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What kind of bit is this?

(22 Posts)
EdYouKateShaun Thu 04-Jun-15 10:30:40

I've been riding again for a few months after a gap of a good few years. My riding is fine but I've forgotten loads of other things so I'm trying to read up.

The horse I've ridden a few times at the riding school wears a bit like this. Though it doesn't have the small ring above the bit just the 2 below. The reins are on the bottom ring.

What is this bit called and what is its purpose?

I could ask at the stables but I'm a bit embarrassed at how foggy I am

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 04-Jun-15 10:42:51

I think it is called a 'three ring snaffle' or 'continental ring bit' and is what \i would describe as a type of gag. Which ring are the reins attached to?

Germgirl Thu 04-Jun-15 10:45:44

It's a 3 ring gag / Dutch gag / bubble gag.
The large ring acts like a normal snaffle & then the lower rings put pressure on the poll, the lower ring is more 'severe' than the middle ring. They're meant to be used with 2 reins but lots of people just use one rein on the lower rings or roundings on 2 rings.

TheHoundsBitch Thu 04-Jun-15 10:46:26

It's a three ring snaffle, if the reins are attached to the lower rings it works like a Pelham by putting pressure on the poll.

EdYouKateShaun Thu 04-Jun-15 10:57:14

Thanks guys.

Just single reins on it. The horse is a sweetheart who needs very little contact but he's built like a brick house so could be strong if it took his fancy.

Does that sound right?

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 04-Jun-15 11:00:43

depends on which ring the reins are?

Personally I hate bits like that and I do not think they have any place in a riding school.

EdYouKateShaun Thu 04-Jun-15 12:50:16

I thought they were on the bottom but I'm doubting myself now. The horse is a livery who is used in the school too. I'll do a recce next time I'm there.

Booboostoo Thu 04-Jun-15 16:32:49

Ditto the above, it's a Dutch gag and should be used with two reins. My DH's HW cob needed this as one in a million he would take off and his was the only bit that would stop him if there was no space to circle, so, for safety on hacks, this is what he wore. I had double reins on it though and the bottom ring reins were tied in a knot waiting to be used in an emergency.

Gabilan Thu 04-Jun-15 19:41:36

I call them 3 or 4 ring snaffles but I've also heard them called gags. I'm not sure what they're called if the small ring on top is missing as this really does reduce poll pressure.

I use one on my horse because when he really wants to go, he's very strong. I hack with two reins, one on the main snaffle ring, one on the bottom ring. 99.9% of the time I only ride off the snaffle rein and the bottom/ curb equivalent is slack. The .1% of the time I need the bottom rein, it's there to avoid accidents BUT I'm experienced with a balanced seat and good hands.

For dressage he's then in a hanging cheek snaffle which gives a similar action to having the rein on the snaffle ring. This bit is potentially severe, especially with just one rein on one of the lower rings, and it isn't legal to use it for dressage.

EdYouKateShaun Thu 04-Jun-15 23:55:51

Thank you so much for all the information. It's this stuff that I'm really rusty on and you guys are all so knowledgeable.

lordsandladies Fri 05-Jun-15 00:01:19

Bolshy cobs seem to be a theme! I had a 3 ring gag on my welsh tank mare. Used the snaffle ring in the school and switched to lower ring on hunts / energy hacks but barely touched her unless she went.

Actually switched to a pelham later on as I think the restriction can wind them up more, it's not a particularly kind bit for full time use. Hadn't seen the 2 rein / knotted rein option top tip!

Gabilan Fri 05-Jun-15 09:23:06

"Actually switched to a pelham later on as I think the restriction can wind them up more, it's not a particularly kind bit for full time use. Hadn't seen the 2 rein / knotted rein option top tip!"

I think they were originally intended for two reins, as germgirl said. Agree that a severe bit can have the opposite effect to that intended. But what I like about this snaffle is it's versatility, so long as you're comfortable riding with 2 reins. I don't really touch the bottom rein but my horse knows it's there if I need it!

Booboostoo Fri 05-Jun-15 09:57:42

I would prefer a Pelham to a gag as well but that cob had other ideas! He came in a gag and I changed him to a Pelham straight away but he hated it. In the end I figured out his problem and rode him in a snaffle in the school and when I hacked him but popped the gag on double reins when my DH hacked him.

backinthebox Fri 05-Jun-15 10:50:39

I hate bits like this too. But having acquired an extremely huge bit collection in order to get him out of the damn thing, it would appear my horse rather likes this one! Snaffle at home and 4 ring gag out hunting and XC - though I rarely touch the brakes unless I have a child out with me (and on those occasions I add a curb strap to the top ring.)

Although they are sometimes called a gag, they are not a true gag. There's a good explanation here. As with all bits, if you have a reason to use one, make sure you know what the reasons are and why this bit is appropriate to try on your horse. One of the problems with the 3 and 4 ring gags is that they are a first port of call for many people who want to try something a bit stronger but don't know what to go for. Because it looks essentially like a snaffle except with extra rings many people thing it is likely to be similar in action, but it is actually quite a strong lever bit when compared with a snaffle.

OP are you sure the top ring is missing? I've never seen that - I would suspect the bit has been doctored, and am wondering what the point of a leverage bit without half of the lever would be?

EdYouKateShaun Fri 05-Jun-15 18:47:11

I am now no longer sure about anything. wink I've looked at so many pictures of bits that I've quite bamboozled myself.
I'll see if I can update through the week.

Gabilan Fri 05-Jun-15 18:49:12

" I've never seen that "

Me neither. The only thing I could think of was a hanging cheek snaffle being used upside down!

Booboostoo Fri 05-Jun-15 19:40:17

I have another horse who likes thin bits! Clearly he hasn't read the books that say thick bits are kinder!

Gabilan Fri 05-Jun-15 19:55:41

Booboo depending on the horse's mouth, thin bits can be more comfortable. If their mouth is small a thick bit can be difficult to accommodate. My horse prefers thinner bits, I think because the roof of his mouth is quite low and his tongue's quite big. Not a lot of room in there for a fat snaffle!

backinthebox Fri 05-Jun-15 20:00:26

BigHorse used to like thin bits. We showed him in a double, and looking at the thickness of the Brandon and Weymouth you would think I was a horribly cruel owner. But put anything normal thickness in and he would instantly stick his tongue out to the side. He had a very fat tongue and low soft palate - there was clearly just not a lot of room for metalwork in there. He was in a myler combination bit with very thin sweet iron mouthpiece and rawhide nose band when I sold him - the happiest he had been with a bit in all the time I'd owned him as the primary action was through pressure on the nose rather than the mouthpiece. We ended up showing him for sale in a snaffle with his tongue out, as buyers seemed happier to see a horse not out of control in a 'soft' bit than going comfortably in what is perceived to be a 'severe' bit.

Horses are all different, and if you are going to ask them to go around with a lump of metal in their mouths you might as well work on keeping them happy!

backinthebox Fri 05-Jun-15 20:01:56

Crossed posts, Gabilan, but essentially saying the same thing! Irish horses and heavy horses in particular tend to have fat tongues. TBs tend to have thinner tongues and seem as a breed to like a fatter bit.

Gabilan Fri 05-Jun-15 20:11:18

Thanks for that article backinthebox. I had always assumed a gag snaffle had a rope through the bit and was surprised when I first heard the 3 or 4 ring bits described as gags - that article makes sense of that.

One of the things I love about my DHorse is that if we hit a snag, particularly when jumping, I'm happy to just drop the reins. I don't mean drop him so he feels like I've let him land on his nose, I mean if he needs his head and neck I am confident just to let him have it. However, if he gets strong, that second rein on the bottom ring is very useful!

Booboostoo Sat 06-Jun-15 07:08:00

Gabilan yes he has a thick tongue but it took me a while to figure this out as he has a large mouth and I was always told thin bits are harsher. In the end he was happy (retired now) in a Demi-Anky Bradoon used on its own (he managed to adv med in this and I think would have continued with no need for a double had other problems not led to his retirement).

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