Which is your favorite bit/nonbit? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 38 Old 10-14-2012, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by PunksTank View Post
Cool! I love french links too for the same reason. I personally prefer the idea behind a loose ring, but find not many horses like it as much. I wonder if it's pinchy?

Thanks for participating I'm just hoping to make this an education thread, everytime there's a Bit question on here I learn so much ^^
Almost every horse I have found/heard of loves loose ring snaffles. Horses that don't like them tend to not like them because its not a really solid steady contact, the cheeks rotate and turn which helps some horses accept the bit, and others it just plain drives them crazy.

I love double jointed bits (french links and lozenge ones) and also the Myler Comfort Snaffles which are single jointed bits with a barrel over the joint which eliminates the nutcracker action. I am not a huge fan of single jointed bits because of their nutcracker action.

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post #12 of 38 Old 10-14-2012, 01:08 AM
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My Paint horse likes his D-ring snaffle with copper rollers. We used it in the ring for training but now we can use it on the trail as he has become more responsive and less distracted by other horses. My Arab/Saddlebred likes his full cheek snaffle with copper rollers too. We can ride in the ring and on trails etc, and team pen with a D-ring version of the same. He's a great hors to ride. I think he may have ESP! I am thinking of trying a French link with them both next.
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post #13 of 38 Old 10-14-2012, 02:22 AM
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OKAY. Here I go....I'm just going to leave this page up and type little by little since I'm multitasking so I wonder how long it's going to take for this to actually get written?

I feel like I should go from colt to finished here.

First off, every colt is started obviously in a snaffle. Easy to understand. Just a gentle loose ring snaffle. Normally I just start out with a cheap single jointed one, but I am in love with lifesaver/french link snaffles as well. Once the horse is riding in an arena they get their own snaffle on their own headstall.

Next, we heve to evaluate what the horse is going to be doing. Is this colt going to be a barrel racer? Jumping? Dressage? Reining? Cows? Trails? Pleasure?

Me, being mainly a barrel racer now, am almost always riding barrel horses. For that reason when it's time to move up in bits I generally use a Jr. Cowhorse or a Sweet Six. The mouthpiece depends on the horse, I like an iron wrapped lifesaver or a copper roller on a step up bit; no single joints for me on a shank bit, and I find the gag giving that extra poll pressure and a little more warning is good for a lot of colts. I also really like a tender touch, which is by Sharon Camarillo (Same as the Sweet Sixes)

Jr Cow Horse Bits - The Tack Stop

Sweet Six - The Tack Stop

Tender Touch - The Tack Stop

If the horse is going to be showing in any sort of performance pattern or rail classes (Reining, cowhorse, pleasure, western eq, etc) I use a Billy Allen shank bit. Generally starting with a short shank. The bit allows for lateral flexion because of the joint but eliminates pinching because of the barrel mouthpiece, and doesn't have a port so therefore one less thing for the horse to get used to. Also, I really love the one with the D rings on the side because it can be used as a snaffle if you need to by switching the rings. If in the middle of the session I need a snaffle, I don't have to change headgear. If I need a little more, I'll find a ported bit later.

Billy Allen Bits

However, even though I do bit up for shows, I do most of all training and schooling in a snaffle still and then maybe once a week or so go up in the bits depending on what they need. Also these are not set in stone. I am willing to try almost any bit to find something that the horse likes. And if they don't like the bit? Fine, we'll go to an S hack or a bitless bridle or something like that.

Little S Hackamore - The Tack Stop

Other bits I have and use frequently:

O Ring Combo Bit
Ring Combination Rope Nose Hackamore - The Tack Stop

Goosetree Simplicity
Simplicity Bit Smooth Snaffle - The Tack Stop

Loomis Gags
Loomis Gag Bit w Browband - The Tack Stop

Josey Tear Drop, and Josey Prime Time. I wanna talk a little about these two. I only use these on VERY strong horses on the barrel pattern in competition; My second choice for a strong horse after the O ring combo, even though I know full well many people on here hate them because of the shanks (Particularly on the prime time) however bear in mind I am not putting these in the hands of a child who is going to pull and pull and yank and whip and spur. I'm holding the reins softly, and when I run the horse I am not going to touch it's face and when I do it's to get the rate and turn for all of .5 seconds and then give him his face again. I find the Josey combo bits to be extremely well made long lasting bits, so any of her combos actually I am not opposed to using. They are not my first choice however. I will also often put a noseband on the Sweet Six or Cowhorse before I go to the Prime Time or Teardrop. It just depends on the situation and how storng the horse actually is.

Josey Tear Drop Bit - The Tack Stop

PRIME TIME BIT (aka Silver Million Dollar) - The Tack Stop

And of course I would like to talk a little bit about the Cervi bits too. I find these bits to be very well balanced on a finished horse; I like them as a bit to go up to after the cowhorse and sweet six. I have also actually had a situation or two where the weight of the cervi shanks has quieted a horse. Bailey HATED any lightweight bit (Like the goosetree delight and simplicity, and the lifesaver sweet six) but I put a short shank dogbone twist on her and she quieted right down. I think she enjoyed the weighted feel of the bit. I don't use or own the long shank version of these bits, but they are quite popular right now.

Sherry Cervi Performance Bits at The Tack Stop

One more main barrel bit is actually one I only recently started using. It's a Pozzi lifter. Selena is awful with lifting into the turn just because of the way she's built, but I borrowed this bit from my trainer and it's like a totally differant horse! She lifts like a little pro in it. I'm saving to buy my own but I've been riding in it. I really, really love this bit also because of the choice of a three piece SMOOTH mouthpiece. Yes, it's true there's a barrel racing bit out there that's a three piece and not twisted! They come in short, medium, and long shank. The lack of gag and more purchase is what allows the bit for so much lift. A really well made bit, I love it and can't wait to have my own!

PC Brittany Pozzi Collection Lifter Series Long Shank 3 Piece Smooth Bit

As far as these barrel bits go, I use these specific bits but in a variety of mouthpiees depending on the horse. Just something to keep in mind.

Okay so I kinda want to talk about english for a minute which won't take too long. I never rode any horse english with anything but a snaffle in it's mouth. The horse I leased to event in my short-lived dabbling actually enjoyed my barrel horse's lifesaver snaffle, but it wasn't a very english-y look so we switched him to a Myler Comfort snaffle for showing. He was actually the reason I really got involved with Myler. I enjoy the myler system, particularly on my reiners, and still am using that same snaffle on my three year old barrel prospect right now.

I find it very fascinating to see the differance in "acceptance" of bits between western and english. Western riders tend to think of a curb bit and shanks as a way of life, while english riders almost never leave the snaffle (And even when they do it's not a huge step up, such as me using the Prime Time bit)

I'm not saying either way is wrong, I'm just saying it's interesting. I personally love the ability to choose any bit my horse likes for barrels; People don't appreciate how strong a barrel horse can get. Jumpers get incredibly strong too and so can reiners, but barrel horses have the added speed that the other disciplines don't have, which is why I'm glad it's judged only on the clock and not what I'm wearing or my equitation sometimes. I love to show reining and eq and even a little english every now and then but speed is my grand passion, so I choose the bits or bitless options that my horse goes best in.

Learn to use your hands on a horse's face and you can make most any bit kind; I just know I might end up in another bit war.

Excuse typos; Oh, and it took an hour and a half for me to finally get my act together for this little novel. lol Multitasking and ADHD.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #14 of 38 Old 10-14-2012, 03:00 AM
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This is my Fox Trotter mare's favorite bit, a Myler with short shanks and #33 mouthpiece:


She hates anything with a broken mouthpiece and the tongue clearance in this bit really seems to agree with her. Even when she is on the muscle and I have to use a little contact, she never gaps her mouth with this bit. The Myler #33 is awesome!

I also like a bit similar to this one for my gelding, since he does good in a broken mouthpiece:


Mine has a little shorter shanks. But honestly, he probably rides every bit as well in the Myler #33. If I could choose one bit for a "finished" trail horse, it would be the #33.

When my young gelding comes back from the trainer, well, I guess I'll be stuck riding in a snaffle again!
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post #15 of 38 Old 10-14-2012, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SorrelHorse View Post
I find it very fascinating to see the differance in "acceptance" of bits between western and english. Western riders tend to think of a curb bit and shanks as a way of life, while english riders almost never leave the snaffle (And even when they do it's not a huge step up, such as me using the Prime Time bit)
You know, I think it's all about contact, or lack thereof. I ride western and when my horse is doing what I want, I have either zero contact (like at a walk) or very light contact (at faster gaits).

English riders seem to ride with contact basically all the time. Which I think is weird coming from a western background. Almost like riding the brakes on. So if you are going to ride in contact constantly, then I guess you better stick to a mild bit.

With riding western, I almost see it like walking softly but carrying a big stick. Yes, the bits are harsh if you always ride in strong contact. But the goal is to ride with as little contact as possible. And a properly trained western horse is soft as butter. I like the "feel" of that. (I have also learned to ride with contact, since I think it is good to be well-rounded as a horseman and the gaited horses seem to gait a little better with light contact.)

But I would rather have a leverage bit and hardly use it than have to hold onto a horse constantly with a snaffle. I want the horse to carry himself, and not lug on my hands. It's almost like english riders are in denial that they might do better in a stronger bit, so they keep using a snaffle because it would be taboo to do otherwise.

I know every english rider on the planet will disagree with me. This is just my own opinion, so just dismiss it if you think I am in error. And I'm sure you will think I am.

I will sometimes ride in a snaffle just for fun, but my horses definitely do better in a curb. Lighter and more responsive and they automatically give their head.
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Last edited by trailhorserider; 10-14-2012 at 03:37 AM.
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post #16 of 38 Old 10-14-2012, 05:16 AM
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I like a traditional rawhide bosal hackamore. I originally started using one because I got It in my head that bits were generally nasty and wanted to try out a bosal. I had no idea what I was doing with it and when nothing seemed to work I spoke with the person who taught me to ride and he set me straight. Since then I have learned how to hackamore train horses Californian style and understandably revised my absurd assumptions about bits.
I like traditional hackamores because they provide a complete system of training and riding horses in which you can start them out from the ground and have them going to an amazing level of precision, eventually with nothing more than movements in the weight of the reins and heel of the bosal.
I start off on the ground with a 1 inch bosal wrapped in felt with a long lead rope and the bosal tied on fairly tight to give the horse the basics. From there the first few rides are in a ¾ inch bosal which is also fairly tight to maximise directness of pressure and minimise any rubbing through the horse not responding quickly enough. As the horse gets softer I move to a 5/8th inch bosal which will or wont be tight depending on what Im doing, and with which movements in the bosal are gently introduced. Once the horse is getting to about a half inch bosal they will be moving to the signal a bit so it should be reasonably lose as the horse should be looking for movements in the bosal's balance before any direct pressure gets to them, and you will probably be thinking about neck reining them by about now too. By the time they get to about a 3/8 inch bosal the horse should be working pretty much off signals with little to no pulling on the bosal, and the neck rein should be getting pretty decent. Once the horse is going with everything in a bosal, when it can do anything you are ever likely to ask of it, then we think about the two rein into a bridal.
Bosals: 1 inch, ¾ inch, 5/8, ½, 3/8, and ¼ inch bosalito.
As for bits I have an old eggbut snaffle that I found buried outside of my dormitory at boarding school, hit it with some wet and dry sand paper and its been good ever since. I also have a Garcia Spade bit and a Garcia San Joaquin bit.

I am thinking of trying our a Mullen Mouth bit on the horses I train for other people rather than the eggbut snaffle but have never used one and would like to hear anyone’s opinion of them. What I would use it for is to essentially two rein them into a snaffle bridal in the same way I would to a full bridle as when I train other people horses I start them in a hackamore then two rein them to a snaffle bit. I am hoping the Mullen Mouth will be nice and simple for them and sit nicer in their mouth than a jointed bit. Opinions are welcome.
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post #17 of 38 Old 10-15-2012, 03:06 PM
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I ride my horse in a KK Ultra 2-type. I originally had him in a regular loose ring french link, but I noticed it made the corners of his mouth a bit red after riding- he wasn't fussing, and I would have never noticed if he weren't pink skinned, but he does go better in this bit than the old one! The bit cost more than my bridle, but I figured this was not the place to cheap out!
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post #18 of 38 Old 10-15-2012, 03:24 PM
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I have an entire collection of bits, from simple Dee ring snaffles to Mikmar and KK. I like them all for various reasons on different reasons. If you told me to pick only one to keep, I would go with my KK.

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post #19 of 38 Old 10-15-2012, 03:42 PM
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I personally love my 3-piece reiners and Jr. Cowhorse bits.
I obviously start all my horses (or restart lol) in a d-ring snaffle, but as we move up and we have finesse, I move all the horses to one or the other (rather similar bits, imo) for gaming, trails, pleasure, etc. The still have the movable shanks if the horse decides it doesn't feel like neck reining and needs a bit of a reminder, yet the shanks are smaller and aren't as harsh as some of the "barrel-bits" I've seen people use. The 3 piece mouthpieces are also nice, because I know a few horses will not stand for the nutcracker action of the d-ring (or any one jointed snaffle/bit), in which I usually transition them sooner.
I get rather precise cues from it and I can use it one or two handed, with the same general concept as either a curb or snaffle. Not only can I attach my reins to the shanks, I can also attach my reins to the ring right at the bit to convert it into a double jointed snaffle.

I also love the rollers..ST chews on her bit constantly unless we're working..and according to her owner has chewed all the way through 2 snaffles. With the roller, she plays with the roller while we're standing instead of chewing through my expensive bits or leaving dents in them :p She works beautifully in the 3-piece reiner that I currently have her in, as did Lucky. It's too bad I didn't have the bit to use when I was working with Fancy or Dude, because I feel as though they would've went great in it as well.

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post #20 of 38 Old 10-17-2012, 06:56 AM
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But I would rather have a leverage bit and hardly use it than have to hold onto a horse constantly with a snaffle. I want the horse to carry himself, and not lug on my hands. It's almost like english riders are in denial that they might do better in a stronger bit, so they keep using a snaffle because it would be taboo to do otherwise.
I have to ride my horse in a gag for cross country because he GOES. It definately gets him soft, but you can't use it in dressage, so whats tha point of training in it. I ride him in a loose ring for dressage and stadium. While you're right, western has less contact than english, it's not that english horses are always pulling. When it's right, you have contact, but your horse is giving to you so you can just barely feel their mouth. It looks like you have lots of contact, but it feels so soft. In dresage, you're constantly turning or asking for a different figure, so you have to have contact to get what you need. It jumping, contact is needed to control most horses.

So it's not really like we're in denial, but that eith 1. the bit isn't allowed in competition, 2. it feels different that in looks, or 3. you will get judged by everyone else because you're using a big bit. You should see some of the looks I get for taking my horse novice in a gag bridle. I just roll my eyes because it's not the bit, but the way you use it that's harsh. I get where you're coming from, but truth is, most english horses won't stay in a frame if you drop the contact because you are supposed to work as much as your horse. This is just my experience from eventig and only riding TB's who really like just to stretch out their neck :)

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