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What bit do you prefer?

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  • What bit do you prefer?

    Trail riders, what bit do you prefer or do you choose bitless? I have seen many people ride in a tom thumb type bit around here (6 inch shank, jointed curb). I use a Myler comfort snaffle. Please tell me about your favorite bit for trail riding or endurance.

  • #2
    The bit I prefer is the one with the least amount of leverage that my horse will respond to. My 7 year old gelding has a short shanked colt breaking bit and a full cheek snaffle (which one he gets is depending on how "fresh" he is". My 26 year old mare is in a Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle and my 23 year old gelding is in a wonder bit.

    If you find yourself moving to harsher and harsher bits in an effort to control your horse it is a training issue not a bitting issue. My horse was started in an Argentine Snaffle...I've been backing him off the longer shanked bits and have got him going fairly well in the full cheek snaffle.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


    • #3
      I ride my Morgan in a french link snaffle - any problems we have (and we have some now and then!) are rider error combined with bossy Morgan mare brain - not a bit problem.

      My DH's warmblood cross goes in a Myler eggbutt - she's been in that bit for years. (ETA - and you'd be hard pressed to make her run away - her main goal in life is just to hang with the crowd and spend the least energy possible.)

      I know a couple of riders who use tom-thumbs - both are elderly and good riders with soft hands, but they don't have much power in an emergency (never seen them need it, either, with their elderly, patient horses, but it provides a bit of "just in case").


      • #4
        French link Full Cheek. Enough brakes, yet mild.
        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


        • #5
          Full cheek snaffle, full cheek because he's still green and is still figuring out turning. He's got pretty good brakes though, which is important.
          The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
          Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


          • #6
            I ride in this monstrosity:


            My mare loves it. Don't ask me why. I've been trying to get her to go happily in something with shorter shanks since forever, but we always end up coming back to this. Whatever, I give up. If she's happy, I'm happy.

            I'd love to find a bit that she likes, but haven't had luck in that department. Since we don't show though, it's no big deal.

            EDIT: FWIW, I put a fleece cover on that hackamore, and swapped out the curb chain for a curp strap that's adjusted extremely loosely.
            Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


            • #7
              Just switched to the Rambo Micklem bitless bridle. Used the Little S before that. Horse also goes well in a Chappy barrel bit but I have typically only used that when she's objecting to the hackamore.


              • #8
                I ride in one of the Robart pinchless Tennessee Walking Horse bits. It's actually very similar to the bit sold by Brenda Imus/Gaits of Gold, but much less expensive and it doesn't have her name plastered all over it.

                Actually, I used to ride in one of Brenda Imus' "Comfort Mouth" bits, I really liked the design of it and my horse was very relaxed (but still attentive) with that bit, but after only a couple of years it started to fall apart. I was concerned about it pinching his mouth or even breaking apart entirely while I was riding, and learned through the Gaits of Gold forum that mine was not the only bit that was having that problem. The direct response from Brenda was that "horses are hard on equipment" and that "if you got two years out of it, you got your money's worth."

                I openly disagreed - said that I'm not new to horses and am not convinced that only two years of use is getting my money's worth from a bit that cost me seventy dollars.

                It's not that I was demanding or even expecting a refund or replacement on my bit. Most of her customers are relatively new to horses, and she was relying on that fact to be able to convince them that it is perfectly acceptable for a bit (even one of her own products, which she always brags about being "high quality"), to only last a couple of years.

                More than anything, it just bothers me that she dismissed legitimate concerns about the quality and safety of the products she sold. So, when I found the Robart pinchless bit and saw that is was basically the same design for about $30 less, I bought two.
                Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.


                • #9
                  Usually like a French Link Egg Butt, but now have a loose ring Myler. I think my mare has a shallow pallet, so she needs less in there, and I don't want a single-jointed snaffle to poke her in the roof of her mouth.

                  Also have a Little S, but I need to swap the rope out for something else. I didn't want to swap it out until I was sure I had brakes, but even fleece doesn't soften it enough. Still don't know whether that will work.

                  I also like a jumping hackamore for horses who go bitless dependably.

                  Husband's WB goes nicely in a Dr. Bristol.

                  Kid's pony goes nicely in a low-curb driving bit.
                  Last edited by matryoshka; Sep. 29, 2009, 09:19 PM.
                  "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                  • #10
                    I use the same bit for ring work, showing and trail riding - Herm Sprenger RS Dynamic Eggbutt Snaffle or the Loose Ring Snaffle.



                    I have also used a Dr. Cooks Bitless Bridle.

                    IMO, it's always best to go with the mildest bit possible regardless of where you're riding.


                    • #11

                      This Myler with Eggbutt D's. Less pressure than traditional snaffle when the adrenaline kicks in.
                      There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


                      • #12
                        Varies with the horse from full cheek snaffle to Imus Bit that will be replaced by the Robard when it finally dies LOL, and Little S hackamores.

                        The horse decides. We're doing a big group ride Saturday with a ton of gaited horses- I'll use the Little S on my goofy walker, rather than his fullcheek- I can ask for more with less and stay out of his mouth.


                        • Original Poster

                          those who use a hackamore or sidepull ( or bitless whatever) do you think you have more control now than you did with a bit? or about the same? just curious. i love my Myler Comfort snaffle, and i do get a good response from him. i agree about not using MORE bit when it's a training issue.


                          • #14
                            No. It isn't about control but about comfort. Wait a minute; it's about control if you don't have any. My young mare right now needs a bit for communication, but I plan to take her bitless when I trust her enough. When I know that she listens to all of my aids, even when she's stressed out or excited, it will be time to go bitless, preferably in a simple noseband.

                            I do have a Little S for her (want the leverage for brakes), but I'm not sure she's comfortable in it. I also have a jumping hack (rolled leather noseband with rings to attach reins) and a padded noseband with rings to attach reins. I've used all three, and it really depends on the horse.

                            For example, I could take Butch (an OTTB I had for 3 years) out in the padded noseband until he started to get fit. Then I needed to put him in a bit, unless I wanted to be tugging on his nose all the time. My current OTTB, Frank, doesn't listen well when I take him out bitless, so he has to stay with a bit. When we've corrected his posture and gotten his neck right side up, I may try him bitless again. I bet he'll listen better at that point.

                            Bitless is always my goal, but it isn't always possible.
                            "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                            • #15
                              JP by Korsteel (niced curved no pinch mouth piece) regular D.


                              • #16
                                My Tb mare prefers her english jumping hackamore.


                                • #17
                                  I use whatever is appropriate for my horse's stage of training. I'm a west coast western rider, so my colts go in a snaffle, usually a dee ring with a simple jointed sweet iron mouth. As they come along they go out in a hackamore (bosal) and eventually a curb bit that is suited to their personality and palate when they reliably neck rein and can pretty much carry themselves without too much help. I don't have an arena at home, so most of my training is out in fields or on the trails.

                                  My current horse has just moved into a short-shanked, loose-cheeked curb with a medium port. Any time I think there's a situation where the horse might be more "up" and I'll have to manage him more with my hands, such as taking a horse that hasn't been hauled a lot on a group ride, I go back to the snaffle since I want simple, direct communication if things should go awry.

                                  As far as getting one's money out of a bit that only lasted two years-- I think that's a load of muck. I have several bits that are more than 50 years old that I got from my dad. My favorite pair of spurs are a simple set of stainless spurs that my grandfather got in a horse trade way before I was even born. With the exception of normal wear on the inside of moving parts (rollers/crickets, spur rowels) and straight copper mouthpieces that need filing due to sharp edges from horse chewing on them (a reason I no longer use straight copper, but copper inlay in sweet iron) bits and spurs should last for generations.


                                  • #18
                                    The 23yo QH gelding that I've had for 17 years along w/ his bit that came w/ him goes fine in the low port w/ a copper roller. He plays w/ the roller when he's bored so it works for me.

                                    8yo Percheron stallion goes in a french link snaffle. He's very soft mouthed and easy to control.

                                    3yo Percheron/Appy gelding goes in a plain 'ol snaffle, O-ring. He's still very green, but getting there and he has a great whoa.

                                    9yo APHA mare goes in a half breed. She sticks her nose out and up in one w/out the other so we made a compromise. She gets both and is happy that way. I started her in a halter.

                                    7yo pony mare goes in a tom thumb.

                                    12yo Percheron mare will go in anything, but the french link or regular snaffle are fine for her. For driving, either a snaffle or kimberwicke. She doesn't do anything fast.
                                    A Merrick N Dream Farm
                                    Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
                                      those who use a hackamore or sidepull ( or bitless whatever) do you think you have more control now than you did with a bit? or about the same? just curious. i love my Myler Comfort snaffle, and i do get a good response from him. i agree about not using MORE bit when it's a training issue.
                                      I recently moved my 26 year old mare from a short shanked sweet iron snaffle to a Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle. I have every bit as much control as I did when she had a bit in her mouth. The only difference is that she seems to be happier. She is softer and more relaxed. Probably wondering what took me so long to figure it out! The Dr. Cooks Bitless Bridle did not work as well on my 7 year old gelding though. Although I could control him with it, it took more muscle than I wanted to use. So the success of the Bitless bridle, I think, depends on the horse and most probably the level of training on said horse. I tried a little S hackamore on him too and he wasn't any better. He gets a bit, albeit the mildest bit I can get away with.
                                      "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
                                        those who use a hackamore or sidepull ( or bitless whatever) do you think you have more control now than you did with a bit? or about the same? just curious. i love my Myler Comfort snaffle, and i do get a good response from him. i agree about not using MORE bit when it's a training issue.
                                        I have about the same level of control using my Herm Sprenger Dynamic bits as I do the Dr. Cooks Bitless.