Good bit for dressage horse trying out jumping - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-10-2012, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Good bit for dressage horse trying out jumping

I have a 16 yr old Holstiener cross, George who I have rode as a dressage horse since he was three years. Recently he seems completely over dressage work. He is harder to soften and just seems bored (I have to say that since he is a bit older and not as much of performer as he once was, I am too!)

Anyway, the other day some jumps were set up and my girlfriend gave me a little lesson over some cross rails. George seemed to love it. He fired right up and seemed to "lock in" on any jump in his path. I have free jumped him and been working over ground poles and he seems really receptive (he has zero past jumping experience). He is so smart that I can tell he is figuring out distance on his own with me just along for the ride (what a good boy).

My problem is I suspect he needs a bit that is a little harsher. I currently ride him in a french-link eggbutt snaffle, and sometimes in a double bridle if we are working on upper-level dressage work. He has always been a strong horse but I haven't wanted to use a harsher bit on a regular basis because I feel he will eventually just get too tough in the month. With lots of half halts and gentle sponging he usually comes around quickly in his dressage work and relaxes, but when he sees a jump it's like he just going for it and I can hardly pull him back. I've heard jumpers in my barn talk of "bracing" against his month but I hate that feeling. I'd like to have a bit more control but not feel like I am hanging on his mouth.

Yesterday after going over our small cross pole jump he locked in on the three footer next in line and it was all I could do to pull him into a circle to not go over that one (we are jumping like 1'6 right now and it's not always pretty so despite his motivation we were not ready to go for a jump that big yet)

Could anyone suggest a bit that is a step up but not too intense? Or maybe some tips in general (and yes, his flat work is certainly up to par, he is a third level dressage horse)

EmmaWay24 is offline  
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-10-2012, 10:03 PM
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It sounds like you have an awesome horse! It's exciting that you want to learn to jump together!

If you're jumping small fences, you shouldn't have to go much harsher. Going into the jump your body really dictates how they go. Are you slouching at all when he "locks in"? How is your seat? When I was teaching my old tb to jump my body really decided how responsive she would be. If I was nice and deep in the saddle, with my shoulders back and hands down she would respond to a good, strong half halt perfectly, but if I was too relaxed or didn't seem tall and sturdy she would grab the bit and run. I used a french link loose ring snaffle just incase you're wondering.

At the level it sounds like you're going at you should have soft hands though. I would start off with a myler bit, the people I know who use them adore theirs. They're designed not to bruise the horse's palette or pinch too much. In my barn's school there are a few snaffles with a slow twist that help the stronger horses. For me I use a three ring elevator bit with a single joint. I don't think you'll need it unless you plan to go out do cross country or high jumper shows. It is nice though as it can be a lot of bit, but it is adjustable.

If you're not going near 3 foot I don't think you should really look into a new bit right away. Horses tend to rush into the fences when they're learning to jump. Try to keep a deep, stable seat and a tall and back upper body and just focus on riding the jumps and getting your horse used to it, if he hasn't calmed down or is getting worse in a couple months then get a stronger bit.

One thing my coach said to me when I was having a rough patch teachin my mare was "ride jumping the same as flat, it's just dressage with obstacles". It really resonated with me, I don't know if it'll help you much.

Good luck, let me know if I'm unclear at all!
SkyeMac is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 12-11-2012, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Great suggestions! Thanks for the advise!
EmmaWay24 is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 12-11-2012, 06:46 AM
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You're welcome! I can't wait to see how you two do :) Let me know if you need any exercises or more help.
SkyeMac is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 12-11-2012, 06:31 PM
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Normally I would say a rushing horse is likely the result of a rider locking her elbows, but the dressage level you're riding at suggest you have soft hands. If this is just a matter of new horse to jumping trying to figure things out, maybe set up some grids with preset distances, so he can settle down and just work out his own feet. Something like ground pole > 9' to cross rail > 18" to vertical. Most horses find grids easier to jump than a single fence. They're a lot of fun too.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
MyBoyPuck is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 12-20-2012, 06:43 AM
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What I have found that works wonders is a two ring french link elevator bit. You could get a three ring and just put your reins on the second hole. As long as you have 'soft' hands you'll be fine and the french link is a very mild type of bit anyways since its fully collapsable. I ride my stallion in it and he responds really well.

But to start off with I would use a regular loose ring snaffle for a little and see how he is, and then work your way up from there. No need to use a stronger bit if not necessary.
sarahfongsilva is offline  

begginer , bit , jumping

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