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I have a 15hh ISH mare who is a very keen jumper and works lovely on the flat but I am finding it difficult to get her to work in an outline. I am riding her in a snaffle at the moment but when I jump she gets very strong and holds her head up and I feel that I am too harsh on her mouth at times but she is just so strong! But I ideally don't want to have to change my bit depending on if I'm doing flat work or jumping. I would like a bit that would encourage a lower head carriage yet provides good control and isn't too harsh on the horses mouth. Or should I try a bitless bridle?
 

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I know many people that change bits from flat to over fences.

Sometimes it is holes in training sometimes it is just excitement from the horse to do that which he really loves.."jumping"...
Your bit need not be "strong" just different sometimes to make the horse better respond and listen to you.
Have you ever tried a 3-piece mouthpiece bit? Works on different areas of the mouth than a single joint snaffle.

I also know some who change their bit when changing discipline from western to English as the horse knows what job he is to undertake depending on what bit he carries...

Also depending upon what kind of classes you ride in if you show...bitless is not legal in many.

Good luck.
 

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You could try a french link or rubber mouth elevator bit for jumping (assuming you're doing jumpers not hunters). Even well trained horses sometimes need a little extra when jumping. But make sure to always go back to a snaffle on the flat and that your horse doesn't get too hard mouthed. You still want to have nice soft forgiving hands even in a "little more" bit. I would possibly say also school jumping in a snaffle, especially when your horse is having a good day.
 

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If the horse's head is being raised high when jumping the last thing you want to use is a elevating bit. Elevating bits encourage elevation in the head as they are such designed to do. Gag bits are elevation bits. They act by lifting the bit up into the mouth to raise the head position esp in horses that duck thier heads when jumping. They do not have purchases nor shanks and are drawn upwards into the mouth with minimal effect on the poll. Its action is based on the rider's hands and can be severe in the hands of an uneducated rider. It also exerts pressure on the mouth to encourage the nose to come in. (with the exception of the Hitchcock gag wich employs both poll pressure and elevation at the same time.)

Sliding cheeks like the Dutch "gag" or the two ringed snaffle is not an elevation bit though one calls it such, its a misnomer. The true gag has absolutly nothing in common with the he Dutch "gag" or the American "gag". The bit is not being drawn upwards into the mouth like the true gag. Its design is not of a true gag elevation for it has a purchase and shank and puts pressure on the poll of a horse's head ( the lower the reins are on the rings the more the pressure on the poll and you can indeed put a curb on that sucker though normally it is used without one. Think of the Wonder bit for example.) The mouth peice simply slides along the ring untill it hits the end when a downward pull is employed (however that only occurs in its extreme when pulling on the bit). A two ringged snaffle is about the same but with only two rings instead of the three and you cannot get the leverage one can get with the three ring snaffle aka Dutch "gag" because you only have the snaffle ring and the one ring below it to choose from. This mgiht actually be a possibility with the OPs problem. Pressure on the poll encourages the horse to lower its head (but again the horse must be taught on what this means, otherwise one can create more problems) and tongue pressure can encourage the nose to come in. However I like to watch the horse go and the rider's action/reaction before I really suggest a particular bit for not all is always revealed in words alone. Howver employing a little poll pressure might help when jumping to encourage the horse to drop its head. It is not unusual for two sets of bridles to be used (one bit for flat work and another for jumping) when going from flat work to jumping.

The two ring or the three ringed snaffle may not be legal in a Hunter jumper class so I would most definatly check that out before going that direction. In a regular Jumper and or X country class they are legal. Its been a while since I have ridden Hunter Seat and things have changed, just check to be sure. Bitless or mechanical hackamores are not permissable in Hunter seat.......at least they didnt use to be. In most Jumper classes (non Hunter) bitless and Mech. Hacks. are permissable...at least they used to be. Check out the rule books.
 

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If the horse's head is being raised high when jumping the last thing you want to use is a elevating bit. Elevating bits encourage elevation in the head as they are such designed to do. Gag bits are elevation bits. They act by lifting the bit up into the mouth to raise the head position esp in horses that duck thier heads when jumping. They do not have purchases nor shanks and are drawn upwards into the mouth with minimal effect on the poll. Its action is based on the rider's hands and can be severe in the hands of an uneducated rider. It also exerts pressure on the mouth to encourage the nose to come in. (with the exception of the Hitchcock gag wich employs both poll pressure and elevation at the same time.)

Sliding cheeks like the Dutch "gag" or the two ringed snaffle is not an elevation bit though one calls it such, its a misnomer. The true gag has absolutly nothing in common with the he Dutch "gag" or the American "gag". The bit is not being drawn upwards into the mouth like the true gag. Its design is not of a true gag elevation for it has a purchase and shank and puts pressure on the poll of a horse's head ( the lower the reins are on the rings the more the pressure on the poll and you can indeed put a curb on that sucker though normally it is used without one. Think of the Wonder bit for example.) The mouth peice simply slides along the ring untill it hits the end when a downward pull is employed (however that only occurs in its extreme when pulling on the bit). A two ringged snaffle is about the same but with only two rings instead of the three and you cannot get the leverage one can get with the three ring snaffle aka Dutch "gag" because you only have the snaffle ring and the one ring below it to choose from. This mgiht actually be a possibility with the OPs problem. Pressure on the poll encourages the horse to lower its head (but again the horse must be taught on what this means, otherwise one can create more problems) and tongue pressure can encourage the nose to come in. However I like to watch the horse go and the rider's action/reaction before I really suggest a particular bit for not all is always revealed in words alone. Howver employing a little poll pressure might help when jumping to encourage the horse to drop its head. It is not unusual for two sets of bridles to be used (one bit for flat work and another for jumping) when going from flat work to jumping.

The two ring or the three ringed snaffle may not be legal in a Hunter jumper class so I would most definatly check that out before going that direction. In a regular Jumper and or X country class they are legal. Its been a while since I have ridden Hunter Seat and things have changed, just check to be sure. Bitless or mechanical hackamores are not permissable in Hunter seat.......at least they didnt use to be. In most Jumper classes (non Hunter) bitless and Mech. Hacks. are permissable...at least they used to be. Check out the rule books.
An elevator bit is what you're talking about. That's what they're called, two ring elevator, three ring elevator. That's what I meant she should use, not a gag.
 

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Sullys Rider: thats what they might be called but not exactly how they work.

The other day I wanted to actually see how these "gags" orked so I did a sel study on the bits with the information I have read ad researched on them (lots O confusion let me say the least).
I took a gag (true gag) and a dutch "gag" out to try on a friends horse just to see what I would get.

This is what I found. THe entire trial fits what the Author of one article I read very close. (Sustainable Dressage) I will post this at the end. HOWEVER, not to the dirastic extremes that was stated therein.

1. The True Gag bit. Definatly raised the bit into the horse's mouth sliding along the runners up the face. (as its intended to do) The horse in response (to either confusion of the different action of the bit and not being used to its concepts OR due to the intended design of the bit) did indeed raise up his head. The poll pressure was very limited. I did not apply that much exertion on the bit because of our poor "guinea pig" but I would have to gather that with great force poll pressure will come into play, not the bits intention and with proper usage. I could see this bit pinching or pressing the sides of the lips/mouth rotating the joint (snaffle mouth piece) forward. When pulled on further the pressing can occur against he teeth further up the face. Thus giving it a bit more of a bite and further encrouage a horse to raise up its head. I can see why its often used in XC esp with a head ducker.

2. Slding shanked bit aka sliding "gag" elevation "gag" etc. (I tried both the Wonder bit with a snaffle mouth and a Dutch snaffle aka: pessoa, 3 ring, etc.). Both actions where exactly alike. The only difference is the fact that a Wonder bit is often used with a curb. When I used the curb on the Dutch style the action was the same. The shanks on the Wonder bit is designed to fit a more Western motif (swept back or not the action did not change) than an "english" one. 1st we tried the second ring (the one located below the direct snaffle ring). When I had the rider pull back a little on the shanks of this bit there was very little lift to the mouth peice, poll pressure was present but mildly. The horse did not react (could be from various reasons). When more (medium) pressure was applied the mouth piece raise very minimaly the horse brought in his nose and dropped his head a little but not much at all. When I asked for more pressure to where the bits shanks where tilted at thier maximum the horse immediatly dropped his head due to the higher pressure on the poll (now mind you he is typicaly ridden in a full cheek or mild curb bit so this could be a learned reaction to any poll pressure). There was some but not not alot of raise in the mouth piece. I was kind of suprised at this for I expected different.
OK. Now I put the reins at the lowest setting (the bottom shank ring) I got a little bit of a different action. At mild pressure no big difference. Medium pressure the mouth pieice raised more but not what I would call at true "gag" expression. It did not elevate much at all. However the poll pressure was a bit more and with less hand pressure than the above (at the second ring setting pulled at its maxium) the horse responded by dropping the head backwards due to poll pressure (he kept wanting to back up) but his nose went outwards. However he did raise his poll level at the neck. Elevation?? I think it was more like confusion on his part. So I asked the rider to relax her hands and let the horse come back down and relax. We asked again with the same medium pressure. This time he dropped his head but did not bring in his nose in and gapped his mouth open a little (I think that was based on confusion).

I will have to get back to you to complete this.
 

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Sullys Rider: thats what they might be called but not exactly how they work.

The other day I wanted to actually see how these "gags" orked so I did a sel study on the bits with the information I have read ad researched on them (lots O confusion let me say the least).
I took a gag (true gag) and a dutch "gag" out to try on a friends horse just to see what I would get.

This is what I found. THe entire trial fits what the Author of one article I read very close. (Sustainable Dressage) I will post this at the end. HOWEVER, not to the dirastic extremes that was stated therein.

1. The True Gag bit. Definatly raised the bit into the horse's mouth sliding along the runners up the face. (as its intended to do) The horse in response (to either confusion of the different action of the bit and not being used to its concepts OR due to the intended design of the bit) did indeed raise up his head. The poll pressure was very limited. I did not apply that much exertion on the bit because of our poor "guinea pig" but I would have to gather that with great force poll pressure will come into play, not the bits intention and with proper usage. I could see this bit pinching or pressing the sides of the lips/mouth rotating the joint (snaffle mouth piece) forward. When pulled on further the pressing can occur against he teeth further up the face. Thus giving it a bit more of a bite and further encrouage a horse to raise up its head. I can see why its often used in XC esp with a head ducker.

2. Slding shanked bit aka sliding "gag" elevation "gag" etc. (I tried both the Wonder bit with a snaffle mouth and a Dutch snaffle aka: pessoa, 3 ring, etc.). Both actions where exactly alike. The only difference is the fact that a Wonder bit is often used with a curb. When I used the curb on the Dutch style the action was the same. The shanks on the Wonder bit is designed to fit a more Western motif (swept back or not the action did not change) than an "english" one. 1st we tried the second ring (the one located below the direct snaffle ring). When I had the rider pull back a little on the shanks of this bit there was very little lift to the mouth peice, poll pressure was present but mildly. The horse did not react (could be from various reasons). When more (medium) pressure was applied the mouth piece raise very minimaly the horse brought in his nose and dropped his head a little but not much at all. When I asked for more pressure to where the bits shanks where tilted at thier maximum the horse immediatly dropped his head due to the higher pressure on the poll (now mind you he is typicaly ridden in a full cheek or mild curb bit so this could be a learned reaction to any poll pressure). There was some but not not alot of raise in the mouth piece. I was kind of suprised at this for I expected different.
OK. Now I put the reins at the lowest setting (the bottom shank ring) I got a little bit of a different action. At mild pressure no big difference. Medium pressure the mouth pieice raised more but not what I would call at true "gag" expression. It did not elevate much at all. However the poll pressure was a bit more and with less hand pressure than the above (at the second ring setting pulled at its maxium) the horse responded by dropping the head backwards due to poll pressure (he kept wanting to back up) but his nose went outwards. However he did raise his poll level at the neck. Elevation?? I think it was more like confusion on his part. So I asked the rider to relax her hands and let the horse come back down and relax. We asked again with the same medium pressure. This time he dropped his head but did not bring in his nose in and gapped his mouth open a little (I think that was based on confusion).

I will have to get back to you to complete this.
Yes I know, I was just clarifying that that was the bit I was talking about and that they are called elevators.
 

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OK now to get back on track. Sorry I had to go but I was borrowing a computer and well I had to leave it. any hooo

I'm just going to cut to the chase here. I eventually gave up on the horse's reactions as being a direct action to the bit's mechanics because they were rather random, inconclusive and not indicitive to the actions of the bit due to the horse simply being confused about the entire thing. Understandably. Poor thing was still a good boy regardless.

So I decided to look at just the bit and how it worked mechanically and ignored the reactions.

On the lowest shank setting (most torque applied) there was still minimal but yet more raise in the mouthpeice though not anything like with the true gag. The poll pressue was more because of the length of the shank and increased pressure. This isnt how a true gag works. The mouth peice did elivate a little more in the mouth, but when the mouth piece slid along the ring and hit the end of did the most elivation occur. However not realy all that much in contrast to what I have researched. I cant accept this as being a bit of elevation due to the fact it uses the poll pressure which is mechanically designed to lower the head. (nor do many bitting experts) Its the combination of both that gets the attention. Jaw and poll pressure combined can definatly get some attention in a stronger horse. I also see why its often used in jumping horses that can get a little strong and why its often used. Misnomer? Perhaps, yes. I even went a little further with this and put a curb chain on the Dutch "gag", a rein at the snaffle ring and a rein at the lowest set shank and voila a Pelham was born. I suppose if one needed to categorize (based on bit categorizing standards) this bit it would fall into the Family of Gags (sub group of sliding cheek bits) simply due to the fact that the sliding effect of the mouth peice does elivate some in the mouth (esp at the lowest shanked setting) thus following the same line of what a true gag does. This is only with the mouth peice action and not the shanks action. Its actually acted more like a curb bit than an elivation type bit. The "Wonder" bit acted exactly the same way and it was also able to be "converted" to a Pelham type. If I was the one setting the standards on classification of such a bit I would be inclined to put this in the family of Curb bits under subgroup sliding shanks or sliding mouth, But I'm a nobody in the relm of the horse world.

So intrestingly this bit (Dutch "gag" or Wonder bit) can be of several uses (theroretically anyways) a good way to eradicate the amount of bits one has. You can use it like a snaffle (or even an Uxeter), curb, or a Pelham.

The two ring or the three ring might be a possible answer to the OPs problem.

Oh and Jeau (pronounced Jo) the horse was given carrot bites to reward him of his patience.

http://www.sustainabledressage.net/tack/bridle.php Just because I post this does not mean I agree with everything it states.
 
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