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How many different bits do YOU use?

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  • How many different bits do YOU use?

    I am just curious if I am the only one using multiple bits on the same horse. I have found that my guy goes really well in a HS KK Ultra in dressage, but needs more when jumping and hacking out in larger groups. I am now using a full cheek snaffle in show jumping and on xc. When going out on a group trail ride (6 or more riders) he seems to think that he is back at the races and I have had to up the bit to a short shank (Tom Thumb?) broken pelham w/ a slow twist to get him to pay attention to what I want him to do.

    How many bits to you use on one horse?

  • #2
    I use 2 bits on my mare. On the flat and for dressage I use a d ring happy mullen mouth and when jumping and for XC I use a elevator bit. So 2 bits on one horse.

    On another horse I ride for a friend I also have to use 2 bits. I use a regular snaffle on the flat and when jumping or hacking I have to use a full cheek twist.

    I think that its very common for people to use at least 2 bits for one horse. At least most people I know usually use 2!


    • #3
      One. The current horse is only four and has not been jumping long enough to be needing to make changes. I've had really good luck in the past being able to use my dressage bit as my jumping bit on most of my horses.


      • #4
        Many, if not most event horses go in 2 different bits, one for dressage (or dressage and stadium) and one for xc. Different purposes, different expectations, different situation.

        My horses have always gone in french eggbutts, but last year I switched Bob to a Myler comfort snaffle and he liked it so much I tried it on the other one too (polar opposites) and he seemed to like it too.

        My first event horse jumped in a kimberwicke, but only because I was 11 and 90lbs and he was a senior tank of an appy. Both horses I have now jump in Wonder Bits, again weird as they are very different horses. Maybe I just like the bit.


        • #5
          Currently, two... A copper football lozenge loosering thingy for dressage and a elevator for jumping and XC. But... we have more in our repertoire just in case. We have changed from the wonder bit for jumping, which was changed from the myler ported hooked bit for jumping, and briefly tried a gag. So I've got a few. We also tried out a baucher and a french link for dressage too.

          Most event horses I bet have two different bits for jumping and dressage. I imagine most are good ponies but their adrenaline and excitement get the better of them in XC


          • #6
            Horse #1: dressage in a loose ring French for dressage, slow twist for jumping.
            Horse #2: dressage in loose ring snaffle, jumping in D ring snaffle
            Horse #3: D ring snaffle for dressage and jumping
            Horse #4: D ring snaffle for dressage, not really jumping now


            • #7
              Current horse - same snaffle bit for four years (literally, have never used anything else). Previous horse - different bits for each phase and those changed, as needed. Horse before that -- same loose ring snaffle bit for ten years.

              I think it really varies from horse to horse (and rider to rider).


              • #8
                I school my horse in a KK ultra everyday, but at recognized shows I run xc and stadium in a Dr. Bristol D-ring. My other horse does everything in a KK also but outside he goes in something stronger (depends on who is riding him-slow twist egg butt for me and a Myler 3 ring combination bit for my mom) when he is riden outside as he tends to get strong and as a heavy draft cross he has a very strong head and neck and can pull you around quite a bit.


                • #9
                  FYI--- Study done on bitting and sores in the mouth. One year study was done and found that all horses get small sores in areas of mouth that wear the same bit-found if you switch around (even if it is the same type of bit- they all are balanced slighty different) it gives the small areas a chance to heal.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nextyear View Post
                    FYI--- Study done on bitting and sores in the mouth. One year study was done and found that all horses get small sores in areas of mouth that wear the same bit-found if you switch around (even if it is the same type of bit- they all are balanced slighty different) it gives the small areas a chance to heal.
                    Interesting -- do you know who did the study?
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                    • #11
                      Usually three different bits on each horse or pony depending upon the level of fitness and the acitvity ~
                      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                      • #12
                        On my older horse, I evented him through Training level using the same loose ring, double-jointed snaffle for all three phases. He's very rhythmic and steady and just didn't need anything different.

                        For my previous horse, I used a loose ring, double jointed snaffle for dressage and a full cheek slow twist for jumping and XC. He didn't have much "go" (big chicken) so even if he did get strong between jumps, he always came back before the fence.

                        For my current horse I'm using the same two bits, but we may have to bump up the hardware for XC. Right now it's so hot he's dialed down a few notches, but I think when we event this Fall he'll be much more forward (like he was this Spring). He's rateable, steerable, and rideable - just likes to GO between the fences. I'm not going to mess with it until I know for sure I need more.
                        Last edited by BigMick; Jul. 7, 2010, 09:25 AM. Reason: comma abuse


                        • #13
                          Gelding has two bits, but only because he drives me nuts the way he plays with his dressage bit (he likes to somehow pick it up in his mouth and then drop it). So he has a Mikmar Cupreon Lozenge loose ring for dressage (and maybe someday everything when he quits driving me nuts with it!) and a JP Copper Roller Ball full cheek. I actually like a mullen mouth for him, but a Happy Mouth is too thick and a metal mullen is too much bit for him. Duo/Nathe is under consideration....

                          The mare... well, it's a different bit for everything she does!
                          Hunters - Pelham (working back towards a snaffle, but, well...)
                          Hunter Pleasure - Double (lozenge bradoon)
                          Jumpers - Pelham or Elevator
                          Dressage - French Link Boucher or Lozenge loose ring
                          Hunter/Schooling (not "dressage") flat - JP Oval Mouth Dee
                          High School Eq Team - Kimberwicke
                          Trail Riding/XC - Kimberwicke
                          Driving - Liverpool
                          If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                          Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


                          • #14
                            I agree that most event horses use at least two if not more bits regularly.

                            My Intermediate horse:
                            Dressage: Thin Dr. Bristol dee or thin french link myler eggbutt or his double bridle. The double has the KK Conrad weymouth and the KK bradoon with the little roller. Pretty much whatever he wants on any given day and how intense our dressage school will be.
                            SJ at home or jumper shows/Gallops at home only: KK short shank pelham
                            Events ONLY: long shank straight bar pelham
                            Sometimes I'll put my other horse's bridle on him to hack or lightly flat. It's a dee ring KK with the wee roller.

                            This horse is pretty hot and complicated, but if I switch my bits often he goes much better. He starts spitting snaffles out pretty fast (he loves his double and accepts it great). Yes, it's a pain but he'll pull out high 20s low 30s at I dressage when he's happy and XC double clear. He's also 17.2 and I'm petite.

                            My young horse is pretty happy to go in one snaffle (described above) and a nathe two ring to jump and I hope to keep it this way. This amuses me to no end, he's actually much quirkier than the other one but quieter in his mouth.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nextyear View Post
                              FYI--- Study done on bitting and sores in the mouth. One year study was done and found that all horses get small sores in areas of mouth that wear the same bit-found if you switch around (even if it is the same type of bit- they all are balanced slighty different) it gives the small areas a chance to heal.
                              Intruder from Rail-Horse Land checking in...
                              I would believe this study. I've always had two or three bits that I switch for each horse, even when just doing hack classes, and I know many horse trainers do the same. I don't know if it's so much soreness as it is just boredom. It seems like switching things around keeps the horse fresher and more interested. Put the same old thing in there every day, and they sort out the puzzle and start leaning or fiddling. And of course I need a little more bit when I'm out hacking as opposed to what I would choose for ring work where I wanted confident contact.
                              Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                              • #16
                                My guy goes in 4.

                                Dressage: KK ultra loose ring.
                                SJ: Slow twist loose ring attached to western leather hackamore.
                                XC: Mikmar regular shank combination.
                                Occasional hacking/reminder lesson: Rubber pelham.


                                • #17
                                  Kc goes in one bit, and always has. from BN through P she was in a KK oval mouth loose ring, and in our prelim move up we switched to a thicker eggbutt snaffle. All three phases, she is a VERY sensitive mouthed horse and is quite happy to respond lightly to a snaffle on XC.
                                  Team Awesome fo sho!


                                  • #18
                                    Both of my guys go in snaffles for dressage and 3-ring elevators for stadium and XC. I put the reins on the top ring for stadium and move it down to the middle for XC.


                                    • #19
                                      When Diamond was competing, lower levels, we played around with bits to see what would work. He mostly went in a KK ultra loose ring french link on the flat, but we spent some time with a full cheek oval link on the flat as well. We played around quite a bit on XC up until advanced. Once he hit advanced, it was back to the KK ultra oval link loose ring for ALL THREE PHASES. He ran 2 seasons advanced in the KK ultra for all three phases with only a running martingale added for XC.

                                      Bodega, the BIG ISH gelding, only ever went in the KK Ultra oval link for all three phases through a CCI*, any other big would have blown his mind. In fact, after we sold him, the new connections stuck an elevator in his mouth, and it did blow his mind.

                                      I think, if te homework is done well, and the horse is responsive, there are many more horses that could go in a snaffle (note, not always a loose ring) all three phases. I am a huge fan of snaffles, rubber, mullen mouth, doesn't matter, I have only had a few horses that had to go in something stonger, but many times it was for one or two rides to "re-adjust" the aids, as a reminder of sorts. As in, hey, my leg still means "up and light", not deep, and curled.

                                      Everyone is going to ave their own system, but like many have said, not uncommon for event horses to have 2 or 3 go to bits. I simply have had mostly only had the need for 1, maybe 2.

                                      "Animals can sometimes take us to a place that we cannot reach ourself"

                                      ** Support the classic Three Day Event! Ride a Long Format **


                                      • Original Poster

                                        I love hearing what everyone is using for each phase! It is giving me some new ideas as I want to ditch the pelham for something else. I have never tried an elevator bit and am a bit surprised to hear how many use them for jumping and xc.

                                        Has anyone tried the HS KK Ultra Universal bit? My horse likes the KK Ultra loose ring that I use for dressage. It seems like it uses the same mouthpiece and adds a moderate two ring elevator component. There is also a KK Ultra Showjumping bit with a slightly lower bottom ring.