Bit Fitting

GaryB

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Mar 23, 2015
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I'll start this post by saying that what I know about bridles and bits would fit on a postage stamp and leave quite a lot of space left.

When I got Harvey he was in a ported bit. He always seemed a bit unhappy and had his tongue out so I swapped it for one with a flat link in which he was much happier with. When I started to do some jumping I swapped again to a 2 ring gag with the same link.

In the Summer I saw an advert for a company that come out and check the bit and potentially suggest a better one, and yesterday they (she!) came out to have a look at Harvey. She started out in the stable having a look at Harvey's mouth and head, and had a quick chat about what sort of riding I did. I then tacked up and she had a look at my bit and bridle. The fit wasn't too bad but she diagnosed a tight browband, and badly placed buckles (which couldn't be changed without changing the bridle).

I then rode in the school for about 5 minutes while she watched. She then made up a new bridle and put on a new bit. I didn't really expect to find any difference, but it was like night and day. Suddenly I had a much more forwards horse, what I didn't have though was any brakes and Harvey was objecting by shaking his head when I asked him to slow down. We then tried 4 or 5 more bits each one improving until we found one that gave me brakes and Harvey was happy in. I then got a written report of what was found, and the bridle and bit we ended up with. They don't actually sell either, so no pressure at all to buy anything. I will of course be buying both! The whole process took about 2 hours and cost £65. I just wish I had done it sooner!
 
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Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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Wow, that sounds brilliant. What was the combination that suited Harvey the best in the end? And how did he find the whole fitting and try-out process?
 

GaryB

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Mar 23, 2015
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He's ended up with a bridle from horsemanship saddlery (who are allied with the bit fitters) called a Scorpio. This has a wide padded headpiece with lots of ear room. The buckles are much lower down to keep away from the pressure points. (so I'm told!). The bit is a Neue Schule turtle top D ring which gives him more room in his mouth and puts less pressure on his lips and poll (again so I'm told!)

The whole process was really interesting. Changing the bridle was the biggest change - I had to go from encouraging him forward to half halting in canter. The bits gave various different effects - some gave me little or no brakes, some Harvey objected to by shaking his head when I asked him to slow (I was mostly trotting and cantering). The final bit gave him noticably better balance when cantering corners. I thought I was imagining it but my instructor was there and I checked with her and she agreed. I also popped a few jumps in the final combination to make sure I had enough control. I may have to have the same bit with a "universal" cheek for XC but I'll wait and see on that one
 
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GaryB

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Mar 23, 2015
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I've ordered both. The bridle will be about 3 weeks possibly because its a full bridle but an extra full browband (and of course its Christmas!)
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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That sounded most enlightening. I would have loved similar when I first got Storm, as nobody seemed to have any advice and in the end (at her expense I fear) we muddled through.
 
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Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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That sounds fab. I've often wondered whether a change of bit would make any difference to us, but then again I'm worried I might spend a load of money and find out I'm just a rubbish rider! Which company did you use?
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I'm interested to read this as I've been debating having our local lass out, Jess is fussy in her mouth, objects to anything jointed and buggers off, but a mullen snaffle has never been enough when she gets strong. The cost of bit bank and time to try and return, and try again always put me off but having someone there with a stock to try out appeals :) perhaps this is what I'll spend my Xmas money on :) thanks for sharing :)
 
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fourlegs

Horse addict
Nothing to beat actually having the different bits etc to try out - but a horse's initial reaction is not what they end up with.

When I first got Scully she was in an eggbutt snaffle. But I noticed that she was not happy to take the bit and then rubbed the bit on the stable door. I went through a number to bits, including french loose links , happy mouths - after each change I let her get used to the new bit before assessing how well she was going in it.

I had spoken with the bitbank company and they had suggested a Myler ported eggbutt with links and at this time Scully was up at Ashen EC for training so I thought a good time to get a professional trainer's assessment.

The bitbank advice was spot on and Scully has steering and brakes - the Myler also allows you to lift one shoulder through its independent side action.

Some of the RIs out in Italy (UK based people) have been very "old fashioned" in their attitude to bitting and one had never seen a Myler, thought is way too strong for her and put her back into a snaffle - we then had behavioral problems which were solved by insisting she goes back into her own bit & bridle & saddle!

Managing the keeping and training of a horse at long distance has its problems! :rolleyes:
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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very interesting, they don't have anyone in our area sadly. I have had to make up a bridle from various parts, as Buddy has a very wide forehead, so he has a draft brow band and cavesson noseband, then the rest of his bridle is full size, with a D ring myler bit with rollers. He only has a noseband as he needs nose nets. I would love to have a bridle made to his size without a noseband in full but just a front part of it added to the straps which hold the bit. So I can attach the nets but not do it up around him. He really dislikes nosebands being tightened, I have it on the first hole which I punched right to the edge so it is as loose as it can be. He has been ridden in flashes all his life and hates them.
 
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PePo

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Jun 4, 2014
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How interesting @GaryB! Can't wait to see your new bridle :)

I'd have looked into this but decided to take Pete bitless in the end, after much trial and error over the years!
 
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