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Double Bridles

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  • Double Bridles

    For discussion purposes - I'd like to know when you each introduced your horse(s) to a double bridle...? And what brought you to this decision with that particular horse? Was it a level, a step in training, demand for higher collection, a specific issue, etc?

    Also, with the recent change in the rules, do you try to stay in a snaffle as long as possible, or perhaps "go all the way" in a snaffle?

    Has anyone shown FEI in a snaffle, and if so, how was it received?

    Again, and no worries, this is for discussion purposes only.
    Piedmont Sporthorses
    https://www.facebook.com/BayMeadowsFarm

  • #2
    Unless you intend to never enter a CDI, you still need to use the double at some point.

    My trainer puts it on sometime in the 5 or 6 year old year (working second level, starting to think about 3rd/6 year old test). They wear it enough to know it is no big deal, including for trail rides, then it mostly goes away. It comes back out whenever it might help with something.

    I've shown PSG in the snaffle, and my trainer has shown GP in the snaffle. It's a game-day decision about how to best present the horse. On my horse, I don't need the double for anything, and there is nothing in the PSG that I can do better in the double, so I don't usually use it. Scores have been very fair and I've never gotten a comment about it.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is the post of shame....

      When I first got my horse as a rising seven year old, many years ago (horse is 19 now), she was very heavy in the bridle. Always felt like you were holding up her head and neck, which on a draft cross wasn't amusing. The dressage trainer I had at the time thought it would be a good idea to put the horse in a double and use it to lift the forehand and shift her weight back to her haunches. I was a teenager and didn't know any better. It did not have much success at teaching the horse to carry her weight behind. However, it was quite successful at teaching the horse to be very behind the leg, as staying off the hand, especially when the hand involves two bits, is indeed much easier when you're shuffling along.

      It took me years (and a better trainer) to fix that.

      I still have the double and ride in it occasionally, as my (now) properly trained horse goes quite well in it. But I only trot it out once a month, if that, as I generally prefer the lightness and simplicity of the snaffle.
      Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.

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      • #4
        Caol - it is not a shameful post, if you learned from your mistake

        I switched to the double @ 3rd level (because I could). I thought it would refine my aids, help with collection, & so on - but mostly, because I thought it was some kind of right of passage. My horse became fussy & my scores dropped.

        So I swallowed my pride & went back to the snaffle. I have been competitive @ regional championships @ PSG, I1 & I2. It took me a while to get over the look of a tailcoat & a snaffle, but I got over myself. I can honestly say I have not been discriminated against for being in a snaffle. I have ridden with many judges who admit to looking more favorably at a well riden test in a snaffle.

        I agree with what the above poster said - present your horse at his best.

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        • #5
          I showed my gelding at Third last year in a snaffle and did well enough to earn the scores needed for my Bronze. We did not even think of introducing the double till the end of the competitive year. We did not want to muddy the waters with a new setup, and he went just fine in the snaffle, so why change? I school in the double maybe once, twice a week tops, just to make sure Figs and I are comfortable in it.

          I may show in the snaffle again this year. Agree it may be a game day decision. Some days he goes better in the double, some days better in the snaffle.

          Comment


          • #6
            I introduce it when 2nd is confirmed and we're schooling 3rd. I've never had it be a difficult transition, but like many other posters, I introduce it in a no-pressure situation . . . usually hacking or for a trail ride. Although my GP horse went well in a simple snaffle, I -- personally -- wouldn't show past 4th out of a double, but that's my own preference for my horses. My coach (an SRS guy), always stresses the importance of having both bits for the educated horse: the curb influencing skeletal articulation, and the snaffle influencing the musculature.
            Piaffe Girl -- Dressage. Fashionably.
            http://piaffegirl.wordpress.com/
            https://www.facebook.com/PiaffeGirl

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Caol Ila View Post
              This is the post of shame....

              When I first got my horse as a rising seven year old, many years ago (horse is 19 now), she was very heavy in the bridle. Always felt like you were holding up her head and neck, which on a draft cross wasn't amusing. The dressage trainer I had at the time thought it would be a good idea to put the horse in a double and use it to lift the forehand and shift her weight back to her haunches. I was a teenager and didn't know any better. It did not have much success at teaching the horse to carry her weight behind. However, it was quite successful at teaching the horse to be very behind the leg, as staying off the hand, especially when the hand involves two bits, is indeed much easier when you're shuffling along.
              Why is that shameful? It's awesome that you were able to work it out in the snaffle but sometimes the double is a better option with a skilled trainer.

              My guy came to me at 16 years old going very badly in a double. Tried to switch back to the snaffle, got even worse. I can tell you it is actually possible to retrain the horse with the double and help them start going correctly, which is exactly what I have done with mine. Obviously it's not ideal and not the route I would take with a younger horse... But I could have screwed around trying in vain to retrain a tank of a teenage horse in the snaffle. We likely would have wasted our time languishing at TL/1st for the rest of his good years. Instead my trainer and I continued to work him in the double BUT did it correctly. We helped him gain strength and taught him that yes, he is capable of self carriage. Now at 20 years old he'll be competing PSG. He's a very old school warmblood and not the fanciest mover in the world but he's doing a damn respectable job of it! I feel absolutely no shame whatsoever in the route we took. Quite the contrary, I pat myself on the back for a job well done. Everyone who knew him before and sees him now is absolutely shocked at what we've made of this horse.

              ETA: Under ideal circumstances (i.e. the horse is started and trained correctly from day 1) most in my circle start their horses in the double at 5 or 6 when their horses are starting to school third level work. Most school in the double once a week and the snaffle the rest of the time.
              Last edited by RedmondDressage; Mar. 14, 2013, 09:29 PM.

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              • #8
                The double bridle marks the finished rider rather than horse. It is a subtle tool to refine the horses response so good hands are essential. So fitting the horse isn't necessarily the issue
                "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am slightly out of the norm I think because we switched to the double at 8 and never went back. I will hack in the snaffle, lunge in the snaffle if I am only lunging, and sometimes spend entire rides with a loop in the curb, but for us, it was the tool that we needed at the time.

                  He was very heavy in the hand and not respectful of the snaffle, particularly at the canter. He'd learned early on that he could root the rider right out of the saddle and we gave the double a try to see if he'd stop with more bit. He goes so nicely in it still to this day that I don't see the need to switch back and forth for serious schooling. It's not like I am using the curb for much, but I think that, for him, mentally it makes a difference.

                  Horse is coming 10 and will be debuting at PSG this summer (knock on wood). Two years ago he was doing passable first level.

                  Flame suit zipped.
                  Last edited by rothmpp; Mar. 15, 2013, 07:27 PM. Reason: I can't spell

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rothmpp View Post
                    I am slightly out of the norm I think because we switched to the double at 8 and never went back. I will hack in the snaffle, lunge in the snaffle if I am only lunging, and sometimes spend entire rides with a loop in the curb, but for us, it was the tool that we needed at the time.

                    He was very heavy in the hand and not respectful of the snaffle, particularly at the canter. He'd learned early on that he could root the rider right out of the saddle and we gave the double a try to see if he'd stop with more bit. He goes so nicely in it still to this day that I don't see the need to switch back and forth for serious schooling. It's not like I am using the curb for much, but I think that, for him, mentally it makes a difference.

                    Horse is coming 10 and will be debuting at PSG this summer (knock on wood). Two years ago he was doing passable first level.

                    Flame suit zipped.
                    No flame from me... Obviously. If need be perhaps you can loan me a spare suit though

                    I view all of our tack and equipment as tools. There is the method the books lay out, the ideal... Written for the perfect horse who has been properly trained from day 1. And then there is real life. For some horses who have been schooled improperly in their early years religiously forcing yourself to stick to the ideal will only result in years of needless struggling and discomfort for both rider and horse. Why put yourself and the horse through that when you have tools at your disposal that will help make the process of re-schooling far less painful? I fully believe in using the tools you have at your disposal as long as it's done properly and is in the best interest of the horse. Allowing a horse to go heavy and on the forehand while you struggle against them for year after year is not kind to the horse. I would much prefer to show them the way in the double and have a horse who goes correctly without all of the struggle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PiedmontSporthorses View Post
                      For discussion purposes - I'd like to know when you each introduced your horse(s) to a double bridle...? When riding Third level, schooling PSG. And what brought you to this decision with that particular horse? Was it a level, a step in training, demand for higher collection, a specific issue, etc? Trainer suggested she was ready - wanted her very comfortable with double (in past trainer had one gal wait to try double on her horse and horse hated it - took too long to get horse comfortable with double and delayed their show advancement).

                      Also, with the recent change in the rules, do you try to stay in a snaffle as long as possible, or perhaps "go all the way" in a snaffle?
                      I ride mostly in the snaffle and before a show tune up in the double.

                      Has anyone shown FEI in a snaffle, and if so, how was it received?

                      Again, and no worries, this is for discussion purposes only.
                      Have never shown FEI (yet) - had physical issues with mare - so just starting to get back in preparation for showing - maybe in the fall.
                      Now in Kentucky

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My TB will never be in a double, I don't believe. He has the low palate/thick tongue issue which makes fitting a single bit difficult, plus he retained a tendency to curl from the track. All in all, his bad habits are the ones which are likely to get worse from a double. He's naturally very uphill, wants to get overly round in his neck, and not likely to ever be a CDI horse - so no reasons for him. He's schooling a wide variety of levels right now, including some FEI level work, and just doesn't need it.

                        I look forward to finding out when the double happens with my three year old. I love the varying responses here (including lessons learned!), and don't have any idea when we'll make it to a double. Because she has power and not a natural curl in her carriage, I suspect a double will at some point add refinement to our work. I don't know enough to know when that will be yet, but that's why I will be working with someone who has made the transition with multiple horses at different times according to the horses and have help deciding.
                        If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
                        -meupatdoes

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There is a difference between when it is introduced for the horse, as a refinement (since each bit has a totally different action and therefore a different response in the horse), and when it should be introduced for the rider. For the horse as the horse is finishing medium levels and developing higher collectability. And it is used at the beginning occastionally, and ideally with the rider using 3:1 so as to have great care with the connection. For a horse with a thicker tongue/flat palette, a sliding weymouth works perfectedly. It just takes time and very calculated actions by the rider.

                          For a rider, there must be clear understanding of rein holds (2:2, 3:1, 2:2 schultheis/fillis hold ideally to have the separate uses of the bits clarified, 4:1) before one can really learn to effectively school horses in them. For sure it is for incredible nuance in reactions/balance/bearing in the horse. Especially it is wonderful to have a 'paint brusk with only a few hairs' to paint slight changes in reactions in piaffe.

                          Can one rider all the fei movements in a snaffle? Yes. Was there a 5th level at one point to allow this? Yes, and few rode in it. The snaffle does not allow the degree of refinement in responses that a curb (ridden with feather light aids) can do. Is the curb meant to be fitted to allow it to become horizontal, or to have steady torque to 45 degrees for 'control'? Absolutely not.
                          I.D.E.A. yoda

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                            There is a difference between when it is introduced for the horse, as a refinement (since each bit has a totally different action and therefore a different response in the horse), and when it should be introduced for the rider. For the horse as the horse is finishing medium levels and developing higher collectability. And it is used at the beginning occastionally, and ideally with the rider using 3:1 so as to have great care with the connection. For a horse with a thicker tongue/flat palette, a sliding weymouth works perfectedly. It just takes time and very calculated actions by the rider.

                            For a rider, there must be clear understanding of rein holds (2:2, 3:1, 2:2 schultheis/fillis hold ideally to have the separate uses of the bits clarified, 4:1) before one can really learn to effectively school horses in them. For sure it is for incredible nuance in reactions/balance/bearing in the horse. Especially it is wonderful to have a 'paint brusk with only a few hairs' to paint slight changes in reactions in piaffe.

                            Can one rider all the fei movements in a snaffle? Yes. Was there a 5th level at one point to allow this? Yes, and few rode in it. The snaffle does not allow the degree of refinement in responses that a curb (ridden with feather light aids) can do. Is the curb meant to be fitted to allow it to become horizontal, or to have steady torque to 45 degrees for 'control'? Absolutely not.
                            You get lots of looks riding in the Fillis configuration. Ask me how I know.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've shown GP in a snaffle and a double in the same weekend. The better test was scored better and the poorer test was scored lower with no mention of bridle in either.

                              I introduced the double when my guy was showing 3rd/4th and was reliable in the snaffle. He has a tendency to get high and tight in his neck (that'd be the Dutch Harness Horse in him) so I school in the snaffle to keep him honest in the bridle instead of backed off. I throw on the double intermittently to test the honesty of connection, but it's a lot more leather to clean and tends to be a handful if I take him out in the trails.

                              The introduction of the double was pretty much a non-issue. I put it on him in the stall one day, and the next day I was riding in it off the bradoon with a loose curb rein. Not a whole lot of drama there.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                One might get looks for riding in different configurations...but the 8 different reinholds have distinct training reasonings and advantages (and are all legal...except for using 4:1).
                                I.D.E.A. yoda

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by rothmpp View Post
                                  I am slightly out of the norm I think because we switched to the double at 8 and never went back. I will hack in the snaffle, lunge in the snaffle if I am only lunging, and sometimes spend entire rides with a loop in the curb, but for us, it was the tool that we needed at the time.

                                  He was very heavy in the hand and not respectful of the snaffle, particularly at the canter. He'd learned early on that he could root the rider right out of the saddle and we gave the double a try to see if he'd stop with more bit. He goes so nicely in it still to this day that I don't see the need to switch back and forth for serious schooling. It's not like I am using the curb for much, but I think that, for him, mentally it makes a difference.

                                  Horse is coming 10 and will be debuting at PSG this summer (knock on wood). Two years ago he was doing passable first level.

                                  Flame suit zipped.
                                  Good for you. Do what works best for the horse. Don't suffer for an unrealistic ideal.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Imho a horse should not be ridden daily in a double. The actions of the bits are very different. If a horse is heavy/low/rooting/etc, those are things to be settled by proper use/reactions to hh in a snaffle. A horse many be more controled by a bit of leverage, but that is not the reason for using one. The intentions/balances/reactions provoked by the two bits are totally different.
                                    I.D.E.A. yoda

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Someone asked how to introduce it, and I do not believe anyone answered that yet. The things about it that I was taught in my youth are:
                                      Before putting on the curb, ride a time or two in snaffle with running martingale, using the lower rein as if it were a curb rein. That supposedly gets the horse used to some pressure on the tongue and bars, as opposed to only on the mouth corners.

                                      When the curb is first added in, always be sure you are using one wide enough that it will not pinch. Fasten curb chain such that it only puts pressure under the chin when the shanks are pulled back at a 45 degree angle. If the curb chain is too tight, it will in time cause the horse to tune out this bit rather than it being the subtle refinement tool it is intended to be. Before riding the horse, let the horse feel the way the curb chain and bit works, by standing at the horse's head, and pulling back gently on one shank, then the other, then both together. RELEASE the instant the horse yields its jaw and/or flexes at the poll. Lesson over for that day.

                                      When first riding with it, (this definitely means the rider needs the appropriate skill and many do not, even those competing at high levels - my pet peeve is people who keep a death grip and never-releasing hold on the curb rein) have more contact on the snaffle, with the curb rein having a little bit of drape. Start using the curb incrementally, and gently, and be sure to release the instant the horse yields its jaw/flexes at the poll.
                                      Jeanie
                                      RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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