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.
If you liked this post, check out Anita Marches’s “A Bit of Advice” columns in the archives here. 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.
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.
At this stage in the game, it’s okay to let your horse relax a little and learn to not pull against the bit. 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. You’ll also be able to introduce a bit more of a jiggle into the rein aids on the loose ring, helping them catch on.
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.
Hope this helps, the jigging method has worked great for me on most horses. Tom thumbs are a good bit to use with a curb chain, but remember those bars a so long and straight you are really going to get a lot of leverage, and it is very easy to over do it with the curb chain...
Sign in There are tons of strong bits out there, and a good thing for you if you choose to deal with your horse this way. There's also the concern (a biggie for me, because I'm not an experienced jumper) that with a strong bit and big jumps I might accidentally give him a painful bump or pull, like if I make an 'unscheduled dismount'...
Sure, it got us some strange looks, and I'm sure it gave the others plenty of fodder for comment, but it worked for us and I felt better knowing I didn't have much to hurt her with if I lost my seat. With greater strength and confidence, maybe he won't feel the need for speed to accomplish the jump.
This was the case with my friend's ASB that she took from silly, spooked-up nitwit saddle-seat show horse to confident, competent trail partner and evener. He would always rush his jumps until that same eventing trainer with the strong horse, put the same bit on him and helped him learn to trust it and use his body more effectively.
He'd been taught when there's a bit contact, to toss his head in the air and go all booger with “animation” (aka stress). Below is a link to an article by Mark Rashid, regarding the problems with the Tom Thumb jointed curb bit.
I had the same problem, and it really depends on the horse and what she responds to best but I found that a three-piece kimberwicke or a regular one worked really well. Tom thumbs may do the trick, but you have to be really careful and make sure you release with those and don't yank on the mouth too much, or it can be very hurtful.
Classic snaffles are pretty good too, but they can be a bit mild-- however I used one on my frisky TB and it worked-- posture, confidence, leg and hands are the key...it's all about the riders aids. You need to go back a couple of steps, and get more control when you are riding on the flat.
If she is pushy and rushing the fences, start back with ground poles, at a walk and slow trot. Praise her greatly when she stays slow, and if she rushes, ask her to stop and back, not too close to the poles though.
If a previous owner or rider ruined her mouth with severe bits, you can soften it with a smooth snaffle and light hands. A copper mouthpiece helps the horse salivate more and accept the bit better.
Yes, many Olympic and Grand Prix champions are shown in short thanked curb bits, double bridles, or mechanical sycamores, but these are professional riders who know how to use these bits without harming their mounts. Well, it sounds to me like your horse could do with some serous flat work, to learn control.
Keep with a mild bit like a snaffle or a french-link snaffle(these are a tad bit stronger but not harsh), and for shows maybe use a french-link Pelham(this gives more leverage- it's needed when my mare's all hyper about the other horses at shows).