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Waterford sizing

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  • Waterford sizing

    Quick question - looking at trying a waterford bit. I've read that it needs to be ordered a 1/4in larger than horse would normally need.
    True? False?

    Also, if paired with a kineton noseband, would it need to be an additional 1/4in larger?

  • #2
    My snaffle and my Waterford are the same size. I can't think of any reason you would need it to be longer.

    I have no advice on the Kineton, having never used one myself. Why do you want to combine them?


    • Original Poster

      My mare gets uber pissy when she is in heat. Tolerates absolutely no contact, and I don't have a heavy hand by any means. On the flat, she goes from being a dead head and soft in the bridle to being spooky and overly sensitive to even the smallest amount of contact. Sometimes she lays in my hands, other times she over reacts to the slightest feel.

      We have found that she is a much quieter ride, less fussy, less confrontational, etc in something that works more off nose pressure than bars/tongue,etc. It also allows me to have even less contact.

      In the past, we've put her in a jumping hackamore (looks just like a thick cavesson), which gives me fantastic brakes but no steering. We have a strong dressage base - her flat work is fantastic with a bit - I can easily collect, and lift and move shoulders.

      The kineton has helped us out greatly - she is far more accepting of contact even when she has her period. The nose pressure gives me brakes without needing contact, and I don't lose my power steering.

      I've heard mixed reviews on waterfords. Some people say they are less offensive to horses when paired with a kineton (as opposed to the french link loose ring), others think they are the mouthpiece for satan's horses.

      Just trying to find the ideal middle ground.


      • #4
        My mare also goes in a waterford, and her snaffle and waterford are the same size. However, every once and a while the sides of the waterford will rub her face. (I have a D-Ring version, not a loose ring) It doesn't happen all the time but I've also been wondering whether to size up a little bit.
        Zone V IHSA Alumni

        "Ride with your heart and you'll never lose."


        • #5
          Originally posted by Burgie View Post
          Others think they are the mouthpiece for satan's horses.
          Ha!! LOL. My gelding runs right through a Waterford - ol' Satan would be in TX (from NC) before he got him to stop!

          My Waterford is the same size as my slow twist snaffle - which we use much more successfully on this particular horse.

          Have you ever tried a pelham? Just wondering - have a friend with an uber sensitive mare who liked a hackamore as well that responded well to the pelhman when power steering was required. Something about it applying some poll pressure vs. the bars...


          • #6
            False. That sizing thing has a little to do with the shape of the links and where they hit the corners of the mouth. If you can find what you want a 1/4" larger, then order it, but I doubt you would notice the difference. IMO it isn't a bit that is super critical for sizing. When in doubt, err on the side of a smidge too big.

            My horse bits up well in a waterford. A three ring elevator with four reins also works for me.


            • #7
              I use the same size Waterford as snaffle including with a Kineton which I have done. Both snaffle and Waterford in D-ring.
              OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


              • #8
                My horse runs through a Waterford as well. So I have one to sell, haha. Just kidding. But it didn't do anything for my mare. The search is still on.
                “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                ¯ Oscar Wilde


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by TrakeGirl View Post
                  Have you ever tried a pelham? Just wondering - have a friend with an uber sensitive mare who liked a hackamore as well that responded well to the pelhman when power steering was required. Something about it applying some poll pressure vs. the bars...
                  No, I haven't tried one. What kind of pelham did your friend use?

                  In regards to sizing - do you normally suggest the next size up for a bit that is being used with a kineton? My loose ring snaffle fits her correctly if she is in a regular cavesson, but 'wings out' a bit with bit guards and the kineton....

                  Lastly, anyone have a loose ring kineton they would suggest? One that is of good quality?


                  • #10
                    My horse goes well in a waterford. I found the loose ring, and d ring to be true to size. his 3 ring and full cheek I ordered a smidge bigger, just because of the way they made the bridle fit. the three ring I found we went up a hole or two on the cheek pieces, but the bit needed to be a bit wider. the full-cheek when we added the bit keepers found I needed a bit more length.

                    Some horses love them others dont.

                    As an aside does anyone school/ride in them regularly. I did for a bit and then was told that may not be a good idea because the horse never really learns to accept "correct"/"true" contact...thoughts???

                    he shows in the full cheek or 3 ring waterford. I used to always ride him in the loose-ring, now he is back to his old-fathful loose-ring dr. bristol.
                    \"A smart lady knows its ok to change her mind, a damn fool never does\"


                    • #11
                      I rode mine in a waterford for about a year straight and had no problems, but you're right, their near impossible to get steady, long and low contact with. Now I just use it as one of my 3 or 4 alternating bits. It helps freshen up his mouth and get him moving his tongue a little when he needs it.

                      And for spring weather, if you get to the point where the horse is trying to lug on you and run through the bit, a couple of days in the waterford with the threat of having those beads ran back and forth once or twice will get some respect back.


                      • #12
                        My horse LOVES his waterford. He's not a fan of joints (1 or 2) & would either open his mouth or lock to avoid them. Now that he's learned to accept the bit (from his favorite Waterford), & that contact isnt punishment (sadly I'm quite sure that's what he was taught), he's much better with double joints. I personally love the bit, but I could see how a horse could disregard it.

                        I have a D-ring & a loose ring I use with bit guards, both the same size as all my other bits. I tried a size up loose ring originally to make room for the bit guards and it was HUGE. I'm not sure exactly how a kineton fits, I've never used one, but maybe that helps?


                        • #13
                          Jay Shuttleworth sold me a Waterford for my gelding and said it should hang a little in the mouth so that they reach for it, say, in the air. Works great. I save it for shows.