Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bitting Levels - MTP, FTP, LTP & NTP or NTR, STR, GTR, & MTR

Every rider from time to time will have an issue with their horse and their first thoughts are on physical problems. After those have been ruled out, you, as the rider, continue to try to figure out what your horse is trying to say. You just have a feeling that your horse isn't happy and things could be better. You need your performance to be better. Your thoughts now centre on the bit you're using. What else could it be?
Do you feel your horse is totally unresponsive like a dead fish?
You're convinced maybe it's time to change the bit?
Do you need something harsher? Perhaps, you don't feel in control.
Yet, you are scared to change the bit and just put up with what you've always used?
Strangely, you are using the bit normally used for your sport but the horse is resisting?
Many people struggle with this – there's just too much contradictory information out there about bits. Here's where the bitting levels could help.
Or Levels NTR, STR, GTR, & MTR.  No, Some, Good amount, Maximum tongue relief.
But hold on... not all issues are resolved with changing bits - though bits are wonderful tools to help you communicate with your horse and I definitely believe it's important to have the right bit for you and your horse. Greg Darnall, a bit master will tell you: "I make my living making and selling bits and I’d like to sell all of you 3 of them. But I’ll tell you… if you have a problem with your horse, 9 out of 10 times, it's not your bridle bit.... It's a hole in your training program." I totally agree.
So before you think it could be a bitting issue, please check to make sure it's not also a training issue. A training issue could mean going back to a milder bit and more training. From what I've experienced so far, I have found that it's usually a bit of both - the wrong bit is used from the rider's lack of knowledge and the horse lacks knowledge or training.
Back to bitting levels... once you've determined that the bit you are using isn't right for your situation then determining the bitting level you need using the Myler's system will help you determine the type of bit you need to switch to. It helps to take some of the confusion out of it when sorting through the thousands of different bits and also cuts down on the number of bits you need to buy and try before finding the right one. In fact, the Myler's will even let you try one first.
Did you know that a horse will typically need different types of bits as they advance in their training? Or as they age or mature? For that matter.... so do you! As a rider advancing in their training and skill level as you age and mature ;)
Next time, I will go into more detail on the bitting levels, the Myler's theory on a graduated system of tongue relief  or pressure and my experience with it. In the meantime, I encourage you to go to their website: and buy their lastest book: the Level Best for Your Horse.

Here are the bitting levels. They are a graduated system of most tongue pressure (no tongue relief) all the way to most tongue relief (no tongue pressure). Please read the information in each section for more information:
Bitting level 1, level MTP/NTR, most tongue pressure and no tongue relief
Bitting level 2, level FTP/STR, far bit of tongue pressure, some tongue relief
Bitting level 2-3, level LTP/GTR, little tongue pressure, good amount of tongue relief
Bitting level 3, level NTP/MTR, no tongue pressure, maximum tongue relief

Putting my spin on bitting levels!
Reinersue,  Proud member of's Myler (bit) Ride Team!

 Now Myler bitting system technical certified!
©KISS Reiners

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