curious...leverage bits - curbchains = ? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-15-2009, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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curious...leverage bits - curbchains = ?

i was having a discussion on bits with a friend of mine.

she was talking about how she dosen't like curb chains. i was told that leverage bits without a curb chain (my trainer and i where refering to kimberwicks) offered leverage, but it was signifigantly decreased.

and i was also wondering, with ported bits.. i read that they have to be a certian hight to reach the roof of the horse's mouth... is this correct? at what hight does the port interfere with the roof of the mouth?

i get a little frustrated with this girl.. she rides in a big western bit with 2 breaks and calls it a snaffle. she rides with this bit to 'set the horse's head', i wanted to help her, get her a snaffle and some dressage help, but she never listens to my agruments because im younger then her.


Last edited by Go The Distance; 08-15-2009 at 06:00 PM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-15-2009, 06:07 PM
Green Broke
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Curb chain = sever[er] than without.

A very low port (almost mullen) I beleive won't hit the roof, but if it is big enough for you to get your finger in the gap it will, yes.

Most people are like Slinkies; they serve no real purpose, but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-15-2009, 06:37 PM
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With a curb chain doesn't necessarily mean more harsh. It all depends on the rider's hands.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-15-2009, 08:46 PM
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IMO, Riding in a bit with shanks and no chain defeats the purpose of riding in a shanked bit at all. Even a gag's shanks need a chain. It's the chain that exerts the leverage. Otherwise you're just turning the bit around in the horse's mouth and not really doing anything.

You pull the reins, the shanks tip. At 45 degrees the curb chain is engaged and is pushed into the chin groove, which causes the headstall to pull down on the poll and the chain to squeeze up the head simultaneously. (in a curb bit, anyway). In a gag, you're supposed to use double reins, a curb rein and a gag rein. The shanks actually slip and move up and down at the mouth and pick the horse's head up. The chain kinda acts like a point of rotation when you activate the curb rein.Since she calls her bit a "snaffle" and doens't use a curb chain, I'm sure she uses 2 hands when she rides and direct reins like in english, too. As far as the head setting goes, which is where the port question comes from?...The port's height matters, but not as much as the bit's balance. You can teach a horse to set his head in a low port just as you can set it with a cathedral mouth (blech...but that's the opposite). The horse wants the bit to be cozy in his mouth. How the bit sits in his mouth is what makes him pick his head up or put it down. If you hold the bit on the port on your finger, does it tip forward or back or straight up and down...that's the "balance". The more backward the bit balances the more the horse will be more willing to put his head down to make it fit more comfy...(the balance is determined by the shape of the shanks).

My friend, it has nothing to do with your age. You will find that no matter how old you are or how much concrete proof you bring to some folks, they will just never listen and therefore they will literally never learn. You could dangle it right in front of their nose and they still won't see it (not can't...won't). Those folks will always wonder why their horses don't behave as well as others', why the horse can't do this or that, why the horse takes so long to learn anything, and why the horse just doesn't listen. If you look around, they're not the best horsemen, and depending on which area(s) of equine science is being discussed (as much as they insist their way is superior), you'll find that: their riding skills are often obviously lacking, they're the only ones who can ride their horses (because their training techniques are so out-of-touch from the industry standard), their horses are always sore, and sometimes the horse looks like crap or acts like an idiot. If you're gonna be around them, the best thing you can do is just be there to pick them up off the ground, dust them off, and perhaps call the EMS when the horse has had enough. }:}~

Of course, that's not saying there's only ONE right way to do things...but fundamentally, what I'm addressing is the equivalent of people who insist on pounding nails with screwdrivers. O.o LOL
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-15-2009, 09:57 PM
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^^ Agreed. The purpose of a shanked curb bit is so that the rein cues can be minimal and still be completely effective. Taking the curb chain off will significantly reduce the leverage but depending on the length of the purchase and the training on the horse, all it may end up doing is pivoting in the horses mouth with little real effect. If it is a ported bit with hinges at each side of the port that she is riding in, then it is a "correction" bit, not a snaffle.
?? Similar to this??

??Or This?? (this is nothing more than a dogbone TT)

No real snaffle has shanks regardless of the mouthpiece. Whether it hits the palate depends as much on the horse's mouth as it does the port height. For a horse with a high palate, he may carry a med/high port with no problem; but a horse with a very low palate may have interference problems with a low port or sweetwater mouth. If she doesn't like curb chains, there are tons of ringed, solid mouth bits or barrel mouth bits like a Billy Allen or Myler out there that wouldn't be pointless like a curb bit with no chain.

And there are even some ported snaffles out there too.

And for what it is worth, you are right. Training makes a proper headset, bits alone don't. But like Liberty said, some people will just not listen or ever learn.

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post #6 of 8 Old 08-15-2009, 10:58 PM
Green Broke
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A curb without the chain makes it more like a gag bit than a curb bit. Yes, you have a little leverage, but on what? There's no fixed fulcrum (sp?) for the leverage to act on, so the whole bit moves around when you pull back on the reins.

Tell your friend to check out the web site Sustainable Dressage. She has a great section about bits and a section on "frame."
::: Sustainable Dressage - Tack & Auxillary Equipment - The Bridle & the Bit :::
::: Sustainable Dressage - Collection & Its Evasions - Preface :::
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-16-2009, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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thank you all very much!

i learned a bit about leavers and what not in science this past semester, and i can see where the curb chain acts as a fulcrum. (smorbs, her bit is kind of like the second one you posted, but with longer shanks and a longer space from the mouth piece to the connection to the bridle[i think its called the purchase] and a ported link, i told her it was a 'dogbone' and she just looked at me like "wtf." haha)

she was telling me that the bit was supposed to put pressure on the poll, but it dosen't work right because of her bridle. (is this total B.s.?) she uses an endurance halter/bridle combo with bit hangers, the same one i use. (both of my mares ride in snaffles.... a loose ring french link/ flavored full cheek for my TB and a solid flavored rubber full cheek for the arab filly) she was questioning me about a solid rubber bit today, too. hmm....

oh and the question about the ports was just something ihave been wondering, i kinda didn't understand how a horse could have so much space between the tounge and the roof of the mouth! haha.

Last edited by Go The Distance; 08-16-2009 at 08:30 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-16-2009, 09:29 PM
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Are you serious? LOL The halter-bridle has nothing to do with it. The bitting snaps on a halter-bridle work exactly the same way they work on a regular leather bridle. I use one all the time and my bits work just as well as in my regular bridle. They snap to the main side piece - the headstall - and pull down. That main piece is still the part that goes behind the ears and sits at the poll. The noseband does absolutely nothing. The only time a noseband on any bridle actually has a purpose is for a snaffle bridle with a flash band. Otherwise it's just something to look at. On a halter-bridle, it's a convenient and safe way to tie off your horse (never tie off to the bit).

Nope. The bit don't work right cuz there ain't no curb chain on it....See?...What'd I tell ya...whatever they insist on knowing so much ain't workin' for 'em...and they come up with some of the best reasons why (except the real one), don't they? LOL (This seems like one of those situations..."When you find yourself in a hole, quit diggin'.") }:}~

Last edited by Liberty Valance; 08-16-2009 at 09:32 PM.
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bit , bits , curb bit , curb chain , leverage

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