09-07-2007, 02:31 PM
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Any sort of gag is a combination or hybrid bit; with the rein attached to the large ring, its just a snaffle. With the use of the leverage cheeks and the rein through the smaller rings, it becomes a curb bit. The leverage action causes the horse to raise his/her head. In theory, this gives the rider more control with a horse who likes to take the bit and ignore the rider (such as in habitual runaways, or easily excitable, strong horses).
If the horse goes in the bit on the snaffle setting, the owner may use it just because the horse goes well in that bit due to the size, thickness of the mouthpiece, whatever. If the horse goes in the bit on the leverage setting...I'd watch out. As far as I'm concerned, it just indicates a shortcut in liu of good training.
It seems that many of the horse people I've met from Friesland use this type of bit, but only on the snaffle setting...I've never seen any of them use it as a leverage bit.