Bits that create balance

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Bits that create balance

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  • English balance bit horse
  • What is balance for equine bits

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    05-25-2009, 12:03 AM
Bits that create balance

So I was on MySpace in this one group and this girl was posting how she needs cheek pieces for her new gag bit. Mind you she's a teenager and I highly doubt educated enough for riding in that bit - which imo is a bit that has uses in hands of riders and on horses that are few and far between. Anyway, her reasoning is that "The bit is only harsh if used incorrectly...which im not either, its used to balance up the horse."

Now obviously I disagree - for any type of riding, English or Western. Balance comes from proper training and riding and conditioning. But I wanted to know has anyone else heard/been told this? That they should use bit X because it will help their horse balance up? I know I see it all the time in catalogs "great for balancing the horse in corners and lifting the shoulder" and stuff like that and it just makes me so mad! Sorry - pet peeve! Just wanted to rant/share and hear other's reactions!
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    05-25-2009, 12:20 AM
I totally agree.

A friend of mine purchased a bit a while back for a barrel horse she was riding. I believe it was a bob Alva, but I can't completely recall. Anyway, its a double jointed western bit, copper inlays, and the middle section has sort of a port to it. It can be used as a snaffle or curb bit, the reins just have to be dropped down.


This girl insists that the bit is used to set his head, and she dosent have to do anything. He's a tiny arabian, ridden english, in such a big bit? At least use it as a snaffle and do SOME work.

I work very hard with my gelding to break at the poll on long rides, and he's difficult to ride. Why should she have to do this quick fix when even I can do it (welll try. Lol) without this crutch?

    05-25-2009, 12:26 AM
LOL GTD, I totally agree - however just note that she's not getting anything other than headset - which means a false frame and improper movement, which is incorrect any way you look at it. That's why taking the long way and doing it right is better - it's the only TRUE way to yield proper results. Does that mean that there is no place for artificial aids? No. But there's a time and a place and a use and NO aid should ever work off pain!
    05-25-2009, 12:44 AM
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.
    05-25-2009, 12:55 AM
Creating balance through a bit?


Maybe the bit was special made to counterbalance the heaviness his tail has.

A pound of metal (if that much, I honestly haven't a clue what a bit weighs!! However much $14 from Canada to MI costs, hey MIE?) isn't going to "create balance" within a horse.
    05-25-2009, 12:57 AM
LOL JDI!!!!!

How much does a pound of B/S weigh?? Maybe you should ask her that?
    05-25-2009, 01:00 AM
Originally Posted by mieventer    
lol jdi!!!!!

How much does a pound of b/s weigh?? Maybe you should ask her that?
    05-25-2009, 12:14 PM
Green Broke
Great discussion ladies, I agree!

A bit is only a training device, no more, no less. The amount of balance, roundness, and bend comes from how well the rider knows how to use it .
    05-25-2009, 08:59 PM
Originally Posted by MIEventer    
She took one look at the Single Jointed Egg Butt Gag Bit
What is the difference between that and a regular eggbut snaffle?
    05-25-2009, 09:28 PM
A gag bit is one that has holes in the rings and can slide up the cheekpieces:


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