Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One of my favorite things...bits

I am a big fan of bits. As a 4-H kid, I loved studying the different bits and memorizing their names for the hippology (horse science) contest.

It probably comes as no surprise that I have a wide variety of bits to use in my horse's mouths.

I don't ride John regularly in his driving bit (the bit I used on the last competitive trail ride). It is a stronger bit than I would like to use (a medium twist with a Dr. Bristol) but I really like to stop too. So I use a stronger bit during competition and train with a milder bit in the hope that someday, we can compete in a milder bit.

I usually ride in a smooth D-ring snaffle at home, but when I got back from Rhode Island all of my D-ring snaffles were on other bridles and I was feeling lazy.

The Waterford bit was hanging on the wall and I love that bit. I think it looks cool (I call it the bubble bit - see the picture at the top of the post), its neat to hold, it just fascinates me. I bought the Waterford for Rose, never used it on her, but thought it might be appropriate to try on John. Horses cannot grab hold of the Waterford like they can on other bits and become heavy in the bridle.

I put the Waterford on John's bridle and rode him in it a few times. He was not overly impressed with the bit, but he was not awful either. I thought he was probably grumpy because he couldn't grab onto the bit.

The other night I was re-reading Jessica Jahiel's book, "Choosing The Right Bit" when I read a section that mentioned to watch out for the width of a bit, if a horse has a small mouth, a thick bit can be uncomfortable.


None of my horses have what I would call "large" mouths. But maybe John was bothered by the size of the bit? Or maybe he was bothered by the fact that he could not grab the bit and gallop off.

Its been a bit crazy and I did not have a lot of time to spend playing with bits so I switched John's bit back to a D-ring snaffle and hung the Waterford back up on the wall. Someday soon I will put it back on John's bridle and check the fit, I still like the idea of the Waterford!

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