bit keepers? need them or not - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-29-2010, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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bit keepers? need them or not

Not sure if that is the correct term for the piece of leather or rubber that you use to hold the full cheek tilted back. Since I am bad at describing stuff here is a visual:

I have always been told that you HAVE TO HAVE that piece to hold the bit at the correct angle. However, I have heard more and more people say that you don't really need to have that piece.

So what exactly does that piece do, and do I need it?

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post #2 of 10 Old 04-29-2010, 10:35 PM
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You do.

The Full Cheek was designed to sit in the horses mouth at a particular angle, so for it be to effective, the bit must be used with the keepers. Also, the keepers keep the full cheek bars, secure. Meaning, they are secured to not get caught on anything, to not rattle around while in use and prevents anything from happening, that could happen if the cheek pieces were not secured by the keepers.

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post #3 of 10 Old 04-29-2010, 10:40 PM
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You do not absolutely *need* them on your bridle/bit combination. MIE is correct in saying that they keep the bit at the correct angle, however, and it is recommended to use them... but no, you don't absolutely need them.
Without them they are more akin to a Dee ring, but with more lateral pressure and you cannot pull the bit through the mouth.

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post #4 of 10 Old 04-30-2010, 10:20 AM
Green Broke
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Ive never used them with my mare that goes with a full cheek. She's fine without them, and if it isn't hurting and she's fine an it's working, then why change?
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-30-2010, 05:58 PM
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It is a safety hazard if you do not have them on. The horse could try to swat a fly on it's side and magically the bit gets stuck in the stirrup iron. The horse freaks out.

With my friends horse this happened she freaked out so bad that she wrecked her mouth and neck.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-02-2010, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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SPL - I have heard of horses doing that even with bit keepers, which is why I have tried to stay away from the full cheek all together as I am really paranoid.

I thought that you did, my trainer says that you do, but then after talking to a friend she said her trainer who is a prominent trainer in the area and who my trainer studied under for a long time says that you don't so I was feeling very confused.

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post #7 of 10 Old 05-02-2010, 07:07 PM
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I used to use them, somehow i lost the ones i had an the last few times i didn't use them.

However, i would rather be safe than sorry so need to pick up another set. What harm is it in using them, even if it works okay without them?

"Animals are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole."
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-03-2010, 07:54 AM
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MIE and JDI have it.

There is no reason to use a full cheek if you are not going to use keepers with it.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-16-2011, 10:07 PM
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Well in your picture you have them on your horse wrong the keepers need to be inside not on the outside if you know what i mean and under the metal hook (:
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-17-2011, 12:58 AM
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The interesting thing about full-cheek snaffles is a lot of western riders use them too, for starting colts (ie. John Lyons). Western headstalls never have the bit keepers with them.

Now I see how the keepers hold the bit in a nice position from the photo posted in the beginning of this thread. So I am not going to say the keepers don't serve a good purpose. But I also don't see how not having them really hurts anything either. At the very least, it would function like a D-ring, as someone else said.

As for getting the bit stuck in the cinch or other tack- I've had that happen once too, but not with a full-cheek, with a curb! The horse reached around to bite an itch and the end of the shank went through his string cinch and got caught there. He started turning in circles kind of frantically, but luckily he's a level headed horse and after a moment stood still so I could jump off and get him unhooked. So that is a possibility, however remote, with other bits too, not just full-cheeks.

I am a western rider, but kind of look at a full-cheek as a snaffle with almost a side-pull function going on at the same time. So I think it's a very useful bit. It's a mild snaffle, but you can manually turn the horse if you have to too.
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