You don’t always know what is going to work until you try the bit, but here are a few suggestions to get you started: …try a textured mouthpiece or a bit with multiple joints.
…try a bit with rollers or one made of copper or Auriga metal Try a wide range of bits before deciding on any one thing.
If you have friends who will let you borrow a bit, instead of going out and buying one, that is usually helpful too. Another piece of advice is to not only try your bit in the jump ring, but also give it a test-run cross-country.
Obviously, some horses can be totally different creatures out galloping in the fields as opposed to the ring. I also wouldn’t say that all aggressive horses should be ridden in a tom thumb Pelham.
The right bit for your OTTO isn’t the same for every other Thoroughbred, but we can give you a great start towards finding the perfect one. Even though every horse has its own personality, sensitivities, and preferences about being handled and ridden, there are some things that most Otto will have in common, as a result of their racing training.
If you’re lucky enough to have some background on your horse, find out what type of bit they raced in at the track, or have been working with in their most recent training program after they retired. It’s quite common for Thoroughbreds to wear a simple, loose ring or Dee snaffle with a fat mouthpiece.
If you don’t have access to a way to measure your horse’s mouth for correct fit, start with the 5 ¼” size, and assess how it’s sitting. The correct width will leave about ¼” of metal extending on each side of the horse’s lips.
With that important detail covered, let’s move on to the top 5 bits that successful owners and trainers recommend for Otto. Tyler SS Loose Ring Comfort Snaffle The design is very gentle on OTTO mouths, and it’s unlikely to cause damage even under the hands of a green rider.
This style lets them get the idea gently while ensuring that any sudden or accidental braking incidents won’t grab their mouth. Each side of the bit’s rings are separate, so this is an excellent model for introducing the concept of more subtle aids and to use to start transitioning to other disciplines, if needed.
Unlike some other Mullen style bits you’ve seen, this Dee-Ring version doesn’t have shanks that could add leverage to the rein action. Instead, it’s a very gentle bit that doesn’t pinch, and provides even pressure across the mouthpiece, tongue, and bars.
It lets you give straight, direct aids, and sometimes that is just the type of approach that your Thoroughbred needs. Some Otto develop the habit of pulling and working crookedly, and the Mullen bit can help straighten their movement.
The Waterford has a series of round balls along the mouthpiece that discourage a horse that pulls strongly, but in a way that isn’t overly harsh. It seems to prevent them from locking their jaws, so it doesn’t create stiffness when you need turning ability.
The jointed snaffle piece will provide a little more action on the tongue than some of the other bits that we’ve covered, but is generally mild and well-liked by green horses. The Dee rings will keep it from shifting too much in your OTTO’s mouth and will help improve their lateral movement in schooling sessions.
Watch for signs of head tossing and discomfort, and replace any bit with copper with these horses. Those with a lozenge or “bean” shaped centerpiece are often terrific for horses with busy and fussy mouths.
I tried to put him in a single hinged snaffle a bit with a loose O ring, but he didn't seem to like it (threw his head around a lot), and he also was hard to slow down and stop with it. I have a thread at the top of this section that may help you; I can link to it when I'm on my laptop I would suggest a snaffle for sure as you're both learning, so you want a bit that isn't harsh in case you catch him at all.
I have to agree with this and JD's reasoning behind it. Hunters and jumpers are two different things. If you go in the hunter ring with a big elevator bit you are not going to place well.
My point really is that hunter and jumper are not interchangeable things. Because of the expectation of a hunter's manners and way of going, the preferred bit is a snaffle.
Pelham are allowed, but should be ridden with the curb rein loose, and an appropriate light, passive, Hunter contact. And some horse people (including me) will be skeptical of a horse showing on the flat in a Pelham, under the logic that if your horse needs that much bit to show in a flat class, he probably doesn't truly have hunter manners and way of going.
No elevator or leverage bit is allowed other than the Pelham. The ginormous D-rings are a fad right now, because someone liked the look of them; however a full cheek or egg butt snaffle is still completely appropriate.
You can ride in a loose ring; but it's just not as common as a D-ring or full cheek. Also, what makes a loose ring so good for dressage (the ability to move the bit in the horses mouth and encourage the horse to mouth and chew the bit) is not an advantage for a hunter, whose supposed to quietly accept passive contact without mouthing or chewing.
The type of cheek piece on the bit doesn't really matter at the moment, you want to find a mouthpiece he's comfortable with and will accept contact with. Good luck, and please post some photos of your progress.
If you go in the hunter ring with a big elevator bit you are not going to place well. I always thought the horse's movement is what is judged in hunters.
Because of the expectation of a hunter's manners and way of going, the preferred bit is a snaffle. Pelham are allowed, but should be ridden with the curb rein loose, and an appropriate light, passive, Hunter contact.
And some horse people (including me) will be skeptical of a horse showing on the flat in a Pelham, under the logic that if your horse needs that much bit to show in a flat class, he probably doesn't truly have hunter manners and way of going. Maura, I understand that type of the bit may influence the score.
If it appears the horse can not go well enough to go around quietly in a simple bit it counts against them. I am betting if you have a perfect round with a loose ring you will place well.
If you have a perfect round in a loose ring and the horse has lots of mouth chomping, etc you will place lower and since a loose ring tends to encourage the horse to move their mouth you might be taking away points by your bit choice. I have not been to a rate hunter show in a few years, but a Pelham used to be 'the bit in the EQ OF ring.
Not that whatever bit was in the mouth mattered because the curb rein had almost no contact. Anything deemed “traditional” like coat color, breeches color/style, bit, bridle, saddle pads can all have a detrimental effect to the judges.
For instance, standing martingales are needed for very few horses and are really corrective devices for bad behavior. Horses who “need” one should be docked, in the real world.
To be without one now looks “traditional”. Things slowly change in the hunter ring all the time. Because I do understand judging horse/rider by how they move/ride (and I see your point about the horse chomping on loose rings).
But I don't understand taking off points/judging just because “it's not a fashion” or “out of (at the moment) standard”. Now, yes, certain things ARE traditional (don't know about hunters, but you don't use bright-colored pad in dressage show).
Or I was told couple times in my local hunter barn that D-rings is the only way to go (and no loose ring, or even egg butt). If you do a hunter class at a show you must have a snaffle bit in for top marks, my judge said I would have placed first if I could ride my mare in a snaffle (she's a wee bit strong lol).
Rider turnout for Ridden Hunter, Intermediate show hunter type, Riding horse, Riding club horse and Show cob classesRider • Beige, cream breeches, no white jobs or breeches, long black boots with straight tops and garter straps. Shirt color should be cream or pale blue.
Without velvet collar. • Bowler or black hat for men, navy velvet for women, no black hats for women. • A brown Double or Pelham for open classes, snaffles for novices, although you will not see snaffles in novice class` at affiliated level.
• A brown straight cut or working hunter saddle will show off the horse's shoulders and movement, so is preferable to a GP. Discreet NUMA or none at all. The hunter should be plaited, tail pulled and banged, whiskers, facial hair, inside ears and heels trimmed.
Some horses go better in a big fat elevator bit too. Should they not get marked differently? Some people use a martingale because they find the neck strap makes a line that helps define the horse (or so that is what I have been told).
I see nothing wrong with a standing martingale that is set so long it truly does nothing if the horse is not about to hit you in the face with their head (and then it is doing what it should be doing). It sounds like the trainer you are talking about has bee up their bonnet to an extreme.
I showed (my apply even) in a full cheek for years, when Big DS were coming and full cheeks were for sure on their way out, and it never seemed to affect my placing. If the points depend on rings only we are talking about (and not mouthpiece itself or configuration of the bit), then I again find it to be strange.