Bits allowed for Ranch riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-28-2019, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Bits allowed for Ranch riding

So I decided I want to try a few ranch riding classes this year at some local fun shows around me but I have no idea what bits are allowed for ranch. I know some western disciplines (like western pleasure and possibly others) allow a snaffle to be used for horses 5 and under (with certain shows as well, probably). I’ll be showing a 4 yr old (5 in May) gelding. But I wanted to know what I could use on him. I prefer to use a snaffle and I pretty much use one 24/7. The horse has a relatively soft mouth and a good stop so I don’t need or want anything too severe. Would something like a jr cowhorse be allowed for him? I know the shanks are usually relatively short and they come with many different mouth pieces which I like. But any other ideas?
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-01-2019, 09:41 AM
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It really depends on what association's rules your local club uses. Find out which set of rules they use and read them.
I'd say for the most part the Jr. Cowhorse bit would be illegal in the ranch classes.

Also your horse would be considered 5 years of age on January 1st of this year. You can ride him in the snaffle bit according to most rules. Make sure you have a chin strap and use split or mcCarty reins(no contest reins)
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-18-2019, 08:50 AM
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It's a fun show so you can use whatever you use at home. Have fun!
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-18-2019, 11:46 AM
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Short shanks are not necessarily gentler. An 8" shank can have the same mechanical advantage as a very short shank. It depends on ratios, not length. I don't know anything about show rules, but this is a good video (39 minutes of goodness) on curb bits:


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post #5 of 11 Old 03-18-2019, 11:56 AM
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It depends on what organization's rules (if any) they are going by. In general, you'll be ok with a curb with a solid or jointed mouth as long as nothing extends below the mouthpiece. Some disallow anything with a gag action, which is what a jr. cowhorse is often technically categorized as.

For something similar, a 'dog bone' or 'colt bit' might be what you are looking for. They tend to have short shanks and swivel cheeks, and are relatively mild. For ranch classes, most people in my area show in a medium-port, fixed shank solid mouthpiece. If your horse will need to be ridden two-handed, though, in warmups, you don't want fixed shanks.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-18-2019, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuntleyHorse View Post
So I decided I want to try a few ranch riding classes this year at some local fun shows around me but I have no idea what bits are allowed for ranch.


As already suggested, it will depend on the specific rules of the show you plan to attend. I would contact the show association to see if you can get a copy of the rulebook and/or which rules they follow (AQHA, 4H, etc).



Quote:
Originally Posted by HuntleyHorse View Post
Would something like a jr cowhorse be allowed for him?

In general, gag bits are NOT legal for western showing events. Although a mild gag, the Jr. Cowhorse is still indeed a gag bit (b/c the mouthpiece can slide).


So if you compare this Jr. Cowhorse: (not legal for most showing events)




Compared to this bit which would be legal for most showing events because the mouthpiece cannot slide along the "shank".






And just for comparison/education, this is a bit with (potential) lots of gag action that would also not be legal for showing in most cases. This happens to be a Carol Goosetree Simplicity bit. But it is still a gag bit, like the Jr. Cowhorse. Just different amounts of gag.'


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post #7 of 11 Old 03-19-2019, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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I knew something like this or the last pictured bit was a gag but but I didn’t think that a jr cow horse bit was a gag since it doesn’t slide as much. Kind of skipped my mind and I went and read some of the rules for some different riding and breed associations and a little bit more research and found that they said that.
As for a port mouth bit, I don’t know as much about them so I didn’t think about using one and I didn’t want something with fixed cheek pieces (most port mouth bits I had seen in the past had fixed cheek pieces/shanks) if possible. My horse is used to a thick twisted wire snaffle and I like being able to just move my rein out and have him turn ( with some leg as well) generally because it also can make the cheek piece on the bit move a little and he can also feel the rein move so he will turn. However I always learned that the longer the shank the more leverage comes into play (like a snaffle would be a 1:1 ratio but for example a bit with a 3 inch shank would have a 3:1 pressure ratio as in it is applying 3 times the amount your hands are pulling.) however a majority of a bits severity also depends on the mouth piece. Many people think a Tom Thumb is a gentle bit when it definitely is not since it uses the nut cracker action like a snaffle and added the leverage from the shanks. I have enough experience to know how my hands need to adjust to the type of bit and the type of mouth the horse has so I know not to misuse a bit but I don’t want something that is far more aggressive than he needs. He can ride in a leather band that attaches to a headstall to make a bitless bridle.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-02-2020, 06:44 PM
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Read the rule book,also registered horses all have their birthdays on Janyary 1st.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-02-2020, 08:07 PM
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"However I always learned that the longer the shank the more leverage comes into play..." - @HuntleyHorse


Mechanical advantage is created by the RATIO between the "cheek" and the "purchase". Another error is that it is the ratio between the shank & purchase, but it is a Type 2 mechanical lever:


An 8 inch cheek often has the same mechanical advantage as a Pelham bit. A mechanical advantage of 2.5-3:1 is typical in curb bits. It can be found as little as 2:1 and of course can go much higher.

"Tom Thumb is a gentle bit when it definitely is not since it uses the nut cracker action"

Any curb bit with a broken mouthpiece can potentially poke the roof of the mouth, but it is rare and not the main problem with them. Folks who ride with a Tom Thumb like this and who don't snatch on the reins won't have a problem:


Perhaps the biggest problem with Tom Thumb bits is who buys them and why. They will NOT give control by magic and they require a lighter hand than many curb bits. Many of those who buy them plan to ride with a heavy hand "to take control". Not trying to get anyone to buy a Tom Thumb. My horses prefer a Billy Allen and I expect most horses would agree with them.

No idea though what the rules are for Ranch Riding competitions.

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post #10 of 11 Old 09-02-2020, 08:30 PM
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Here in Canada, ranch riding follows the same rules as AQHA ranch horse, all levels.

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