Want to try kinder bit

Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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I ride Hogan in a straightforward eggbut snaffle, but want to try something gentler - maybe a rubber one? I'd love to try bitless, but don't think I'm a good enough rider, and Hogan being Hogan, might just take the Mick. Any suggestions anyone?
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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I ride mine currently in a straight bar rubber bit. I have a flexible one and also a solid rubber. Some people dont like rubber as they say the horse cant salva on them enough. I find my one lad prefers it. I've tried him in a metal egg butt and hanging cheek but he chomped on them lots. My only issue is having brakes. I'm fine on my own but in company I have to have some metal in.
 

carthorse

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Why do you want to try something milder, do you feel he isn't happy with the bit he has?

Rubber comes in two types - hard vulcanised rubber that isn't any softer than metal, and soft rubber. Soft rubber is mild but you need to check there's a safety chain running through it & some horses find it too bulky in their mouth.

Happy Mouth isn't a nice material in my experience. Many horses don't salivate with it & so have a dry mouth that can lead to rubs. It isn't particularly soft or flexible, and if chewed can quickly get very sharp edges.

Nathe would probably be my material of choice if I needed a very soft & flexible bit, the downside is the price.

Would you consider a milder shape bit in metal? If so look at something like a low port (for tongue relief) Myler hanging snaffle (the hanging snaffle cheek alleviates poll pressure when the bit is used).

Ultimately any bit, as long as it fits, is only as severe as the hands that use it - I know that's an old cliché but it's true. Look at Western bits, used with a contact they'd have the potential to be horrific, but the riding style is for no contact nd so no damage is done. It does make me wonder why they have such potentially severe bits though - tradition maybe?
 
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Huggy

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I ride mine currently in a straight bar rubber bit. I have a flexible one and also a solid rubber. Some people dont like rubber as they say the horse cant salva on them enough. I find my one lad prefers it. I've tried him in a metal egg butt and hanging cheek but he chomped on them lots. My only issue is having brakes. I'm fine on my own but in company I have to have some metal in.
I think I'll definitely try a rubber one.So far, brakes aren't a problem (touch wood!) as we're only walking and a little trotting. I was told he wasn't strong, and so far he hasn't shown any inclination. Which would you try first - I wondered if the one most similar to his jointed snaffle would be best - for familiarity?
 

PePo

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Jun 4, 2014
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I'm not sure I entirely agree with old adage of a bit is only as harsh as the hands that hold it. No matter which way you look at it, a stronger bit like a cheltenham gag, pelham or 3 ring snaffle bit on the lowest hole will always exert more pressure than a snaffle would. However, I do agree that even a stronger bit isn't necessarily a bad thing in appropiate and soft hands.

However, I think a mild bitless like a scrawbrig, sidepull, transcend and even the flower or orbitless is generally kinder for the horse if the riders hands aren't great (I'm not saying yours are bad - I've no geniunely no idea) as generally more horses are more tolerant of pressure on their nose than on their mouths. I always find it funny that people think they need 'good' hands for bitless, as I'd argue yoy need better hands for a bit.

I ride Pete in a ported Myler snaffle and either a rope halter or orbitless depending on what we are doing but it's been trial and error biting wise. He hated anything fixed - so hanging cheek or straight bar and anything with too much downwards pressure (so kimblewicks, pelhams etc) - but loves the independent movement of the Myler and the tongue relief.

Also, I found classical style in-hand wirk really helpful in making sure Pete understood what a bit meant & the movement. I spent a long time riding off a halter with the snaffle just 'there' in case and gradually introduced comtact with a bit.
 
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Jessey

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look at Western bits, used with a contact they'd have the potential to be horrific, but the riding style is for no contact nd so no damage is done. It does make me wonder why they have such potentially severe bits though - tradition maybe?
The bigger or more complex bits are so that you can use a very small aid, like picking up the weight of the rein, to comminucate a very subtle cue, the bit is to give more finesse to the cues :)

Why are you looking to change bit @Huggy? it's difficult to suggest anything without knowing what problems you are having with your current one, or are you just wanting to change it because you will feel better about using something milder?
 
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newforest

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What issues are you having? If you are not having any, why change it?
You could look at the bit bank that will ask you lots of questions etc, and allow you to hire. I did that after mine shot off out of a junction-we had a problem.

I changed from a fixed cheek to a loose ring. Now if the little madam wants to look for pennies she isn't pulling me out of the saddle.
Mine is laid back and placid and shows no inclination to do anything either, but trust me she does and she can.
You need to look at what schooling you are doing as much as what's in the mouth.

What's he like in canter in company or solo, in front or behind? Mine can collect her working canter, which means I have an oh crap amount of power underneath me that she could be a bit naughty with. My dressage score of 4, with very enthusiastic canter was a polite way of putting no control!
I don't think the bit will alter that, but trying to teach her to remember her manners will help me direct that power.
 

Huggy

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From what everyone's saying, I may be trying to fix something that isn't broke! I'm not having any issues at the moment, and I suppose my thoughts of as mild a bit as possible, came from riding out with someone who uses bit less. Maybe I should wait until we're doing more, and then see if I need to rethink. I'm completely ignorant about bits, only ever having used a snaffle. The consensus seems to be leave well enough alone! Thanks everyone:).
 

newforest

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People assume a bitless is kinder but its just a different way of communicating a request.
What the horse goes well in is what is the kindest for that animal.
Mine hates bitless bridles and goes deaf, she understands and listens the halter. Therefore the halter is kinder because I can be polite or direct as necessary.
But we hack in a bit because it makes no odds to me if we use one or not.
 
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