Which Bit do you like for Western Pleasure?
Im trying to find a good bit to show my WP Trained QH in. I bought him from a dealer who was going to send him to another auction and then who knows where he would have gone. He truly was a diamond in the rough and is an amazingly trained horse. Im still learning his buttons though. Right now Im riding him in a hinged snaffle with 7in shanks. He does really well in it. It has independant motion so I can ask for shoulder movement but usually Im riding him in this two handed.
When I switch to riding one handed as this will be how Im going to show him he doenst respond as well when I "check" him or "bump" him for a correct head set. I dont know if that is the right termology but I hope you get what Im saying. I will get the correct head set with this bit but I end using a bigger movement with my hands that I know will be noticable in the show ring. He goes on a really loose rein and I dont want to take in more rein just to occasionally remind him to collect when he gets a little looky. He is a finished horse so I think he will be able to handle a straight bit but I do not know what to use or what will be legal. This will be my first year showing WP. I used to be a gamer and working cow horse so its completely different for me.
Should I move him into a snaffle to keep his mouth soft, keep him in the hinged and show in something a little more direct and if so what? Your opinions are greatly appreciated.
I don't know what the rules say about showing in a snaffle. I think AQHA horses are not allowed to show in a snaffle past 5 years old (not positive). If you are looking for the next step up for a really broke horse, I suggest a medium port grazing bit with short shanks. They are great for riding one handed. Here is a bit almost exactly like what I use on my finished horses. The swivel shanks allow correction when needed but the mouth is solid.
Or if you are more interested in keeping him in the broken mouth, you could always look at the Myler or Billy Allen mouth bits.
Well first of all if it's a true snaffle you're using, it wouldn't have shanks. Snaffles are direct contact bits that work without using leverage. It doesn't have anything to do with the mouthpiece. So if you're using a bit with 7 inch shanks, or any shanks for that matter, it's a curb bit and should only be used with one hand. When you ride with direct contact in a curb bit, it hinders it's intended performance and wont work correctly. Here's the two bits I used when showing wp and I had the best results with them:
Myler Dee Bit MB04 - Smith Brothers
This is the bit I used while training and practicing. It's a true snaffle so it's made to be used with two hands and direct contact. It's great with corrections, and the ported barrel helps a horse tuck his head under and carry himself properly.
Toklat - Horse Tack - Saddle Pads - Horse Riding Apparel - Bits - Long Shank - Level 3
This bit was the bit I used during an actual show. It has virtually the same mouthpiece as the snaffle, but with a slightly higher port. The higher the port and the longer the shanks, the less hand movement is needed to create leverage and get the right result. Just be sure to only use this bit with one hand and loose contact, and the snaffle for any corrections you need to make. The shank bit works great for many finished wp horse because it's very humane and effective, but it can be very harsh if you're using direct contact. Hope this helps!
I would go with something more direct, low or medium port, and heavy. Something like one of these:
Rod's Low Port Bit
Imported Pinchless Spoon Bit
Engraved Aluminum Medium Port Bit by Partrade - I have this bit, it's a good one.
Reinsman Engraved Medium Port Pro Cutter Grazing Bit
Medium Port Show Bit Copper Inlay bit25972
Robart Pinchless Bits, Junior Western Pleasure Bit, Horse Bits
I'd look into the Myler bits. They have independent movement on each side, copper inlay and they are just really awesome bits.
Wow, All of these bits were along the lines of what I had in mind. Here is a pic of what I use now. Should I use this bit for schooling and rec riding and then switch to a ported bit when Im "working and showing" or shoud I switch over to the true snaffle like suggested? He works well in this bit but like I said it is the only one Ive tried on him. He's a nice horse and knows his stuff...........I think he'll soon figure out that I have no idea. :lol:
Your opinions are very much appreciated!!!
Ps. Here is a pic of him. Its crappy but him anyway. [ATTACH]Attachment 6051[/ATTACH]
Wow, what a pretty boy! He'd make a nice english horse if you ever got tired of WP, lol. I bet he'd look real snazzy and do well in Dressage too.
I would try one of the solid low to medium port bits I posted.
BTW- THis pic is the day I got him. He is much better condition now. Poor guy never got turnout and was so starved for attention. He has soooo much wonderful personality!! We call him Radar. (ears are kinda long)
Thanks luvs2ride. Its funny cause I keep him at an all dressage barn where I work and he is the only western horse **he he** He would do training level no problem and has a really nice extended trot. I just dont have a good seat for english. Its something I will do for sure though....one saddle at a time.
Aw, he is such a cutie. I would just pick a bit that works for him and use it for schooling and showing both. That way there is not the initial adjustment stage every time you switch back and forth. :)
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