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AQHA Hunter Bit Question

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  • AQHA Hunter Bit Question

    I'm helping someone with their appendix. The mare was trained to show in AQHA HUS. She's four and has had the last eight months off due to an injury that occurred right after my friend bought her and now is being brought back into work. Her previous owner had her going in a double twisted wire but it seems to me that the mare hates this bit (she's a 3/4 TB chestnut and is more than a little sensitive).

    So I'm just wondering why they had her in this bit. Is this a common bit to use for AQHA hunters? The horse by the way has an incredible set of brakes so I feel like you could be riding her in a halter and lead rope and she would come to a dead stop if you said whoa. My friend wants to show her AQHA so I don't to mess with her way of going and I don't know anything about how they do things.

  • #2
    My thought is that there's less rein contact in breed show hunters than in regular hunters, so maybe more bit (especially since QHs are not allowed to show western in a snaffle after age 5, must have a curb, and therefore are used to more bit...)?

    I'm a novice, but it seems like it would be hard for a judge to see what's actually going on in the middle of the bit as long as the outside looks the same (D ring, or I think eggbutts are more popular for breed shows?)... so if it looks the same at first glance, why not change to a regular snaffle or French link or mullen or whatever she likes best?
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    • #3
      The HUS horses go in a head/neck frame with between poll and tip of ears level with the withers and a vertical to slightly out face. A steady head is paramount, so I would use whatever bit the mare likes and can stay in the above frame. Double twisted snaffles used to be more popular than they are now. D rings are the main snaffle bit ring, and you also still see the Myler big Ds w/hooks and curb chains, and some of those can have fairly strong correction mouthpieces. There is a 3/8 minimum mouthpiece width. (You can see legal/illegal english bits on the AQHA website in the handbook link). Go with whatever enables this mare to be rock steady and have no head raise in transitions.
      Judges now are penalizing a loop rein and are looking for light contact at all times. They also require bits to be dropped and checked during the line up in one random class.

      The fence horses go the same as the USEF hunters with a bit more bridled face and control. Again, steadiness is paramount.
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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
        D rings are the main snaffle bit ring,
        By D ring do you mean just a plain snaffle? Do they use many French link bits? I couldn't tell from the AQHA handbook whether they are legal or not. This mare is very mouthy and I thought she might like something to play with.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by EAY View Post
          By D ring do you mean just a plain snaffle? Do they use many French link bits? I couldn't tell from the AQHA handbook whether they are legal or not. This mare is very mouthy and I thought she might like something to play with.
          D ring only refers to the ring. You can use any mouthpiece that is at least 3/8" diameter and does not have projections below the mouthpiece ( mainly thinking of bits with prong projections here). I.E., one of the nylon mouthpieces has big circular lumps (for lack of better description), and some judge friends discussed it and decided it would be illegal, since the lumps do project below the mouthpiece base when in position. French Link should be OK, as should a snaffle with a small roller center. but I am not positive. I would PM Sparky with that question.
          Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
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          • #6
            D rings are the standard cheekpiece you will see, but the mouthpieces will vary. Occasionally you will see a loose ring or more of a western style D, but i'd say 90% of the horses go in a D ring. You will see plain snaffles, french links, rubber, happy mouth, twists, ports, corrections. It all depends on the horse. In the over fences classes you will even see pelhams. My horse goes HUS in a ported myler with hooks and a curbchain, or a twist depending on her mood. Remember, the contact with their mouth is very light. The important thing is that she remains steady with her head, especially during the transitions.

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            • #7
              If she's been ridden anything like the AQHA HUS horses around here (and I'll admit, these probably aren't top of the line trainers and riders, but still...) then she has been put in a harsh bit AND had someone snatch on her face every other stride to make her "set" her head in a low, fake frame. Might be why she hates the bit.

              It's not about brakes. Those horses usually gladly accept any opportunity to stop going around and around and around and around the arena.... its about being able to set their heads.

              Sorry. Done complaining now.

              Editing because I'll probably get flamed. I shouldn't base my whole outlook on this section of the horse world on the one open show I went to lately and saw them. I know there are legit HUS programs out there. But Yikes, it was all I could do to watch some of these poor horses.

              Ok. I'm REALLY done complaining now.

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              • #8
                A horse does not need something to play with. The reason a horse is busy in the mouth is a lack of comfort. A well bitted horse will go quietly with no mouthing. The shoe fits, so they don't fuss. Of course the riders hands play a part too, which is why it is difficult.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by fivesocks View Post
                  . I shouldn't base my whole outlook on this section of the horse world on the one open show I went to lately and saw them. I know there are legit HUS programs out there. But Yikes, it was all I could do to watch some of these poor horses.
                  Ok. I'm REALLY done complaining now.
                  Don't watch crap.

                  I will post a link to the AQHA World show free webcast in a couple weeks. Watch that.
                  Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
                    Don't watch crap.

                    I will post a link to the AQHA World show free webcast in a couple weeks. Watch that.
                    Exactly. Take a look at some of the HUS horses at the major shows- Congress, World, ect. Much different than what you might see at a small local open show.

                    Ahhh AQHA World. That means I will not get anything done because I will be glued to my computer screen.

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                    • #11
                      Unfortunately AQHA hasn't really stepped up their game on the local level and it IS just like Fivesocks said it is around here...
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