Bits Are Like Jewelry

Is it possible for one horse to have too many bits? Too many bridles? No. This is most definitely not within the realm of possibility.

My Dad and I had a conversation about bits the other day, and how they are like jewelry to equestrians. And I sent my Dad pictures of Eli’s bits. Of which he has 7.

this one doesn’t get out much

We stick with the Herm Sprenger Dynamic RS Dee most of the time, but every once in a while, Eli gets reminded about something else with a different bit. This else is usually a little heaviness in the corners whilst jumping. I have tried a handful of different bits to see what gets the message across.

I just picked up a Myler, used for a decent price (the ones with hooks are weirdly expensive, even used) and might try that out soon.

As a result of this conversation, I now have a fourth bridle for Eli. Thanks a million, Dad!! Your grandhorse thanks you, too! I got the bridle from Redwood Tack. If you haven’t stalked that place, you need to get on that asap.

I am trying it on him today. If it fits (which I think it will) I am going to oil & condition the crap out of it before riding in it. The padded crown is SO padded. I think Eli will love that part of it.

So I hadn’t ridden Eli for a week, but did ride last night. It wasn’t too cold, and Eli was really, really good! Just in his Dynamic RS — it’s our go-to bit.

enjoying a cookie

How many bits do you have for your horse(s)?

24 thoughts on “Bits Are Like Jewelry

  1. I think I’m your opposite. I maybe have a total of 25 bits in my collection and that includes all my western/reining bits, western show bits, and my English bits. Coco has gone in like 4 different bits and she hates all but the HS Duo. Simon is currently in a slow twist snaffle. That may get changed up a bit bc it appears we need better brakes out in the hunt field. Sterling liked a big fat rubber mullen. Either I’ve gotten lucky with easy horses or I don’t pay enough attention to their mouths!

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  2. I have… a lot…. but not really because of May. My horse before her was the same width but a much more complicated ride, so he ended up in a lot of bits that I have held onto. You never know, right?

    let’s see if I can list them…
    1. HS loose ring
    2. NS Baucher (May’s current Dressage bit)
    3. Myler with hooks, like you have above (May’s current Jump bit)
    4. 3 ring elevator with copper, snaffle mouthpiece (I use this for hunter pacing w/ two reins)
    5. Rubber, rope gag (never used on May)
    6. Myler Pelham (cool bit that I use occasionally)
    7. Dr Bristol D Ring (May hated this one)
    8. Dr. Bristol full cheap with twist (I’ve used this when things really unraveled)
    9. D ring french link (May hates this bit)
    10. Happy mouth, plain mullen mouth loose ring (great when temps are super cold, and I don’t want to use metal when I didnt have a heated tack room)

    If you can remember all of them… that means you don’t have too many… right?

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  3. I have ‘a few’ as any person who has had horses for over 50 years will. Myler? check Parelli comfort? check Various mechanical hacks? check Various snaffles? check Uxeter, Kimberwicke, curbs-long, short, pelhams? check, check, and check. Even sidepulls and a bosal. I’m not shy about trying something to see what will work for any particular horse. Whether it is more or less in the mouth or nothing at all. One horse I had preferred a heavy (about 2 pounds worth of metal) medium port curb with a fat bar and a cricket and 4 inch shanks. He’d give me hell if he was bridled with anything else. That bit made him feel comfortable. Whatever.

    I read somewhere years and years ago that the bit is really irrelevant anyway. If you have light hands, you can ‘talk’ to any horse any time no matter the situation. Most actual riding is done through the seat. But if you have heavy hands, you can ride with a halter and ruin every horse you touch.

    I took that to heart and always ride that way. Put your heart in your hands and leave it there. Your horse will know the difference.

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    1. Great points about just letting the horse go in what’s comfortable, even if it seems like over kill to us. AND totally agree about the light hands — leg and seat are definitely more important for Eli.

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  4. My collection has veeeeery slowly grown over the years. We started with just a plain full cheek snaffle. Then we tried a slow-twist full check (it’s not a dramatic no, but a no nonetheless). Then I had a pelham hiding in my trunk which emerges when he does the hunters/eq. His go-to now is the french link elevator, which lives on his figure 8 bridle. His plain snaffle still lives on his plain bridle for toodling rides, and I swap those two setups out as need arises.
    I do have a weird amount of reins in my trunk though….

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  5. We have 2 bits, but I haven’t used the “stronger” one (french link loose ring) in over a year. Cosmo goes in a rubber weeny (rubber mullen mouth d ring) at home and at shows, for reals, it’s like a rubber hot dog. We bring his french link to shows, but haven’t switched it out yet. We each get a good feel of each other, I like to feel weight in my hands when he’s taking me to the jumps and he likes to know I’m with him. Some days it’s hard though, there’s no leverage, I have had to beef up my arms/shoulder mucles.

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  6. I only have about five? Maybe? And we only use one religiously – the NS Turtle Top Loose Ring. Occasionally a Mullen Mouth Happy Mouth Pelham if she is getting strong.

    I sell anything that I am not using so I don’t “collect” much.

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  7. I have so many they don’t stay up on the bridle hook any more. I was just having this conversation with a friend not too long ago too. I now have a couple bits that I have doubles of, and I have no idea why I bought the second one. Mysteries.

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  8. Amber has a grand total of….wait for it….3 bits LOL. And they ALL have the same mouthpiece haha. One is her western bit which is extremely mild – it’s a short shank with a Myler level 1 mouthpiece, except it isn’t a Myler. Otherwise Amber has 2 Myler level 1s – a loose ring and an eggbutt, neither one with hooks. It’s the only mouthpiece Amber will willingly push into the contact with because she has a low palette. Even jointed snaffles – single or double jointed – aren’t comfortable for her, and the Myler mouthpiece like yours is her favorite. So if I want more bits I only get to have fun with different cheek pieces. But at that point it’s a bit moot LOL.

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    1. I mean it sounds to me like you also need a full cheek … lol

      I am interested to see if Eli likes that Myler mouth piece, and if it offers any relief for his palette. Being TB, it’s narrow, which is why I like the double jointed stuff, but I am curious if the Myler will offer more or less or no relief or even cause an unintended consequence.

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      1. I totally want a full cheek! lol The hesitation for me for so long is that Myler doesn’t make a full cheek without hooks and Amber doesn’t need hooks. I’ve thought of just putting the reins on the regular curve and not in the hook part but…..it was just too much money to spend with it maybe or maybe not working for me to justify trying it lol. And any used ones were always too big so I just never got one lol.

        Mylers do tend to be a hit or miss with a lot of horses. Hopefully it’ll work for Eli! Or at least just be a “meh” haha!

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  9. I kind of collect bits, so I have a ton of them. But my horses usually each go in just one or two. I like to flat in a loose ring if possible, and then sometimes need a touch more to jump. Rio always went in a fat rubber loose ring, even when he was an A/O jumper. He was just so perfect. When he switched to the hunters, I did like having a little more bit so I could loop the reins a bit more. He went in a slow twist D. It was so slow it barely had one twist in it. After the EPM he didn’t like the fat mouthpiece of the rubber bit, so I switched him to a leather loose ring from Sweet Billy’s bits. (They’re on Etsy.) If he’s been in work awhile and is not a wild turkey, I usually just use a side pull or a hackamore in his old age now.
    Jamp actually flats in a three ring because he’s part giraffe. More leg, the higher the head seems to go in a snaffle. He jumps in that too, but I couldn’t use that in the equitation so he had a sharper slow twist D he went in for that.
    Eros we’re still trying to find the best bit. I like flatting him in a two ring because he it helps me unlock his poll. I jumped in it once early on, but it was too much bit. I think now that I’m stronger and riding a little better, it might be nice to try again though. I’ve been jumping (before he got hurt anyway) in a Happy Mouth D with a Dr Bristol mouthpiece. But he can get really strong in it, so hence the search for the right one.
    Sorry for the novel. I love bits!

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  10. I actually don’t have very many! I change them up maybe once a year. The first year I had Rio he predominately went in the HS Duo, then we went to a D ring Bomber with a low port for tongue relief which was his first metal bit. That lasted almost a year before we switched to a D ring corkscrew which is where we currently are. I typically only needed the lightest of aids and he’s great. Maybe I’ll switch back to toeb Bomber for hacking… hmmmm!

    P.S. Congrats on the gorgeous new bridle!!

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