If you have tried that, not it's not quite enough, here are a few specific styles of bits that I recommend helping the rider a little with a horse that can be strong when jumping, either cross-country or showjumping. It's a double-jointed bit that is shaped to sit more like a single join in the mouth, applying more concentrated pressure at the bars, while being shaped to suit those horse with a fatter tongue.
This is simply a matter of the rider needing to adapt to what is now in their hands, and the weight they are used to. The loose lever cheeks gives the rider more play, and the leverage is milder, so while it makes your rein aids stronger there is not a huge amount of force being applied to lower the head.
A very handy tool, and a lot of our clients have used this bit temporarily to re-school, and then returned to their snaffle. So, if your horse tends to pull down and burrow in, the action of the running gag may help you lift the head before a fence.
This bit is not for novice riders, and you must have a good balanced, independent seat. Lila Genial shares a bit of advice.
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 currently have a 2005 Holstein er mare, “Valencia” (Contested X Pardon), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Sell Luxembourg gelding, “Beau lieu’s Cool Sky breaker” (Beau lieu’s Cool man X One Beauty by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! If you liked this post, check out Anita Marches’s “A Bit of Advice” columns in the archives here.
The good news is, there’s an easy way to break horse batting” down so that it doesn't have to be so difficult. A curb bit does the same thing but allows the rider to covey far more complex and nuanced directions to the horse via the “shanks”, which act as levers that can pull down on the bridle crown, put pressure on the top of the horse’s head, and pull the curb chain or strap forward against the horse's chin.
While a lot depends on the rider and how the horse bit is being used, curb bits are generally considered to be more “severe” than snaffle bits because they apply more rein pressure. Curb bits vary widely according to shank and mouthpiece design, but there are two main categories -- Western and English.
Western curb bits usually have gentle ports (the upwardly curved center of the mouthpiece). Two common types of English curb bits are the Weymouth, which has straight shanks and a low port, and the Liverpool bit, which has several rein-attachment slots that provide a choice of leverage power and severity.
Snaffle bits create direct pressure on the mouth without leverage. One of the most common types of snaffle bit is the egg butt, which is considered to be the gentlest type of snaffle bit because it doesn’t pinch the corners of the horse's mouth.
Try to find the gentlest horse bit possible that will still allow you to communicate at the level you need to with your horse. If you’re an experienced rider who goes to horse shows, you can opt for a more severe horse bit than a snaffle bit but still always go as gentle as possible.
Outside verbal commands and touch, a bit is one of the most important communication tools in your relationship with your horse. You may not have invested enough time in learning how to handle and communicate with a horse.
Before you can effectively use a bit, you need to be able to control your horse without one using only a saddle and reins. He has been ridden Western for 3 years now, and I am training him to go back to English.
I have been riding him on ground in English for a little while now, and I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a bit that works best with a horse that is just getting back in to jumping again???? Basically you want the softest bit that fits his mouth well, and he responds too appropriately.
A well-trained horse should respond to the same bit the same way no matter the situation. But I agree with pony pile that you want to stay with the bit you've been using when riding English.
With either Full cheek or D-rings (I prefer, but sometimes loose rings help). Although I train with and ride with a full-cheek snaffle, I wouldn't trust a Hunter that had to be ridden with one.
Mine goes best in an egg butt snaffle with a middle french link or lozenge piece. Overfitting can easily backfire into a horse who completely blows through your aids.
Try to work through any issues through riding before moving to a stronger bit. It is hugely important to make sure all of your horse’s tack fits correctly.
The bit should rest comfortable at the corners of the mouth and the rings shouldn’t press hard against the horse’s cheek otherwise it is too short. A bit that is too short will pinch and rub the skin at the corners of the mouth and on the cheeks.
To start with consider the thickness. The thinner the mouthpiece, the more your horse will feel the effects of rein pressure. You should consider the size of the horse’s mouth as it may not be appropriate to put a very thick bit on a small pony.
The joint in the middle allows the rider to apply pressure to one side of the mouth more than the other. The example in the picture is the Steel JP Stainless Steel Jointed Egg butt Snaffle RAP £21.50.
However, not all horses are the same and some don’t like the tongue pressure that comes with the extra link. It helps them to become more relaxed in the mouth and jaw and hopefully be more accepting of the bit.
In the picture to the right is the Happy Mouth Loose Ring Roller Center Snaffle RAP £26.99 The entire mouthpiece is movable and so encourages a horse to play with the links in their mouth.
This allows the mouthpiece some independence from the rein contact in terms of being able to move in with the horse’s tongue and jaw. It is very important it fits correctly, if too small when the ring rotates it will pinch the horse’s skin.
Pictured is the Steel Weymouth Loose Ring Brandon RAP £12.99 A fixed ring isn’t the best option for horses who tend to lean on the bit.
The bars that protrude up the cheek help with head direction and turning. The bars on the opposite side will press against the cheek and encourage the horse to turn with its head.
In the picture to the left is the Happy Mouth Hanging Cheek Snaffle RAP £30.99 A Tom Thumb is a great bit to encourage the horse to improve their head carriage.
By adding slight pressure to the poll, it encourages the horse to lower their head. The Equipped+ coating also makes it perfect for horses who do not have a lot of room for a thicker mouthpiece.
In the picture is the Shires Brass Alloy Training A bit Loose Ring Snaffle RAP 22.99 This creates a sweet flavor that should encourage them to produce more saliva and mouth on the bit.
The pictured example is the Steel Sweet Iron Loose Ring French Link Snaffle RAP £15.29. You’ll find some of these bits have an apple flavor to encourage mouthing and salivation.
To use a double bridle for showing classes or for your higher level dressage you’ll have to decide on which bit best suits your horse. When you attach a snaffle rein to the Pelham it helps to lift the horse’s head.
The double joint with copper lozenge will soften the nutcracker action and assist with salivation. Some horses don’t like the feel of a Weymouth as they take up a lot of room in their mouth.