• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Bit Keepers for Western Bridle?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Bit Keepers for Western Bridle?

    Ok (flame suit on) - I ride western and after reading some threads on here where people were adamant about bit keepers I thought I'd tentatively ask a question about them. =)

    After trying a lot of bits, I find my mare does best in a "Herm Sprenger Dynamic RS Full Cheek Snaffle Bit" - I've been riding her in this with a western headstall no problem, but had no idea what bit keepers were until just a few days ago. Is it possible to attach these to a western headstall? Would appreciate any advice?

  • #2
    I don't quite understand the totally adamant YOU MUST HAVE BIT KEEPERS ON FULL CHEEKS! opinion. Why are they so important?

    I know some folks say it's so the bit lies correctly in the mouth, but if the horse is going perfectly in the fullcheek without the keepers.. what's the difference?

    Also, what would folks suggest about these two?:


    A Fulmer and I'm not sure what the second one is called, it's kind of like a half cheek but it's got the "arms" on both top and bottom. I don't think keepers would work on either of those, and I don't think either are designed any different than a fullcheek.. so why are these okay to be used sans keepers?
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


    • #3
      I have been using full cheek snaffles on my western horses for about 6 years now. I have never heard of a bit keeper until recently either.

      I have never had a problem and as the horses I use them on are greenies I can appreciate the cheek pieces in my training.

      So what's the story?


      • #4
        They stabilize the bit, and they also greatly reduce the chance that a horse will hook the bit on something and hurt himself. Think of the long necked pretzel horse who twists 'round to scratch at his itchy side while you are mounted and sitting still. He hooks the top of the full cheek through your english stirrup. He can't get it loose and in a flash he's flipped over on top of you. her name escapes me but a prominent jumper rider was either killed or paralyzed several yrs ago in this exact wreck. He was over and on top of her in a heartbeat. Don't ride with english stirrups? Ok, there's breascollar rings and keepers, misc other things to hang a horse's face on.

        If you took a thin strip of latigo, like you tie water-tie reins with, or leather shoe lace, you could fashion a little 'noose' to capture that top 'prong', then determine a way to run it through the bridle's loop that the bit hangs off of... there are so many ways a western bridle might attach to a bit there's no lone answer, but you could make it work, sure. Consider it cheap insurance.


        • #5
          There's also a story about someone's horse rubbing on them while wearing a full cheek snaffle, and sticking the cheek up the person's nose and ripping their nostril open. And the inevitable story about the horse tossing its head and catching a woman's bra ...

          Anyhow, if its the help with turning that you like about the full cheek, the same effect can be had by using the ubiquitous hunter D-ring bit (large D-ring is the trick). If you have a fussy horse and keeping the bit still in its mouth is an issue, then get yourself an english headstall, take off the caveson (for western use) and use bit keepers. There's also a theory that using a bit keeper provides some small amount of poll pressure through the headstall, but my guess is that comes from someone who never took high school physics and I never gave it much credence.

          Some western headstalls could probably carry a bit keeper; it all depends on exactly how the headstall attaches to the bit. The keepers do keep the bit in a consistent position, and this is an issue for some horses. If it's just the help turning a greenie that you want, then use a full cheek and take your chances with the scenarios given (the bit-on-the-stirrup one is very real and a serious risk). Or teach your horse from the ground to give consistently to the rein and use a plain egg-butt or loose ring.

          While we're on the topic of disciplinary peculiarities, it puzzles me that some western types have this thing about full-cheek snaffles, but yet when they use a plain egg-butt, they insist that it have a curb strap, to prevent pulling the bit through the horse's mouth in a crunch situation. I just shrug and do a when-in-Rome with these folks, but it always has puzzled me. It seems a D-ring would solve both problems, but then, a D-ring w/ slobber straps & mecate is a real pain in the patootie. Honestly, I suspect that the average english headstall, because the throat latch is part of the crown piece, is actually more stable on the horse's head and, given that some kind of caveson or noseband is usually used, the bit-through-the-mouth scenario is much less likely. On western headstalls, the throat latch is often separate, connected only by the brow band, and no noseband is used, so the bit-through-the-mouth thing is somewhat more possible. Crunch situations happen, but the real solution is to get the horse giving to the bit reliably. Or, at least, that's what I think, FWIW (which ain't much--but it might be an intersting discussion)
          "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

          Spay and neuter. Please.


          • #6
            Monster, it's funny you should say that. I'd been riding my TWH in a western browband headstall and eggbutt snaffle for a while, plus a cavesson that went on his head first, followed by the bridle. When he got to nodding his head, the cheek straps would slap him LOL- and yes, the bit was pretty snug...when I switched to a full cheek on a wintec english bridle, complete with keepers and integrated throatlatch and cavesson...problem solved. No more slappy cheeks


            • Original Poster

              It's not that she doesn't give to the bit, she's actually an excellent horse, but we've tried a variety of different style bits and this one she seems just more comfortable in, less likely to play with it, etc. I'd go get the D-Ring version of the same bit, but this one was around $175 so I think my pocketbook would prefer I stay with what we have.

              I like the idea of fashioning little loops from latigo, might be able to figure something like that out. We DO have an English Bridle for her, so may try that as well...

              Lots of good information there monstrpony, and some good points to ponder too. =) Thanks!


              • #8
                Another thought--the rings on a full-cheek are smaller; I think this, as well, helps the bit stay in a more consistend position, especially compared to a loose ring, where the horse can easily raise and lower the mouthpiece. So it doesn't surprise me that a horse will be less playful with a full cheek bit. Another option here is a Baucher bit, which would stand the average cowboy on his ear, but it is designed to hang the bit very quietly in the horses mouth.

                That said, I went back and saw that you (the OP) were talking about a Sprenger Dynamic--those are *really* nice bits, I can understand why your horse likes it, but the also do cost a bomb. I'd just stick with your full cheek and just keep the risk issues mentioned above in mind (or switch to the english headstall and keepers).

                I also think some horses have rubber lips. No matter how high you think you've adjusted the bit, if it has a larger ring, it will suddenly be loose enough for the floppy cheek effect that katarine describes (esp with a gaited horse that has a notable head-bob when moving correctly).

                A lot of the cowboy types (my own mentor among them) believe that one good, plain snaffle is all you should ever need. I politely disagree with that; I believe there are difference in mouth conformation, temperament (wanting to fiddle w/ the bit), possibly prior bad experiences that can be helped by trying a variety of snaffle bits. I happen to like JP Korsteel bits because of the curve to the mouthpiece (something your particular Sprenger bit has, as well). I've owned a couple of horses with very "full" mouths--fleshy tongues, low palates, heavy jowl muscles--who seem to prefer a bit that lays across the tongue with less "nutcracker" effect. After a good experience with a JP single-jointed eggbutt, I ordered a double-jointed one with an "oval" mouth (the center link is an oval shape). I was disappointed in the bit when it arrived (these bits have the advantage, being plain stainless steel, of being relatively inexpensive; great for my bit fetish) because the oval link was a lot larger than I'd expected and I thought it would not suit my full-mouthed horse. So, it sat in my tack room for a coon's age until one day I needed an extra bridle for some reason, grabbed it and put it on my horse.

                Well. He *loves* it. Tried it on my other horse, HE *loves* it. I think the larger oval in the center gives them something to hold with their tongue, while the curved branches of the bit lay softly across the mouth without too much nutcracker on the bars. Both horses have a history of being very fussy with their mouths (in different ways), and both had been ridden with "unfair" hands in their earlier lives, and will tend to go behind the bit. They quietly accept this bit and are more readily willing to go forward into soft contact.

                Anyhow, that particular one was a surprise to me, but further convinced me that small differences in bit shape, heft, thickness, even metal, can make a difference to individual horses. Again, JMHO.
                "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                Spay and neuter. Please.