Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We're Having Bit Fits

I had a short ride on Lilly today because we got started late. The neighbor's mare was lame and I noticed when I was in Lilly's pasture grabbing her for our ride. I made a bunch of phone calls after going out to check on the mare, so by the time that situation was under control, I only had about 30 minutes to spend in the arena with Lilly.

Speaking of arenas, the BO's hubby was in there last night doing some work and it was pretty good today! I was actually able to ride along the rail the whole way around... one spot was still a little squishy, but they're making progress. I had another conversation with her about it today and she said they're working on it. She made the comment that because she doesn't ride in there (her horse is on stall rest) she has no idea what's going on with the footing and she needs us to tell her. So I laid it all out there for her, and we'll see what happens from here. There's also another issue we're discussing, so depending on what she decides about that will most likely determine if I move or not.

I rode Lilly in the spoon bit I've been trying to sell on eBay for years. No one seems to want it, and after today's ride I can say for certain I don't either. It's just way too much bit for Lilly. It has a fairly high port in the spoon style, and it has a roller as well. It's a pretty bit, but it's heavy as sin and Lilly wasn't impressed. She did okay in it considering, but I won't be riding her in it anymore.

Definitely not the right bit for Lilly...
So I'm back on the bit hunt. It's difficult bit shopping when you have no idea what you want. I have a list of things I don't want, but it hasn't narrowed down the list quite enough for the perfect bit to jump off the pages of the interwebz. I've found a couple that peaked my interest, but their price peaked a bit higher than I wanted to spend. I don't want to be stuck with another useless $90 bit.

So here are a couple cheaper models I was considering. This first one is only $26 and is very similar to some of the Mylar style bits, so it might be something to consider. While I do like the snaffle style mouth pieces, there's something to be said for riding my mare in a "big girl bit" and getting her ready to be a finished bridle horse. I hear that's pretty darn cool...

FES bit with 7 1/2" shanks.
It's very similar to the bit I was riding in before the tom thumb, except this bit has a port instead of a mullen mouth. It works the same way, meaning each side moves independent of each other, which is something that comes in handy during training. I also like that the shanks swivel, but they don't flop around and piss off my horse like the spoon bit.

There might be something to be said about the traditional curb with roller bits, though. The shanks are shorter and it isn't complicated, with the only moving part being the roller. I prefer bits with shanks that curve back towards me, which all of these bits do, but these shanks are stationary, which may or may not be a good thing. This one runs a whopping $13.

SS Curb bit with 6 1/2" shanks.
I'll go back to the tom thumb thing I had been riding her in previously until I can find something else to buy. You all gave me some good tips in my last bit post, so I'm keeping that in mind as well. I just need to find something she likes, that I can train and show in, and that doesn't flop around and make her angry. She likes a lot of rein, but the more I give her, the more they flop, and the more it makes the bit move around in her mouth. She's not a fan...

Our lope-stop-back exercises went well today and I can tell we're making progress. I won't be able to ride tomorrow, but I'm hoping to ride every day during my long weekend. I'm excited to see how she progresses, and I might take my shiny new camcorder to the barn with me and get proof of our progress.

14 comments:

  1. Have you thought about having a dentist look at her? Also, I really like the Myler bits. Perhaps try something with a very low port so you are working more with tongue pressure than palate pressure.

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  2. Oi, that first bit scares me!

    I ride Jetta in the Mylar version of the FES bit you posted. I got that one about 5 years ago, after a TON of research. It's really the only bit that we've both been happy with, and it's definitely got some stop in it if you need it. What I like is that it has independent movement, and the port only really engages if you have to use both reins.

    I echo the thought of having an equine dentist look at her.

    Good luck! And good luck on the barn situation. It is so frustrating that not one place is perfect!

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  3. She just had her teeth done in late January, so that's not an issue, unless you're suggesting that the dentist could look in her mouth to see what bit she thinks would fit nicely in there? :)

    We don't need a bit with a lot of 'umph' because she's super soft and light. I just need to find something that's legal to show in that she and I both like. A low port is what I'm thinking would work best for her... she doesn't like the high port and she doesn't like the mullen, so a low port would be next on the list.

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  4. I'm trying to find a bit that my boy will like right now too- but I'm a complete and total newbie at bit fitting so it's been quite difficult.

    Would heavier reins keep stuff from flopping around and make her happier?

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    1. I actually have pretty heavy reins... they're harness leather and quite thick, but I think they might actually contribute to the problem. We get in a nice rhythm when we're jogging and the reins swing more and more the longer we jog. Maybe I need the kind that are actually weighted!

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    2. I have some 38oz reins (super heavy) I use to show western pleasure and find unless we really do western pleasure (slow slow slow) they swing like mad. They sure drape pretty though!

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  5. Holy cow, that's quite a bit!

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    1. Yeah, a past trainer told me it was the answer to all my problems... turns out it didn't help! Weird! She seemed to like the port better than the mullen mouth, but she definitely doesn't need palate pressure!

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  6. I really don't like roller bits and have yet to find more than one horse that liked one (and it was only a small 'cricket' that the horse liked to make noise with) Lucas loves his bits like your 2nd pick down. Its his english show bit and I have it in a western style just to mix it up too.

    Can you give us some hints about what she doesn't like with each bit? Does she hold her head funny when your walking? Does she fight it when you take up contact? How thick of a mouth peice is her snaffle>?

    PS read up on the APHA rule book too to make sure that the bits you are trying are legal :)

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    1. I need to do a better bit post... I'll show you what I have and what she does when I ride her in them. That way you'll have a better idea.

      The APHA rule book isn't super helpful describing which bits are legal. It actually confuses me. LOL So I often defer to the AQHA rule book instead. :)

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  7. Ooohhh...I actually love that spoon bit. I have a feeling that my Shooter is going to need something like that when his time comes to 'bridle up'....Of course, that is a couple of years down the road.

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  8. Do you have any horse friends that maybe have some curb bits laying around that you might be able to try? I had a mare that I tried every bit I could get a hold of, I gave up bought a side pull and she was content. One day the side pull broke at a gymkhana and my friend threw on a bit from her trailer to get her through the day, well it was bit for her. She was happy, content and rode wonderful in it for years to come. I am a bit hoarder, I have only let one bit go and I regret it to this day. I can't find a replacement and it was a wonderful bit.

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  9. I think trying a few bits is a good idea, if you can find some to borrow. It's hard to find a good fit though unless you buy specifically for your horse. Good luck with this - it's a challenge!

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  10. I've become a fan of the hinged type port bits similar to the FES bit shown. I have one with a similar mouthpiece and a very short shank like this that I used as Page's first curb bit. Wish I knew where it was because I'd gladly send it to you to try. Dee's reining bit is also a hinged port but bigger (she hates things on her tongue). I like how the hinged port allows for independent movement of each shank but doesn't tend to do the nutcracker thing that jointed ports do.

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