Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

This is another one of those "things I've pondered a while, and don't know the answer." If you've got an opinion, I'm hoping you'll share. There are no "wrong answers" - Let's all remember that Opinions are like Armpits, everybody's got at least two, and they might stink. :)

How much bit is "too much"? Do you ever enter a competition ring, look at the other horses' bits, and think "Man, I must have a real issue.. The bit on my horse is atrocious." Or, do you ever enter the ring and think, "Whoo wee... what did that mare ever do to that lady?! She put WHAT in her mouth? OWCH!"

Ransom goes in a full cheek slow twist snaffle. That's what he was sent to me with, and I haven't changed it. I've considered lessening it, but this is where I'm not sure what is "too harsh"...

Romeo goes Western in a Tom Thumb, what I believe is the mildest I can get away with in open western pleasure events. is that true? In hunters, I'm warming him up in a twisted copper wire (pretty thick) loose ring snaffle, then showing in a loose ring french link (copper in the middle) snaffle. I love the french link - I think that's pretty mild. The twisted wire, however, ugh. It seems to be doing the trick, but it seems harsh to me.

What do you use? What looks like "too much" to you? Is there something you'll never use? Is there any merit to "bit for the task, change them up often"? Do you change bits depending on the event?


Stephanie said...

Hi Jennifer,

My opinion... not that it means too much..

I have 3 or 4 bits hat I use on Fawkes, depending on what type of riding we are planning on and how hot he is.
I generally train jump and show jump in a slow twist D ring (similar to Ransom) however if he has not been jumped in a while or is super fresh and i am worried about him taking off with me then I use a mikmar flexion combo bit with some leverage.
When I am training and showing in dressage I use a KK ultra, loose ring snaffle with the lozenge. He loves it and likes to chew it and is round and soft in my hands.

However, I must say that I was always taught that no bit is too harsh in an educated hand. And I believe that. So, if the twisted wire works for warm up on Romeo and he is not unhappy and you are not yanking on his mouth then I say stick with it.

Wish I could comment more on open western pleasure events! Just not my knowledgeable area.

There is one horse at my barn that is ridden in a bike chain bit! I think that is taking it too far. The poor guy never looks happy.

SunnySD said...

I'd tend to agree with Stephanie - educated hands make a world of difference.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of tom thumb bits, although I've seen a lot of horses go very happily in them. I just had it drummed into me a long time ago that anything with a snaffle-mouth should never have a shank.

When I was growing up, we rode everything in a grazing curb. I've tried Sunny in a number of different snaffles, and in the good old grazing curb. He didn't seem really happy about any of them, which made me wonder if the problem wasn't me, or if maybe something was going on with his teeth. At the moment he's going bitless in a Freedom Bridle, and he seems happier - so... I need to have his teeth looked at. (Wolf teeth, or something maybe?)

But ultimately, I'd say if your horses are working happily with what you're using, then you're probably good to go. Obviously, you're gonna need different bits for competing in different disciplines, so they may need to be comfortable in more than one type, and that make take some experimenting.

But if you're adding to the severity of your bit because you're having issues in a mild one, the underlying problem probably isn't with the bit. :)

Hope that makes sense!

Jennifer said...

Thanks to both of you...