Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Back To Bits

I found another western bit that I've had for a while. I'm not sure why I bought this particular bit, other than it has the french link style mouthpiece, but I'm glad I did because it just might work.

We definitely need to continue to work on staying soft, but I also want to start working her in the bit I have to show her in, at least every couple days or so. Most days I work her in the snaffle and I use two hands, but since we can't do that at the show, we need to practice in the legal bit, with just one hand.

I couldn't find the exact bit I have, but I found something similar. Essentially, it looks like this one:

Similar, although my copper french link isn't copper.
I really hate the Tom Thumb style bits, so I can't think of why in the world I would have purchased this, but if it turns out to be just what Lilly wants, I'll end up replacing it for a bit that looks more like this one:
Less pinchy for the sides of her mouth.
I was only able to ride for about 25 minutes, but she was an angel with this bit. She was really relaxed, she wasn't chomping, and she stayed soft quite a bit on her own. Perhaps our lesson yesterday did have an impact? Soft wasn't necessarily something I was planning to work on today, but since she was doing so well with the bit, I decided to ask her for soft when we were loping. She didn't maintain softness at the lope, but I got it when I asked, which is what she was fighting yesterday.

I'll have more time to ride tomorrow so we'll be able to work on a bit more than we did today. I'll try another ride with this new bit and see how it goes. It's possible that the mullen style mouthpiece just isn't as comfortable for her, and I'm all about a happy horse!


  1. I personally despise tom thumbs (as does Missy), but what doesn't work for my horse might work for yours:)

  2. I do not enjoy the bit puzzle either. Have you tried a shorter shank? I finally hit the jackpot (or so it seemed) when I went down to a 6 1/2" shank with a low roller port instead of the broken mouth. So many of them have a 7 or 7 1/2" shank. What kind of curb strap/chain are you using?

  3. Mare, I find the Tom Thumb bits pinch their cheeks a lot! I can't stand that style of bit.

    SillyPony, most of the bits I have are shorter-ish shanks. I guess I don't know exactly what lenght they are, but they're definitely not longer than 7". I haven't tried any port style bits... just the mullen mouth and the french link one. Someone said we need to have an online bit trading/borrowing store and I think that's a great idea! I could spend a fortune trying to find the right bit.

    I'm using a plain old leather curb strap, but have a chain I could try if need be.

  4. I Agree!!! Especially when you don't have a trainer/friend/BO with a tack room full. I feel lucky I only bought 5 western bits before we found the one that seems to work! I was able to take one back, though. There are places you can "rent" the Myler bits since they're so expensive. My English bit is a Myler but luckily my western was only $20!

  5. You might try different weights, too. I discovered that Dee dislikes heavy bits (I have this fancy silver one I bought for WP and she HATES it) and much prefers light ones.

  6. I glad you found one that works! If it makes you feel any better I have 5 different bits that I use on Lucas regularly depending on his mood and what I want to do, and we have yet to find "the one" for horsemanship!

  7. I've found that you have to be careful with the three-piece mouthpieces. If the center piece is flat, it can sort of cut down into their tongue. My horses prefer a bean-shaped center link - they seem to find it much more comfortable.

  8. They are all different in what works for them, aren't they. It is indeed a puzzle.

  9. Story, I hadn't thought about weight, but that's interesting! Both of the bits I have now are light, but I had another one that was quite heavy and Lilly didn't care for it. I thought it was more the shape of the mouth, but I'll have to consider weight in the future.

    Sam, FIVE bits? I'm hoping to have one for english riding and one for western riding!

    Jen, I was reading something similar when I was trying to find out what the difference was between french link and dogbone. (I still don't know...) Lilly's seems to be sort of in the middle of flat and bean shaped...

    Terry, it's definitely a puzzle, and an expensive one at that!