Gag bits, to me have been given a bad name. I would prefer calling them pulley bits as you don't ever want to get the bit to actually 'gag' a horse.
The principle is that the mouthpiece slides along the cheekpiece, giving a horse some warning before the mouthpiece engages and puts pressure on several parts of the horses mouth. The gag part refers to the sliding gag bit without a stopper point (stopper) such as draw gags, C gags, half circle gags, which could really push the tongue back into the horse's mouth and gag them.
Please refer to my article for the pressure points in a horse's mouth.
There are actually 8 pressure points that can be affected.
The typical gag combo bit pictured above uses a noseband, curb chain and a sliding mouthpiece (in this case partial chain).
The noseband would put pressure on the nose and the curb chain would put pressure on the chin groove. Both are more milder than a bit putting pressure only on a horse's tongue or only on the horse's mouth pressure points. It also simluates the pressure points used with a halter which most horses are familiar with.
So the idea is to use several pressure points to be milder and more humane to distribute the pressure and not concentrate on the tongue; which is the cause of a lot of bit resistance or evasion. Please see article here.
Myler Combination Bit
This new adaptation of a gag combo bit has a great design feature of combining the noseband and chin strap so they work at the same time. Please note the little rings that the string passes through. And if adjusted properly, can be engaged first before the mouthpiece. I think it's a great idea. I bought one recently and am using it on all my young horses.
I truely believe that using a gag bit is a great idea in a lot of situations.
If you have any questions about bits, please contact me.
Hope to see you all this Saturday, Nov. 13th at my Classroom Clinic on Bits.
Putting my spin on gag bits! Or rather pulley bits.
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