Waterford Snaffle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-13-2020, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Waterford Snaffle

Has anyone ever thought of a Waterford as a "harsh" "punishment" or "whoa dammit" bit? I've used one for years and never had an issue, but now I have some *horse expert* lunatic on Facebook raving at me over how it's harsh and inhumane. Seriously? It's a broken down snaffle... Has anyone else heard this??
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-13-2020, 10:38 AM
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They're most common use is for horses that have a tendency to lean on your hands rather than pull to try to get away from you.

They are effective for leaners, not sure if its the fact that they're uncomfortable on the mouth if they lean or if the design doesn't make it easy to lean on but I did try one on a puller and it had no effect at all so I think they just don't lend well to a horse that wants you to 'carry' him.

I wouldn't want to see one used by anyone that used that 'seesawing' effect on a puller.

I suppose what you need to look at is why you think you're horse needs to be ridden in one?
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post #3 of 19 Old 03-13-2020, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
They're most common use is for horses that have a tendency to lean on your hands rather than pull to try to get away from you.

They are effective for leaners, not sure if its the fact that they're uncomfortable on the mouth if they lean or if the design doesn't make it easy to lean on but I did try one on a puller and it had no effect at all so I think they just don't lend well to a horse that wants you to 'carry' him.

I wouldn't want to see one used by anyone that used that 'seesawing' effect on a puller.

I suppose what you need to look at is why you think you're horse needs to be ridden in one?
For that exact reason, she was a leaner! She was an angel and could ride on a loose rein 98% of the time, but 2% of the time she'd get hot or excited, clamp down on the bit and go wherever she wanted. I have very light hands and never seesaw, she rode great in it, never had any issues whatsoever. In my opinion, any bit can be a harsh bit in harsh hands. Not sure why this woman is acting like anyone who uses this bit is the anti Christ?
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-13-2020, 12:03 PM
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I love a waterford- I had one for a mare that would cross jaw and haul and if was magic on her. Some people absolutely hate them and compare them to bicycle chain bits and the like. But it's really not remotely the same. I loved how it would simply collapse when she went to get ahold of it. And it probably dropped me a few points in dressage that its illegal to show in and she had to go in a french link.

Those that hate them probably have only seen them used poorly or have in their mind a distinctly different mechanism than they actually produce.
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post #5 of 19 Old 03-13-2020, 02:31 PM
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They are fine bits. Waterfords are easier to misuse than others, particularly when it comes to lateral rein aids. Considering a lot of people turn entirely from their reins, it's good that it's not a popular bit.

I look at it as more of a correction bit. Use it to fix a specific problem, then go back to something less. I don't have a problem with people using it as a regular bit if that's what the horse likes.
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-13-2020, 08:04 PM
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I'm not much of a fan of any type of bit that can completely collapse in the horse's mouth and wrap around the tongue/bars. Yes, it keeps the horse from picking it up and leaning on it, because it moves around and is therefore more painful to lean on, but it also prevents the horse from ever "carrying" the bit like he should. So you're stuck with a horse that never can carry the bit and work properly on the bit when using on. I've had horses that like to lean on the bit, and most of the time some consistent work out of a bit or letting the reins "slip" a little when they try to lean helps just as much as the waterford supposedly does.



That, and I do think they're abrasive. I've seen people ride in them, and even when they have "soft hands" the beads can very easily grab the lips quite nastily and I'd imagine they can also grab the tongue and bars as well and rub there. Rather than a smooth bit that just slides across the lip(if it's correctly adjusted and not cranked up 2 inches like some people think they need them), the waterford catches on the lips with the slightest amount of direct reining. Smooth is the only way to go in my opinion - I don't want anything rough or edged sitting in my horse's mouth, even if it's rounded. As it comes down to it - I hate the mantra of "a bit is only as hard as the hands". I think it's a ridiculous statement that's used to justify all sorts of terrible mechanisms and "training tools" because we supposedly have "soft hands". Personally - I've been riding for a meager 2 decades and I wouldn't ever consider my hands soft enough to use some bits, including the waterford due to the way it wraps around the jaw/tongue. I want my horses to be able to feel the bit, and be able to carry it in their mouths so they can clearly feel each signal as soon as I send it, and this bit doesn't allow for that.

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post #7 of 19 Old 03-14-2020, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by The Equinest View Post
I'm not much of a fan of any type of bit that can completely collapse in the horse's mouth and wrap around the tongue/bars. Yes, it keeps the horse from picking it up and leaning on it, because it moves around and is therefore more painful to lean on, but it also prevents the horse from ever "carrying" the bit like he should. So you're stuck with a horse that never can carry the bit and work properly on the bit when using on. I've had horses that like to lean on the bit, and most of the time some consistent work out of a bit or letting the reins "slip" a little when they try to lean helps just as much as the waterford supposedly does.



That, and I do think they're abrasive. I've seen people ride in them, and even when they have "soft hands" the beads can very easily grab the lips quite nastily and I'd imagine they can also grab the tongue and bars as well and rub there. Rather than a smooth bit that just slides across the lip(if it's correctly adjusted and not cranked up 2 inches like some people think they need them), the waterford catches on the lips with the slightest amount of direct reining. Smooth is the only way to go in my opinion - I don't want anything rough or edged sitting in my horse's mouth, even if it's rounded. As it comes down to it - I hate the mantra of "a bit is only as hard as the hands". I think it's a ridiculous statement that's used to justify all sorts of terrible mechanisms and "training tools" because we supposedly have "soft hands". Personally - I've been riding for a meager 2 decades and I wouldn't ever consider my hands soft enough to use some bits, including the waterford due to the way it wraps around the jaw/tongue. I want my horses to be able to feel the bit, and be able to carry it in their mouths so they can clearly feel each signal as soon as I send it, and this bit doesn't allow for that.
A bit canít be smooth and rough.

The Waterford is a smooth bit, it canít snag or be abrasive.

Most of them have a large D ring which prevents the bit from sliding back and forth over the lips.

Theyíre also very Ďchunkyí so donít fold around the tongue and jaw any more than a lot of the double jointed bits do.
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-15-2020, 01:39 PM
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Mia preferred hers to any other snaffle:



No idea why she wouldn't be able to "carry" it. It didn't make her any more or less responsive to cues, but she seemed more confident in it. Good bit, at least for some horse/rider combinations. Bandit, OTOH, prefers a thin single joint snaffle or a Billy Allen curb.
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-15-2020, 01:48 PM
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@jaydee


I didn't say they can be both. The waterford is not a smooth bit - it's a ball-and-link bit, so by it's very nature it easily catches due to that. The balls/links being smooth don't make the whole bit an easy slide, that's like saying a "smooth" saw without irregular jagged edges can't cut. The large D doesn't prevent the bit from being pulled through the mouth, as I'm sure we've all seen snaffles with Eggbutts and D's easily pulled through the mouth before in the hundreds of photos we have of them on the internet(the same photos that everyone loves to brag about when people say that snaffles are the softest bits - which I don't necessarily agree with anyhow, but it happens). They're not "chunky" enough to prevent collapsing either, as most waterfords can be easily folded up and completely collapsed. They're similar to a chain bit, but with a slightly different linkage.

The problem is again - when used in direct reining, the balls/links grab the lips and drag across the bars/tongue. When used as a curb, due to the collapsing nature of the waterford, it collapses in the mouth just as bad and worse as the single-jointed curbs do(everyone hates on the TT for collapsing around the jaw, but no one considers the effect of a waterford curb). I'd honestly prefer a chain bit to the waterford as a curb because it's slightly more flexible, and therefore an immense amount of pressure and force would have to be applied to get it to have the same amount of torque as a slightly stiffer bit. (Though I like neither, nor to I like single-jointed curbs.)

In the end - I have very good reasons for my opinion on waterfords/chain bits/etc. I'm not likely to change them, unless someone can show me visible proof instead of just saying that it doesn't catch or can't collapse, because I've seen otherwise with my own eyes. Not to be rude - I'm a blunt person by nature, and it's easily mistranslated in text, but that's my firm opinion on them.

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post #10 of 19 Old 03-15-2020, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Equinest View Post
...The large D doesn't prevent the bit from being pulled through the mouth....

The problem is again - when used in direct reining, the balls/links grab the lips and drag across the bars/tongue....

In the end - I have very good reasons for my opinion on waterfords/chain bits/etc. I'm not likely to change them....
Anyone who drags a large D-ring through their horse's mouth deserved to be whipped. NO BIT is gentle if used with enough force to rip a D-ring through the horse's mouth!

Not sure what you are doing when you direct rein, but if your bit is moving significantly left or right, you might want to re-think your riding. Maybe try working with your horse like this:


Not convinced you really have good reasons for your beliefs. Not when many of us have a very different experience while using waterford bits over a period of years. Mia could be a handful at times but she liked her waterford - and I never came close to pulling a bit through her mouth! But I generally cue with my finger tips. Those who hold their reins in their fists may have different results.
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