So, I'm sure that I could made this choice but I would like your input on this matter. I will also be talking with my trainer about it during my lesson on Sunday. The question is: Which bit should I stick with?
My horse is an OTTB that I've trained practically from scratch and is now a jumper.
The first choice is a D ring snaffle, similar if not exactly like this one:
He is good with his head position in this bit and isn't running around with his nose in the air, slinging slobber all over the place. Yet while jumping he will ignore it. I have worked with him on this for months, lots of flat work, lots of circles, half-halts. Working on his breaks, etc. He jumps fine in it but he's not adjustable. I can't shorten his stride what-so-ever. The courses still work themselves out, even if it's not always the prettiest sight.
The second choice is a three ring gag bit:
Everyonce in a while he'll toss his head in protest but other than that he's good with his head-set. I can hold him to the jump, he jumps just fine. I can shorten or open him up easily. Easy breaks now that I've destinguished a break word that he will immediately slow to a walk for.
I just worry about putting too much pressure in his mouth, but I feel that it may be necessary if I don't have the control needed, with the snaffle. If I were choosing right now I would likely chose the three ring. Though I would still like to hear everybody else's opinion on the matter, who knows.
Personally the single joint with that three ring gag is probably why he is throwing his head.
Maybe try a three piece gag instead? If he gets strong jumping it's acceptable to move up to something stronger and to be able to ride lighter than to stay in the snaffle and have to pull all the time, especially if he is good on the flat.
Ovation? Elite Center Oval 2-Ring Elevator Bit | Dover Saddlery
French Link Loose Ring Elevator Bit | Dover Saddlery
Honestly, I believe that whatever helps the RIDER be comfortable they have control of the horse [provided the horse is well-trained and the rider has good hands] is acceptable. The only caveat I will put on that is that I believe twisted anything has no place in a horse's mouth. If you need twisted you need to go back to basics.
My gelding is in either a thin-ish French link eggbutt, or a thick-ish mullen pelham. He's not a fan of the pelham [too thick for his mouth] but I am more confident and as a result we are both more controlled.
One thing you can do if you are co-ordinated enough is use a pelham with double reins. That's what I do... mostly we jump in a snaffle at home but at shows he is strong so at shows he is always in something "harsh" be it pelham or what I initially put him in, a kimblewick. The kimblewick was enough but didn't have the finesse I wanted, so now we ride in a pelham with double reins about once a week and the rest of the time we're in a snaffle.
The problem is not that your horse isn't feeling the bit, it's that he doesn't respect it. Or maybe you aren't riding as effectively in the snaffle. It doesn't really matter. The point is to give the horse the opportunity to respond to a light aid first [in a pelham, the "snaffle" rein] and then get tougher until you get that response. Otherwise you'll find he'll just get harder and harder and harder... but you already know that.
Yeah, that is why. I've also tried the Oval 2 ring elevator bit and he wasn't very fond of it, very touchy. I know I have a bit that is incrediby similar to the French Link Loose Ring Elevator Bit, it is probably the same bit. That the was the first bit I had him in after he was first off the track (I was with a different trainer). Yet a ton has changed since then so I'll have to go and find that.. where ever it is.. xD
Sorry for the paragraph. O-o and how scattered it is.
That's because in a 3-ring you have no finesse [though the typical Dutch/Pessoa gag that I'm thinking of, you can and SHOULD use with double reins - and it was designed as a jumping bit!]. My gelding was the same in a kimblewick... he gradually got stronger and stronger while jumping and while I could still handle him I decided I wanted the option of more finesse. It's kind of awkward sometimes and takes a lot of co-ordination, but I find that a pelham with double reins is the best option for us. It can have a "snaffle" action 99% of the time and then be quite harsh if I need that extra stopping power.
...mine has shanks that frankly scare me, but I have never felt out-of-control with it in my gelding's mouth, whereas with the kimblewick we had some god-awful jumper rounds [not out of control just not pretty or nice-feeling], and in a snaffle... heaven help me if I try to show him [jumpers that is!] in a snaffle again... HE is actually a snaffle-all-3-phases eventer [strong at times but not uncontrollable], I'm just tiny and don't have the strength to hold him if he wants to go. Not if I'm using a snaffle.
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