Bit Advice, hot OTTB

I have a 13yo OTTB who gets very hot. He's been off the track for 8 years and was owned by a professional stable for 18 months before I got him (I've had him for a year). At the stable he was ridden in a loose ring snaffle, but since having him I have swapped him into a Nathe straight bar rubber snaffle. In a metal bit he draws away from the contact and sucks in, if he's pushed forward he will jump into the air and fight the bit. For dressage the rubber snaffle is working well, but we were recently advised to look into bits with joints, in order to increase our ability to work both sides of the mouth independently. He is my eventer and in jumping I have found him incredibly hot. For show jumping he will rush at the fence and in xc I have no brakes in a snaffle. For jumping we tried a happy mouth dutch gag with two reins and he was offended in show jumping, avoiding the contact and running through the bit and in xc I was unable to pull him up. Since then we have tried a single jointed metal pelham, which gave me the brakes I needed but resulted in him rearing with any contact on the mouth. He currently goes in a Nathe straight bar pelham, with double reins but still I find that on xc he will hang on to the bit. He either throws his head up and runs or pulls down when I apply pressure. We've been working on maintaining contact when jumping to prevent him becoming flat and running and while the training is helping I was wondering if anyone could advise another bit we could try? Also any advice on dressage bits would be appreciated. We are competing Grade 1 pony club dressage (elementary equivalent) and grade 2 pc eventing (EvA 95 equivalent). Thank you

Posted in Eventing, asked by Ruby Crofts, 2 years ago. 492 hits.


OK. If the rubber bit was working then why change it? If you really want to change into something with joints try either loose ring or D-ring rubber snaffle with a double joint in the middle. These are the next softest bits and will hopefully give you the same result with a little bit more independent using the sides of he mouth (if h\that makes any sense at all), try to keep the rubber the same though - e.g. if you were using a zilco band, stick with a zilco brand.
In showjumping i would use the same bit that you use for dressage but maybe use a different nose band, such as a grackle/figure 8. This will increase the strength of the bit without needing a whole other bit!\
For Cross-Country, again try to find a rubber double jointed pelham if he likes the snaffle one. There is no point buying a bit just for the sake of it!
If none of that works all you can do is try every bit you can get your hands on!
Happy Bit Hunting!
P.S. When I talk about a double jointed rubber snaffle i mean what is in the photo :-)
P.P.S. Make sure it has the rubber in the middle too! :-)

Prue Carleton-Carlos
2 years ago


Hi Ruby,

Your horse has quite a sensitive mouth, which is why he shows such big reaction to the pressure of the bit. The Snaffle (single joint), uses a lot of pressure on the sides of the bars, which will ask the horse to raise their head, which is why the Pelham Snaffle resulting in him rearing.

From the signs he is showing, I would say that he is sensitive to tongue pressure. The Nathe doesn't use a lot of tongue pressure, but as the Snaffle, it does us a squeezing pressure on the bars, this is because it is thinner in the middle.

When a horse is running away, or flat out ignoring the bit, provided there isn't anything else worrying the horse, it is almost always because the bit is too strong, and using the wrong pressure for that horse. Moving the pressure, and lightening it up, results in the horse becoming more and more responsive to the bit.

I recommend the Bomber Blue mouth piece for him. This will take the pressure off this tongue, which will allow him to better accept the contact. The Bomber Blue is a nylon composite.

The Bomber Blue is now Dressage legal under the FEI. I suggest using this mouth piece across all the phases, but just changing the cheek pieces. For both the show jumping and cross country I recommend the 2½ Ring. We don't want to add too much pressure, otherwise he will just start running again. The 2½ Ring has two options for rein position, it also has a back strap, which allows you to adjust the how quickly the leverage on the mouth pieces comes into effect.

Fro the Dressage, I wouldn't go stronger than a Loose Ring, again the more pressure we can take off him, the happier he is going to be.


Claire @ Bombers
one year 1
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