borrowing them to see how they worked and it was amazing. There are videos online on how they make the bits and what they are trying to accomplish.
          I have seen these bits make a huge difference in a bunch of horses and while they are not cheap, they have really worked.

          Good luck!


          • #6
            op my story is the same as yours, I went through several fancy high priced bits, tried a french link happy mouth, problem solved. woohoo. I have been using the same one for a year of riding, it is still in great shape because she doesn't chew it.


            • #7
              Another one to consider is the Stubben 14mm with the small rings. It is easy to find and the price is moderate. My arabians like it, and I had to try many bits to find something that would not cause sores and that would be responsive between us. It is straight, has a lozenge, and is thin.


              • #8
                I feel you! My gelding doesn't like anything big in his mouth, neither of us are advanced enough for a twisted wire so I show my horse in those ugly sweet iron loose ring bits that are super thin A lot of trainers have tried to get thicker bits in his mouth, no way man.

                Sometimes we have to remember to KISS!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TBRedHead View Post
                  I feel you! My gelding doesn't like anything big in his mouth, neither of us are advanced enough for a twisted wire so I show my horse in those ugly sweet iron loose ring bits that are super thin A lot of trainers have tried to get thicker bits in his mouth, no way man.
                  Yikes, "advanced" enough for a twisted wire? Be careful even mentioning those words here on COTH, especially a dressage forum. That is one severely harsh bit that should not come with "advancement". You should never expect a horse to accept contact with that tongue-shredder. I am also fairly certain they are illegal for dressage.

                  Anyway, to OP, that is wonderful you finally found something! A metal allergy is quite interesting, glad you figured it out! Have you tried vaseline on her lips? Sometimes when my mare's skin gets dry vaseline really helps better than anything else and it's a cheap way to keep the skin hydrated.


                  • #10
                    Sophie likes the black rubber mullen I pulled from the clearance bin at our local tack shop. It cost $15 and I think it is an Eldonian bit from about 25 years ago. She did NOT like the KKUltra(expensive)
                    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.