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LostDragonflyWings 07-26-2013 01:58 AM

Legal substitution for Waterford bit?
I currently use a Waterford on my OTTB, but will hopefully be doing some dressage shows (or dressage phase of event derby) and know it is an illegal bit for dressage.

I don't want to make a huge change for shows, so was wondering what legal bit might be a good substitution to use that has a similar effect. I am not necessarily looking for a strong bit, but he did/does have issues with hanging on the bit to grab and go (hence the Waterford).

alexischristina 07-26-2013 02:33 AM

I'd be curious to hear this as well. Jackson is in a waterford because he hates single joints in his bits. I think I'll probably be able to ride him in a double jointed snaffle in dressage but I'd be curious to hear what other people have to say.

Unfortunately I can't be any more helpful though.

~*~anebel~*~ 07-26-2013 02:43 AM

I'd forgo the Waterford completely and spend some time schooling in a Pelham with two reins.
For dressage, then switch into a bit with a similar mouthpiece to the Pelham.
Experiment with Mullen mouths, happy mouths and a French link, or double joint.

Yes the horse is young, but I've found with ottbs that a Pelham can have just enough bite to back them off the bit, but only when you need it. Otherwise the snaffle action allows you to develop a normal contact. And I'm not one for bitting up horses!
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LostDragonflyWings 07-26-2013 03:08 AM

I have a Tom Thumb Jointed Rubber Pelham by Metalab with the curb chain that I was trying to sell (already sold the converters), but was told the curb chain part wasn't good to use (the bit has never been used at all). I don't know how comfortable I would be using two reins, since I have never used them before and don't have a trainer to assist me.

When I first bought him, I rode him in a french link, which he didn't really respect and even took off with me once. I tried the Waterford and he did well in it, so I never switched back. His trot is usually fine (though he still has his moments), but his canter still can get strong and unruly, especially to the left.

~*~anebel~*~ 07-26-2013 01:10 PM

Not a fan of single jointed pelhams.. but if the horse has enough room in his palette to accommodate a single joint.
The curb chain sits under the chin and serves to keep the bit from really engaging. If you have it very loose, the bit will rotate more, giving more poll pressure, so a loose chain is not always kinder. If you get a rubber cover, that can make it less sharp when correctly tightened. It is IMO at least worth a try. Ride with the snaffle rein as normal and put the second rein under either your middle finger or pinky, slightly looser than the snaffle and then you have normal snaffle action with some back up if you need it.
I don't think you'll have too much issue with two reins, your hands are quiet which is the main battle!

Good luck
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LostDragonflyWings 07-26-2013 05:00 PM

Thanks for the info! I will consider giving it a try.
I have very minimal bit buying experience, as my two prior horses came with their tack (paid extra for it) and use french link type bits.

In terms of a better choice of Pelham, what type do you suggest is best?

~*~anebel~*~ 07-26-2013 05:33 PM

If your horse will tolerate the bulk, a happy mouth pelham is good.
Otherwise a mullen mouth with a wide, low port or a double jointed pelham can be good (if you can find one!).
If your horse will tolerate the single joint, that will be ok too - but I'm thinking some of him going well in the waterford is due to a low palette... but it is worth a try! And if you aren't going to show in it you can wrap the single joint in vet wrap to immobilize it that it wont stab the top of his mouth. It's a bit Jerry-rigged but works well.

Bits are fun! I have 4 snaffles which I find work well for most horses I come across. Once you find a bit you like, keep it for ever and ever!! Lol. I do like the NS designs, and they are not as pricey as a KK..

LostDragonflyWings 07-27-2013 01:19 AM

Thanks! Are (all) Pelhams legal or illegal in Dressage?

~*~anebel~*~ 07-27-2013 01:45 AM


Originally Posted by LostDragonflyWings (Post 3176953)
Thanks! Are (all) Pelhams legal or illegal in Dressage?


However, I do prefer schooling in a pelham to schooling in a waterford as at least the pelham will have normal, legal, snaffle action most of the time, unless the curb is engaged for a correction. It is a better teaching tool, it is a better correcting tool, and will end up in a horse who can be ridden in a legal snaffle 100% of the time.
My one student on an OTTB we transitioned into a pelham early this year and within 6 weeks of riding, we were able to change back into a normal snaffle with now no incidents of the horse just bolting and rooting, or incident which can easily be corrected in a snaffle. And we are really putting the pressure on the poor guy! Third level or bust!

IMO if you just ride in a waterford 100% of the time, it becomes a bandaid as the horse is not learning to respect the bit. The horse tries to root and the bit collapses - it does not really correct the horse away from rooting and bolting, it just has a displeasing action. As soon as the horse gets into something with a pleasing action - like a normal snaffle - that front door is still wide open. And now you have no brakes. Better to use a pelham to teach the horse that you still have brakes.

I would not be opposed to a holiday in Cali :lol: It's too bad I can't see any clinics in your area on the CDS website - but might be worth it to contact a local dressage barn for a lesson. Of course they may just completely contradict what I say hahaha.

LostDragonflyWings 07-27-2013 02:38 AM

Well, you know, I would not be opposed to you visiting either! ;)

That does make sense though about the band-aid effect. While using the Waterford, he has learned a lot (general training wise), but I could see him switching back to his grab and hold methods if I switched back to a snaffle now, since he still tries to play little games with being heavy on the bit.

I was given the Pelham from my last trainer for my previous "in-work" horse to use in cross country for more control, but it had the converters. The majority of our work is on the flat, but is it okay to jump while using a pelham with two reins (of course after mastering it on the flat first)?

There is an event derby in October that we might go to do the dressage phase and there is a dressage clinic the day before too, but I will look for other local lessons/clinics as well. Where we are now, there is only a beginners western trainer and outside trainers are not very welcomed at all. At the moment, at-home lessons are not very possible or easily obtained. Hopefully that will not be an issue for us shortly.

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