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Why don't you use a big fat snaffle?

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  • Why don't you use a big fat snaffle?

    I thought this would be a good thread for all the horrible riders out there that don't use snaffles to explain why not

    What led you to decide that your horse couldn't do stadium/xc in a snaffle? What did you do before you switched bits? What bit do you use?

    Finally, how did the bit switch change your horse?

  • #2
    Popcorn anyone.


    • Original Poster

      So before anyone has posted anything you get out the popcorn?

      Since often the assumption is that people that have big bits don't know or care how to ride and train a horse wouldn't it be nice to hear from people that have used good judgement and experience to make their decision to bit up?

      It is my personal belief that some horses are not snaffle horses and a bit that they respect and the rider handles well is a good solution. Perhaps this is because they are big strong hot fast horses or maybe they are older horses that are set in their ways and not going to change. I'd like to hear about it.


      • #4
        My sister rides her boy in an elevator because he pulls the reins out of her hand and sneaks grass

        since she's 20 we figured that the bubble bit is less embaressing than daisy reins
        http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


        • #5
          I ride in a loose ring myler because my horse hates plain snaffles and French links also. I would ride in a fat happy mouth mullen but I lose finesse. I know mylers are thin but if she's happy, I'm happy

          I did buy a d myler with the clips for a grad bit but so far it just sits in my tack trunk. I've used it out on trail once and liked that she was reminded to balance herself at canter.
          Last edited by AzuWish; Apr. 18, 2010, 02:31 PM. Reason: (edited because typing things out on my phone sometimes makes me a lil garbled)


          • #6
            Because he hated the big fat hollowmouth loose-ring snaffle, and likes his narrow eggbutt and his narrow and heavy full cheek.


            • #7
              I will add that my horse actually does his flat work and jumping in a double jointed loose ring BUT i started him in a happy mouth after he came off he track but he eats them ! I'm getting really sick of buying new ones every couple of weeks so I'm thinking of switching him to a metal bit.

              I already own a KK double jointed D so I think i'm going to try that.

              Still a snaffle but not as fat or tastey!
              http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


              • #8
                Everyone has heard my answers ad nauseam.

                Because I like to enjoy my limited riding time, and I find that riding in a suitable bit allows that to happen for me AND the horse without wasting a lot of time. Suitable bit = plain vanilla french link loose ring for Bonnie, a triangle mouth snaffle or a racing D for Keebler. Hardly barbaric. Bonnie in fact really doesn't like "fat" bits because she has a big fat tongue and lips. Little and thin suits her much better and she is NOT averse to expressing her opinion about bits loudly and clearly.

                Both horses jump so darn nicely in a Myler combination that I just reach for that bridle almost every time. I've jumped each of them in half a dozen different bits and they both LOVE that one. Therefore, so do I.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #9
                  I just got my first horse about a month and a half ago and when i got him he was training for prelim so has a little bit more "go" then im used to. (i'm 14 and have only showed BN/N).
                  for riding at home ive been using a happy mouth snaffle. prior to the show i was freaking out bc i didnt feel like i had any brakes/control and i felt llike i wasnt ready for the show so then when i went to Spring Bay last weekend i used an elevator so i could feel safer and more comfortable.
                  however, we do all of our lessons and work at home in the snaffle so i can learn how to jump him and control him using my seat and legs and not pull on his mouth. then hopefully by next show i will be able to move down a ring on the elevator or move to a less severe bit.
                  like my trainer always says...its allllllll a process


                  • #10
                    I watched a William Fox-Pitt video a year or so ago and he commented that he doesn't believe that it's the horses that are snaffle horses or non-snaffle horses, but the riders that have a preference. If I recall he was saying that riders tend to migrate toward the feel they are most comfortable with which is generally produced by a certain type of bit. For him it's a snaffle because that's what his mother made him ride in while he was growing up so that now he doesn't care as much for a non-snaffle feel.


                    • #11
                      For me it depends on the horse. I've had horses that went in snaffles for all three phases...some big and fat...some thin. Current monster boy is going to go xc in a new bit after last weekend.....where I had little control over his lovely length of stride...especially going down hill. And he is too big and I'm not strong enough to be fighting with him in a competition.

                      Did canter sets today....and the new bit of choice for him is still a snaffle...but a loose ring cherry roller. (and we worked on his straightness and adjustability). Some how I don't think that is what most people think of if you say your horse is running xc in a snaffle...but it is big and fat and is a snaffle

                      ETA: He does dressage in true loose ring snaffle (HS double jointed KK Ultra)
                      Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 18, 2010, 06:24 PM.
                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                        I thought this would be a good thread for all the horrible riders out there that don't use snaffles to explain why not

                        What led you to decide that your horse couldn't do stadium/xc in a snaffle? What did you do before you switched bits? What bit do you use?

                        Finally, how did the bit switch change your horse?
                        my little horse is faster on a x/c or ht course so use a pelham not for her for me as i have bad arthurtic hands

                        bits some people change bits during a competion if there is more than one dispiline as it keeps the horse more focused by that i mean depends on the horse some horses need a tad a variety to keep there attention on you so if one changes the bit - then it keeps the horse guessing so not to antsipate you as a rider - hence more focused on the job in hand


                        • #13
                          I'm mainly a dressage rider, but I love going for hacks and doing some gymnastic jumping with my boy, so here's my two cents:

                          I ride dressage/in the ring in a big, fat loose ring oval mouth snaffle. I'm not saying it's "superior" to heavier bits, but it works well for my gelding. I had another horse who went best in a boucher. It really depends on your horse, as every one is different.

                          Now, if I am to leave the arena or go over fences, I use my slightly thinner full-cheek bit. It gives me just a little bit more control, and acts as an attention grabber.
                          If I'm galloping across a field in my arena bit and my horse decides he wants to keep running, good luck getting him back to a walk or trot with a big, fat snaffle in his mouth.

                          There's nothing wrong with bitting up for trail or xc, or dressage for that matter. Every horse has different needs and preferences.


                          • #14
                            I think needing more bit for the adrenaline of xc/stadium/galloping is a completely different ball game than people saying they need big bits to do basic flatwork.


                            • #15
                              We can always blame the previous owner! Horses off the track have baggage. Horses ridden by men can become accustomed to a stronger ride than a woman likes to give. (not saying men can't develop lovely responsive horses). Horses ridden by the inexperienced learn bad habits. Then we get them.

                              The 2 horses I had who needed hardware came to me after long and checkered careers. The 2 with whom I basically did all the work myself go in snaffles. I am NOT the world's best rider/trainer but I have soft hands and the horses never experienced rough ones - no one else rides them. Whoa was an early lesson. (especially after the freight trains, it was important to me!)


                              • #16
                                My mare goes in a D-Ring snaffle at home. I grew up riding a lot of ex-racers and we usually left the bit in that they were used to until we knew better.

                                She goes in a boucher at shows because when she started to get into the whole running around cross country thing, she started pulling down and getting on the forehand. It is just a half a tad more bit than the snaffle and helps my half halt to rebalance. She probably does not need it anymore, but why tempt fate?


                                • #17
                                  Have never ridden anything in a *fat* snaffle because all my horses seem to have tiny little mouths.

                                  1) all three phases in KK D-ring (hated loose rings). Didn't like contact much, was never great at the dressage, but adjusted in the blink of an eye to the fences.

                                  2) dressage in KK D-ring, jumping in kk butterfly boucher because he wanted to go a little nose to toes and I found the boucher helped with balance at speed.

                                  3) dressage in D-ring snaffle, but still a work in progress. The horse has a genuinely hard mouth (just ask Deltawave). Jumping in a kimberwicke because he respects the chain and it allows me to ride with a very soft hand in between the fences.

                                  4) dressage in a kk full cheek and jumping in a Dr. Bristol full cheek. Didn't have for too long and would grab the bit and run when galloping xc, so liked a bit extra, but basically very quiet. Is now becoming a hunter and happily jumping around 3' courses in a regular (but still not fat, because his mouth is small) single jointed snaffle

                                  5) current, running through possibilities. This guy does not yet like the bit and tries to spit it out and/or get his tongue over it. Have tried with limited success myler comfort snaffle, kk eggbutt, regular aurigian d-ring snaffle, nathe mullen mouth. Rode him today in a this and it seems best so far and pretty good overall: http://www.countrytack.com/Bits/JP_eggbutt_oval.htm. He doesn't jump yet, so can't answer that. I'm guessing the same bit as he is very quiet.
                                  OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                                  • #18
                                    Some horses have small mouths and low palates.....they don't like a big, thick bit. I've had several horses off the track that were much happier in thinner bits. I've found that some bloodlines ring true to this preference as well.

                                    Of my three I have now, one goes in a D ring happy mouth.
                                    One goes in the same bit or a loose ring medium weight.
                                    The last is new to me as of friday, one ride so far. He's way too heavy and way too strong in my hands for those bits. So I'll likely put him in something with two joints like my mylar snaffle or a french link.

                                    Case by case, I really have no preference myself as long as my horses are happy.
                                    RIP Spider Murphy 4/20/02 - 10/31/10


                                    • #19
                                      My mare goes in a loose ring plain snaffle on the flat and that is plenty. A bigger bit won't get her off her forehand!

                                      BUT... Over fences she has gone in a slow-twist eggbutt since she was about 5. We have never had to bit-up from there but she certainly needs the slow twist. She does this phenomenally impressive thing where she holds the bit so firmly between the roof of her mouth and her tongue that the rider loses all control (read: steering, brakes, etc.). I ride with a soft hand and always ask nicely. She needs it because she won't push it into the roof of her mouth.

                                      The funniest part is that when she does this she "runs off" with you but at a seemingly controlled pace. I dared an ULR get on her once when they were mocking me because they said there was no way she was as out of control as I said she was. They picked up the canter, popped over a 3' vertical and then said, "OH... MY... GOD.... I am so sorry I ever doubted you!!"

                                      I briefly went down to a French link due to peer pressure and proceeded to have a rotational fall out foxhunting because she wouldn't balance up before a downhill coop when I asked her to. Needless to say, we are back to the slow twist!!!
                                      "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


                                      • #20
                                        My boy goes in a baucher for flat work and a tom thumb pelham for jumping. He has a hard mouth thanks to being ridden by a heavy handed girl before I bought him, but he hates a lot of contact so he likes a bit that stays still in his mouth. He gets strong jumping and tends to lean on my hands, so I like that the curb on the pelham helps to lift his front end.
                                        Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.