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Elevator Bit Guru's Question For You.....

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  • Elevator Bit Guru's Question For You.....

    So do you ride in two reins or one with it? And if two reins, where do you put them? Bit ring for one and lower ring for other? I love using this bit but I recently started hacking a friends horse who their BNT placed the two reins on BOTH little rings; nothing on the bit ring. Anyway never have seen that and to me logically it defeats the purpose of using this bit, since it should help teach the horse how to lift to his hind end. Or am I just crazy??? And as a side note: Hope I'm not crazy!

  • #2
    I'm no guru, but...

    ...I ride with one rein. On the flat or on "quieter" days, I ride with the rein attached to the main bit ring (rides kind of like a baucher).

    On jumping days, I move the rein one or two rings down, depending on what I need that particular day.

    I would go with what is easiest for you to handle, though.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ummm...are you talking about a 3 ring or an elevator bit? The 3 ring can be used to produce the lift but there is another (several actually) called an "elevator" bit.

      Assuming you mean a 3 ring, there is no right or wrong way to attach the reins. Depends on what you are trying to do. Lower gives you more lift/curb action, higher less. The whole thing is pretty mild but it's probably easier to steer with one rein on that top ring...really not that big a deal for flat work or just hacking out.

      I admit to using just a single rein for light hacking on the rare occaisions I use the thing, I stick it on the bottom-it could go on any of then though, mine is pretty broke to the rein aids and would work in a halter.

      Anyway, if somebody does something different, don't assume it is "wrong". It's just the way they prefer it.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

      Comment


      • #4
        I prefer to have the option of using either just the snaffle or just the leverage so I ride with two reins most of the time. I just like having the option.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've ridden my horse in both 2 reins and just one rein and I see no difference, so I just use one rein now! (Of course I only use the elevator when showing, hacking he goes in a snaffle)

          Comment


          • #6
            It is absolutely incorrect to ride in a 3 ring "elevator" bit (which if you must know is actually called a dutch gag). Its as incorrect as riding in a pelham with no snaffle rein. Outrageous! I recently audited a George Morris clinic and he would not allow a girl to ride until she found a second rein for her 3 ring.

            The proper use of the bit:

            -the top ring should attach to the cheek piece
            -the snaffle rein should attach to the main bit
            -the curb rein should attach to one of the lower rings

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks Virtue, thats how I always understood using that bit. Makes no sense to me logically to not put a rein on the bit ring, as how are you to teach the horse without incorporating in the bit? It really floored me when I went to get on this horse, and noticed the bit rein was on one of the little rings and the curb rein on the other little ring I was like poor boy, he never got a break from the leverage!

              Comment


              • #8
                I use one rein on the bottom of a 3 ring. On non-heavy horse days I use the snaffle (middle ring).

                VirtueFarm WHY is it absolutly incorrect to ride a 3 ring with one rein? I figure it this way.... Proper hands make proper bit usage regardless.


                What makes using a phelam with a bit converter ok?

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I think what makes a pelham ok with a converter is that when you pull on the reins its both the bit and the curb chain being engaged, not just the curb and the curb alone. I still say that if you don't use the bit, then why even have one in their mouth to begin with? Just use a hackamore..... Everytime you pull on the 3 ring with only one rein, the bit is never engaged. All I am saying is it seems pointless.... I do look forward to Virtue's answer however

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ozone View Post
                    What makes using a phelam with a bit converter ok?
                    Nothing. This is something most people cringe at. On a 3-ring, the "second" ring is not the snaffle. The snaffle action would be achieved using the first (or largest) ring. But GM is correct- one should use 2 reins on a 3-ring if using this bit everyday.
                    Here today, gone tomorrow...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ozone View Post
                      I use one rein on the bottom of a 3 ring. On non-heavy horse days I use the snaffle (middle ring).

                      VirtueFarm WHY is it absolutly incorrect to ride a 3 ring with one rein? I figure it this way.... Proper hands make proper bit usage regardless.


                      What makes using a phelam with a bit converter ok?
                      I don't like to see gags used with just one rein on the lower rings because it makes the bit solely into a shanked bit. Most shanked bits that use only one rein are meant to be used with very little contact (think western). Proper hands on a shank can very easily cross the line into severe.

                      While I don't personally like a pelham with a converter, it's different than riding with just one rein. The converter transfers the force to both the snaffle and curb, splitting the difference. It is NOT similar to riding with just the curb rein.
                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ozone View Post
                        I use one rein on the bottom of a 3 ring. On non-heavy horse days I use the snaffle (middle ring).

                        VirtueFarm WHY is it absolutly incorrect to ride a 3 ring with one rein? I figure it this way.... Proper hands make proper bit usage regardless.


                        What makes using a phelam with a bit converter ok?
                        It is incorrect to ride a 3 ring with only one rein (on the lower rings) because then you are only engaging the curb action of the bit. The horse comes off the snaffle of the bit and the most correct form of your horse being through from front to back is impaired. If you ride with the two reins you have the option of using both the snaffle and the curb or just the snaffle (depending on what the horse needs at the moment). It allows you to be flexible in your contact such as possibly putting more pressure on the snaffle and less on the curb and still using both, using just the snaffle or equal pressure on both reins.

                        If you are using JUST the curb rein you are constantly applying pressure on your horses poll, pressure which you may not need at all times.

                        In my experience the converter is normally used for beginners and is so that both the snaffle and curb are applied evenly and the curb cannot override the snaffle portion of the bit. In my opinion if you are going to use a curb bit you should be able to use the curb independently from the snaffle if you are so educated to do so, therefore I don't agree with them for non-beginners.

                        I do know that some upper level eventers use the converter for their cross country phase to simplify the use of the bit, ensuring that the pressure is even, as rein length gets tricky out there for some.

                        Just my opinions... but I develop these opinions for good reason.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ozone View Post
                          Proper hands make proper bit usage regardless.
                          Not necessarily. You can have the finest hands in the world and not override the fact that the bit's usage is incorrect.

                          Using only one rein on the lowest two rings (3 ring) or on the lowest ring (2 ring) is never correct. The bit is always engaged 100% and the horse never gets a release from the leverage unless you drop the contact with the mouth, which is also not correct in most situations.

                          Originally posted by horseladi78 View Post
                          I think what makes a pelham ok with a converter is that when you pull on the reins its both the bit and the curb chain being engaged, not just the curb and the curb alone. I still say that if you don't use the bit, then why even have one in their mouth to begin with? Just use a hackamore..... Everytime you pull on the 3 ring with only one rein, the bit is never engaged. All I am saying is it seems pointless.... I do look forward to Virtue's answer however
                          No. The pelham is not okay with a converter. It's a cheap fix and it is not classically correct. And what most are objecting to is one rein on the bottom ring, not the snaffle ring.

                          People, the whole idea of bits with leverage is that the leverage is there for if and when you need it, not to employ it all the time. THIS is what allows a mouth to stay soft and educated, rather than making it dull, which is what one rein leverage bits do. If one rein is used, the entire bit is almost always parallel to the ground, which is incorrect. Constant leverage does not produce an elastic horse.

                          One rein should always be attached as the "snaffle rein" and should be the primary rein that is used.

                          One rein should be attached on a lower ring and should only be engaged when it is needed - when a horse gets heavy and bears down, when a stronger half halt is needed, etc.

                          Leverage in a dressage sense, as with the double bridle, allows great, great sophistication in the aids of the hand. But in correct dressage, one never ever uses the curb rein exclusively; neither should it be parallel to the ground.

                          To me, there are no excuses to this rule, and I cringe when I see any rider riding with one rein on a bottom ring. It just smacks of a lack of finesse and education.

                          Yes, using two reins takes technique and sophistication...which used to be hallmark signs of a good rider.
                          It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm curious as to why it is called an 'elevator' bit. If I'm not mistaken, poll pressure and/or curb action drops the head and tucks the chin. I see kids using this all the time at our local shows with the single rein on the lowest ring and the trainer yelling 'pick his head up'! How does this work?! I learned to use a bit and bradoon as a 9 year old and was taught that the snaffle is there to raise the head, the curb to drop it or set it. Have things changed so much? (Slightly rhetorical question there.) Since I've never used the 'elevator' bit, is the top ring supposed to act as the snaffle and the lower ones act as the curb? Thanks for answering my dumb question.
                            Edited to add: I think the above post may answer my question - I missed part of it the first read.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brooke View Post
                              I'm curious as to why it is called an 'elevator' bit. If I'm not mistaken, poll pressure and/or curb action drops the head and tucks the chin. I see kids using this all the time at our local shows with the single rein on the lowest ring and the trainer yelling 'pick his head up'! How does this work?! I learned to use a bit and bradoon as a 9 year old and was taught that the snaffle is there to raise the head, the curb to drop it or set it. Have things changed so much? (Slightly rhetorical question there.) Since I've never used the 'elevator' bit, is the top ring supposed to act as the snaffle and the lower ones act as the curb? Thanks for answering my dumb question.
                              Edited to add: I think the above post may answer my question - I missed part of it the first read.
                              The "elevator" function has very little to do with the height of the head (very, very few bits, if any, do). The 3 ring works well for horses that get heavy on their front ends, thereby failing to use their backs and hind ends (among other things) correctly. Especially when a horse lacks handiness because of a tendency to carry themselves over their front ends, the 3 ring or a bit with an "elevator function" can help a ton.
                              Here today, gone tomorrow...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I feel like most horses that get heavy on there front ends, rapidly learn to fall behind the bit in an elevator. I very very very rarely like them on any horse.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Thanks French Fry - but how does it get the horse that is low and on his front end off if it doesn't 'elevate' the head and neck some?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Brooke View Post
                                    Thanks French Fry - but how does it get the horse that is low and on his front end off if it doesn't 'elevate' the head and neck some?
                                    I have always been a bit confused by the name of the bit as well.

                                    IME, this bit works on two types of horses. The first being the horse that wants to invert and get stuck through the neck. The gag affect and poll pressure works to unlock the neck and get the horse soft through the jaw.

                                    The second scenario is a horse that gets very "there" in the hand but perhaps gets too heavy and bears down heavily on the rider. Used in a particular way, varying between taking a strong hold moment where the outside elbow 'connects' to the hip for a moment and then the inside rein gives immediately after, this can keep the horse from leaning on the bit while providing enough 'oomph' that it doesn't turn into a pulling contest.

                                    I suppose an elevating effect occurs when you sit in and half halt - the power of the bit creates the overall leverage to get the horse sitting - it almost feels like they bounce into an imaginary wall and sit back underneath themselves, which does elevate the frame. But I'm not sure that's why the bit is named as it is.

                                    However, a caveat, it is VERY easy to end up with a horse behind the contact in these bits if the horse is ridden up into the contact or forced into a frame. It is important to never hold all the time and always give a release to let go of the elevator or gag effect...this is why one should not use only one rein. You always have to push them forward into the bit and keep them searching for the contact more than you would in a non-leverage bit.

                                    For particular horses, I find them very helpful, but it does come at a trade-off that one must ride very judiciously and proactively with the hand to keep the horse from backing off and getting light in the contact.

                                    Personally, I would never have a novice use one.
                                    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think the term 'elevator' was originally used to describe the bit designed by Jimmy Williams, as findeight alluded to. This bit to be specific. You can easily see that when the rein is used, the bit is going to rotate in the mouth, rotating the cheek piece attachment forward and down, resulting in downward poll pressure, The backward pull on the reins doesn't allow the bit to solely rotate in the mouth but adds an upward component to the forces applied in the mouth.

                                      The dutch gag or three ring elevators that we see these days are similar, but on a much smaller scale. Any bit that is considered a gag should have some type of raising force in the mouthpiece to get that name.
                                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Brooke View Post
                                        Thanks French Fry - but how does it get the horse that is low and on his front end off if it doesn't 'elevate' the head and neck some?
                                        Again, the horse is not necessarily "low" on its front end. To understand the function of this bit (used properly, of course), one needs to avoid equating it with "headset" (hate that term), and take the entire body into consideration. Mac123 provided a nice explanation of two functions of the 2 or 3 ring elevator. The idea is to get the horse to bend through the poll, thereby engaging its neck, back, and hind end. I visualize this by thinking about a downward angle on which the heavy-fronted horse is engaging. The power is coming almost exclusively from the front end, and as such, the horse is often heavy on the rider's hands. Think about tumbling down a hill.

                                        A well-engaged horse is traveling FROM its hind end. In order to make this possible, the rider needs to be able to encourage effective use of the front end so that the power is coming from behind. If a horse is rigid and resistant in the poll, it's not really possible to fully engage the neck, which turns into a weak use of the back, and ends in little to no use of the hindquarter.

                                        The 3-ring elevator provides a mild bit (not quite as harsh as a pelham with curb action) that provides the option of a second rein for the purposes of encouraging the horse to flex through the pole in order to use its topline properly. Riding with just one rein on a lower ring is not advisable because it only engages the "gag" action of the bit, which doesn't allow the rider to use the actual snaffle part of the bit effectively. Without dropping contact entirely, the gag action is never disengaged.

                                        Considering all of this, I would say that heavy-fronted horses would have a propensity to get behind the bit when the 3-ring is used incorrectly- ie, with only one rein, and therefore, constant gag action. Used properly, this type of bit can really get a horse more balanced, and is designed to reward positive behaviors (such as relaxed poll flexion with second rein engagement) with a more mild action (snaffle rein).

                                        Sorry for the novel. FWIW, my horse goes in a fat Dee.
                                        Here today, gone tomorrow...

                                        Comment

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