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chain bit

This is a discussion on chain bit within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Waterford bit braced horse
  • Waterford or chain bit?

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    11-29-2012, 08:51 PM
  #11
Trained
What follows is a question, not advice...I know near nothing about bits:

I recently switched my mare to a waterford bit. She seemed to be bracing against the plain snaffle, and I had read a waterford is harder to brace against. Based on 1.5 weeks, it seems to be doing well for her. When putting the bridle on yesterday, she opened her mouth and acted like, "Let's get going!" And she doesn't spit it out the way she did with a 2 or 3 link snaffle. I'm guessing it bends easily in her mouth, and the only time I really pull is if she thinks she is racing another horse down a trail. That seems to be so exciting to her that she isn't much interested in slowing without my working very hard at it.



So my questions:

1- Is that a harsh bit?

2 - With regard to the OP's question, would that make a natural progression down in harshness?
     
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    11-29-2012, 09:11 PM
  #12
Started
BSMS Thanks I was just thinking the same thing.
I'm torn with waterfords and chain bits. They're wonderful because they completely conform to the horse's mouth with no nutcracker action. They're practically nothing in a horse's mouth when not being touched. But when 'in action' they can be very pinchy, Waterfords and chain bits both centralize the pressure onto a number of small points, chains having smaller edges, so my thinking would be slightly more intense. But Waterfords have the lumps for pressure points.
Having nothing solid, there is nothing solid for a horse to brace against, but I'd attempt using a loose ring french link before a waterford. The loose ring makes it more difficult to brace against too. I'd also probably try to find what's causing this behavior in the horse before just making the bit more difficult for them. Bit changes are often band-aids in that sense, not fixing the actual problem, just the symptoms of the problem.

I'm curious to hear more opinions on the positives and negatives of chains and waterfords.

One other bit I'm greatly interested in are those all leather bits?! It has the same idea of waterfords and chains, where it's got no solid form, just conforms to the horse's mouth. But it has no joints or pressure points to increase the strength. I feel it'd only work well for a well trained horse. Kind of like the flexible rubber ones but don't get sharp edges if chewed a little.
     
    11-29-2012, 09:30 PM
  #13
Trained
I think I know what is causing the behavior in my mare: she thinks it is the Belmont, and her inner Secretariat is taking over! Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of options for working on it. She only does it on the trail and with another horse to compete against. In a arena, she doesn't try it even with a couple of horses. By herself, she'd just as soon be lazy. But with another horse and a trail stretching out before her...canter becomes gallop, and she doesn't want to slow.

And I only have a couple of places not much more than 1/3 mile long tops where the terrain allows her to safely canter outside the arena. I'd love to have a couple miles of dirt road, but that isn't in the cards right now. I've already tried a 3 link French snaffle eggbutt, and she doesn't like it. After a couple of rides, she tries to avoid having a bridle put on. Doesn't do that with 2-link snaffles or the Waterford. I normally ride her one-handed with slack in the reins, including at a canter or gallop, unless she decides to ignore me...

I'll be curious as well about what folks think. Wish there was someway I could just ask Mia. But trying to peel back the layers of the onion in her head is what got me interested in riding!

Also: Leather bits? I think I'm beginning to see why so many people end up with so many bits in their tack box!
     
    11-29-2012, 09:41 PM
  #14
Started
Lol yes! I get what you mean. Have you tried a loose ring version of whichever mouthpiece you typically use? I've even got one that's got full cheeks and a loose ring, those are pretty neat because they have the full cheek lateral pressure and hold the bit in the correct position with keepers, but have the loose ring to discourage leaning.



ETA: info on the leather bits, I'm not sold but I'm interested:
http://www.ponybox.com/news_details....er-bit&id=1875
     
    11-29-2012, 10:35 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Chain bits do get a bad rap, of course just like any other bit it has the potential to be harsh.(I am not talking about bicycle chain/mule bits).

Like SH said some horses love them or they hate them. It simply provides a different feel and just because you try one it doesn't mean you have to ride in that bit for the rest of your horses life. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with bits to figure out what your horses excepts. Also you can try a chain bit and go back to what you were riding before to simply change the horses reaction. Sometimes problems are a trained reaction rather than the bit itself and it takes a different feel to break the habit, sort of speak. Then sometimes you retrained the reaction by changing the bit and you can go back to the old bit. Of course this doesn't always work, but it gives you something to think about.
     
    11-30-2012, 09:40 AM
  #16
Trained
A chain bit can be wonderful. It really depends on if the horse likes in or not. I own one and will never sell it, its just a great bit to have around.

My friend has a horse that is super sensitive and will only go in a chain bit.
     
    11-30-2012, 10:35 AM
  #17
Super Moderator
Just thought I would mention that a bit is only as harsh as the riders hands which means, a chain bit can actually be quite mild when used properly, however a snaffle can be pretty darn harsh when it's being yanked and banked and slammed in the horses mouth.... th-th-that's all folks....
Stillstandin, DrumRunner and SoBe like this.
     
    11-30-2012, 12:17 PM
  #18
Foal
Our horse was the next step up for the younger gamers in our 4-H program...one of the years my brother leased him, he was ridden by 3 kids at each show...so the hands were all over the place...once we switched bits he still gaped for awhile, but you could tell it was more of a mental "this is in my mouth and always hurts" type thing rather then it actually was. It's something we had to work through, it was a LONG process because he had a mental block. I know lots who say they don't get that way, were it's 90% mental issues with tack problems, but I've had more then one where it is. They are harder to work through it then anything else.

From closer inspection of him, he's got some suspicious indents and scars that we assume came from his roping days because they are very old, and haven't happen in the 7+ years we've known him.
     
    11-30-2012, 12:32 PM
  #19
Green Broke
I'm ducking out of the convo..Makes me sad.
     
    11-30-2012, 03:36 PM
  #20
Trained
Why are you sad ?
     

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