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Bit Recommendations

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  • Bit Recommendations

    I have a young DWB who was trained and goes nicely in a Sprenger KK ultra loose ring snaffle (w/lozenge) for dressage. He gets very excited when jumping (started him over fences last year) and esp. on x-c so we tried him in 3 ring happy mouth jointed elevator last weekend at a CT event and it worked beautifully as long as I used feather light contact on the reins. He doesn't really pull, just becomes distracted and as I grew up showing AQHA anything but the lightest contact is hard for me. I am taking him to a local hunter show next weekend, so we tried him in a corkscrew D ring which he did okay in (not as good as the elevator) but it has large d-rings and it is rubbing a bit of hair off his cheeks.
    I need to use something that would be acceptable for hunters, but gives me more control that the KK loose ring.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    You might want to give some of the Myler bits a try...

    Maybe try a pelham with the curb kinda loose, that way you can use just the snaffle rein if you need it, but have the breaks if he gets excited. You can get them in all sorts of mouth pieces, I prefer something with a french snaffle mouth piece. Since you were using an elevator, it may not be exactly what you want expecially if he ducks under the curb, but with light contact that might not happen.

    I would try a few different bits/manufactureers though before just picking one up if you have access, since bit prices are just silly these days!
    Last edited by cgray0983; May. 21, 2009, 01:42 PM.
    Coruscant Stables


    • #3
      I ride almost all of my horses in the herm springer for flat work (love it!). At shows or for jumping, I usually switch to a happy mouth pelham or a mullen mouth pelham. It gives you a little extra something without putting anything uncomfortable in their mouth. My favorite thing about the pelham is that you can ride it mostly like a snaffle until you need the extra leverage from the curb.

      I'm not familiar with the myler bit system and quite honestly so many options put me off a little. I have used a few of them and haven't seen an improvement over any other bit. Just my experiences.

      Good luck!

      HorseStableReview.com - Tell others what you know! Post your barn or review today.


      • #4
        Originally posted by horsestablereview View Post

        I'm not familiar with the myler bit system and quite honestly so many options put me off a little. I have used a few of them and haven't seen an improvement over any other bit. Just my experiences.
        I actually agree with Sarah here about not being a huge difference - I used it because my horses mouth had a huge tongue and the regular pelham I was using on him was pinching his jaw... and the ability to use one side independently of the other was nice. This pelham was the one I liked the most out of their line-up.
        Coruscant Stables


        • Original Poster

          bit recommendations

          Thanks so much for all of the advice.

          I actually picked up a happy mouth pelham that I haven't tried yet, but was concerned about using 2 sets of reins.
          Does this take a lot of getting used to in your experience?


          • #6
            Depends on how you hold the reins (I hold mine like I am riding in a full bridle). But, traditionally the snaffle rein stays between pinky and ring finger and the curb through the ring and middle finger.

            I would start by just using the snaffle rein, with next to no pressure on the curb to get used to and gradually take a little more contact once you feel more comfortable.

            The biggest problem I see when people start using pelhams is that they have a tendancy to hang on the curb rein with a loop in the snaffle. Theoretically, when gong around you want the appearance of even pressure on both, without a loop in either, and because the curb is in a less leveraged area of your hand its more natural to let that one just sit with even contact.

            Also, make sure that the curb chain is set to the right strength for your horse (have someone help you with this if you are not sure) it doesn't "sound" like he needs it tight, but it shouldn't be flopping either - the usual saying is - two fingers of space. Keep in mind the longer the shank on the bit will create more leverage.

            You will get used to it with practice, but be mindful upon starting that if you use too much curb to begin, you may get a horse that tries to duck under the bit and curl under, and then you have no breaks!

            Do you have someone working with you to help make the transition?
            Coruscant Stables


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the detailed advice. My trainer was hesitant about the pelham because of the double rein issue and my tendency to drop contact completely when my horse has self-carriage (an unfortunate sequelae of my western background).
              Any other single rein bit you can recommend or should I give the doubloe reins a try?

              p.s. wow-can't believe you're switching to dressage after seeing your jumping photo


              • #8
                You might try a full cheek. My girl, too, does wonderfully in her 3-ring, but it is a struggle in other things legal for the hunter ring. After lots of experimentation, I often use a slow twist D ring, but the full cheek corkscrew gives me much better results in many cases wehre she's strong (as in freight train strong!). I also use a smooth full cheek sometimes. She was, uh, very anti-pelham!
                A proud friend of bar.ka.


                • #9
                  Hmmm...you could try a slow-twist full-cheek. Besides the pelham, there is quite a limit to the amount of leverage one can use. I have seen people use kimberwicks, but that was mostly on ponies.

                  And, yes, I am making the switch - horse sustained a pretty bad deep digital flexor tendon tear and I just don't want him jumping anymore - so as not to be bored with himself we will dabble in dressage, I used to do eventing back when I was in Pony Club, so it should be fun. The horse I have now is a very nice Irish Sport Horse (the one in the photo was my old Holsteiner A/O jumper). I would buy a new jumper, but, alas, California living expenses are eating my wallet!
                  Coruscant Stables


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cgray0983 View Post
                    I would buy a new jumper, but, alas, California living expenses are eating my wallet!
                    TRUE STORY! ugh...although having done the jumpers to dressage back to jumpers route, I am definitely much better from learning all that flat work!
                    HorseStableReview.com - Tell others what you know! Post your barn or review today.


                    • Original Poster

                      bit recommendations

                      Thanks for all of the excellent and truly helpful advice.

                      I am lucky to have the occasional opportunity to ride with Walter Zettl (my trainer takes bi-monthly lessons)which certainly improves both my flatwork and jumping. Best of luck to you cgray0983 and your new horse.


                      • #12
                        Thanks - actually old horse - been in the family for nine years. Had him since he was a wee lil' one from Ireland... just changing disciplines to accommodate his health.

                        And best of luck to you with your horse in the hunter ring.

                        Coruscant Stables