WEF – Junior Jumper Hardware

WEF – Junior Jumper Hardware

When I go to WEF, I feel like I’m at a horse show aquarium.  So I watch a lot and take a lot of pictures and learn by observation.

One of the things I like to do is pick a class and see what kind of bits/hardware/tack people are using.  For this trip, I chose a Low Junior Jumper classic.  It was interesting, because overall I’d say that the horses at this level were super athletic, fast and scopey… but they often times needed the assortment of “tools” to be controlled by their younger riders.

Also, some of these horses had a lot of hardware but were ridden by very talented kids with super soft hands.  Remember, a picture isn’t 100% of the story.  Also remember, these are kids and let’s keep any comments general and not picking on any of these juniors in a mean way.

Now I share with you what I call “(Gag) Bit-a-Palooza” 2014.

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26 thoughts on “WEF – Junior Jumper Hardware

  1. Interesting!

    Is it weird that I love the braids on the light bay (6th photo)? Are they supposed to stand up like that? It’s like a braid-fohawk! (This probably wins stupidest comment of the day) haha

    1. I agree!!!! I bet the horse’s mane is on the longer side and whoever did the braids made the long mane look cool!!!! My shabby long mane braids look like crapola… hahahaha!

  2. I have to admit, very few things make me battier than gag bits with only one rein or a pelham with converters. It’s wrong, people, it’s WRONG. I felt so justified when GM sent girls back the barn for a second rein during his Horsemastership training session at WEF when they dared show up with only one.

    1. With you, girl! Two reins or GTFO. How else are you supposed to effectively ride your horse?

      There are exceptions, such as upper level cross country riding. But for h/j, I think two reins are essential for the communication you have to have, right?

    2. amen amen amen.. the whole point it to have the “leverage” when needed and not when you don’t! You can’t do that if it’s not used right.

    3. Can you explain why it is wrong exactly? I used a gag on Kai at certain times and now am using one to show kit but only use one set of reins. It helps lift her head while still giving me effective control, and I am loving it. First I would like to know the “technical” reason as to why it’s wrong and then I’d like to hear the justification that if something is working why you should still change it based simply on principle/tradition 🙂 Devil’s advocate over here…

  3. Have you seen the Horse Junkies United WEF documentary series on YouTube? Just search “junkiementary” on YouTube. A friend just showed it to me and I’m addicted; it’s like MTV Cribs for the horse world.

  4. Never had a horse that liked a gag..but they are very popular right now in eventing too.

    I want that breastplate on #6…anyone know what make?

  5. I always cringe when I see leverage bits used in conjunction with running martingales… I’m pleased to see that some of the gags were, in fact, ridden with 2 sets of reins!
    It’s funny to hear all of our differing viewpoints on equipment! LOL

  6. I saw so many gag bits at HITS Thermal and I think it’s just wrong. I feel like it can be used much more effectively, but is mostly used as a “cop-out” for riders who need an easy way to gain control of their horse. I feel like sooo many modern riders don’t care about actual horsemanship and use so many different bits and gadgets to get quick results. One of my trainers told me, “If you can’t ride a horse up to 1.35m jumpers with just a snaffle bit, you don’t really know how to ride.” Kind of an exaggeration, but you get my point!! (This is not an attack on any of the riders pictured. It’s just a general observation that I have about gag bits. A lot of riders are knowledgeable riders and use these bits effectively.)

  7. I find hardware so interesting. I enjoy looking and learning about the uses of unconventional (well, to my hunter princess, LOL) bits, tack, etc.

  8. Gag bits seem to be all the rage everywhere right now… and while I’d say for some horses they are a necessity, I’d say it’s more like 1 in 50 that are using them right now… honestly, I feel like it’s just replacing training. That one kid with the plain snaffle sticks out like a sore thumb! (go her). That being said, as a kid doing jumpers, I rode in a broken segunda which was a pretty harsh bit. As I got older and became a more effective rider, I went down in the bit. But really, I shouldn’t have been doing the level I was doing if I couldn’t control my horse in a nicer bit (he really didn’t need it, looking back on things ha…) but I’m saying that to say, while theologically I think one way, I also understand practically why these kids may be using them.

    That being said, I still have an issue with gags just because they are EVERYWHERE. The thing I do like is that they are rubber, but still. I tried that three ring happy mouth gag bit on Wiz, and yes, it immediately gave me brakes- but it also took away any through connection in the back. And as you can see in these pictures, all of these horses are inverted, not round. Wiz definitely told me he hated it…. by bucking wildly ;P I think the brake was just so strong, I lost control of his hind end (because I couldn’t channel the energy INTO the bridle) and he went bucking everywhere ha.

    Anyway, rant over, not my horses so I don’t care, just don’t understand the trend…

  9. Well… I think the next bit we’re going to try with Loki is a gag of some sort. I flip back and forth about it because let’s be honest people can be very judgmental about it. But us fighting each other the entire ride is just not working for us either. I hate it when people make comments like “If you can’t ride a horse up to 1.35m jumpers with just a snaffle bit, you don’t really know how to ride.” I’m sorry but I have to call b.s. to at least some extent because there are a lot of factors that go into each horse/rider combination. How big is the rider? how tall? how strong? I have no doubt that a more experienced rider could take my horse around a XC course in just a snaffle but I’m not that rider, yet and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be that rider until I have more experience going around XC courses. And this is the only horse I have to get that experience. It can be very circular. I have soft enough hands to not get my horse in the mouth and if this keeps us from fighting the whole way maybe it isn’t so bad?…

    1. I’ve been told to try Simon in a gag, and he is definitely not “out of control” and I don’t think I ‘m a shitty rider. I agree, blanket statements like that are not my favorite either. 🙂

    2. You work with a season professional trainer, who gives you great advice. If he/she thinks you should try a gag, then I definitely think it’s worth a shot! And I agree with you that many, many more factors are involved in the “bit decision” than just “are you an able rider.”

  10. As a side note, I am amazed to see that all but one of those riders was wearing Parlanti Passions. They are great boots, and I guess the Juniors is where you would see a lot of trends, but there’s so much variety now even in Italian boots that I figured there would be variety in a big class like this.

  11. I find it kind of disturbing and sad to see all of these young riders using such heavy bits + having a martingale and a flash or figure eight on the horse. Seems like overkill!

  12. 8 pairs of Parlantis, 1 pair of tuccis (I think), and a bunch of samshields! Seems like Parlantis and samshields are so ubiquitous that they’re the norm instead of a trend, haha.

  13. One of the ponies we bought for our youngest daughter years ago had been jumped by a very big twelve year old boy, using a snaffle and a flash noseband. One of the pony’s selling points was that she was ‘snaffle-mouthed’
    Well after we had bought her, I saw a video of her jumping at the Dublin horse show. She may have been snaffle mouthed, but only if you had the weight and the muscle power to literally haul on her mouth to steer her around a course.
    Of course our very petite ten year old daughter could not manage to ride her in a snaffle! We bitted up to a pelham – with roundings! gasp! – so that her teeny little self had some control. And you know what? I think the pony was a helluva lot happier getting little dainty messages through the pelham than she was with the mouth being hauled off her in a snaffle.
    So yeah, the ideal is a minimal bitting but it’s not always going to work, especially with small riders, big horses and big fences.

  14. All- keep in mind it’s easy to be an “arm chair jumper” … if you aren’t riding at that level thennnn (and at that age) we all really have no room to talk about what they use 🙂 They are working with professionals who for one reason or another feel that that is the bit for the horse/rider combo. Not saying every trainer is perfect but i am sure the most of them aren’t careless either 🙂

    I am sure there are people who think the bits we have used over the last few years with Henry are crazy or what not but you aren’t in my shoes and I trust my trainer- she knows her stuff 🙂 And she wouldn’t put Henry in a bit unless he needed it and I was capable of handling it.

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