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Full cheek or D?

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  • Full cheek or D?

    I need a new happy mouth for my TB hunter. He has a very delicate/dainty head, and a D can be a bit overwhelming on him. I think he'd look sharp in a full cheek, and the action is pretty much the same as a D. Does anyone show hunters in a full cheek these days? I realize maybe not, as Ds set off those big WB heads well.

    Which one would you buy? Assume that there is no mechanical reason to go for one over the other -- I think the horse will go the same in either bit. Thanks for your input!

  • #2
    Personally, I think the action is different enough to want to try out the fullcheeck before you buy one, just to stay on the safe side. He may hate it.

    I like the look of D's, maybe you could find one with a smaller "D"? though I've ridden hunters at A shows, I'm no hunter guru by any means. I've always just ridden them in a D, so I don't think I'd be much help there. Sorry

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't think the action of a full cheek is the same as a D - just sayin'.

      My gelding has a baby-doll head. He looks great in a D, so I'm not following you there. You can get Ds that are a little thinner - they come in all shapes and sizes.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Hmm, how is it different? I'd have a mullen mouthpiece, so I don't think that mechanically the fixed-ness is going to matter to him. I've never had a horse that particularly cared between the two, so I'm interested in hearing if others find that not to be the case.

        He currently goes in a loose ring HS Duo. I rarely, rarely see a horse in a loose ring in the hunters, though. He could stay with that, I suppose, but they aren't particularly attractive and I prefer them with bit guards, a clear no-no for the hunters.

        Ugh, what to do. The Duo did wear very well/longer than most happy mouths, to its credit. Maybe I should just shell out for a Duo in a D.

        He has a tiny, tiny muzzle and slight jaw. The D just looks BIG -- and I've had him in several different kinds. I think a D looks best on a big square-jawed horse, personally.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't think that the action of a D is all that similar to a (properly used, including keepers) full cheek either.

          I do agree that fine heads can be overwhelmed by a big D ring. My 2'6"/3' hunter has a beautiful, refined head (he's mostly Arab), and he would look absolutely ridiculous in a hunter D. I have shown him in both an eggbutt and a full cheek (he goes best in the full cheek). Have you thought about trying an eggbutt on your guy? The action is somewhere between a D and a loose ring, but the look is more similar to a smaller D.

          Here are two pictures of my guy, the first in an eggbutt and the second in a full cheek:
          http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1...5/2e4d1086.jpg
          http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1...7/CTHAJune.jpg

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            What is this mysterious full cheek action? Educate me! Besides putting pressure on the opposite side of the face when ridden in an opening rein, which a D ostensibly does, and being a "fixed" bit, which shouldn't matter with a mullen from a physics perspective. There's no leverage or anything wonky that should make a big difference, IMO. I'm just not seeing it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Whether it "should" or not, fixed vs. not fixed has made a BIG difference to most horses I've ridden. My guy (and most grean beans, I've found) really likes the stability of the full cheek. A full cheek with keepers will also provide *very, very minimal* poll pressure when the bit is engaged, which can be a good or bad thing with a sensitive horse, depending on his reaction to that.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you use a full cheek as it is intended, with bit keepers, you get a little bit of leverage, which you won't get with a dee-ring bit. So, basically, when you use a full cheek correctly, not only do you apply pressure to the bars (snaffle effect) you also apply mild pressure to the poll. Used without the bit keepers it's similar effect as a dee.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I thought the "leverage" theory of full cheeks (and bouchers) had been debunked. There is simply no way you can get leverage unless you have one of those Myler full cheeks (or Ds) where the reins are in slots.

                  If leverage could be had, they would be illegal in dressage. But they are not.

                  The only difference, I believe, is whether the bit has additional play in the horse's mouth.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm not sure how they're all that different either. I mean, I guess if you're using it with the keepers, it would be different if the leverage idea holds true? Personally, I love my jointed Happy Mouth with the roller in the middle. The only reason I chose that over the D ring was because it was $20 cheaper and I am on a really tight budget. (Seriously, I don't understand why a D ring would be that much more money than a full cheek. I can't help but wonder if they jack up the price on the D ring just because they know the h/j crowd tends to favor them.) I also use it without the keepers (yes, I know this is "wrong") to make sure that I'm not getting additional leverage since my mare has had TMJ issues in the past and I prefer to have minimal pressure on her poll. So far, my horse is happy, and if she's happy, I'm happy.
                    "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Happy Mouth makes 2 different D rings, one is a smaller, racing D and the other is called I think a Super D. The Super Dee is the one most commonly used in the show ring today but the racing dee would probably suit your horse's face better.

                      Personally I think a full cheek sets off a smaller, finer head better than those huge hunter dees but more important is which one your horse goes best in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        um, Yes, there IS a mechanical reason to go with one over the other. they do have different purposes, looks not playing a part. a full cheek puts pressure on cheek to aid in steering. so, lets say your horse is a bit tougher to steer, a full cheek would be helpful. a D looks like it could do the same job but it wont really. it is "plainer" and wont do much. your horse may hate a full cheek, or it might not bother him at all. just depends on the horse. make sure if you try a full cheek you use it with bit keepers.

                        having said that, use whatever works best for your horse. i hardly think that D's are 'fashionable'.. theyre just practical in some cases. in fact, i think if i had to choose a bit to be fashionable, it would be the full cheek, but that's just me. i think that D's are big and awfully distracting looking, but if the horse goes best in one, then he should by all means use one.

                        a judge will not mark you down for using a full cheek. he probably won't even notice, it's just about as common as a D ring. if the judge is busy writing down what kind of bit every horse uses, something tells me he isnt going to spend much time seeing anything else. it just doesnt happen this way.

                        use the full cheek or the D ring, whatever one your horse likes best. my hunters have all happened to go in a full cheek, and that's just by chance. they all do just fine at A shows.
                        (|--Sarah--|)

                        Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                          um, Yes, there IS a mechanical reason to go with one over the other. they do have different purposes, looks not playing a part. a full cheek puts pressure on cheek to aid in steering. so, lets say your horse is a bit tougher to steer, a full cheek would be helpful. a D looks like it could do the same job but it wont really. it is "plainer" and wont do much. your horse may hate a full cheek, or it might not bother him at all. just depends on the horse. make sure if you try a full cheek you use it with bit keepers.

                          having said that, use whatever works best for your horse. i hardly think that D's are 'fashionable'.. theyre just practical in some cases. in fact, i think if i had to choose a bit to be fashionable, it would be the full cheek, but that's just me. i think that D's are big and awfully distracting looking, but if the horse goes best in one, then he should by all means use one.

                          a judge will not mark you down for using a full cheek. he probably won't even notice, it's just about as common as a D ring. if the judge is busy writing down what kind of bit every horse uses, something tells me he isnt going to spend much time seeing anything else. it just doesnt happen this way.

                          use the full cheek or the D ring, whatever one your horse likes best. my hunters have all happened to go in a full cheek, and that's just by chance. they all do just fine at A shows.
                          The straight sides of a D have the same cheek pressure function as a full cheek. That's the point of a D instead of an eggbutt.

                          Here is a good article on the function of different bit rings (scroll about halfway down the page): http://www.sustainabledressage.com/tack/bridle.php#bit

                          And I completely disagree with your statement that Ds are chosen because they are practical instead of fashionable. I remember when EVERYONE showed in full cheeks, in the late '80s and early '90s. You could find full cheeks in every mouthpiece imaginable, whereas at the average tack store you could buy plain racing Ds and that was about it. I think the D invasion started around 1996 -- suddenly everyone turned to the D in every mouthpiece imaginable, and the big, "hunter" D was born. The D didn't become more practical circa 1996, it just came into style.

                          But I am happy to hear you've been showing hunters in a full cheek. I haven't seen much of that recently and would be glad to use one and be reasonably fashionable.

                          And yes, I do believe that fashion does matter to some extent. You need to look like you belong at the party for a judge to take you seriously.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                            I remember when EVERYONE showed in full cheeks, in the late '80s and early '90s. You could find full cheeks in every mouthpiece imaginable, whereas at the average tack store you could buy plain racing Ds and that was about it.
                            I remember those days. And during the 60s and 70's egg butt and loose ring snaffles were popular hunter bits.

                            There are other, smaller dee ring bits out there though. I have quite a few because the large pony and small horses I have been riding the last few years just look better in a smaller dee ring than those huge hunter dees that are currently fashionable. JP & Korsteel both make them, as well as Happy Mouth.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                              The straight sides of a D have the same cheek pressure function as a full cheek. That's the point of a D instead of an eggbutt.
                              I disagree - when you use a direct rein to the left, the full cheek puts more pressure on the right outside of the mouth by virtue of the cheek piece being longer. It gives move leverage on the outside to force the head to the left. It is also more difficult to pull the bit through the mouth on a difficult horse (yes, it does happen).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                                And I completely disagree with your statement that Ds are chosen because they are practical instead of fashionable. I remember when EVERYONE showed in full cheeks, in the late '80s and early '90s. You could find full cheeks in every mouthpiece imaginable, whereas at the average tack store you could buy plain racing Ds and that was about it. I think the D invasion started around 1996 -- suddenly everyone turned to the D in every mouthpiece imaginable, and the big, "hunter" D was born. The D didn't become more practical circa 1996, it just came into style.
                                George Morris made a comment in his Jumping Clinic column around that time about how nice it was to see a horse jumping in a plain D-ring - because, as you say, at the time they only came in jointed and jointed with copper rollers - that it suggested that he was mannerly... lo and behold, suddenly there was a huge demand for D rings in all kinds of new mouthpieces.

                                I've used full cheek and D rings, and I think functionally the action is about the same. Some people feel a full cheek may be more likely to catch on something in a bad way than a D ring. I like both.
                                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

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                                  I disagree - when you use a direct rein to the left, the full cheek puts more pressure on the right outside of the mouth by virtue of the cheek piece being longer. It gives move leverage on the outside to force the head to the left. It is also more difficult to pull the bit through the mouth on a difficult horse (yes, it does happen).
                                  I didn't say they have the same level of efficacy, I said they serve the same function. I agree that the full cheek is slightly more effective at it.

                                  I've never had a problem pulling a D through a horse's mouth. Now a loose ring, on the other hand, yes. Which is why I like to use bit guards on them.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Personally, I prefer D bits over full cheeks 9 times out of ten. I've seen full cheeks get hung on everything from a riders shirt to splint boots to water buckets and it is a scarey sight to see! Plus, if something like that happens, it is usually very traumatic for the horse mentally and physically. If you choose a full cheek, be on your toes at all times! When I was a child, my sisters pony went to rub his head on her, got hung, freaked out, went flying backwards, dragging her until her shirt tore and he was free. That poor pony was terrified of having a bit put into his mouth after that happened and it shook my sister up pretty good too.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      That's a really good point and great reason to go for a D, Oakview. I did have a friend whose horse hooked a full cheek in a stirrup once when turned around itching himself, and much panic ensued. I'd forgotten about that incident.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My TB mare absolutely hates full cheeks. I put her in one and she shakes her head, overacts to bit contact and is just overall way fussier.
                                        She is very petite and D rings fit her nicely and looks alright, I'd suggest if your horse already goes well in a D, maybe try and find a smaller sized one. Or try a full cheek before buying.

                                        Comment

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