View Full Version : what bits can you use?
22nd Apr 2007, 02:56 PM
so i need a bit which i can get more leverage to controll my horse better im currently useing a snaffle, i have tried a pelham but i need a martingale because shes a jumper and she avoids the bit by throwing her head up. i am wanting to try a little prelim dressage too (i only do local unaffiliated events) so most people have recommended a dutch gag for me includeing our ponyclub jumping trainer, but could i use this in dressage too with or without martingale (im very new to dressage!) so i thought that i could use the dutch gag for jumping with martingale and have the strength to hold her back and for dressage where i most likely wont be able to use a martingale i will have leverage to keep her head down and in (from what im told anyway).
22nd Apr 2007, 03:04 PM
Before changing to a more severe bit, I would try and find out why she's behaving like she does. If I were you, I'd have her teeth checked in case there is some discomfort there; unless you have already had this done. I feel also that it would be better to school the horse to keep its head down and in by use of the rein (ie sponging the reins and not holding them too taught) and leg aids. Also, you could encourage the horse to stretch down and soften which would also help. IMO this is preferable to hauling the head into position mechanically by use of the bit.
22nd Apr 2007, 03:06 PM
i got told to use a pelham but first i tried a dutch gag happy mouth and i find it brilliant as my horse is very strong sometimes at shows.
22nd Apr 2007, 03:07 PM
I'm tempted to suggest that you should try and stick with the snaffle, but improve her schooling and training.
Funnily enough I am in the process of trying to do the reverse! My loan horse came to me with a dutch gag, and her owner used it on the middle ring mostly, and on the bottom ring for jumping "because she was too strong & needed more leverage". I have just got her a new bridle and snaffle bit and hope through schooling to get her listening to me better and to find the brakes!?!
We'll see how it goes.................
How old is your horse? What is she like to school? Do you have an instructor that could help you to get her listening to you and more responsive maybe?
22nd Apr 2007, 03:08 PM
Why don't you use the snaffle you have for schooling and dressage and only use the dutch gag for jumping. I personally prefer to go to hanging cheek snaffles as a first step up from ordinary snaffles but your trainer will know you and your horse best.
22nd Apr 2007, 07:36 PM
Ditto EML....We use a snaffle for schooling and a gag for jumping. Purely because he tends to get excited and tank into and over to the next jump..:eek:
22nd Apr 2007, 07:43 PM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but if she's avoiding the bit by throwing her head up wouldn't the elevating action of a gag be a bad move?
I would try something which works on poll pressure, such as a hanging cheek, but combine it with a lot of schooling (one word - transitions!), as well as a physical checkover to see why she is evading the bit. Hanging cheeks are dressage legal, fairly sure martingales aren't.
You could also PM KateWooten, or find some of her threads on the one rein stops. You might not want to go from canter to halt in the showjumping ring, but she has experienced that as her horse becomes more accustomed to it, the less she actually needs it. I'm in the process of teaching it to my horse, and it just takes a lot of repetition.
keep the faith
22nd Apr 2007, 07:51 PM
I agree with the others. Schooling is the answer not a stronger bit. Lady came to me in a dutch gag because she done the same thing. She went straight into a loose ring snaffle and thats where she has stayed through schooling, schooling and more schooling i now have a happy relaxed horse that canters smoothly into a 1.25m oxer and doesn't tank off before or after. Get her teeth and back checked and then stick with the schooling.
22nd Apr 2007, 09:09 PM
well at the moment we arent jumping at all because we are trying to get her schooling perfect, but really she is just your typical thoroughbred who insists on haveing her head up the main reason i need a different bit is because if i am to do dressage without a martingale she just puts her head up when i ask her to drop her head because she does work in an outline with the martingale. (its hard to explain!)
22nd Apr 2007, 09:38 PM
I know Martingales arnt dressage legal and I dont think dutch gags are either. I think from the sounds of it a hanging cheek might be your best option, as you can still dressage in it, but it does still have the slightly stronger action acting on the poll!
Good luck, and have fun!
22nd Apr 2007, 09:49 PM
Schooling is always important but so is the correct bit and that is not always a simple snaffle. I think there is a danger that people are made to feel they must not do anything unless they can do it in a snaffle but that is not the case.
We have several horses who will happily school and do well in dressage in a snaffle but on whom you would be silly to try to go round a cross country course or go out hunting in a snaffle.
How many Badminton winners use a simple snaffle in all phases? How many top dressage horses start competing at Elementary or above because a simple snaffle does not suit them.
22nd Apr 2007, 09:56 PM
thanks il give it a try :) :)
23rd Apr 2007, 08:18 AM
You can use a hanging snaffle (Baucher) in dressage which does give a little more leverage, my mare went quite well in those :)
27th Apr 2007, 08:34 AM
well , i obviously know your horse ;) so hopefully can give an enlightened view
she used to go in a happy mouth snaffle & i couldn't imagine her being too happy with a pelham as she had never really known anything harsher than a plain snaffle to my knowledge, also the martingale & dutch gag are a no no for dressage
personally i would try her with a hanging cheek snaffle , it will give you a little poll pressure similar to the dutch gag but is not a harsh action & is dressage legal
if you are finding her a bit strong i would work on her schooling (as i'm not aware of her being strong in the past), getting her listening , & lots of transitions ,including within the pace , so that she realises that she has to come back to you as & when you ask
27th Apr 2007, 08:48 AM
......... if i am to do dressage without a martingale she just puts her head up when i ask her to drop her head because she does work in an outline with the martingale. (its hard to explain!)
this statement doesn't really quite work , if she is working in an outline/into a contact with the martingale it is not because of the martingale , it only stops her getting her head up beyond the point of control & so only comes into play if she throws her head , at this point she almost certainly would not be in an outline & on a contact
also, previuosly i'm pretty sur she didn't wear a martingale as part of her usual kit;)
27th Apr 2007, 03:00 PM
well really i have only just found my feet with lily, me and her sharer are starting to get all the schooling she used to have back. i probably should add i have lost alot of confidence on her due to her rearing with me alot, finding out she almost killed someone! (apparently) and the bad times away from home where she has been absolutely loony with me! its difficult to decide why shes doing this because we have bad days and good days but i am going to get her teeth and back checked soon so we can rule out that, being the most common reason for changeing behavior.:)
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