Frequently Asked Questions
These are the questions I get asked most often but if after reading through them you haven't found the answer to your question please get in touch.
If your horse is comfortable and happy in their current bit, no. If you are having problems that you believe may be from the bit, please get in touch or send me a video. Some problems cannot be improved with a fitting, so we like to discuss these issues before booking a possibly unnecessary appointment.
The bit should not hang out the sides of the mouth at all. It should sit snugly against the lips, a loose ring bit should only have 1-2mm between the lip and the ring.
Chewing can be a sign of anxiety, rather than a bitting problem. If your horse is anxious, this usually cannot be fixed with a bit. Training is the most effective way to help the horse deal with anxiety. However some horses chew from habit or dislike of the bit. A fitting can certainly help get to the bottom of it.
Often times when a horse is very strong or ‘hard mouthed’, it’s as a result of the bit no longer having the effect it once did. Using a stronger bit will sometimes work short term, but if the horse doesn’t learn the correct response to the rein aid, the stronger bit will not work for long.
Many horses can become very over excited when jumping. This means they will often ignore the rein aid that would ordinarily work on the flat.
In these cases, a different bit can really help. Sometimes something with a different pressure (curb, leverage, poll) can help the horse pay a little more attention to the rider.
In the short term, possibly. But a horse who leans on the shoulders and doesn’t use the back, core muscles and hind end correctly cannot be ‘fixed’ with a bit. Infact, a bit to ‘lift’ the horse before he is physically ready and strong enough, can end in a horse using his body to compensate, resulting in injury and unsoundness.
Only if your horse is working well in the snaffle. If you just need to ‘tweak’ the aids or if you have a big strong horse and need to be more subtle in the aids, yes.
If you want to use one to cover up fundamental training issues, such as heaviness on the forehand, ignoring half halt aids or sucking back off the contact, I wouldn’t advise it. It may help short term, but you’ll be back at square one eventually.
This is a very common reason to book a bit fitting. A horse will absolutely progress in his training to require a different bit down the line. Perhaps you just need a little more feel or he needs to come a little more ‘up’ or ‘out’. A fitting and change of bit can help in a big way.
Generally bit fittings are designed for horses working in a contact, so usually children don’t benefit as much. They often don’t have the feel required to give enough feedback. However we can find a comfortable, well fitting bit for the pony.
We usually work with riders who use a consistent contact on the reins, ie: dressage riders and jumpers. These are the horses most at risk of mouth damage from an ill fitting bit.
However we also work with polo horses, camp drafters and barrel racers. It’s imperative that these horses are comfortable too, as the rein pressure can be quite significant at times.
In a ridden fitting, we check the horse’s head and body for any physical restriction, the mouth anatomy for bit suitability, unevenness, muscle under or overdevelopment, strength and soundness.
We then check the bridle fit and make suggestions for improvement.
We observe the horse under saddle to see what needs to be improved upon, then based on the rider and horse, choose suitable bits to try.
We would usually try 3-4 bits in a fitting, if the problem can be improved with a bit, it will only take a couple to get the results.
Usually a happy horse will have a still mouth, not fight the bit and contact.
He should be responsive to your rein aids without throwing the head and coming behind the bit, nor leaning on the bit. He should accept a contact of around 500g-1kg without showing any signs of discomfort. If you are not sure, I can take a look at a video. There are many other reasons a horse may show bitting discomfort also.
Absolutely. It’s better if we can work with you and your horse from the beginning, so the double fits correctly, causes no rubbing and is adjusted for maximum comfort and performance. It’ll save you a heap in buying weymouths that may not be suitable too.
Often, no. Most horses don’t have space in the mouth for a thick bit, so it will displace the tongue and be quite uncomfortable.
A thin bit can also be too sharp a pressure for many horses.
A good thickness is 12-14mm. Most horses can accommodate this with no trouble.
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