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Bit advice!

(36 Posts)
Scabbersley Wed 15-Nov-17 09:46:53

My 15 year old has a cracking jumping pony (well he's 15.1 but we call him a pony!). He's been off for a bit with a bad back, has a new saddle now, physio has been out and he's going really well. A bit too well in fact! Although he's been hacked and lunged he is back to his old self in that he is very strong when jumping. He's a good boy, not naughty, just ears pricked, very keen, big powerful jump. Her shoulders nearly got pulled out in a lesson yesterday and instructor recommended a stronger bit (he's in a universal). He tends to lean so she said a waterford version of what he's got now would be good. I am a bit nervous to put him in this as he's so willing and genuine I don't want to freak him out with a strong bit. But dd is torn between wanting more control and not wanting to upset him. Advice would be welcome!

QuestionableMouse Wed 15-Nov-17 17:38:56

Better a strong bit gently used than constantly yanking on his mouth in something milder.

RestingBitchFaced Wed 15-Nov-17 17:57:25

Definitely sounds like he needs a stronger bit - listen to your instructor

sparechange Wed 15-Nov-17 18:22:00

Have you got a bit library near you?

It might be worth trying a couple and seeing how they both get on with different options

If you don’t have one and given how pricey Universals are, I’d be inclined to try and Dutch gag, but probably as a French link rather than Waterford

Scabbersley Wed 15-Nov-17 20:44:29

Thanks. We've tried him in a three ring gag on the bottom ring and he hated it. Could try the second ring

rotavixsucks Wed 15-Nov-17 20:46:26

I'd recommend a Waterford version of what your currently using; what your using he seems happy in but the Waterford mouthpiece would prevent him leaning on it and grabbing onto the bit.

DullAndOld Wed 15-Nov-17 20:47:32

I am not surprised he hated the three ring gag on the bottom ring! why would you do that to a horse?
What about a Pelham ?

lastqueenofscotland Wed 15-Nov-17 21:16:27

I'd definitely look at a Waterford. Or a butterfly flip but maybe if you can borrow one first... they aren't cheap

DullAndOld Wed 15-Nov-17 21:20:59

sorry but all these stronger and stronger bits being recommended is not the way forward.
First of all, listen to the instructor, about the waterford suggestion.
you do not need a 'dutch gag' or 'butterfly flip' before exploring the option of more lessons for your daughter to improve her riding seat, so she is not hanging onto the horses mouth all the time.
Sorry but i had to say it.

sparechange Wed 15-Nov-17 21:25:16


The instructor is recommending a stronger bit! There is no suggestion the rider is hauling anything about or making up for a lack of independent seat...

Personally I find curb bits much harsher in the wrong hands than a mild gag action, yet you’re suggesting a Pelham?

DullAndOld Wed 15-Nov-17 21:28:27

ye i was thinking that about the Pelham too, tbh, people always do the curb chain too tight and in the wrong hands it is too strong.
i thought the instructor was suggesting a waterford version of what she is using now? so not stronger, just harder to take hold of?
Sorry but i stick to what i said, get more lessons, cheaper too

MarmiteandToast Wed 15-Nov-17 21:38:36

Sometimes riders need more lessons. Sometimes horses are just keen and need a different sort of bit.

Otherwise professionals would only ever jump in French link snaffles!

Try Waterford first OP, but I think Pelhams are effective if riders got good hands

Good luck, sounds like a lovely pony!

MarmiteandToast Wed 15-Nov-17 21:39:56

Before anyone says it I know everyone should always have lessons, even professionals, but what I mean is it doesn't sound like a lack of competence on rider's part here and some horses do respond better to a change of bit or tack

Scabbersley Wed 15-Nov-17 21:40:57

dullandold my dd has been riding since she was 2 and she's a very good rider thanks. He's a strong pony who needs to know who's boss for a bit. The plan is to go back to the universal as soon as we or instructor thinks we can.

Scabbersley Wed 15-Nov-17 21:41:36

And she has a lesson twice a month and has done for the last five years!!

Fosterdog123 Wed 15-Nov-17 21:46:31

Sometimes, a horse just needs a stronger bit and all the schooling in the world won't change that.

Alternatively, you could try a bitless bridle 😆

Or back in the real world, a Wilkie?

DullAndOld Wed 15-Nov-17 21:46:32

Scabbersly i had no intention of being offensive, however your reaction shows that perhaps she does indeed need more lessons, if she cannot ride without hanging onto the horses mouth and using stronger and stronger bits. Maybe get a new instructor, I dont know, i am not trying to be negative.

DullAndOld Wed 15-Nov-17 21:47:16

..and a bitless bridle in the wrong hands is no better...

SquashedInTight Wed 15-Nov-17 21:48:18

Tom Thumb (sweet iron and copper). Best jumping bit I have ever used. Horses loved it, I had control, everyone was happy.

Esssa Wed 15-Nov-17 21:49:09

Dutch gags and Pelhams should be used in the same way with two reins. In that case your pony may not have objected so strongly. If you plan on using roundings you may as well use a Kimblewick instead.

I have used a Waterford mouthpiece with a loose ring on a cob who used to lean. It worked well to get her out of the habit. I ride my current mare in a Pelham with two reins. She responds well to this and takes the piss in a snaffle. She can be ridden in one but you have to constantly nag, pull and correct. As a pp has said, better a harsher bit in sympathetic hands than having to haul on a 'kinder' bit all the time.

If you can hire or borrow the recommended bit to try I would do that. It may be that something like a simple snaffle with a Kineton noseband is more effective and possibly cheaper too.

sparechange Wed 15-Nov-17 22:09:07

Where do you get that the OP’s DD is hanging onto the horses mouth?
Of the horse is leaning on the bit, it doesn’t mean the rider is hanging on.**
It might mean the horse is weaker on one rein or it might mean it’s worked out how to give itself an easier time by hanging on bit

There seem to be two issues - the leaning and the pulling.**

The leaning can be helped with a linked mouthpiece such as a Waterford or French link

The pulling needs a stronger action like a curb or gag

I also find loose rings are better for leaning horses which is why I would go for a Dutch gag or universal over a Pelham or kimblewick regardless of mouthpiece

But a universal Waterford is going to be a £100 experiment so it might be worth trying to the middle ring on a linked Dutch gag first

sparechange Wed 15-Nov-17 22:09:35

Bold fail!

DullAndOld Wed 15-Nov-17 22:13:02

well its perfectly possible isn't it?
IMO/E it's the rider that needs to change not the bit.
However ofc i could be quite wrong.
IN this sport, one must always be prepared to be wrong...

Fosterdog123 Thu 16-Nov-17 07:00:33

Dull - I didn't mean a hackamore - I meant something like a Dr Cook.

Scabbersley Thu 16-Nov-17 07:06:18

dull there's always one. You've not seen my dd ride, you've totally made up in your own head that she's hanging on to the bit confused sorry if I now ignore you as you clearly don't want to believe me.

squashedin yes we had a little pony who wore a Tom thumb for exciting stuff and he always went really well in it.

I think I'm going to try the middle ring of the Dutch gag as we have one knocking around. I completely agree essa that they should be used with two reins however we will almost certainly only be using it for fast work and jumping so I'll try it without for now.

I've used pelhams in the past and I've never had a horse that went well in one,even with two reins.

The goal is to get him back working nicely in the universal. After his break he's clearly absolutely popping with energy, I hacked him yesterday and even I struggled and I'm no spring chicken! He's lost his manners a bit so lots of transitions and hacking to clear his mind.

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