A Bit Confusing
I’ve never been a person to have a lot of extra stuff. I find something I like, and then use it until it dies, hence my one bridle. Even my bit collection is pretty small, with about 5 bits total.
Two of those are for my old horse, and are too small for Simon. One is western, and one is for my DraftX… so that leaves Simon with his one and only bit.
I use a 5″ Myler Comfort (Level 1) Snaffle on him. It’s… okay. The D rings are absolutely giant, so I don’t love it for dressage or much flat work. Feels like I don’t have a close connection with his mouth. He likes the shape and contour of the Myler mouthpiece a lot though. For the most part, this bit is sufficient except when he gets nervous/fresh and roots really bad at the canter. That problem plus the giant D rings is why I’ve got bit experimenting.
This is a 5″ egg butt french link. Simon used to go in one of these when he was greener, but we had some problems. He started trying to rear when lunging in side reins (and I promise you, the side reins were NOT tight) and the bit cut the sides of his mouth. Even when I let that fully heal and tried this bit again, it irritated the sides of his mouth to the point where I think I literally threw it away.
When Jen and I played dressage Simon, he went in her 5.5″ Myler Baucher. Overall, I really liked this bit. I think it stuck out a bit extra on the sides, but I was really happy with how he went in it. Unfortunately, Bauchers aren’t really good bits to use for the hunter ring… so that leaves me searching more.
Searching for a hacking bit, I tried a friend’s 3 ring. I put my reins on the 2nd ring since I didn’t need THAT much leverage. Overall he was very fussy in this bit during our ride. I think part of that had to do with it maybe being a smidge low, but I also think he didn’t like the movement of the bit from the loose rings on each side.
Most recently I’ve tried the bit my trainer rides him in, a D Ring Edge bit. It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the sides of this bit are more like a triangle than they are rounded. It gives you some extra breaks because of the shape. Simon respects this bit, and I can be super soft with him while hacking. What he doesn’t like though is the single joint. Sometimes we’re going around fine, and then he just starts mouthing and mouthing and chewing it in irritation. I feel like he may have a shallow pallet, and this shape isn’t working for him.
So… where do I go from here? I feel like I am running out of options to try. Ideally, I could show hunters & dressage in this bit… but at least hunters. What I have coming up soon is a Happy Mouth French Link that I’m getting used.
What kind of bits do y’all recommend?
26 thoughts on “A Bit Confusing”
What do you need in terms of functionality of a bit? Do you need something that gives you more brakes??
If I were you, why not try a just a plain double jointed loose ring? You could get one with a “ball”, “bean”, or more “dog bone” shaped.
It could be also the kind of metal in his mouth – he may prefer rubber like my lease mare does, or he may prefer sweet iron?? Or maybe even something with a bit of copper in it?
We need a slight bit more brakes and/or leverage. I haven’t tried copper he may like that a lot!
The introduction of a slow twist may help you out, but maybe try a Waterford first? I do not think they are legal for Dressage, but they may help you get past some of the “sticky” points.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of the D-rings just with their appearance and the fact that they spread a lot of contact onto the horse’s lips.
If he is leaning on the contact, or gets hard in the mouth, a Waterford can be great. There’s a lot of haters for the Waterford bit though- I don’t know if it’s specific to one discipline or not. I jump Foster in a full cheek Waterford and it’s been great. Not dressage legal, but a really nice bit otherwise.
Good luck with your bit search! There are *so* many options out there I’m positive you’ll find something!
Keeping in mind that I know next to nothing about what a hunter bit should be (do? look like?):
– What about a full cheek, with the option of keepers for more leverage?
– You’ve posted a few french links here but they all have flat center pieces. I recently switched Tris to a french link with a rounded bean in the middle, which works much better: https://www.smartpakequine.com/stubben-loose-ring-snaffle-4837p It’s a softer mouthfeel overall, especially for a horse that doesn’t like the action of a single-joint.
I agree with Amanda – I would try a double jointed with a bean instead of a flat piece. In most double jointed bits the flat piece sits upright in the mouth so the thin edge digs against the palate/tongue. Not a great option for horses with a low palate. I have Fiction in a double jointed with a bean and he seems to do well in it. What I find works best for him is a copper mouthpiece (though I am going to try out a few sweet iron options). Right now he goes in a full copper mouthpiece, but there are options with just a center copper link, or copper inlay.
Be really really careful with a happy mouth bit. Emma used to go in one. I had it about six months until I noticed that she was being more sensitive with her head and at one point threatened to rear when I barely touched her mouth. I got off and noticed blood at the corner of her mouth and FREAKED. Took the bit out and it had a non noticeable chewed part that ripped her mouth to bits. She had to go in a hackamore for like 1-2 weeks for her mouth to heal. So I would rub your hand over it before/after you use it EVERY time. I needed a little brakes/leverage but Emma is SUPER sensitive and we have had awesome luck with this bit + keepers: http://www.statelinetack.com/item/korsteel-full-chk-copper-mth-dr-bristol-bit/SLT900238/
I was going to post the same thing. Happy Mouths are easy for horses to chew through if they’re really busy with their mouths. That said, Bobby has been doing dressage in the HM french link you have pictured for the past 2+ years and has never had an issue, but other horses in the barn have chomped them to pointy shreds.
hi olly, the mare i ride uses a happy mouth and i noticed that some of the plastic parts have frayed a bit. it isn’t sharp or anything and doesn’t seem to be causing discomfort or injury for her. however, i am not familiar with bits and am curious what you mean when you discussed your issue above.
When they chew the bit, it becomes really sharp sometimes and can cut their mouth either on the bars, lips, tongue or roof. So I suggest you run your hand over it frequently to check and make sure it isn’t sharp from being chewed on. My horse doesn’t chew her bit hardly ever- so honestly I don’t like them as bits and won’t purchase one personally again. I’ve never had a metal bit cut up my horses mouth.
Carlos really liked copper and sweet iron. He also used to go in the “Knife’s Edge” you have pictured, he moved from that to a copper Pelham for a while and then to a sweet iron wire and a plain copper snaffle. I did a hop a while back about bit’s might want to check out everyone’s reply.
I always used KK Ultra bits from Herm Sprenger when I had my horse. I’d look in to them. They have various styles as well.
I really like these bits but sadly Fiction absolutely HATED the Aurigan metal. On the plus side, they actually make a french link with a bean that rotates a bit so that it lies flatter on the tongue and is more comfortable for the horse 🙂
I have some French links with the bean in the middle if you want to try them. None of my horses like the flat center part either… maybe that’s what Simon objected to?
I use a Pessoa Copper Magic Moon D bit that they don’t make anymore in D, just a loose ring (which makes no sense) . It’s a double joint with a copper center bump and when engaged, locks to become a mullen. I needed it for brakes and pulling down. I still use it a few years later but in general, we have super light contact now. I believe Stubben is making a similar bit (EZ control) so you could pick one up, one of our jumpers is using the Stubben. Neither is legal for dressage. I use a plain double joint loose ring for dressage. I used to use HS KK Ultras but found them much to comfy for my ‘likes to pull’ horse.
I have a loose ring Stubben EZ control, and it works great! Bridger used to root at the reins really bad and after a few rides in the EZ he has gone back to a french link and not rooted once:)
Both of mine loved my copper single jointed pelham with short shanks. My mare roots pretty badly and I like her in the waterford dee for flat work. Tanner also goes well in that, but doesn’t need it because although he likes you to hold his head up for him, he doesn’t brace like she does. So I hack him in a dee with a copper bean. You are welcome to grab that or try my pelham for a test drive, you’d just need to slap a snaffle reign on the bridle with the pelham first.
Also, I have a waterford dee & a slow twist if you want to try those. They just aren’t already at the barn. I like bits. ALL OF THEM.
D rings aren’t very popular for dressage; you see more loose rings or egg butts, which both of my boys go in (egg butts). Both boys have a lozenge bit which I like because the snaffle then breaks in two places and doesn’t jab the roof of their mouth. Sydney goes in the Mikmar lozenge and Speedy goes in the JP Korsteel lozenge, both with a copper type mouth piece.
And this is the reason I have over 20 bits in my bit drawer… I agree with trying all of the below:
a french link with a bean, slow twist (check bit rules with this as well as your trainers bit that you borrow, most places let you use a twisted wire, but not a squared twist), different mouth piece thicknesses of the plain snaffle.
You also might want to try the version of the bit you are riding in now with a bit of a square port, horses that are fussy with their mouths seem to like it a lot, and it comes with and without slots for the reins (can be used like a kimberwick with the slots and a curb chain)
All horses are different so younger doing the right thing by experimenting. My favorite bit is the Waterford D. I also use a 2 ring on all my horses. Did you use bit guards with it? Correct bit fit is most important. It hangs lower so we will have to adjust your bridle for it to sit correctly in the mouth. Maybe try a corkscrew D?
Maybe a Pelham or something with a little twist?
You have gotten some great advice here – hopefully you can find something perfect 🙂
IDK- I don’t mess around with bits. I’d say start with baseline and go from there. As a hunter your ideal is D in the show ring (personally) and it doesn’t seem like Simon has a tough mouth. I think it can be easy to overthink bits. Just my random two cents!
Try an EZ control KK Bit by Stubben. This bit is amazing for horses who are a bit strong, but also need a softer bit to encourage them to chew. Also a great starter bit when introducing dressage.
It only bends one direction, thus is a bit stronger. I have one if you want to try it – I can ship it to you for a trial!
My other suggestions is a straight bar mullen mouth snaffle.
just wanted to add these are both legal for dressage and eventing.