The Horse Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,061 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
​​I have a few questions about bit selection.

Here's the story: I have an 8-year-old, Shire/TB cross mare who was super green and skittish when I got her. I started her out in a single jointed D-ring snaffle with a curved mouthpiece, but she had a nasty habit of running through the bit when she got scared. For our safety, our trainer suggested we use a kimberwick for some emergency brakes, as the arena we used bordered a road/parking area and had no fence.

The kimbwerwick worked well for us as an emergency brake. My horse respects this bit, and doesn't run through it, however, I don't like the curb action. It encourages my already heavy-forehanded horse to put her head down and ride down even further onto the forehand. I find that she sometimes leans on the bit or roots as she gets tired at the end of a work out and I have read that this is a common problem with the kimberwick. And because of the bit's severity I cannot ride with a lot of contact so it is hard for me to push her up into the bridle and ask her to engage. ...So, I switched her back to the D.

Her training had progressed wonderfully over the past few years. She is responsive and maneuverable and has had a lot of exposure and desensitization work done. She hadn't offered to bolt in about two years, but a few months after I switched her back to the D, she was startled during a warm up. She ran right through the bit and bolted. She actually sat down on her haunch, threw her head up and surged forward when I grabbed the rein. I ended up on the floor. This has never happened in the other bit and I wonder if the D ring moves in her mouth in a way that hurts or startles her when the reins are pulled.

I would really like to find a snaffle that she is comfortable in and doesn't cause her to throw her head up and run through the bit when pressure is applied.

I have read that single jointed bits can tent up and stab the roof of the mouth, eliciting this type of reaction. I have also read that horses that go well in a kimberwick (which is a very stable bit) may like a baucher or full cheek with keepers as these are also stable in the mouth. So, I was thinking a french link baucher or full cheek would be my first stop for new bits to try.

However, I have also read that loose rings are mobile in the horse's mouth and move with the angle of the horse's head vs the angle of the reins and are less likely to cause discomfort due to the position of the horse's head or be run through. Though I have also read that horses who like a kimberwick may not like the loose ring because it feels very different to the horse.

Also, what is the advantage of using a fulmer over a regular full cheek? How do these bits work differently? I've read many conflicting views on this topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,808 Posts
If I remember correctly, a kimber is meant to be ridden with double reins. If you can't use the double reins, I would suggest either choosing a different bit (I use curbs, can't help much with contact) or leave the second set draped and only pick it up for the "emergency brakes".

I personally do not like bits with a single joint specifically for the reason you noted. I've only had one horse prefer a single joint over a double.

I have no idea what a fulmer is, I can't comment on that.

But, I think you need to teach her a one rein stop. From what you describe when she bolts, I'd also work on your leadership with her. She obviously doesn't look to you for safety if she's bolting when spooked.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,296 Posts
"I have read that single jointed bits can tent up and stab the roof of the mouth, eliciting this type of reaction."

I've heard that, but it seems to be wrong:

"When tension was applied to the reins, the mouthpiece pressed more deeply into the tongue, thereby causing the joint to move away from the palate. Single-jointed bits are usually described as having a nutcracker-like action, the implication being that when tension is applied to the reins, the angle between the arms of the mouthpiece closes and the joint is pushed toward the palate. In our study, any nutcracker effect that tended to push the joint toward the palate was more than offset by indentation of the tongue."

- Bitting: The Inside Story by Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PHD, MRCVS

http://horseproblems.com.au/Bits/USDF_Dec05.pdf



My horse prefers a single joint bit to a double joint. I think the single joint give her more tongue relief and less pressure on the sides of the bars, but more pressure to the top of the bars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
If I remember correctly, a kimber is meant to be ridden with double reins. If you can't use the double reins, I would suggest either choosing a different bit (I use curbs, can't help much with contact) or leave the second set draped and only pick it up for the "emergency brakes".
Posted via Mobile Device
That's the Pelham you're thinking of Iseul. The kimberwicke doesn't require double reins.

I'm probably not going to be a lot of help to this conversation as I'm still learning up on bits myself :D But I can try to help a bit. Zaney has really helped me on all my bit questions.

Your mare kinda sounds like mine in her "bit preference" so just gonna share what I've tried and seems to work. My mare likes to get strong in the bridle and pull, I switched her from a kimberwicke to a Pelham. However, since you don't like the curb action I'm not gonna advise the Pelham even though you can use it as a snaffle + curb because of the double reins (and leave the curb chain fairly loose). She does not like single joint and she does not like double jointed. The mullen mouth bits also do not give her enough "bite" when needed for emergency & she just plows through them. What I have found she does like & rides reasonably well in is a D Ring Waterford.

This is from my questions from Zaney:
Waterfords are decent bits but like you have stated they need a steady hand and an experienced hand. They can definatly encourage a horse to back off the bit and work on bars of the mouth waking up certain nerves. If you tend to see saw on a bit (since you said you had good hands, I have to assume you dont....which is good thing.) this bit can greatly increase the effects causing harm. Be forgiving when forgiveness is due. It can have a bite to it. But I think you know this already.:)
Just something to consider as well if she doesn't like the double joint action. I can't comment on bouchers as I've never personally used them. Fulmer's I've done a little bit of looking into for my mare as they interested me. I guess the fulmer acts as full cheek + loose ring since it has the independent rings on the side like a loose ring. Where as the regular full cheek is a stable ring. I have to say I would definitely use either with the keepers. My other mare rides in a full cheek mullen mouth happy bit and I like the bit much better with keepers than without. It just feels more stable to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
552 Posts
Fulmers and full cheek snaffles are very similar. In fact the only difference is in the rings. One has a loose ring and the other has a fixed ring. The Fulmer lets more movement to occur in the bit (though minimal) but one usualy uses restraining straps to keep the bit "fixed" in a position to keep the position in the mouth. In a Fixed ring full cheeck snaffle the movment is allready lessened due to the fixed nature of the rings but many still use a restraining strap to ensure the bit stays fast in its position. I personally never saw much use for a restraining strap and I use fullcheek snaffles frequently when training. Its pretty relative in that manner.

Both bits prevent sliding through the mouth and also put pressure on the side of the face when working lateraly.

Now one can look at the slotted cheek snaffle like the Egg butt slotted cheek snaffle. It fixes the bit in the middle of the mouth and gives a direct action over the bars of the lower jaw. The bit does not move or turn inside the mouth because of the slotted fixed nature. In other words you dont get much up and or down movement or any at all and there is no pinching of the lips. Finding one though can be a task in itself, they arent that common any more.

The Waterford can be a very useful bit esp to encourage a horse to back off the bit. However it can be a harsh bit with alot of bite esp if the rider is not educated or skilled enough to use it. In the wrong hands it can create more problems than fix. The Waterford wakes up certain nerves on the bars of the lower jaw (and some on the tongue) and can encourage a heavy or leaning on the bit horse to back off some. Its hard for a horse to lean on this bit. Another bit that has its uses and can help a leaner or heavy headed horse is the Roller snaffle. The horse cannot grab this bit in its mouth due to the rollers not allowing the bit to become fixedor held in the teeth . Also the rollers can wake up some nerves but had a less effect than the Waterford. It also encourage relaxation of the jaw. Both bits are considered severe but only in the hands of its user and esp if used incorrectly.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,296 Posts
Yesterday, I tried this Jr Cow Hose curb bit as a snaffle (reins attached to the mouthpiece). I figure that kind of made it a french link, full cheek, baucher, with rounded ends ( :p ). I'm not sure she would stop well on a trail with it like that, but she seemed very comfortable in our little arena. Anytime we stopped, she would play with the roller. The mouthpiece is only 3/8 inch thick and is curved to go around her tongue. It was the most relaxed I've seen her in a snaffle:



An older picture of it being used as a curb. The nearly equal lengths above and below the mouthpiece and its short overall length means you don't have much leverage with it as a curb. That is either good or bad, depending on what problem one is working on:



For the OP's question: a Fulmer bit should allow the horse to hold the mouthpiece in one position even as the reins are pulled back. If you use a full cheek without keepers, then pulling back can rotate the bit a little in the mouth. The full cheek snaffle I own is pretty straight, so I doubt rotating it would have any effect.

Also, Mia can blow thru a Waterford just as quickly as she can any other snaffle. I think the problem with her isn't getting the bit between her teeth, but her stretching her head out so the snaffle pulls the bit against her molars instead of her bars. Kind of like this, only I'm no jockey:



I don't plan to try Mia in a snaffle on the trail until she first proves herself in the arena. Riding with a curb seems to have taught her to hold her ground when startled, but I'm not convinced that training will carry over when she knows a snaffle is in her mouth.

Also...have you ever used a pulley rein as an emergency brake? It worked well with Mia when she decided she was racing against Trooper on a narrow trail with rough terrain ahead...

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
552 Posts
The Jr cow boy bit is a sliding shanked bit. In other words the curb (shanked) action will engage before the mouth piece will. Once the maximum pressure is achieved via the shanks will the mouth piece be riased in the mouth and be engaged. (it is not an elevator bit) This bit is a rather forgiving bit and I would rather much use this in transition from snaffle to curb ( "regular" curb) than a Americanized western Tom Thumb. It has a relatively short shanks and short purchases so indeed less leverage. If one is trying to stay away from a curb action then this is not the ideal bit.
Indeed a Waterford is not the answer for all horses, some do indeed ignore it esp those with dead mouths. But a dead mouth is a learned issue not a given one. But it definatly has more bite than a regular mouthed snaffle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,009 Posts
I only skimmed the answers already posted, so I apologize if my suggestion has already been made.
Though unconventional, have you considered riding your mare in a two or three ring gag bit, using double reins? The mouthpiece would be at your discretion.
With this set-up, you could ride on a loose ring snaffle most of the time, and only use the gag rein when needed, such as during a bolt, while also lightening the shoulders. Provided you're comfortable with double reins, of course.
Take my advice with a grain of salt as naturally, I'm not in your position!
Best of luck.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top