Originally Posted by JustDressageIt
The wonder bit is not a snaffle; it employs a leverage and gag action. I actually greatly dislike the so-called "wonder bit."
The poster's statement was that it can be used as a snaffle, and indeed it can be. Simply unclip the reins from the bottom of the shanks and reattach at the ring. Presto change-o....two bits in one.
[/quote]Also, I disagree with Bubba - textured bits are definitely more harsh than smooth bits - the ridges irritate the lips. Posted via Mobile Device
If you're riding with an ultra thin mouth or one with super raised ridges--neither of which applies to the snaffle pictured--then sure. Or if you're jerking on the reins and see-sawing the bit back and forth like some sort of backwards redneck wannabe. Or if you've got a horse with extremely sensitive lips (I was in for a rude awakening one day when I managed to raw up a horse's mouth--for the first and only time--using a fat smooth snaffle and riding with light hands under normal conditions....turns out she was just uber-sensitive). But all of those are sort of extenuating circumstances. What's that old saying about the bit being only as harsh as the hands?
And tiny, let me refer you to a segment from my epic (and controversial) bitting thread: Gag bits (called elevator bits in the English world) seem to have a negative connotation, perhaps because their name conjures up images of a horse spitting and choking on a too-tight mouthpiece. In fact, when used correctly, gag bits can be quite mild. I personally like them (and Wonder/Half-Wonder bits in particular) for teaching collection, flexion, and lateral movement to a green horse moving out of a snaffle. Gag bits are popular in the training pen, barrel racing and in gaited horse communities.
Physically, they are composed of the mouthpiece (often a chain or snaffle mouth), shanks of varying lengths, and a curb. What sets them apart from ordinary curb bits is that the mouthpiece is not fixed in place—it is free to move and slide about. This is the “gag action.” When pressure is applied via the reins, the bit rotates and the mouthpiece slides around the ring. When the curb has tightened as much as it can and/or the mouthpiece reaches the end of its track, increasing pressure is applied from the mouthpiece. Poll pressure is also applied as the curb mouthpiece slides and the bridle effectively shortens. This gag action gives the horse plenty of warning from the time the rider picks up the reins to the time harsh pressure is applied. It also allows for independent movement of the shanks, meaning you can “pick up” one side of the horses head without affecting the other—great for lateral movement.
I'm not all that high on Wonder bits for everyday riding, and certainly not for green horses all the time. I think they're a temporary learning tool. They help to teach bend/flex/collection, but you can really leverage a horse's head down with them, what with all that shank length you've got. Quite a bit of poll pressure, curb, and corner-of-the-mouth-pulling-up effect when you really crank on the reins, so they're not for inexperienced riders. And I fault the full Wonders (and the newer half Wonders that Reinsman makes, as opposed to their older ones) for having that unfortunate round bulge on the front of the gag, which inhibits smooth sliding of the mouthpiece. Too much gag, and too hard to access (this makes sense in my head but I have a feeling I'm not coming across very clearly right now). That, and the single-jointed "snaffle" mouthpiece has all of its inherent issues. But the Wonder is an all-right sort of bit, to summarize.