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Bit for the woman riding "a man's horse"

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  • Bit for the woman riding "a man's horse"

    I posted a while back I think about a bit for my horse when my mom rides him. Horse was my junior jumper, and I still jump around 4'3"-4'6" courses with him at home, although I have no interest in showing him anymore (I'm in college, he's 17, no maintenance, and comfortable, and I want to keep it that way).

    Anyway, he has been teaching my mom how to ride. He's super dead on the flat and VERY hard to ride into a frame. He goes in a mullen mouth rubber loose ring snaffle and will trot teeny crossrails all day for her and let her bop around on his back.

    I jump him in the mullen mouth rubber loose ring as well. As long as I put a few rides on him during the week as well, he stays tuned up enough for me to be able to use it. Doesn't turn into Mr. Lesson horse cutting corners etc...

    I do quite a few clinics with Greg Best, and last clinic, I rode him in my twisted snaffle full cheek which used to be his regular bit. Greg had suggested a combination nathe mullen mouth hackamore for him, but the horse is a completely different animal in it. Very difficult to ride, not adjustable.. Kind of turns into a dragon.

    Anyway, horse is VERY difficult to get into a frame. Greg calls him a "man's ride" because he is a VERY physical ride. Obviously we've done okay with the way he's going, but he could go better. Greg also mentioned how much this horse LOVES his drawreins. It's like his pacifier. He like that consistent pressure, and is very happy and relaxed with the draw reins on, but when you take them off and try and duplicate that kind of ride, head goes up, horse gets strong, and it's almost impossible physically to get him into that same frame..

    Anyway, I'm off to Dover today, so I'm looking for a bit to try, that'll maybe make him comfortable, and help him get that contact that the draw reins give him. Greg and I both agree that the horse loves his draw reins, but I obviously don't prefer to use them all the time, and I would love to achieve that short and lively canter from him. He's a very long and BIG horse, and the rounder he is, the better he jumps.. Horse can jump a house.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  • #2


    • #3
      I would try, in this order:

      A gag
      A 3 ring

      Both with nice soft mouthpieces - maybe happy mouth or similar.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        Double bridle.

        Patience and Consistency are Your Friends


        • #5
          Have you tried a Myler? I ride my very dead, but can lean and pull with the best of them former High AO mare in an MB43LP (I think that's the number) with hooks and I add a curb chain when I need a little more "pick-up." I've also had great success with some horses with a Mikmar combination bit.....seemed to really pacify one mare I had who loved draw reins and liked the combination of the curb strap, big flat mouthpiece, and nose rope.

          I would probably try a Myler first if you haven't tried one before. Quick note that Greg is not a fan of Mylers with the hooks and has never liked my mare's bit. I let a young trainer friend ride her in a clinic with him last week and it was probably the first time he didn't make a comment about the bit before we started. With that being said, you obviously kow that he's a big fan of changing bits during clinics, and despite making comments about my mare's bit he's never changed it over 15+ clinics I've ridden her in with him through the years. Anyhow, my mare is long-backed and built a bit downhill in addition to being a tad straight behind (not in a good way). I have to turn her into a tightly coiled spring to get her around the big sticks, and I always loved the reaction I got from her with the myler. The other bit she "liked" (but was just a hair too much for her) was the Mikmar 2-ring bit . Might be interesting to try since it sounds like your horse is more horse than my mare, who does the "mare thing" where you have to convince her, but she'll yield to you once she's been convinced.

          I love the idea of the nathe mullen mouth hackabit, but I have a TB who's the same way. In theory it should be great (and I own one from Greg's recommendation for my guy), but he absolutely hates nose pressure of any sort and gets really pissed off if I use any sort of hackamore. Also hates running martingales, which was a huge pain for a while there when he got into a head flipping rut (fortunately not an issue any longer). With him I ended up going to a gag bit. I tried several mouthpieces (french link, plain single jointed, mullen mouth, rubber jointed, happy mouth, corkscrew) and finally settled on a slow twist. The bonus with a gag is that they're cheap and easy to come by.

          Good luck and let us know what you end up using.
          Flying F Sport Horses
          Horses in the NW


          • #6
            Originally posted by fourmares View Post
            I agree, my first horse was a "man's horse" as well. Maybe not quite as difficult to get into a frame as yours, but a very strong, physical ride. He also responded well to draw reins. The best bit in the end for him was some sort of pelham. A shorter shank if I didn't want him to be too light, but he was like butter in a long shank slightly ported pelham (which is what I showed the equitation in) He also went pretty well in a three ring with a leather curb strap.


            • #7
              My horse is that "man's ride". And if I wasn't big and strong, I probably wouldn't be able ride him. And even I have a hard time, he is a total body workout. Which is why I use this bit...

              As you can see it is a little different then a regular elevator. I only use this to tune him up now, when he turns into a dragon. Was a game changer for him and me.
              Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
              Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
              "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
              I love my Dublin-ator


              • #8
                So.... the "draw reins as pacifier and Best's suggestion of a bit with noseband and him being a physical ride" all mean that this horse wants something to lean on? Ideally, that's not the bit. And your job is to not get the thinnest, nastiest lose-ring twisted wire you can so as to "make him light", right?

                If he will be responsive to what is in his mouth, but needs that barrier in front, don't ignore what Best said about a nose-based option.

                I might DYI-Jimmy-Williams it and rig up something funky -- maybe a tight grooming halter with reins coming off it and a bit with another pair of reins. Or maybe a lighter bit and a kineton noseband would please this horse.

                Play around and see what the horse says.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat


                • #9
                  Is anyone else slightly irritated by the "man's ride" phrase??

                  Yes, some horse require more physicality from the rider, but if it was about sheer physical strength, none of us, strapping man or otherwise, would have a chance against a shetland.

                  OP, I know it isn't your phrase. Just commenting.


                  • #10
                    Forgive me this stupid question.

                    Why is it important the horse go in a frame at this stage?

                    It sounds to me like your mom is safe and happy bopping around on him as is, and probably developing her seat and her core and her riding skills.

                    When she is a better rider, and better able to support him with seat and leg, he'll very likely go in a frame for her just as he does for you.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                    • #11
                      I'm another vote for the Myler bit. I too ride with Greg and he suggested a 3 ring or gag for my guy who sounds like he rides similar to yours. The gag was helpful and still works pretty well, the three ring he was grabbing the bit and taking over to the jump. I added a curb chain and that helped. I then tried a Myler with two hinges and a roller. I love it!
                      Last edited by Credosporthorses; Apr. 8, 2013, 05:27 PM. Reason: Link did not work :(
                      Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.


                      • #12
                        You can rent a Myler bit here. I just did this but my pony didn't like it so I'm returning it today. So glad I didn't buy one.


                        Patience and Consistency are Your Friends


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hippolyta View Post
                          Is anyone else slightly irritated by the "man's ride" phrase??

                          Yes, some horse require more physicality from the rider, but if it was about sheer physical strength, none of us, strapping man or otherwise, would have a chance against a shetland.

                          OP, I know it isn't your phrase. Just commenting.
                          I'm not at all irritated. 'Course, I was also VERY pleased when a judge told me my horse was a "lovey ladies horse." (Greg Best was just fine with said horse's French link. and called the horse a "sofa"...does that mean I just had to sit there? :teehee

                          There's nothing wrong with recognizing that men and women are different and have different strengths and weaknesses. It also doesn't mean men or women can't have strengths that we might typically attribute to the opposite gender. As long as there isn't pervasive discrimination because of the designation, there really isn't anything wrong with the label...IMO.
                          Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                          Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                            Forgive me this stupid question.
                            Why is it important the horse go in a frame at this stage?
                            Thank you for the replies everyone! Poltroon, to answer your question, the bit is for me

                            I stopped at Dover today and picked up the Mikmar combination bit. Old trainer used to ride said horse in it, so I thought maybe that was a good place to start. I really really appreciate everyone's suggestions and PMs and if this bit doesn't feel how I want it to, then I will definitely be coming back here for more suggestions. I picked up a myler today, actually one that someone suggested on here, but they didn't have his size so I took it as a sign to maybe try the Mikmar first.

                            Any ideas on where the reins should go? Should I just connect it to the rope, or have two, one connected to the rope, one connected to the shank?

                            Thank you so much again for all the replies.. I'll definitely be seeing if anyone has some of these bits I can borrow before I run out to dover to return and buy them all haha


                            • #15
                              out of the box, but try a rope noseband - preferrably the kind the western people call a bosal - attached to a martingale or tiedown. Works wonders. They want no part of sitting on the end of the martingale, and if you adjust it just so . . .
                              http://www.facebook.com/olddominionsaddlery Like us on Facebook!!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by toomanyponies View Post
                                out of the box, but try a rope noseband - preferrably the kind the western people call a bosal - attached to a martingale or tiedown. Works wonders. They want no part of sitting on the end of the martingale, and if you adjust it just so . . .
                                A true bosal is meant to be used with a pretty light touch. It would be a pretty nasty thing to tie to a tie down, especially on a jumper... not unlike attaching one to the shanks of a curb bit.
                                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by AlterHalter123 View Post
                                  Any ideas on where the reins should go? Should I just connect it to the rope, or have two, one connected to the rope, one connected to the shank?
                                  I would start with one on the main/middle part of the shank (what would be a snaffle position) and one on the noserope. It's a much softer bit than it looks, and you may end up moving the one on the main mouthpiece lower.
                                  Flying F Sport Horses
                                  Horses in the NW


                                  • #18
                                    Good luck, OP! If it doesn't work, I had really good luck with a gag on my junior jumper who was, to be more politically correct, a "push-pull" ride as my trainer used to say. He required a lot of muscle. The gag was enough to keep him on his haunches and round. I used a couple different ones...a rubber gag most of the time and a smooth double-mouth on occasion (hard to find those but a great bit). Gags are common enough you can probably borrow one easily.


                                    • #19
                                      I rode in my mikmar with two reins. One on the curb as a pick up and one on the nose rope one for brakes. I'd probably start with it on snaffle and nose rope just to get him used to it.


                                      • #20
                                        Is anyone else slightly irritated by the "man's ride" phrase??
                                        I laughed - at my house, the "Man's Ride" is a 25 yo retired field hunter. The "lady's ride" would be the two OTTB's.....