Monday, August 22, 2011

Bits about bits

I've been doing some thinking about the whole "poll too low" comments and the fact that Brigit looooves to curl her neck in. She's very very soft in the mouth (most days) and I ride her in an eggbutt french-link snaffle. I'm wondering if a bit change might help our issue?

I've had two thoughts... Swap to a regular loose ring snaffle so there's nothing to lean on and perhaps that will make her curl in less?

Or perhaps change from a french link to a regular snaffle mouthpiece, perhaps that french link is just "too comfortable" and allows her to roll under?

Or perhaps something with a little roller on it for her to play with?

Or perhaps a waterford bit? They're supposed to be the most gentle bits and the mouthpiece doesn't allow for any leaning or resistence since it's to "bendy".

I don't really want to go out and buy all new bits though! Might have to see what I can beg & borrow to give my theories a try.


  1. Hattie gets bendy too and I ride her in a full cheek french link or a loose ring KK. I must say that I think I prefer a KK with her. I find with a normal jointed mouth piece, Hattie gets too still so I have up on that and have stuck with a french or a KK.

    It is true what Robin said before about the horse using being too bendy as an evasion. This is something Hattie and I have to work on, getting her working more forward as when I do, her head comes up and she works nicely.

  2. I like the waterford, but it does discourage contact because it's always moving. Some people consider it severe, and it is if you floss their teeth with it.

    Grey is very light mouthed and never leans, but he was born behind the vertical like most Saddlebreds are. He prefers the single joint dee (world's ugliest bit IMO) to a loose ring french link which he just played with constantly.

    My dressage instructor helped me alot getting Grey out from his chest. She said don't EVER release contact because that just rewards it.

    What she had me do was unbuckle my reins and hold my hands tipped thumbs out like I was hitch-hiking in two different directions. When he dropped back she wanted me to keep the same contact but open my arms and spread my hands (hitch-hiking) so I "straightened" the bit in his mouth by pulling from each side.

    It looks whacky, and when he was trying to find a way around it, I was waving my arms constantly. But after a few days he gave up and now it takes only an occasional reminder.


  3. Oh it's definitely an evasion! Usually when she gets overly upset and I won't let her rush around is when it gets at it's worst.
    That sounds like an interesting method that I might have to give a try!

  4. Best part about it is it doesn't require changing or buying anything ;-). It just makes you feel like a hitch-hiking dork.


  5. A lot depends on how she is coming behind the bit; does she drop the contact when she does it or does she lean on the bit? Also does she do it in lateral work or just on the straight line or circle?

    Depending on how far schooled she is, a good shoulder in or shoulder fore position should encourage her to step up under herself with the inside hind and that can encourge her to raise her poll. You might also want to try pushing her into a leg yield the second she does it, which gives some of the same effect as a shoulder in.

    Evasions such as this are almost invariably an issue with the hind legs not being active enough, but a good bit selection can help. I like the Myler comfort snaffles which have a nice drape but limited flex, tho' they are expensive. But I would stick with some sort of double broken mouthpiece, since you avoid the nutcracker action.

    I have to keep a fair selection of snaffles in the tack room since Owen becomes a little stale in anyone of them and needs a change from time to time. His absolutely favorite bit the Myler triple barrel snaffle but of course it's not dressage legal.

  6. Thank you Robin! I'll put those suggestions to work as well.
    She's pretty good at being able to do it whenever and where-ever; circles, straight lines etc. It seems to be an issue when she gets overly hot and doesn't want to listen, so instead she curls her nose in, yet maintains the contact. In that video I posted the other day, I felt like we had a really nice, relaxed ride and didn't feel any of that tension or curling but the judge couldn't say anything but "poll too low" on my score sheet. So I guess she does do it when she's relaxed too, it just feels different.
    It's great to hear from you, hope you are doing well!