bit keepers and the Olympics - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-05-2012, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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bit keepers and the Olympics

I've been watching the TV coverage of the equestrian events in the Olympics. (Like who hasn't if you get the stations?) Maybe I'm mistaking full cheek bits for some other kind of bit, but if I'm not, I don't notice anyone using bit keepers. If that's really the best thing to do when using a full cheek bit, why are the best amateur riders in the world not using them?
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-06-2012, 06:52 AM
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Just my view, but while keepers are strictly correct they tend to fix the mouthpiece position across the horse's tongue. And because the cheeks run inline with the mouth, part of the 'steering' action you get with this type of bit is lost.

We have a horse ridden in a long-cheek snaffle without keepers. At some point we believe he's had an accident - two lower incisors are missing and the vet thinks he has a patch with no feeling on his lower lip. As a consequence he sometimes needs quite a strong rein aid for turns and the bit cheeks being at right-angles to his mouth are a real help :)

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post #3 of 12 Old 08-06-2012, 07:09 AM
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I hadn't noticed this. Can you mention any horse/rider pairs in particular?
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-06-2012, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maura View Post
I hadn't noticed this. Can you mention any horse/rider pairs in particular?
Drat, no, I can't. I know it was in the show jumping though, because I haven't yet had a chance to watch the XC coverage. Here's links to the show jumping videos on the NBC Olympics site:

Show Jumping day 1:
Individual, Team Jumping Day 1 - Equestrian Video | NBC Olympics

Show Jumping day 2:
Show Jumping Day 2 - Equestrian Video | NBC Olympics

Individual Eventing Jumping Final:
Individual Eventing: Jumping Final - Equestrian Video | NBC Olympics

Pretty sure Beezie Madden was using a full cheek bit without bit keepers, you can see that in this video. I don't have time right now to re-watch the other rides.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-06-2012, 07:44 PM
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I can pretty clearly see keepers on Beezie's horse, Via Volo.

Don't have time to rewatch the other rides, either.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-06-2012, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by maura View Post
I can pretty clearly see keepers on Beezie's horse, Via Volo.

Don't have time to rewatch the other rides, either.
I must've just missed them on her horse then. Not like Beezie and Via Volo were standing still for my inspection. ;) If I have time to re-watch the other rides I'll pay more attention and see if I can list any rider/horse pairs that don't seem to be using them.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-07-2012, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by maura View Post
I can pretty clearly see keepers on Beezie's horse, Via Volo.
I just watched the video of her third run and I put it on full screen so I could look. You're right, the bit keepers are there, but boy are they easy to miss!
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-07-2012, 07:33 PM
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Without a keeper, the upper shank of a full cheek points forward about 15 degrees from the cheekpiece of the bridle.

I looked at the angle of the bit first, for the little leather loops second.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-07-2012, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maura View Post
Without a keeper, the upper shank of a full cheek points forward about 15 degrees from the cheekpiece of the bridle.

I looked at the angle of the bit first, for the little leather loops second.
I guess I was mostly just judging by what I perceived the angle to be, but with the horses moving around and the view not always being close up you can see why I missed them.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-10-2012, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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What about Eric Lamaze on Derly Chin De Muze? I paused it at 1:49:52 in this video and took a look at full screen. Is it possible to use bit keepers with a figure eight, or not?

Britain Wins Gold In Jumpoff With Netherlands - Equestrian Video | NBC Olympics

The announcer mentioned that the mare is relatively inexperienced, so perhaps Eric wanted the extra "steering" ability?
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