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Mikmar Bits-anyone have one? thoughts?

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  • Mikmar Bits-anyone have one? thoughts?

    Hi all!

    As the title said, if you have a Mikmar bit could you provide some reviews on what type of horse you tried it on and what the results were? I have read a number of testimonials on the Mikmar site and of course they were all positive- no surprise there! I do own the bit (I have the D-ring version) and I have been toying with the idea of trying on my gelding. Just wanted some insight on your experiences- since you guys won't be trying to sell me on something that I don't already own.

    Last edited by GoGrnRideIrish; Feb. 15, 2013, 08:14 PM. Reason: clarify original post

  • #2
    I used one of the combination bits on my freight train of a jumper... made her super soft and light. I also have also used the straight bar pelham on a variety of heavy horses and it does a good job lightening them up. I really like both of them. I'd love to get my hands on the d-bit version.


    • #3
      I used the combination bit on my eventing pony for show jumping and it was a miracle bit. He used to leave out strides and run through gymnastics. With the mikmar, he totally changed. And the funny thing was that I didn't actually have to "use" the bit. He just had to have it in his mouth and I had just the lightest feel of the reins. In the wrong hands, it would be way too strong for a horse like mine who actually had a sensitive mouth. He just hadn't been trained properly and he was scared so he raced around. With the mikmar he slowed down and became trainable so that I eventually didn't need it anymore.


      • #4
        The mikmar combo was the bit du jour 10-15 years ago. I have not used the D, but used the combo on a variety of horses.

        I found that despite how it looks, the combo isn't really that strong. Its not a good bit for a super strong horse that gets down in its shoulder. Of course, other peoples definition of "super strong" may be different than mine.

        I really liked the bit to help encourage acceptance in very sensitive horses, the wide, light mouthpiece seemed to go over well with them. I also liked it as a training tool for a horse that inverts as an evasion, or an older horse that has gotten dull in the mouth from being ridden by beginner types, as it puts pressure on more places than the mouth. I found that it was something I would use with a horse off and on for a few weeks.

        ETA: this bit has its uses, but it will establish a false connection if you care about such things.
        Last edited by Judysmom; Feb. 15, 2013, 09:56 PM.
        Unrepentant carb eater


        • #5
          I used the D ring one with the mouth piece that is broken in 3 places on my mare that usually goes in a French link. I liked it better than the French link, but not enough better that I would pay well over $100 for it. I, also, liked the Herm Sprenger French link with the "special" silver mouth and the smaller link in the middle, but, again, not enough better to spend that much on it.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by luckeys71 View Post
            I used the D ring one with the mouth piece that is broken in 3 places on my mare that usually goes in a French link. I liked it better than the French link, but not enough better that I would pay well over $100 for it. I, also, liked the Herm Sprenger French link with the "special" silver mouth and the smaller link in the middle, but, again, not enough better to spend that much on it.

            luckeys71- how does your mare go? heavy on the forehand? fast? were there any specific reasons you tried the Mikmar? just curious


            • #7
              I used the combo and pelham on a couple of heavy-in-front draft crosses for jumpers and hunting, and they were the right tool for the job (going on 10 years ago, though, so there might be something better out there now).

              I tried the D-ring and didn't like it as much, but the horse I wanted to use it on (a TB who was generally good in the mouth, but could get low in front going down the line) had a small mouth and a low palate and it just wasn't comfortable for him. So I went back to my French link and flatwork.

              Your mileage may vary, obviously ;-) Best of luck with the choice!


              • #8
                I have never actually ridden in one, but my trainer loves them for horses that don't like to have anything in their mouth. We have had several OTTBs who try to spit out everything but the Mikmar. I have absolutely no idea why.


                • #9
                  They probably dont try to spit them out b/c the mouth piece is so wide, and even the D has a roller in place. Ive used the straight bar pellham that was slightly slanted and the D ring on 2 different horses and loved both. My freight train of a TB was soft and responsive with the slightest of touch. The D ring worked well too b/c I do believe there is probably a lot less pinching with it b/c of the mouth piece being so wide.
                  My friend's young TB who tries constantly to put her tongue over bits wont with the mikmar. And we used to have a VIP mare who was an insane jumper who went in the combo bit and it was perfect for her. They usually used 2 reins, the nose pressure and the bit pressure, but just a light touch so she paid attention.

                  I'm a fan, probably always will be.
                  "to each his own..."


                  • #10
                    I've used the combo bit, the broken pelham and the D. I found the D to be the least useful of the three, maybe because it removed the leverage component that was so useful on that particular horse.


                    • Original Poster

                      @ Chezzie that makes perfect sense about the leverage.

                      For those of you who already posted a response, or newcomers to the discussion: did you notice that you needed a constant contact with the horse's mouth for the bit to be useful? Or could you ride on a looser rein and just add a "reminder" every once in awhile? Also, did you notice that the Mikmar was more of a short term (correction) bit so you could transition to something else?


                      • #12
                        I think it depends on the individual horse. I have 3 Mikmar bits -- the combination bit, a straight-mouth pelham, and the D-ring snaffle. By-far my favorite is the combination bit. I have a 13-year-old TB and used to use it regularly. Now I use it only on occasion, when he's feeling rather full of himself or if it's really windy out. We jokingly call it the "be nice" bit because he knows he can't get away with any antics when I'm using it. With the combination bit you use very light contact -- especially if you have the reins connected to the nose rope, which is how I use it. With the D-ring, you would likely ride with regular contact like most other snaffle bits. Like Chezzie, I have found the D-ring to be the least useful.


                        • #13
                          My mare likes to carry her head low and be on the forehand. She does not seem to like a regular snaffle that breaks completely in half.


                          • #14
                            I ride my TB in a Mikmar circle shank. He LOVES the mouthpiece. He will flip the roller around with his tongue sometimes but he always stays soft in his mouth. I ride him with light contact. There is not a lot of leverage with this bit, but there is a little bit.

                            The circle shank is milder than the short shank (I have that too) but I find them both to be quite mild bits. I know people who think this bit is harsh but happily ride their horse in a three ring elevator! This is quite a bit milder.

                            I also have the pelham and sometimes use that out foxhunting.

                            I've ridden him in a number of different bits but he likes this mouthpiece the best.
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                            • #15
                              I have a short shank combo and pelham, I use the combo more than the pelham and have had success with it on two horses. First was my old Arab mare, she went from heavy and on the forehand to light and carrying herself. I use it on my current horse for trail riding, I can go on either a loose rein or shorten it up and she responds very well. I like that it is a bit that applies pressure on more than just their mouth.


                              • #16
                                I have a Dee, Combo, and pelham one. I don't use them anymore if anyone wants a steal of a deal : )


                                • #17
                                  I have the combo and used it on my guy that was very heavy and a bit of a jerk. I really liked it on him because of the nose rope. He was great bareback in a leadshank over his nose so figured i'd give the mikmar a shot. It gave me the whoa while also allowing me not to mess with his mouth quite as much. So the nose rope was the main factor rather than the mouthpiece for me as least as far as I could tell.


                                  • #18
                                    I have the combo but I cut the rope off it. I've used it with and without converters. As someone else mentioned, despite how it looks it is actually a soft bit and some horses will still lean on it and blow through it.

                                    It's not enough bit for my mare when I am jumping, but I will sometimes use it on the flat.


                                    • #19
                                      Not as harsh as it seems...

                                      ...found that the combination bit was pretty good with horses that basically wouldn't accept anything else. Not just pullers, but those who would rebel against anything, finding their way around it. It helped horses accept contact and listen, without fighting first.
                                      I guess the fact that the mouthpiece is thicker and lies in the mouth sort of slanted makes it more comfortable, thus having horses accept it more agreeably...
                                      Anyway, with bits you never know...to me, it's trial and error. If it worked for one it can be a disaster for another, or it can work for a while and then you have to move on...anything goes. Riders don't have a wide collection of bits just because they like to hoard metal...Contrary to what others may think, bits are always an investment...
                                      Over what hill? Where? When? I don\'t remember any hill....



                                      • #20
                                        the D ring felt like any other D ring I would use. The pelham was a soft hands, remind when ness. bit for my horse. He was a huge, freight train of an OTTB and with the slanted straight bar pelham I rarely touched his mouth, only when he was being a jerk. I lovingly referred to it as his winter bit, b/c he always paid more attention when in that bit. I also really think he preferred the straight bar vs a bit that breaks.
                                        "to each his own..."