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Liberty Valance 12-26-2009 02:28 PM

Gag Bit Info
 
Hello. I'm doing a presentation on the different types of bits and how they work, mechanically.

I'm almost to the end and I'm working on gags. I've got everything covered except I was reading that if the rider finds that the use of two reins is too cumbersome then only the gag rein should be used. I've never used a gag, myself...never had the need, so I'm having a little trouble visualizing what happens when it's only ridden with the gag rein. For example, would you ride it with one hand like a curb, or would you ride it with two like a snaffle?...the presence of shanks and the absence of the curb chain is what's confusing me as to how it works (what it does).

If anyone can help clarify or has any good websites I can go to I'd appreciate it. I've already been to that "Sustainable Dressage" website and the ones that show up on Google (it's hard to search, though because of all the bits people have for sale that clutter a search).

Thanks!

~Jessica

upnover 12-26-2009 10:06 PM

IMO if using two reins is too cumbersome you shouldn't be using a gag at all. A gag can be fabulous on certain horses, certain instances, WITH EDUCATED hands. If you can't handle it, it's not the bit for you. Even a bit converter would be kinder then riding purely off the gag rein. That's my opinion (what? you didn't ask for my opinion? :D).

There are a myriad of types of gags out there. The one that i'm most familiar with are the ones with 1 rein that connects to the bit regularly (for example, a snaffle) and a 2nd that connects to the cheekpieces through the rings of the bit. This 2nd rein is more of a reinforcement. So you ride primarily off your snaffle and when your horse ignores that you use more of the gag rein to activate the 'gag action'. (which no, does NOT gag your horse :D) So you hold the reins in both hands just like you would a pelham, although it's fairly common for people to put more of a loop in the gag rein instead of having contact. If you were to only ride with the gag rein you would hold it just like any regular snaffle. It's just that instead of being a reinforcement your horse would feel nothing but gag pressure. That IMO is a little harsh.

Liberty Valance 12-27-2009 03:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by upnover (Post 501386)
IMO if using two reins is too cumbersome you shouldn't be using a gag at all.

That's kinda what I was thinking and I didn't have the thing about one rein in my presentation until I read about it in a few other places (of course, they didn't explain ANYTHING about the mechanical operation of doing so, and that's what most people's problems are when it comes to bitting...not knowing what the bit does and what it's for...which is the whole purpose of the presentation). So....maybe I'll leave that part out.

Quote:

A gag can be fabulous on certain horses, certain instances, WITH EDUCATED hands. If you can't handle it, it's not the bit for you. Even a bit converter would be kinder then riding purely off the gag rein. That's my opinion (what? you didn't ask for my opinion? :D).
Believe it or not, I actually DO have that in there!...that under the right circumstances a gag can be extremely helpful for the horse and rider, but it should only be used by someone who has a well-balanced seat and who has knowledge of the use of the bit or is under the tutilage of a knowledgeable instructor.

Thanks! I'll just go leave that other part out. I'm glad I asked. =D

Vidaloco 12-27-2009 04:18 PM

I found this Fitting a Gag Bit Correctly
Is there a difference between a western gag and an English gag bit?
I always assumed the gag action on a western bit was the ability of the mouthpiece to slide up and down.

ETA- I jsut read this on Wiki (I know not a great sourse but...) "Gag bits are also occasionally seen in western-style competition, usually in the form of a sliding mouthpiece on a shanked curb-style bit (similar to the American gag)."

smrobs 12-27-2009 04:33 PM

That was the first thing that I thought Vida. This is the type of Gag that I am most familiar with.
http://www.nrsworld.com/istarimages/...BIT319!REI.jpg

Or more commonly, the "Wonder bit"
http://www.chicksaddlery.com/Merchan...0001/25576.JPG

I can see how the wonder bit could be used with 2 reins but it would be almost impossible with the other one. Sadly enough, where I most often see these bits is on hot barrel horses with girls with hard hands. I would personally NEVER use a gag bit on any of my horses. I don't understand the point of them or why people think they need them. If a horse isn't responsive in a regular bit, then it is a training issue.

wild_spot 12-27-2009 04:38 PM

Are you talking about the dutch gag? (four rings)?

If so, maybe add that MANY people use it with only one rein - However this is NOT how it is supposed to be used. It doesn't allow for any aids without the gag action - Every time contact is taken up on the mouth the bit slides up in the mouth. This bit SHOULD only be used with two reins - Unfortunately many people do not.

Vidaloco 12-27-2009 04:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smrobs (Post 501927)
That was the first thing that I thought Vida. This is the type of Gag that I am most familiar with.
http://www.nrsworld.com/istarimages/...BIT319!REI.jpg

Or more commonly, the "Wonder bit"
http://www.chicksaddlery.com/Merchan...0001/25576.JPG

I can see how the wonder bit could be used with 2 reins but it would be almost impossible with the other one. Sadly enough, where I most often see these bits is on hot barrel horses with girls with hard hands. I would personally NEVER use a gag bit on any of my horses. I don't understand the point of them or why people think they need them. If a horse isn't responsive in a regular bit, then it is a training issue.

I have a gag and my husband loves his. I think I need to start another thread on western gags.

KristinJ 12-27-2009 05:10 PM

::: Sustainable Dressage - - Welcome to my Site about Sustainable Dressage! :::


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