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French Link vs. Oval Mouthpiece?

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  • French Link vs. Oval Mouthpiece?

    Is there a notable difference between the "oval" or a french link in a double jointed bit? Is one more accepted by a wider variety of horses? Or are they pretty much the same in severity (or lack thereof) and comfort?
    "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

  • #2
    The oval is much milder, french link (kidney shaped middle link) is moderate, and the Dr. Bristol (flat oval middle link) is the more severe of the three. I ride pretty much everything in an oval middle link snaffle, and haven't found one that doesn't like it yet.

    Sheila

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    • #3
      I would have to agree that the French link is slightly more severe than the oval link.

      Here is my engineering minded take on the action of both assuming they are both loose ring snaffles (however keep in mind this is hard to illustrate without a diagram). When you pull on both bits, they "break" in two places adding pressure on the tongue (amongst other places but this is where I'm choosing to focus as I believe this is where the difference between the two lies). With an oval link, the rotation induced by pulling on the reins does not affect the bearing surface on the tongue because the oval link is uniform. The way that most french link bits are designed, the link itself sits in the mouth at about an 80 degree angle to the tongue (with no contact). When pressure is added by the reins, this angle closes slightly making more of the flat part of the french link contact the tongue but not all of it so there is still less bearing surface than with the oval link.

      I hope this made sense. As I mentioned before it would have made more sense with a diagram but I would have to draw one and I'm at work now.
      "Be the change you want to see in the world."
      ~Mahatma Gandhi

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you. This is exactly what I needed.
        I have a horse who seems to really like a 3-piece, but all I have is a Dr. Bristol. He carries it well, but any direct pressure and he is suddenly overbitted. He does not care for the instability of a Waterford, and a hackamore freaks him out. I thought I would try him in the mildest 3-piece I could find. I will, of course, get both at some point...Any excuse to add to the bit collection
        "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

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        • #5
          The french link and double joint with a bean are about as mild as you can get. For some horses a mullen is more mild... but that's a whole 'nother discussion.

          The doctor bristol is quite different and can be much more severe. I would definitely get a different double joint. This is kind of a side topic, but it could help in your search for a new bit. Another important thing is looking at the shape of the horses mouth. To a horse with a tiny mouth, a big fat sided bit with a huge bean in the center is much more harsh/uncomfortable than a thin bit with a tiny bean. But, if the horse has more room in their mouth, than the wider sided bit is a little softer.

          One of my gelding has short, fleshy lips, a huge tongue (drives the dentist crazy) and a low palate. He has almost no room in his mouth. For him, this bit is much more uncomfortable than this, even though the second bit has very narrow sides. His actual bit (can't remember the brand) has the narrowest sides I could find on a double joint. He is much happier in that bit than any thing else I've tried him in. This bit would just piss him off completely, even though it's a very mild bit to a horse with a bigger mouth.
          .

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
            The doctor bristol is quite different and can be much more severe. I would definitely get a different double joint. This is kind of a side topic, but it could help in your search for a new bit. Another important thing is looking at the shape of the horses mouth. To a horse with a tiny mouth, a big fat sided bit with a huge bean in the center is much more harsh/uncomfortable than a thin bit with a tiny bean. But, if the horse has more room in their mouth, than the wider sided bit is a little softer.
            Tangent - how does one figure out the "shape" of a horse's mouth? Trial an error - bit A seems to fill his mouth too much whereas the smaller bit B looks to fit more comfortably? People have made this suggestion many times and I've often wondered if there's a "method" other than trial and error and Dobbin saying "FU I don't like this bit".

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            • #7
              ^yes! Ditto over the moon, how do you tell? I will have to remember to ask the dentist when he's here this weekend. I think my mare has a huge tongue, and maybe a low palate? All I know is that when I peeled her lips back (gotta love tolerant mares, haha) I saw bulging tongue where the bit space is. Oh and she LOATHED the KK French link d-ring I bought her...goes fine in a regular D. I haven't had the chance to try out other mouth pieces since.
              "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
                The french link and double joint with a bean are about as mild as you can get. For some horses a mullen is more mild... but that's a whole 'nother discussion.

                The doctor bristol is quite different and can be much more severe. I would definitely get a different double joint. This is kind of a side topic, but it could help in your search for a new bit. Another important thing is looking at the shape of the horses mouth. To a horse with a tiny mouth, a big fat sided bit with a huge bean in the center is much more harsh/uncomfortable than a thin bit with a tiny bean. But, if the horse has more room in their mouth, than the wider sided bit is a little softer.

                One of my gelding has short, fleshy lips, a huge tongue (drives the dentist crazy) and a low palate. He has almost no room in his mouth. For him, this bit is much more uncomfortable than this, even though the second bit has very narrow sides. His actual bit (can't remember the brand) has the narrowest sides I could find on a double joint. He is much happier in that bit than any thing else I've tried him in. This bit would just piss him off completely, even though it's a very mild bit to a horse with a bigger mouth.
                I can relate. My horse has a fat tongue, low palate. I tried bit after bit for a long time. Finally settled on the Myler Comfort Snaffle Wide Barrel "D" Ring Bit. http://www.bitofbritain.com/Myler_Co...Ring_p/795.htm He likes it and has gone in it for years. I use the Myler Dee Twisted Comfort Snaffle w/ Copper Roller http://www.123tack.com/myler-dee-twi...--mb-03t-.html for XC and jumping as he can get a bit stronger then. it did the trick but wasn't harsh.

                The mullen pissed him off the most. If he could have spit it out, he would have. The French link works okay for him as long as it's a JP Korsteel which has the curved corners. http://www.doversaddlery.com/jp-kors...t/p/X1-010061/

                I think that's what makes the biggest difference for my guy. Needs to be curved and thinner. And no way in hell can I put a single jointed bit in his mouth either. Has to be double.

                Mr Picky.

                I, too, would say the oval is ever so slightly milder than the french link.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The reason bit makers are in business is because there are so many horses with so many preferences and needs!!! I usually start my youngsters out in a French link and switch out to regular snaffles if they object. I started one of my homebred TBs in a French link and he gagged, spit and tried to vomit with it...NEVER relaxed and settled. I put a regular, single joint snaffle on and he was "pretty" happy and relaxed. I put a soft rubber, rope core, dog bone bit on him and he was SUPER happy, relaxed and responsive in every way!!! Guess that's why I have drawers FULL of assorted bits!! FWIW....I've never really seen a "happy" horse in a Dr. Bristol and would not own a Kimberwick. JMO.
                  www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                  Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My Arab loves his oval mouth JP Korsteel. He doesn't like French links and he rears and acts crazy with a single break.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      This horse would never react badly if he didn't like a bit, but he gets tight and nervous. He is older (ok, old), and the classic product of over bitting, over lunging, and too much time in draw reins. I just want him to hold the bit and relax, which he seemed to do with a Doc Bristol until you take up any contact. I thik we will try the oval to avoid any edge that could cause him to feel uncomfortable and tense.
                      "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

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