single link vs. french link

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single link vs. french link

This is a discussion on single link vs. french link within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Oval mouth vs french link
  • Why is my horse resisting the french link snaffle

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    07-26-2012, 07:54 AM
single link vs. french link

I have always been under the impression single linked and french/double linked (not dr bristols) snaffels are both mild bits, but the french is slightly milder due to the nutcracker action being reduced with 2 links, and the fact a horse with a small mouth wont get a joint sticking into their palet. There also seems to be more 'play' in a french link which the horses seem to prefer, and the two sides work slightly more seperate for finer control.

However, I recently overheard a shop assistant in a horsey store telling a mother/daughter combo the french link was slightly harsher. I casually stopped to evesdrop as I was curious (and needed to look at the bit section anyway ) She said the 2 links made the bit have a harsher action.

Either way I will continue to ride in my french link as Alli deffinatly prefers it over the single link snaffel, but now I'm like, am I wrong? I kinda thought I knew enough about bits to get me by A french link is slightly harsher?
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    07-26-2012, 08:15 AM
Your first statement is correct. 3-link snaffle (either oval mouth or french link) is milder than 2-link.
    07-26-2012, 08:50 AM
What Val said.

The extra link in the french link allows it to lay flatter which like you said is nicer for horses with small mouths. My Arab for example won't close his mouth when you use a regular snaffle on him.
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    07-26-2012, 09:05 AM
Cheers for clearing that one up guys! Hmm... its a nice feeling knowing I was right for once hehehe
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    07-26-2012, 10:27 AM
I wouldn't describe either as having a harsher action. Depends on the horse. My horses, on the whole, seem to prefer a D-ring snaffle. That includes my Arabian, and my 3/4 Arabian Appy (who has a tiny head). I know people who say their horses strongly prefer a french link.

I don't really think harsher or milder is the best way to approach thinking about bits. I think of bits as amplifiers. They amplify the signal coming thru the reins. Some have more, and some have less. Also, some provide a clearer signal to an individual horse than others. Knowing which gives the clearest signal would require you to now exactly what it is about an individual bit that the horse is basing its response on. Since that is tough to know, trying different bits allows you to find which bit makes your horse respond correctly with the least fuss.

All just IMHO.
    07-26-2012, 10:37 AM
Bsms, we are not talking about horse's preference, but about the effect on mouth when you have contact. 3-links still a milder bit if we talk about pressure and distribution. It doesn't mean horse will hate 2-link - some prefer 2-link bits.
    07-26-2012, 11:04 AM
If 3 links are milder than two, why do my horses prefer two? Are they masochists?

A two link snaffle is not harsher than 3 links. It has a different action, which some horses seem to prefer. Properly used, it does not fold up and gouge the horse's mouth - not unless you are pulling directly down on the reins, which is impossible while mounted.

A french link snaffle irritates my Arabian mare. I don't know why. I do know she starts tossing her head and acting like she wants to spit it out. I know of other horses who LOVE french link snaffles. But not my Arabian mare. And not my 3/4 Arabian Appy. My BLM mustang doesn't seem to give a rat's rear either way.

There is nothing inherently milder about a french link. It applies pressure to different parts. Is it the tongue? The lips? The roof of the mouth (which I doubt for either bit)? Maybe 2 of my horses don't like the way it touches their tongues. I don't know, but I've ridden my mare with both types of bits sequentially several times, and I know how SHE responds.
    07-26-2012, 11:55 AM
Bsms, let me repeat preference and harshness are 2 different things. My horses are not fans of french link either, but like oval mouth (both bits are equal in action). So what? Does it make one harsher? No, just horse's preference. Each horse is a live creature with own mind + the mouth structure is different for every horse and should be taken into account. For example, the wide bits will distribute the pressure better and are considered to be milder. However the horse with the small/narrow mouth may not be comfortable using one and goes better with the thinner bit (my paint is an example).

There was a really nice article on pressure and all, I'll try to find it when I have some time.
    07-26-2012, 12:18 PM
If three links makes a bit milder, then how about a dozen?

There is more to mild than how much the bit can curve. For example, the french link bit my mare hates has loose O-rings. Would she do better with a full cheek french link? Or a D-ring french link? But maybe the french link lies more on her tongue, and that irritates her tongue. Why would irritating the tongue be milder than irritating the roof? And why should we assume a 2-link snaffle irritates the roof?

Is a rope sidepull halter milder than any snaffle? Standing still, at least, the answer is yes. But my horses are more confident (and thus less likely to get scared and bolt) when they know exactly what their rider wants them to do. And that communication is apparently easier with a bit than without. I can slow them down with far less pressure and trouble with a bit that with a rope halter, because I can cue them to extend each stride just a little less than what they are doing - and in 10 strides, bring them down from a wild canter to a relaxed one. With a rope halter, the imprecision of the communication tends to result in my needing to pull hard on their face and, by the time they get the idea, they drop from a canter to a trot or even walk - while acting irritated because I asked them to canter and then stopped them & they want me to make up my mind.

So is a rope halter milder than a snaffle? With a less excitable horse, the answer may be yes. With mine, the real answer is no.

My point is that 2 or 3 links do not determine mild. Mild depends on how the horse interprets things. The curve of the bit in the mouth may or may not be significant to the horse, so a more freely curving bit may or may not result in less pressure being applied to the horse's mouth during riding.
    07-26-2012, 01:16 PM
Originally Posted by bsms    
For example, the french link bit my mare hates has loose O-rings. Would she do better with a full cheek french link? Or a D-ring french link?
For some horses - absolutely. Although it has nothing to do with harshness, but rather with movement. My qh refuses to work in loose rings with exactly same mouthpiece as on her eggbutt, putting eggbutt on my paint is a pain in butt because she locks on it.

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