Is a French Link harsh? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Is a French Link harsh?

I am sure many of us have seen that FEI issued clarification on it's previously existing rules to state that yes, they do indeed ban French Link mouthpieces from Eventing Dressage (Dressage-dressage has their own rules apparently, no clue what those entail). https://eventingnation.com/fei-issue...ffle-link-ban/ Previously many had believed they only banned Dr. Bristol mouthpieces as they were specifically mentioned. I don't do FEI. Or eventing. So I don't really care all that much.

BUT

Why? What's wrong with a French Link that they would ban it? Even aside from the argument that the harshness of the hand controlling the bit has impact on it's harshness or lack thereof, I think that most folks will agree that some bits will cause more pressure or pain more easily than some other "milder" bits where the rider would need to do more to cause the same degree of pressure or pain. I have always been told that a French Link is not a harsh bit. Is this untrue?
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 08:30 PM
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I have always known they were illegal (I did very low level dressage a million years ago and I remember there being a fuss over it). But what I have never known is why they were illegal. I'll be curious to see why myself. I assume it has something to do with the way it works in the mouth and effects the control but I'm not sure....

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post #3 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 09:06 PM
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It's because they have a flat portion (albeit a very small one) on the centre link, and the concern is that the edge of the flat portion can dig into the tongue. I think the rule was probably put in place with Dr. Bristol bits in mind, but technically the French links are excluded by the description as well. They're nowhere near as harsh, though.
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 09:37 PM
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I looked at the 2020 Rule book for USEF and at the bit examples specific for the Dressage Division...
According to diagrams and blurb a french-link is allowed.
I saw it pictured both with a loose-ring and a eggbutt appearance.
Below is a small excerpt of the description of bits allowed your french-link would fall under...

Bits must not place mechanical restraint upon the tongue. The mouthpiece of a snaffle may have up to two joints.
The center link of a snaffle may be tilted in a different orientation from the mouthpiece but must have rounded edges and (for both snaffle and bridoon) may not have the effect of a tongue plate.

I can not get a link to work correctly but you can go directly to this section by copy and pasting {see below} in your address bar, then go to page 471 (30 of 82) in the dressage section.
You are looking specific for Figure 1, Permitted Snaffles to start your discovery of allowed or not.
https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/F3p8pgrWgAo/dr-dressage-division

Hope that helps some....
If it was illegal it appears it is now changed status to permitted.
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
I looked at the 2020 Rule book for USEF and at the bit examples specific for the Dressage Division...
According to diagrams and blurb a french-link is allowed.
I saw it pictured both with a loose-ring and a eggbutt appearance.
Below is a small excerpt of the description of bits allowed your french-link would fall under...

Bits must not place mechanical restraint upon the tongue. The mouthpiece of a snaffle may have up to two joints.
The center link of a snaffle may be tilted in a different orientation from the mouthpiece but must have rounded edges and (for both snaffle and bridoon) may not have the effect of a tongue plate.

I can not get a link to work correctly but you can go directly to this section by copy and pasting {see below} in your address bar, then go to page 471 (30 of 82) in the dressage section.
You are looking specific for Figure 1, Permitted Snaffles to start your discovery of allowed or not.
https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/F3p8pgrWgAo/dr-dressage-division

Hope that helps some....
If it was illegal it appears it is now changed status to permitted.
...




USEF rules are not the same as FEI rules. French links are not allowed in FEI level events.

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post #6 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 10:13 PM
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I wonder what the reasoning is. I'd be interested in knowing.

Reminds me of the unreasonable opinion of an old rancher i worked for. He wouldn't allow us to use a certain type of nail because he knew one person who stepped on one. Another, sassier, hand muttered, "God forbid anybody chokes on a pork chop, we'll all starve."

Seems like we can all get an odd notion. But when someone who makes policy gets one...
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post #7 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 11:23 PM
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An awful lot of people call this a French link (when it's not):

This is called a lozenge link and IS allowed.

Others call THIS a French link (and it's also not):

It is a double jointed roller snaffle and is allowed.

This, on the other hand, IS a French link:

And this is NOT allowed. No bit with a flat plate is allowed in FEI eventing dressage.
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Last edited by blue eyed pony; 02-23-2020 at 11:29 PM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-23-2020, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
The center link of a snaffle may be tilted in a different orientation from the mouthpiece but must have rounded edges and (for both snaffle and bridoon) may not have the effect of a tongue plate.
This is quite clear too - must have rounded edges. A French link does not.

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post #9 of 21 Old 02-24-2020, 05:50 AM
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Found a article from February 20, 2020 with further information...did not realize FEI is under different rulings than USEF, my bad.
So many tiny differences...
The article is large with a lot of information given so sharing the link so none is lost by excerpts given..
https://eventingnation.com/fei-issue...ffle-link-ban/

Bottom line though is yes it is legal in some places and no it is not legal in other...
Only you know exactly what and where you show/compete and the ruling you must comply with or not compete in that tack.
...

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post #10 of 21 Old 02-24-2020, 11:30 AM
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Under FEI rules the flat plate isn't allowed
https://inside.fei.org/sites/default...17.02.2020.pdf

That doesn't mean it isn't allowed everywhere but riders should always check with the governing body or organizer.

The reasoning behind it isn't that the bit is harsh but that if wrongly fitted (accidentally or deliberately) it can be harsh.

When I've stewarded at evening competitions in the past we were always told to check carefully that a riders bit was a French link and not a Dr Bristol. I'm not sure if that has had any impact on the ruling.
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