Waterford D-ring bit? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Question Waterford D-ring bit?


Well I have certainly been posting a lot of bit questions recently, and I started to ask this in another thread, but figured, what the heck, why not make another one!

Okay, so after harassing my trainer about switching bits from my 2-ring elevator that I thought was too harsh for my horse, she told me she had a waterford d on hand and told me I could try it. My horse is not hot, but is sometimes heavy on my hands or tries to run through my hands. Also throwing this out there, we do jumpers

I want you to tell me anything and everything about this bit. How harsh, if it sounds appropriate for my situation, is it comfy for the horse to hold in it's mouth, personal experiences, how it works, ANYTHING that comes to mind! I really want to be educated on this bit. I'm definitely going to research it more, and already have researched a good 45 minutes, and ride him in it to see how he goes before we decide anything.

I just want to be sure this will be a bit that will make my horse happy in every way!

Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 06:46 PM
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I don't know anything about that specific type of bit but I wanted to commend you about stepping up and changing the bit because your horse was/ could have been uncomfortable. I think that that was very good of you to keep your horse's happiness in mind.
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post #3 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 07:26 PM
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It is not a bit I would use.

The design - The many links - Means that it offers zero tongue relief and is able to wrap completely around the lower jaw of the horse, restricting the tongue and contacting the bars as much as possible.

Any contact will bend the bit around the lower jaw. Most horses don't do very well with this much tongue contact and bar contact - Most like a bit of tongue relief.

Another issue is that because of the uneven mouthpiece, any side to side action of the bit is going to draw those bumps across the bars of the mouth - not very comfortable. This can be an action as simple as making a tight turn on a jumps course.


These bits work for some horses - If he goes well in it, I would consider using it for a short while to teach him not to lean/lug, then switching into a smooth mouth snaffle, maybe a french link or myler type mouthpiece - And only using the waterford if he needs a reminder. Personally, it's not a bit I would use unless I had to, and if then, only for a short amount of time.

wild_spot is offline  
post #4 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Love My Drummer Boy!

Wild Spot, thanks for your input! I'll definitely consider that! I'm sort of surprised by the cons you stated though, I read that most horses like it because of the loose bit and they had a free mouth. Now I'm confused LOL! Guess I'll just have to look some more things up on it That being said, I did read that if used in harsh hands it could be a painful bit. I was concerned that if I made a mistake with my hands, lets say accidenally caught him in the mouth over the jump, I would inflict pain. Hmm...

Thanks for your input though, you've made me want to research more!
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post #5 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 07:54 PM
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Okay, this is in response to both threads.

When he was leaning on your hands, did you feel out of control, or was it something you could manage ok?

If you could manage it, then I would reccomend going back to a smooth mouth snaffle and just working on lightening him up and suppling him up and he should become lighter in front as a consequence. Get him pushing forward from his back end and lighter in front - The leaning is usually a symptom of being very heavy on the forehand. I had a horse who would lean like nothing else - It seems back to front, but what worked with him was holding a light contact and driving him with seat and leg into my hand - He shortened up, and put his weight back onto his hind which in turn lightened his front end. It was bl**dy scary to begin with, pushing this huge, strong horse even more forward into jumps, but it actually slowed him down and relaxed him.

If you were getting worried and feeling out of control, then a different bit may be in order until you can feel safe and in control again, however I would reccomend you always have the goal of getting back into a smooth mouth snaffle.

Are you able to handle two reins? If so, then a short shanked pelham or even the elevator you were using could be a good interim measure. Elevator bits are actually designed to be ridden with two reins - One on the snaffle ring, and one on the lower ring - So that the gag and leverage action was not constanly engaged. With either bit, you should ride on the snaffle rein perdominantly, and only engage the lower rein when he starts to lug or lean. This way, you could ride him trhough the turns where he feels uncomfortable on the snaffle rein, and save the lower rein for times you really need it. Eventually you won't need it at all and then you can drop back to a snaffle and keep the pelham/elevator for tune ups.

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post #6 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Honestly, the only thing that bothered me was the irritation I got when he pulled so much and wouldn't respond that I got unseated. The running through my hands has stopped BUT that might be due to the switch. I guess the only way to know is to try. If I do go back to a snaffle which one would you recommend? I was thinking something along the lines of a french link, but that being said I do still need a bit that will do what I need it to.

Between you and me, I would love to ride him in a snaffle, but for some reason my trainer thinks other wise and I'm trying not to tick her off too much I know that sound ridiculous, but when I asked her about a french link (loose ring) she said it would be no different then the elevator except there would be no leverage, and pretty much shot down the idea. I'm not sure what the big deal is about using a strong bit on my not hot horse. Ugh, I don't know what to do! In the mean time should I just try the waterford to see for future reference?
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post #7 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 08:29 PM
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How frustrating! It seems so strange to me, being so dictated by your trainer - very different here in Australia!

I feel like a bit of a Myler rep today, but in going to reccomend them again. They have quite thin, smooth mouthpieces that have inlaid copper. They join is a barrel that prevents any nutcracker action and it also limits it collapsing onto the bars. You can get them with straight mouthpieces or a number of different sized ports. If your trainer is adamant about leverage, you can get snaffles with 'hooks' that provide a minimal amount of leverage.

If they are a bit out of your budget (pardon the pun!), you can also get a snaffle with similar hooks that is similar to an elevator but with only one ring.

Perhaps give the elevator a go with two reins and see how he responds - a compromise of sorts.
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post #8 of 26 Old 06-09-2010, 08:40 PM
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Honestly, if she were my trainer, I would not even let her tell me to buy that kind of bit for my horse. I understand she's my trainer, but....its my horse, and therefore his mouth is my mouth. I wouldn't want that in my horses mouth, even if I had super light hands. I would much prefer a pelham, as wild spot stated, but something like a french link would be even better.

I think if you don't feel right about it, its your job to speak up. If she doesn't want to compromise with you, I would quietly find another trainer to work with. Teaching you how to use harsh bits on any horse whos a little top heavy and a little disprespectful isn't teaching you a whole lot about how to be a proper equestrian, IMO. You would be much better off taking the mildest bit possible and teaching your horse to respond to that....it may take longer, but your horse will be much better for it, and you will be better for it.
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post #9 of 26 Old 06-10-2010, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

Could you tell me about the french link? Is it good for jumpers? Would I still have an adequate amount of control and could get his attention? Again, anything you can think of! I'll try to scavenge in the barn for one but don't know if I'll have much luck. If I do find one I'll hack and then try to lesson in one...Oh, what ring would you recommend? In our old snaffle it was a d-ring, but I heard in a loose ring they can't lean...?

Like I said, I really just want a bit that he will be happy in, but can still do what I need it to do.

And back to fixing the leaning, she suggested riding him in a "german" for a day or two on the flat to see if we can soften him up. I thought she said it was some kind of system deal, anyway, it's under my texts somewhere

And wild spot - you're saying drive him forward when he starts to lean? Oh, and btw, your advice has helped me tremendously!
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post #10 of 26 Old 06-10-2010, 08:56 AM
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Ok-a couple of things. I am not a trainer, just another person who got tired of fighting with my draft cross who "freight-trained" (gradual building of speed and heaviness) when he was cantering, especially when it involved jumps (he just loves it!) My trainer SUGGESTED (as most trainers do-they are not dictators, but it is their JOB to suggest, frankly) the waterford. I have used it ever since (YEARS-my horse is now 21!). I use a waterford elevator on the trails/cross country, and the d ring in the ring. I like it, and I certainly do not feel like a "bad" horse owner for using it. Certainly it has not had any adverse affects on my horse-he practically puts his own bridle on! The structure of it prevents him grabbing it and running thru it, and frankly, a regular snaffle can be horrible with the nutcracker effsct you get when that is hauled on, yes French link is a bit better. Just a fact. Any bit is only as harsh as the hands using it, after all, and when he is not paying attention, I only have to gently use alternating hands and he pays attention to me. Use what works for you and your horse. Don't let others judge you for it.
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