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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

For those who haven't followed along with my journal thread, I've started riding Brandy, a roughly 10 yr old mare (possibly quarter horse, we don't know her origins sadly) who is very sensitive and smart on her feet, just a touch barn sour.

I've tried a simple O-ring snaffle and a curb bit on her, both with identical two-piece broken mouthpieces, and I think the broken mouthpiece is giving her a lot of trouble. She tosses her head and gapes at times if I have to apply even a tiny amount of pressure (not often since we neck rein, and I've only ridden her once thus far). These were just bits we had laying around the barn. I was only able to find two bits with solid mouths and rotating shanks within my price range. I really liked some of the Myler bits I saw, but considering how many other basic supplies I have to purchase for her as well, they're not in the budget just yet.


Which do you believe would be the better option? One has a low port with a roller and the other appears to be a Mullen mouth though it's also labeled as a low port. She's very responsive, so I'm just looking for a nice softer bit that takes some of that pressure off her tongue. I have taken lessons for a total of three years and always used the same type of bit in my schooling, so I'm not very familiar with tack shopping yet :( thank you!
 

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I wonder if the second one wouldn't be better. Just because of the flexibility.

Any chance you can borrow a few to try?
 

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I actually own the second bit. It has a little more flexibility than a mullen-mouth, but it is not super flexy. If your mare is stiff, I would not recommend either. However, my super flexible QH mare loves it. But she would love the first one too. She has a thing for low ports, barrel bits (second bit), and mullens. The second bit is also a little tricky to use for some people. If you want to engage the bit properly, you have to make sure your hand doesn't drift out to the side or it won't work right. I only recommend either of these bits for a horse that mostly rides of your seat (which it sounds like yours does).

Side note: What brand is that first bit? Where can I buy it? My mare would love that wide port.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@boots Sadly not. The only tack store that's open nearby has a super limited selection of bits :(
@LittleBayMare Here's the first bit! https://www.statelinetack.com/item/western-np-med-arch-short-double-rein-bit/WBE07/ (I'm willing to spend up to $60 but for some reason the only bits they had that met my requirements were very cheap lol)
Brandy is very flexible. I haven't had the time to really find what all her "buttons" are yet to really engage that flexibility under saddle since we've only ridden once, but she definitely proved it last night when trying to steer her away from the barn :lol: Since she neck reins pretty well, most of the steering is from my seat and the reins on her neck, very little actually on her mouth aside from cuing halts and backing up. I think I'm leaning towards the first one for now. It's cheap enough that if it kinda works but isn't "the one" just yet, I can buy a better one later :)
 

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Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be of much help, as I'm assuming you are Western and I have very limited knowledge of Western bits.

However, I have successfully dealt with quite a few horses with bitting issues in english riding, including persistent gaping and head tossing. Have you asked the vet, following floating, what the horse's mouth conformation is like? This may help narrow down options for you. For example, one horse has a low palette and does not do well in single jointed bits with the nut cracker action. The bit that did work very well was Herm Sprenger Novocontact Double J Eggbutt Sensogan due to lack of a "^" action and its curvature.

However, finding a suitable bit was only half the battle and I still had to re-train the horse in how to search for the bit, from the ground up. Retraining particularly had to take place if that horse had any negative association with the bit, in order to change his/her perception to that of a positive one. Sometimes, I've found that head tossing could be occurring due to muscle weakness and/or body misalignment as well. As the horse gains muscle and/or is adjusted by the chiropractor, the head tossing often improves. Usually, this is also involved in the overall picture though.

As for the bits, I would go with whichever bit is the most "stable" of the two. Gaping is a way to release pressure in the mouth and I've found horses with this habit tend to prefer bits and bit rings with less movability.
 

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I'm going to start of by saying that I have not read your other thread.

Anyway, out of the 2 bits you chose, I would pick the second one (I own it aswell) for the same reasons @LittleBayMare stated. It's not as flexible as an original Myler, but it's close. I would not recommend this for a stiff mover (you already stated that your mare is not stiff, so you shouldn't worry). Trust me, I learned. Anyways, the bit isn't for everyone. Like @LittleBayMare said, it can be tricky for some people to use.

I'll also like to add on that not every horse likes a mouthpiece that is broken once. My mare, Tequila, hates 2-peice mouthpeices. She prefers her bits with a dogbone or a dogbone of some sort. This is due to the nutcracker action. Some horses react more to it, some horses react less to it.

I'd also like to add on that it can be a pain issue. Saddle fit, bad teeth, lameness can possibly add on to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for all the input! We did have a vet check her over before we started riding and we know at least her teeth are all good. It is possible she has a touch of stiffness and saddle fit could be an issue since I haven't been able to purchase a new one yet (all the tack we've been using sat around the barn for 10+ yrs) but the only time she throws her head and gapes is when I add any pressure to the bit. It appears like it's hurting her tongue. She's perfectly content to go otherwise!

I'll go with the second bit and see how she does. The first time we ever tacked her up, she gladly searched for and took the bit, but when she felt the jointed mouthpiece she wasn't as happy, so I wonder what she was trained with. Once I have the funds I'm definitely going to invest in a nice used saddle and a Myler bit. I found a tack consignment shop an hour away that has a saddle trial program and good pricing on used saddles, so I'm going to keep an eye out there :)
 

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@Kattington Thanks for the link! $14?! :shock: That's insane. I don't know why such nice bits are so cheap, but I'm certainly not going to complain. lol.

If you are concerned about any stiffness in your mare, I would recommend checking out Jim Masterson's youtube channel (not sure if I'm allowed to link it here, but just search for 'Masterson Method' on youtube and you'll see it). He teaches how to massage your horse and get them to relax. His methods have done wonders for all our horses and he is very easy to understand.
@Keira Cloudhawk I used to ride my mare in a dog bone, but then she discovered the wonders of mullens so now she gives me the stink face every time I try to use a dog bone or french link. She doesn't like broken bits apparently, even if they have more than one joint. Most of our horses ride in a dog bone or french link though. She's just super sensitive.
 

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@Keira Cloudhawk I used to ride my mare in a dog bone, but then she discovered the wonders of mullens so now she gives me the stink face every time I try to use a dog bone or french link. She doesn't like broken bits apparently, even if they have more than one joint. Most of our horses ride in a dog bone or french link though. She's just super sensitive.
I believe it is due to the pressure that dogbones add to the bars of the mouth. I know many light mouthed/sensetive horses that hate dogbones or bits with a chain in the middle.

As for the OP, I would recommend the Myler D-ring. It is a classic (well, according to me it is). It works really well and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. My gelding, who hates anything that can cause the Nutcracker action, loves the bit. I myself got it for a cheaper price brand new ($90).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Keira Cloudhawk Thank you! I really like the Myler bits I've seen but they're not in the budget just yet. If this cheap low ported curb works a lot better, I'll upgrade to a Myler in the future...but for now I have to buy a saddle pad, and splint boots and bell boots for her clumsy legs, and grooming supplies, and and....:eek_color:
 

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I think it is Toklat that has myler knock offs more reasonably priced or you could look for a used one.
 
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