Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bit Resistance On The Part of Riders

All riders, who are reading this article, will be familiar with the different types of bits now available in today's market - after all - THE BIT is all important. There are always new ones coming out and searching the bit wall at a tack store for a new bit can be daunting. In this first photo, a brand new student is figuring out how to setup a bit on a headstall and reins. Can you spot the problem? (answer at bottom of article)
The topic of bits and bitting can be a confusing one too since there are a lot of myths and facts that are just not true any more. Or at the very least, a lot of outdated information. Probably similiar to the number of outdated bits in your tack box!

So many shanks... so many mouthpieces. There are hundreds of possibilities!
A snaffle with shanks.... P.L.E.A.S.E! ... No such thing... technically, anyway. This creates what I call bit resistance or evasion on the part of riders.
Simple Snaffle
Did you know that a bit with a single jointed mouthpiece can be one of the harshest to use on your horse? Funny, since it's considered one of the mildest especially as a snaffle bit and is the standard for most english horses and horses under harness – western horses too.
What's even more confusing is the fact that a lot of riders think a snaffle bit is ANY bit with a single jointed mouthpiece. Where in fact, a single jointed mouthpiece is just that.... a mouthpiece. Not necessiarly a snaffle. That's where you get the term: a snaffle with shanks.
Did you know that the single jointed snaffle or simple snaffle as it's called, it the single most used bit in the equine world. Wow! No wonder we have so much bit resistance with our horses and riders.
Bitting System
With the advances in research and new technology, bitting has been made a little easier. The Myler brothers of Missiouri have done a lot of research in the last 25 years to understand and eliminate bit resistance and have produced two books entitled 'A Whole Bit Better' and their latest book titled: 'The Level Best For Your Horse'.

The thrust of their research has been the theory of tongue pressure vs tongue relief and the development of their bitting system using bitting levels. They are now one of the most popular bit manufactures today. I am really impressed with their work and have a few of their bits. Several other manufacturers have copied their designs so you can get the bits now with other popular brands. (photo showing Myler signature bit: the Myler 2-ring combination bit – a gag combo.)
Next time, I will go into more detail on the bitting levels, the Myler's theory on tongue pressure and my experience with it. In the meantime, I encourage you to go to their website: and buy their lastest book.
Answer to the 1st photo of what's wrong with the bit setup-> the bit is upside down.

“Putting my spin on bits and bit resistance for riders.”
@Copyright KISS Reiners

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