Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eventing Country
• Horses: 0
Alright, if you can read through this, you deserve a chocolate chip cookie.
The first time I was ever introduced to a gag bit, was when I was riding my Husbands Draft X. I was told that was the bit he used and to stick with it by my MIL so I did what I was told.
I signed up for a Dorothy Crowell Clinic, the first time I ever rode under Dorothy *she comes here every winter for our local pony club, I've ridden under her over 5 times now* anyways - so I signed up for Novice and was in the indoor arena, where Dorothy was doing a Tack Check.
She took one look at the Single Jointed Egg Butt Gag Bit I had in my Husbands Horses Mouth, and she ripped me a new one.
I cannot remember the exact words she used, but the gyst was - "if you have to use a bit like this for a certain level of control at the low level you are riding at, I would hate to see where your level of control is when you progress - IF you progress to higher levels.
If you think you need to resort to a bit like this, you most definitely need to go back and re-think your level of dressage/flat work. You don't belong on a CC course, you belong in the dressage ring and going back to the Training Scale and Basics"
I was like "this is the bit I was told to use on him" and I was instantly instructed to go back to the barn and change it. Of course I did.
Dorothy Crowell rides directly under Jim Wofford *Jim Wofford is to Eventers as what George Morris is to Hunter/Jumpers*
SO - that was when I was first had my eyes opened to what a Gag Bit was and did.
I hate them. I tried a Gag Bit on Nelson when I fox hunted him, he gets really strong and forward out in very large gatherings such as fox hunts - and it did NOTHING but teach him to evade. His head was so tucked in and low, I swore we were going to fall on our faces.
Never used a gag bit again.
Another Eventing Clinic I rode in, was taught by Bill Hoos. Another Olympic Level EVenter. After my session with him, I watched the Training/Prelim level group, and they were all in 3 ring elevator bits. Same gyst as a gag.
I asked Bill what he had thought about Eventers using Elevator Bits and Gag Bits - and he was just as disgusted as Dorothy Was. Same response.
Obviously this uneducated rider on MySpace hasn't been "educated" properly on how important the fundamentals of dressage is, the Training Scale and how to ride from back to front.
She needs to sign up for a clinic with Dorothy Crowell - lol. Whomever thinks bits fix problems, or bits create balance or better head set - is lacking education themselves.
I know that comes out as harsh sounding, and we can't really blame this rider - the blame falls on her coach, her educator or lack of.
I can see a time and a place for bits such as these - FOR A QUICK FIX FOR THAT PARTICULAR RIDE AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT - but not a long term solution to anything.
For example, elevator bit for Nelson when we fox hunt. He becomes a serious handful where I need that xtra "bit" so that we can stay out of the senior riders and not interfear with the hounds and the sport. Where I can have a safer more controlled ride when out amongst 20 - 30 other riders.
Again, quick fix. Not a solution.