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Bit question

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  • Bit question

    One of my jumpers is so sensitive. I have her in a french link loose ring heavy bit that is brass colored, got it at an auction without a tag so I don't know what the material is other than solid metal. It's been great, but if I get the slightest bit handsy, she whoas too much. A friend had this really neat soft flexible loose ring that I have never seen before. She can't even remember where she got it. Anyhow, I saw on Smartpak that there is a bit called a Nathe. The $75.00 price tag is making me hesitate trying it. I already have a huge bit collection. Anyone tried this or have any suggestions? I tried a happy mouth and I get the same response, tried a plain loose ring, same issues. The thick rubber bits she does not like. Hackamore too much whoa. We will be moving up to level 2's next year and I don't need a whole lot of whoa in my girl.

    Thanks!!
    www.hilltopfarmva.com

    Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA

  • #2
    You say she's perhaps too sensitive to the french link, could it be the link itself? What about a double-jointed (say an O-ring Happy Mouth)? You could also try something like this one - I always recommend it since it's a bit I use a lot myself and have had a lot of success with (I started using it after attending a Bob Myler and Jonathan Field bit demo). It's pretty basic - D-ring, shaped mouthpiece, copper inlay, and a port that allows for some tongue relief. It's a good simple basic bit that won't dig into a horse's palate or pinch their tongue.

    You don't specify what kind of HM you've tried (ie, single joint, double-joint, O-ring, etc) or what kind of loose ring (ie, single joint, double-joint, etc), which would help a lot. She might not like the thick rubber if she's got a smaller mouth.
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      She has a small mouth, tried the happy mouth loose ring, dee ring and full cheek. She wants to chew on it all the time. Tried a plain hollow mouth loose ring. She has been great in the french link for over a year, but as she has had more training her mouth has gotten softer and she whoas more to body now. So when I do get a bit handsy when she does not back off when I sit back then she whoas too much. It is so hard to explain and she is a very hot horse that knows what you are going to ask for next before you even ask.
      www.hilltopfarmva.com

      Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA

      Comment


      • #4
        OK, #1 there is physically no such thing as a soft or hard mouth, it is all about being properly on the aids or not. If she is too quick to slow when you use your seat? Flatwork, flatwork, flatwork and more flatwork. She is probably dropping behind your leg and that suggests she needs more leg support from you and also to learn to properly work up into the bridle. Sounds backwords but even with the quick ones, more leg is the answer not less-and the bit is the least of the issue, especially at lower levels and with Green horses.

        "Sensitive" is usually just the horse does not know how to properly accept the aids-or they are just saying "no". Not saying this applies here to this OP but sometimes the rider claiming sensitve is scared to press any issues if the horse reacts negatively at all, so horse learns "no" is an option.

        D.R.E.S.S.A.G.E.

        And I have always had so called "hot", quirky horses (usually because others did not want them) with large doses of TB plus a couple of Ayrabs-I know "hot" very well.

        #2, having had alot of fussy ones, sometimes the more moving parts a bit has, the more they move them. Drives you nuts. Some of them even scare themselves when they get that bit bouncing and jiggling around. That distracts them from you. I had great luck with mullen mouths and something called a "polo mouth" that is a mullen with a low port. No loose sides either. Solid so nothing moves.

        If this mare has a small/shallow mouth? I'd be inclined to go with one of those and avoid anything with joints that might actually be pretty uncomfortable and pinch her palete. She may also like the low port on a solid mouth for tongue relief. She may not like anything pressing down on her tongue-that is what the port does, takes it off the tongue.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          I love the nathe or the HS Duo, which is a little less bendy and a little more durable, but still soft. My sensitive TB goes in a loose ring HS Duo and it really encourages him to reach into the contact in a way he does not with a french link. Great bits, worth the $$. Way better than Happy Mouth with all those bumps, or rubber which is too thick for virtually every horse. It is spendy but a good addition to the bit box.

          Can you borrow the friend's to see if it works?

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Flat work has improved ten fold with my new trainer. She does not root and buck and pull like she used to when asked to move off leg and collect. She has gotten so much lighter on the flat than last year. The jumping is freaking fantastic when we are soft and insync. On those days trainer feels we could easily do level 4. Though there are days that she is just spun and there is not much I can do about it if it is a lesson day or show day. You just go with the flow and ride as soft as you can. Those are the days I do not trust her since she had bucked me off after a one stride and strained/tore a ligament in my knee. So, I am sure the problem is mostly me which is why I would like a softer bit so when we do have those days my hands do impede her ability to go clean.
            She is a homebred ottb. She has been a hot rocket since the moment she came out of her mom. If she did not wash out in the post parade she would have made a heck of a racehorse!
            www.hilltopfarmva.com

            Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA

            Comment


            • #7
              If the french link is too much, you could try a rounder link like this one. The mouth is a little thinner so it might be too much but they have ones like this which I use on my boy and he goes very well in it. Others may disagree but I find these to have much less bite than the french links and especially the dr. bristols.

              Also, if you want to try bits, I hear bit of britian has a trial option with their bits. I'm not sure what the stipulations are as I've never used it, but it's just an idea.
              "Be the change you want to see in the world."
              ~Mahatma Gandhi

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by findeight View Post
                OK, #1 there is physically no such thing as a soft or hard mouth, it is all about being properly on the aids or not. If she is too quick to slow when you use your seat? Flatwork, flatwork, flatwork and more flatwork. She is probably dropping behind your leg and that suggests she needs more leg support from you and also to learn to properly work up into the bridle. Sounds backwords but even with the quick ones, more leg is the answer not less-and the bit is the least of the issue, especially at lower levels and with Green horses.

                "Sensitive" is usually just the horse does not know how to properly accept the aids-or they are just saying "no". Not saying this applies here to this OP but sometimes the rider claiming sensitve is scared to press any issues if the horse reacts negatively at all, so horse learns "no" is an option.

                D.R.E.S.S.A.G.E.

                And I have always had so called "hot", quirky horses (usually because others did not want them) with large doses of TB plus a couple of Ayrabs-I know "hot" very well.

                #2, having had alot of fussy ones, sometimes the more moving parts a bit has, the more they move them. Drives you nuts. Some of them even scare themselves when they get that bit bouncing and jiggling around. That distracts them from you. I had great luck with mullen mouths and something called a "polo mouth" that is a mullen with a low port. No loose sides either. Solid so nothing moves.

                If this mare has a small/shallow mouth? I'd be inclined to go with one of those and avoid anything with joints that might actually be pretty uncomfortable and pinch her palete. She may also like the low port on a solid mouth for tongue relief. She may not like anything pressing down on her tongue-that is what the port does, takes it off the tongue.
                a thousand times over.

                OP, I meant you did not clarify what type of mouthpiece the HM or D-ring or full cheek had. I think the bit might be part of the issue here (ie, a single-jointed might be digging into her palate and pinching her tongue), but I have to agree with findeight that this might also be a training issue. Get her in a comfortable bit then school her in such a way where she picks up the bit (of her own accord, as a result of the progressive work you do with her) and is on your aids.
                ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is a huge misconception out there that a snaffle is automatically "soft" and a mullen or a port makes a bit "harsh".

                  Some of these multi jointed snaffle variations are just modern versions of the old bicycle chain or mule bits universally condemned. Assuming the points on that chain are filed smooth? What's the difference? A nice, soothing name and hefty price tag????

                  IMO you can hurt one worse in a plain snaffle if it does have that shallow mouth and the joint jams the roof of the mouth while the sides make a like a nutcracker on the lower jaw.

                  For, OP, you do have a confidence problem. Join the club. Anybody who says they don't and never have is either in denial, flat out lying or thinks 2' on a 20+ year old schoolie is "jumping". It is a part of the sport, a very big part when fences go up and birthdays roll by.

                  A little experimentation with bits and alot of work on using your legs and getting that one up in the bridle properly is going to create alot more confidence in you. Flatwork is going to make that happen for you, maybe let your pro ride the mare more, on the flat too. Well worth the money.

                  You'll get there.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I loaned my nathe gag to a friend, but if she's done with it I can go pick it up. Do you want me to check and get it to you to try for a few days? The only thing is that if she chews, you might want to go with something else, like a double jointed happy mouth. Slate chewed right through my last nathe gag . They're soft and there isn't anything in them other than cable, so they go right through.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree with findeight, snaffles are generally more severe than straight mouthed bits. I'd try a rubber pelham. You can find them with pretty much no shank and the lack of moving pieces in her mouth might be exactly what she needs. You can also ride with just the snaffle rein if you want

                      http://www.doversaddlery.com/product..._pn_E_x1-01215

                      Also, make sure you're asking for whoa with your core and seat before your hands. A bit is only as severe as the hands that hold it, and many of us forget to use the rest of our body before our hands. My mare is beyond hot, but when I have her really tuned up (currently she's had 4+ weeks off...) I just sit and use verbal commands, for downward and upward transitions. I know not everyone wants that but it works for her.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I used a Nathe on my fairly high octane TB and she went better in that than any other 'tougher' bit which just seemed to enrage her. She seemed to like lozange type bits better than a simple snaffle with her narrow jawbone and possibly the dig in the palate. Borrow one?

                        The bit you use is a French link? Not to be mixed up with a Dr Bristol?
                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks everyone for the great responses. My trainer says my hands have turrets and I have to agree with that. As the jumps get bigger I want to get handsy and when she gets hotter I want to get handsy so I know it is me and not her. I just want a bit that she will be happier with when I am not riding her well. Not fair to punish her with too much bit when it is my fault. I have some mullen mouth bits I will try this weekend as well, just liked the Nathe because it is a mullen that is very flexible.
                          Chanda, I would love to try it. I will know in one or two rides if that is the bit for her. The problem I had with the happy mouth is that it is too thick for her so I think that is why she chewed it. I can't go too thin in a metal bit because then she reacts more. The bit I have now is right in between in thickness and it has the oval link. She's always had a sensitive mouth, even when racing. I loved galloping her on the track at Colonial because she put herself in a frame and had a nice feel of the bit and trucked around.
                          www.hilltopfarmva.com

                          Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Oh and I will absolutely agere that a mullen is less severe than a broken snaffle. One of my now retired racehorses that does the jumpers, umm.. she runs right through a mullen out in the field. Took a few laps to pull her up. Field is 20 acres. She still wants to be a racehorse sometimes. Hoping to have the new girl coming out to the barn event her next year. I think she will LOVE cross country. Her dressage is pretty good and her showjumping is decent.
                            www.hilltopfarmva.com

                            Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'll get it back from my friend, and send you a FB message when I've got it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If she ends up chewing too much for the nathe bit to be a good solution (they DO get $$$$$...) you can always try wrapping a similar metal mouthpiece in sealtex.

                                Ask me how I know this
                                **********
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                -PaulaEdwina

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