Waterford Bit for a horse heavy on the hands? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 06-18-2011, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ireland
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Waterford Bit for a horse heavy on the hands?

When doing flatwork, I ride my mare in a loose ring snaffle with a french link - she's fussy with bits and detests the nutcracker joint action. She goes well in it and seems comfortable enough.
However, when I go to jump, it's a different story. She tends to get so excited that she just races off around the course as fast as she can go. I understand that this is probably a schooling problem as well, and a change of bit won't work magic but it might help.
About a year or two ago, due to being completely unable to hold her in the snaffle to jump, I changed to a dutch gag for shows. I hoped that if I rode her in the snaffle at home, and jumped her in it at home, with lots of schooling I would eventually be able to go back to riding in the snaffle at shows, however that plan didn't really work out - if anything, she has grown and gotten a lot stronger over the past two years.
I really don't like riding in the gag, and Bella doesn't seem at all comfortable in it, but out of the bits I've tried it's the only one I can hold her in.
A friend mentioned the Waterford bit to me today, and how it stops the horse leaning - which is exactly what Bella does. But I've also read that it's useless in encouraging them to ride on the bit. I don't like the idea of getting her to go nicely on the bit in the snaffle at home, then go out to jump and have her ride like a giraffe, completely undermining all my flatwork schooling due to the bit.
Would it be worth a try? Or are there any other bits I could look into?

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post #2 of 2 Old 06-18-2011, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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That was the exact reason I went to a Waterford-years ago. I used the snaffle style waterford for flat work, and when I did cross country and needed even more control I used my Waterford gag. I would say it helped, and got me thru many years. If I could go back, I probably would have reschooled my horse. He is not as heavy on the forehand with the waterford, but he still is. He never learned to be light ad soft, like he should have.
It will definitely help you have control. They cannot lean on it well at all. However, your horse will not become any lighter. IMO training is the only way to help that.

As a side note-we have done LOTS of work with my new guy avoiding this issue. I have been riding him in a halter (rope halter) the last 6 months, and yesterday, tried a bit, since I would rather like to use one when I trail ride. He was actually heavier and harder to control in the bit! I was amazed, and will continue trying to get him as soft with the bit as without....but that one shocked me. It definitely IS training.

If my guy that needs the waterford was not arthritis and now 22 yrs old, I certainly would retrain him. no doubt. i wish I had the knowledge then that I have now.

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