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Bit for Cross Country

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  • Bit for Cross Country

    Anyone have a good suggestion for extra breaks on cross country ? I ride my 17 H, 1500 lb OTTB in a Myler Level 2 comfort port for dressage. He’s very comfortable in that. For stadium and cross country I ride him in a simple hackamore. He was constantly tossing his head with any other bit (French link, plain snaffle Waterford, happy mouth, etc. ) When my trainer and I tried a simple English hackamore (leather noseband with fleece), he was happy, quiet head and very responsive. However he LOVES XC. I cannot express that enough. He missed his calling as a steeplechase horse. I, however am 40, and do not want to feel like we’re competing in the Grand National. Schooling XC is fine with nice steady canter. But during our last competition, I felt as though I was trying to stop a freight train during a couple of points on the course, when he could see the next jump in the distance and knew where we were headed. Any suggestions for a kind bit/ nose / poll pressure but with an extra “Hey!” built in for when it’s needed would be great. Thank you!

  • #2
    Myler combination bit! You can get it with the mouthpiece you know your horse likes, but it utilizes nose and curb pressure first.
    http://trainingcupid.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      If a Myler combination bit works out to be too much oomph (not knowing exactly what the level of oomphage you're seeking here is), there's a 2 and 1/2 ring Bomber bit with a very similar mouthpiece, and if that's still too much, you can get ported (solid mouthpiece though) Beval bits, and that's the least leverage-y leverage bit I can think of.

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      • #4
        ^^^I second the beval bit. My OTTB gelding can get strong XC but is very sensitive in the mouth, so I wanted a soft bit with a little extra braking power if I needed it. I got a happy mouth beval bit, and it was the perfect bit for him. Anything with more leverage would be too much bit for him.

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        • #5
          I had a similar problem with my mare, recently started a thread on bitting help - lots of good advice there if you search. In the end I went with the French link 3 ring, but the mouthpiece is wrapped in Sealtex. Finally, a bit that gives my mare some breaks, doesn't back her off and doesn't upset her extremely sensitive mouth. I would definitely give it a try on something like a french link 2 or 3 ring.
          Boss Mare Eventing Blog

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          • #6
            Why would anybody want brakes on XC?!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RAyers View Post
              Why would anybody want brakes on XC?!
              Actually, they asked for "breaks" so...coffee, lunch, tea--- perhaps???

              Comment


              • #8
                If the horse goes well in a mechanical hackamore then why not just move up a step from your ‘simple’ (English?) hackamore to a German Hackamore?
                If you want to combine nose and mouth pressure then try a Kineton noseband

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                  Why would anybody want brakes on XC?!
                  Exactly, thats what air vests are for.
                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog

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                  • #10
                    I tried a few "e-brake" options on my draft x who will happily run everything at Prelim+ speed (and she's got the shoulders and neck to set against me when she's inclined!), but the only effective bit I found was a French link Pelham. The 3 piece mouthpiece allows for softness and mobility, and the curb chain is our backup brake.

                    I think it depends on how your horse pulls - mine will bear downwards and get on the forehand, so having the curb chain on 1 set of reins allows me to bump her chin up back into the snaffle action as needed. I do hate having the manage the 2 sets of reins, especially when I have to slip them off a drop, but I tried the bit converters once and the effect was totally ruined so I've just learned to cope. We are going to be trying our snaffle on XC for the first time next weekend since she's been really polite this season and I'd love to only have one set of reins to deal with!

                    In the past I've tried an elevator (or 3 ring) bit, a Waterford and a Myler combo but none of them suited our specific issue. Although to be honest, I think a sizable part of our improvement has been me overcoming my fear of losing control and allowing her more freedom to move forward.
                    thebaybondgirl.wordpress.com

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

                      Exactly, thats what air vests are for.
                      Awww. You know me so well. :-)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        On a serious note. Have you ever been trained as to how to do a full or half cross? This is how jockeys and old eventers controlled the gallop on XC with out exhausting themselves between fences. I still to this (5 year old OTTB with a loose ring Nathe bit for XC).

                        My suspicion is that you are riding too much with your arms first.

                        Before considering a new bit, I would consider the rider first, especially if the horse is fine schooling.

                        Does the horse set up for the fences or does the horse run through the hand and the fence? What level are you going?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                          On a serious note. Have you ever been trained as to how to do a full or half cross? This is how jockeys and old eventers controlled the gallop on XC with out exhausting themselves between fences. I still to this (5 year old OTTB with a loose ring Nathe bit for XC).

                          My suspicion is that you are riding too much with your arms first.

                          Before considering a new bit, I would consider the rider first, especially if the horse is fine schooling.

                          Does the horse set up for the fences or does the horse run through the hand and the fence? What level are you going?
                          What is a full or half cross?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                            On a serious note. Have you ever been trained as to how to do a full or half cross? This is how jockeys and old eventers controlled the gallop on XC with out exhausting themselves between fences. I still to this (5 year old OTTB with a loose ring Nathe bit for XC).

                            My suspicion is that you are riding too much with your arms first.

                            Before considering a new bit, I would consider the rider first, especially if the horse is fine schooling.

                            Does the horse set up for the fences or does the horse run through the hand and the fence? What level are you going?
                            I was under the impression that throwing a cross was something totally different - that it was more of a motion than a rein placement.

                            I think the more common term for what you're saying is bridging the reins.

                            Or I could be completely on my head, that's always possible.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                              I was under the impression that throwing a cross was something totally different - that it was more of a motion than a rein placement.

                              I think the more common term for what you're saying is bridging the reins.

                              Or I could be completely on my head, that's always possible.
                              They call it a cross in the racing world, but it is the same as bridging the reins
                              thebaybondgirl.wordpress.com

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thank you all for your responses. To Baybondgirl - as to how he pulls, maybe slightly down but mostly just like a train picking up speed. And I hear you on the setting the shoulder! To RAyers - I will ask my trainer about the cross/bridging . He hits the fences in a good stride and sets himself up - it’s more the open terrain where his OTTB brain kicks in and he goes “yahoo!!!!” I’m pretty light in my hands normally and don’t pull- just strong 1/2 halt and release. And you’re right about “who needs brakes?” If it weren’t for those dang speed faults we wouldn’t even worry about brakes

                                We we are going to try the Myler combo since we can borrow one next week. Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful responses . It’s always helpful to hear what other people have done.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Banmharcach - ha! I just saw my spelling error! Coffee or tea “breaks” are good too!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by ahgibbs View Post
                                    ...

                                    To RAyers - I will ask my trainer about the cross/bridging . He hits the fences in a good stride and sets himself up - it’s more the open terrain where his OTTB brain kicks in and he goes “yahoo!!!!” I’m pretty light in my hands normally and don’t pull- just strong 1/2 halt and release. And you’re right about “who needs brakes?” If it weren’t for those dang speed faults we wouldn’t even worry about brakes

                                    ...

                                    You are talking to a guy who was more than a minute under the time at the Area IX Novice Championships. Who cares about speed faults when you want to have a horse that gallops and takes you to the fences. True, I am trying to build an upper level horse, but who knows?

                                    The cross is a huge advantage to the OTTB on XC. I teach that to all of my students as the horses themselves are trained to respond to a jockey's body movements and not the bit. To slow race horses down a jockey extends their body up and loosens the reins. Thus, these horses already know how to quiet down without pulling.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      ProTrainer.

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