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Bit to replace gag for Hunters?

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  • Bit to replace gag for Hunters?

    I've been riding my mare in an eggbutt gag on the advice of my trainer. She's been really good in the gag. Before the eggbutt, I was using a slow twist D, which was working fine for me. My 12 year old daughter needed a bit more control (pun intended). The poll action of the gag gives her that. My daughter's not that big of a girl and the horse can be a bit of a turd if she's nervous (we're working on that side of things, too).

    My daughter will be riding her in local short stirrup classes this year so we need a bit that's legal in the hunter ring and will give my daughter the same amount of control. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    I had the same problem when my daughter first started riding my big TB. For him the kimberwicke did the trick.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      The Myler with hooks would be nice, but there are too many judges who will consider it uncoventional tack. Too bad, it is a good bit. Anyway, a full cheek will give you a little bit of leverage, especially if you make the bit loops nice and snuggy to the checkpiece of the bridle.
      Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

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      • #4
        I would think a kimberwick would be your best bet.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
          The Myler with hooks would be nice, but there are too many judges who will consider it uncoventional tack. Too bad, it is a good bit. Anyway, a full cheek will give you a little bit of leverage, especially if you make the bit loops nice and snuggy to the checkpiece of the bridle.
          I agree that the Myler would be a good choice, and I think she would be fine to use it in local S/S classes. Years ago, I used one on a horse that was learning the show ropes in local pleasure divisions, and never had a problem from a judge - she won often and I always used that bit on her. Also, as a person who often judges local (VHSA associate shows) I really don't care if someone is using that bit - especially in a division like S/S. Just my two cents. Unless a judge is actually looking at the bit when she uses her hands, they are probably not apt to notice it anyway.

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          • #6
            You can't have leverage without a curb chain.

            Honestly, and I hate to say it, but I might sacrifice a few shows and just work on the half-halt (if that's the issue). Bitting up from a slow-twist would likely mean a single or double wire bit. Not something that I'm fond of but you could try it.

            Does the horse throw her head up, or bear on the reins down and pull? Or something else? I ask because, if a horse has to choose between responding to the poll pressure on a gag vs the increased action on the lips, they usually choose that latter. The lips are usually more sensitive than the poll.

            Knowing exactly what she's doing would better help figure out what bit might work.

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            • #7
              Honestly? I'd find a different pony for your daughter to show in SS.

              Both kimberwicks and the Myler with the hooks are considered unconventional.

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              • #8
                Kimberwickes are pretty fugly, and a lot of judges do not like them. If your kid can handle two reins, a pelham has similar action.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Eventer13 View Post

                  Bitting up from a slow-twist would likely mean a single or double wire bit. Not something that I'm fond of but you could try it.
                  I think there are a whole bunch of steps between a slow twist and a double twisted wire.

                  And I agree that a kimberwick is not the way to go for hunters. I have a full cheek Dr. Bristol with a slow twist on the sides that gives a pretty good amount of "whoa" and still looks conventional. Maybe something like that would work.

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                  • #10
                    As a judge, I don't mind the Kimberwick at the local level in SS. At a rated show, I would not like it at all. The Myler with the hooks is really a no-no at the rated shows. I would go with the bit that works best for the situation until you get a little higher up the showing ladder. You will see so many different things at a local show your Kimberwick will not stand out.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Eventer13, what she likes to do sometimes is to grab the bit and run, especially if she doesn't feel like working (like if she thinks there might be food in her stall). She'll also try to yank the reins and get the rider unseated a bit. She's a Morgan so she's smart and stubborn. Unfortunately, she knows what rattles my poor kiddo.

                      Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll try some of them out and let you all know what works.

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                      • #12
                        My one mare who goes best in a Gag gets put in the Mikmar D when showing in the hunter classes. Works well for her for the hunters, but still use the Gag for XC and jumper classes. Also she does the same thing, grabs and tugs at times.

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                        • #13
                          Dr. Bristol? Soft enough until you need to haul them up.

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                          • #14
                            Could she use a Pelham with two reins? I remember using them on Saddlebreds when I was younger than that. By 12, my hands were big enough to handle two reins fine.

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                            • #15
                              I used a Boucher for a horse that wanted to root and get heavy. He did real well and no problem from judges.

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                              • #16
                                Dr. Bristol, though I'd consider waiting to have DD show your mare until some issues are worked out.... It would be a shame if something happened that scared DD or let the horse learn some bad habits. Good luck.
                                Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  After discussing things with my trainer, we decided to try a low ported uxeter kimberwicke with the reins on the top slots. So far my mare loves it and has been beautiful in it for both myself and my daughter. I've never felt her be so relaxed, either.

                                  We see a lot of kimberwickes at our local shows, so I'm not worried about them being perceived as unconventional.

                                  Thank you all for your help and insight!!

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