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Bit question (I'm probably going to regret asking this)

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  • Bit question (I'm probably going to regret asking this)

    I just read the FAQ question about bits for driving.

    And am no more enlightened than I was before.

    10.2 hand rescue pony. Probably 11 or 12 years old. Based on some white hairs in front of his withers (i.e., too far forward for a saddle) and his small size and his interest in following the guy driving a wagon with 2 horses hitched to it, I think he was driven at some point.

    He's done nothing with me for the past 2 years except get led around now & then in a halter with a lead line saddle and a wee child.

    So he has no tack to start with. Should I start ground driving him in snaffle, or start him with a "real" driving bit? If all goes as planned, we will eventually be driving near traffic. Slow traffic for the most part, but traffic nonetheless.
    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
    "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother

  • #2
    I won't drive a horse in a snaffle. That said- it can't hurt to start ground driving him in the snaffle if it's all you got until you get a driving bit (why quotes? There is such a thing as a driving bit). You've got a ways to go before you hitch the pony...even if he breezes through all of the pre-steps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, it's no different than riding in that ask a question of 10 carriage drivers and you'll get ten opinions.

      I did all the groundwork with my ponies in a snaffle, then they graduated to a Kimberwick (Uxeter) when they were hitched in as greenies. Eventually I moved them to a traditional Liverpool driving bit (I use the so-called Glory bit) which gives you the option of several rein attachments from snaffle settings up to curb, depending on what is needed. I ride them in snaffles and they go back and forth between bits pretty fluently.

      I also will not drive a horse in a snaffle although I know people who do. I want the option of leverage if I need it.

      Comment


      • #4
        I keep everything in a snaffle if I can. 3 out of 4 of the ones I drive all drive in snaffles, French link snaffles, ideally.

        lol. I've never used a "real" driving bit, I just figure I'm doing Ok with what I've got.

        But yes, I would ground drive in a snaffle- teach the horse to comfortably give to a gentle bit, like a French link, on ground lines, and build the basics from there. So when you switch to a glory bit or whatever you choose to drive with, the horse already knows how to give.
        eBook on Amazon - The Beginner's Guide to Buying a Horse
        My Blog - Life in 2014; Horses, Life, Photography

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I don't know where those quotes came from

          Can I blame them on a possessed keyboard?

          No??

          I guess I was trying to convey my understand that some people DO drive in a snaffle, as opposed to something like a Liverpool.

          So for some people a snaffle is an actual driving bit. And for some, not. But a Liverpool is always a driving bit. Or not.

          (See the title of this thread - I'm regretting asking already! )

          So what I'm hearing is:

          I can start him in a snaffle to be nice to him (especially because I don't know if he's ever had a bit or not), but it would be less risky to drive him in a bit with some leverage to it. And I'm all about risk aversion, ya know.
          Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
          "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother

          Comment


          • #6
            I am a novice and not remotely in the same league as many of the contributors here, but fwiw, I too do my groundwork and ground driving in a snaffle, but only drive with a leverage bit.

            I fumble and bumble still with ground driving, its not as easy as it looks, I have no business doing this work with a leverage bit.

            I too drive with a liverpool Glory bit, and as luck would have it found a boucher cheek Glory bit (pure snaffle, no leverage), so that is our ground driving bit.

            and please never regret asking questions!!
            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

            Comment


            • #7
              RAR and Buck22

              RAR...RAH here (we could form a cheerleading squad)... I think I understand your question now so I'll take another stab at it. Any bit can be a driving bit. I think it's safe to make that statement. I'm aware of no rule or regulation anywhere that dictates the choice of bit for driving. The ADS does have some rules regarding tying the tongue down and possibly the severity of a bit, but I'd have to check the rulebook for the exact wording on that. So, it's pretty much whatever the driver chooses to use.

              The reverse is not necessarily true. Some bits that are used for driving such as the Liverpool bit, the elbow bit (there are lots of names for that one) would not be used in any riding discipline that I can think of.

              I will always drive with a bit with Liverpool cheeks because I can select the rein attachment that suits my needs and the needs of my pony, from the mildest non-leverage setting to a leveraged curb setting. You can bit 'em up or you can bit 'em down without changing bits. It's a no-brainer for me. But I do know better than to try to persuade others who want to drive in a snaffle for whatever reason. People can get quite adamant about such things so I avoid that type of pi**ing contest and just do what works best and makes the most sense for me and I am as risk-averse as they come. But, yes, groundwork in a snaffle is good. It does take a while to work out contact and communication with the long lines and I prefer to do that with a 'real' snaffle. Mine are all french link types.

              Buck22: I've seen the Glory boucher mentioned here before and have searched high and low for it. Please share where you found yours and a pic if possible. I don't know that I need one, just wanna see it.

              Originally posted by buck22 View Post
              I too drive with a liverpool Glory bit, and as luck would have it found a boucher cheek Glory bit (pure snaffle, no leverage), so that is our ground driving bit.
              RAH

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by RidesAHaflinger View Post
                Buck22: I've seen the Glory boucher mentioned here before and have searched high and low for it. Please share where you found yours and a pic if possible. I don't know that I need one, just wanna see it.
                RAH
                I'll see if I can take a photo of mine this week for you, but it basically looks like this:
                http://equestrian.livejournal.com/5921202.html

                but the mouth piece is arced in both directions and is the metal blend not stainless. I am beyond tickled with the liverpool for my morgan, its the only bit he's ever truly stretched and come on to.

                Oh and I found it on eeeeeeeebay $30
                Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Glory boucher

                  Found one at Coachman's Delight. Oy, pricey! Your eBay find was lucky.

                  http://www.coachmansdelight.com/Prod...ITS6-4925&all=

                  Wonder if it's dressage-legal (ridden dressage, I mean). I have a pony who is ridden in a mullen-mouth eggbutt. He really likes the arched mouth on his Glory Liverpool bit and might do well with the Glory boucher under saddle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Risk-Averse Rider View Post
                    I guess I was trying to convey my understand that some people DO drive in a snaffle, as opposed to something like a Liverpool.
                    Yup.

                    So for some people a snaffle is an actual driving bit. And for some, not. But a Liverpool is always a driving bit. Or not.
                    Yup. Liverpool is a driving bit...although I have seen it used as a riding bit. For some people a bit is a bit is a bit. My collection of liverpools make lovely tack room decorations now.

                    So what I'm hearing is: I can start him in a snaffle to be nice to him (especially because I don't know if he's ever had a bit or not), but it would be less risky to drive him in a bit with some leverage to it. And I'm all about risk aversion, ya know.
                    Yup. "Drive" him in whatever you and he feel comfortable in.

                    Honestly speaking, whatever rests in his mouth is fine for what you're doing right now. All you're going to be doing is walking next to him and then gradually behind him. That bit will just give mild direction - turn this way, turn that way, slow down, wait - while you lose weight trailing behind your little guy. Don't sweat the big stuff yet. This part is all for fun, for learning the basic basics (him and you) and getting your act together. Less is better ... unless he's the type to take flight without warning. If that happens, get a bit with enough "NO!!" to it to sit him on his ass in a flash if he thinks bolting would be not only more fun, but also a more effective calorie reducing activity for you.

                    Hint - get the lightest lines you can get. Super light nylon lunge lines are wonderful - less weight in your hands. You will be carrying a light longe whip at the same time, so the less weight in your hands, the better.

                    And don't be afraid to keep asking questions here. The mean boy on the block who bullied you before was whipped out of town (banned forever) leaving the rest of us delighted to gather around and live vicariously through you - always fun to start a new pony!! Even a virtual pony.

                    PS. My ponies are driven in mullen mouth (arched bar) butterfly bits (aka "Glory" bits. Super soft, comfortable bit. Pretty, too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Have to say here that Glory bits are a unique mouthpiece, not a mullen or sweetwater, because of the angle they are set on the cheeks with. I haven't seen any other bit mouth like that, on any kind of cheek pieces made by anyone else.

                      So if you think you want a Glory bit, you have to buy a Glory bit, with the cheeks you prefer. If you want a mullen mouth, that is NOT a Glory bit mouthpiece. Similar as the mouthpieces look, they do different things in the horse mouth. I would say they are NOT interchangable in getting your expectations/desired results from a horse, though the same horse could wear both bits and go along all right in both of them.

                      When I first saw the Glory bits, I was quite intriged at the design. I liked the combination of the mullen width and the bars of the sweetwater for tongue relief. However for the kind of horses we ride and drive, I just didn't care for the engineering. I want my finished horses to end up going with nose on the vertical part of the time, both ridden and driven, while the Glory bit would be working against me for that. This is because the bit will never hang vertically by it's own choice, with the offset mouthpiece. Cheeks are never naturally vertical. I also didn't care for the heavily copper base metal in the mouthpiece, for the same issues of using copper mouthed bits.

                      To test for bit hanging straight, you lay the mouthpiece over your hand, shank sides hang straight up and down. Weymouth of a double bridle is one of these kind. Western bits used to have MANY kinds of cheek/shank designs for various reasons. We always tested a bit for how it would hang in the horse mouth before purchase. No use teaching a horse to hold his nose vertical if the bit bites his tongue because it was weighted to hang straight on a horse with their nose out!

                      Glory bit was originally designed for Morgans, with the low palate, thick tongues, and at the time, thicker throatlatches. Bit has been around for a while! It did seem to be the miracle bit for Morgans for quite a while, they went happily in it for many reasons. Now the Glory bit has been more widely used by other breeds, still makes a lot of horses quite happy to wear it. Just pointing out that the Glory is built DIFFERENT than other bits for a reason, not interchangable with other mouthpieces at the higher skill levels.

                      If a Glory works for you and your animal, go for it. But as GTD and RAH said, start with less bit, see if animal is responsive to the snaffle. If not, then you can move up to a leverage bit to train his responses better. Then maybe then back up rein setting to just rough cheek or the ring beside the mouthpiece again. Beginner horses often don't understand bit very well when lessons start, so bit setting is stronger on them to just maintain control. As they improve, you can often reduce the setting. You have to train a mouth on your driving horse, same as all his other parts! He has to learn to give and take, not hang on your hands. You have to "fling him away" at times as the reward for "giving" the tiniest fraction so he can feel the differences FAST and learn from it! I want a horse with a "trained" mouth, not something with a fake "soft mouth" that over reacts when you touch the reins and flings their head way up!!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        So do most of these fancy schmancy driving bits come in Wee Pony sizes?

                        I will check again before purchasing, but I think Panda-chan would take a 3.75" bit.

                        That just makes me giggle.

                        Like I could hook a couple paper clips together and make him a bit...

                        Or I could go the cowboy route and snag some 'bob-wire' from the remains of the neighbor's fence...

                        OK... clearly, it's time for bed. Too much silliness running through my head.
                        Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
                        "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've got a tiny little pony too:
                          http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j1...l/finisha2.jpg

                          I drive him in a mullen mouth egg butt. A friend gave it to me:
                          http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j1...ackedlunch.jpg

                          I have considered putting him in a liverpool, but I spend so much time with him on a loose rein, that it seems superfluous. Originally I used a little vulcanite snaffle with small loose rings. I think it was meant to be a overcheek bit, but suited my purpose.

                          I have no idea where you'd buy little tiny snaffle bits - although I have seen some really small weymouth sets.

                          When I am ground driving or training a horse or pony to bit work, I like to use a mullen mouth snaffle. Jointed snaffles hit the roof of their mouth (IMHO) and tend to make them poke noses or throw heads up when you ask for a slow down.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Risk-Averse Rider View Post
                            So do most of these fancy schmancy driving bits come in Wee Pony sizes?

                            I will check again before purchasing, but I think Panda-chan would take a 3.75" bit.

                            That just makes me giggle.

                            Like I could hook a couple paper clips together and make him a bit...
                            snort!

                            absolutely, check it out
                            http://www.justforponies.com/smucker...375445475.aspx
                            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              a better place than just for ponies for driving bits in the wee sizes is:
                              http://iowavalleycarriage.com/

                              I too will ONLY drive in a leverage bit. Not that i NEED it, most the times i dont... But it's for the times that i do that i know if i had a snaffle on, my horse/pony would blow right through it.

                              I start in a snaffle, IF the horse likes it. My current project pony would put her tongue over the bit in the snaffle or LAY on my hands. If i was trying to ground drive her in the woods, i would litterally get drug. I could NOT slow her down one bit. It was miserable. I'm a glory bit fan. So i had to special order one in her size. He will make smaller bits, but it's going to be a fixed cheek liverpool option only, no swivel, butterfly, or baucher, saddly... The Glory on her has worked like a charm. I keep my rein in the "snaffle" ring, so she has very little leverage, but just that tiny bit has gotten her to back off and listen some. She goes very nice in it. And with a verticle nose... So though as stated above, it doesnt "incourage" a verticle nose... Both my present ponies will go verticle in it quite comfortably??...

                              My mini i drove in the 3.75" butterfly arch mouth. This one:
                              http://iowavalleycarriage.com/conten...fly-arch-mouth

                              He loved it. I only used it on the top ring for him as well, though our first show i put it on the bottom ring "just in case" as he had never been passed by other driving horses/carriages at the time and i wanted a little more control if i needed it. The judge actually asked me, do you think you need the reins on the bottom ring?? And i was like, well no, but surprising though it seems, this is his first show and i was proceeding with caution... lol. I switched it to the top ring after that class...

                              I dont think there is a right or wrong answer here, it's really all going to be based on what YOUR pony likes.

                              And to RAH... YES, the Glory baucher IS dressage legal. I've been on the hunt for a 5" one for a while. My cob mare prefers it to a snaffle by FAR. They just fit the mouth so well. I hate that my bit collecting habit is growing more and more expensive. I miss those $25 snaffles...
                              Your Horse's Home On The Road!
                              www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                BFZ, thanks for that info. I'd need it in 5 1/2". Give me a holler if you happen to see one that size while you're bargain-hunting. It could be just the ticket for my one pony whose mouth is too 'busy' with a french-link but is not entirely comfy with his current mullen-mouth snaffle.

                                Originally posted by butlerfamilyzoo View Post

                                And to RAH... YES, the Glory baucher IS dressage legal. I've been on the hunt for a 5" one for a while. My cob mare prefers it to a snaffle by FAR. They just fit the mouth so well. I hate that my bit collecting habit is growing more and more expensive. I miss those $25 snaffles...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I do not consider single-jointed snaffles to be a kindness to minis, as so many of them have shallow palates. Some prefer mulleins for training, but my gelding hates them. He loves both the French-link half cheek snaffle and the French-link Butterfly. The French-link mouthpiece sits softly over the tongue without squeezing the tongue or poking the roof of the mouth. Like the Liverpool, the Butterfly offers a choice of settings for varied leverage.

                                  Some companies seem to consider minis and Shetlands as toys and not real driving horses, and thus not worthy of real tack. There's a whole lot of crap out there for small horses and ponies.

                                  I love Iowa Valley Carriage. Great products, service, and knowledge.
                                  Estate Horse Supply carries mini and pony sized Mylers.
                                  Mini Express is supposed to have great bits, although I've yet to buy from them.
                                  They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

                                  Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    My Appy made it clear years ago that he will not tolerate a single-jointed bit. No way, no how.

                                    Since Panda-chan idolizes him, I'm sure he would be equally indignant about that style of bit

                                    So I will probably start him in a straight or double-jointed bit.

                                    BTW - I do NOT regret starting this thread. It's been full of highly useful information. Thanks, all!
                                    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
                                    "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother

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