Bitting question for two different horses

Hi!! I was hoping for some advice on two different horses:
1) River: sensitive warmblood mare started late in life. Very worried about bit pressure. Used to fling her nose up and toss her head anytime she felt any pressure with the reins. She is more accepting now, but will occasionally toss her head once in a blue moon. About once every ride when I start to take contact, she will open her mouth, twist her jaw, and pull on the reins in an attempt to pull them out of my hands (not a one time quick pull, but a steady pull over several seconds). She opens her mouth sometimes and doesn't seem to want to accept the bit fully. She will totally run through the reins by opening her mouth. She also is very very forward, and doesn't want you to use your hands to slow her down, so I end up using my seat as much as possible. Sometimes I think she maybe tries going faster to try to evade the bit if that makes any sense. However at a canter, you can take a lot of contact for some reason and she doesn't ever open her mouth; however it takes very strong half halts to bring her back into a slow and collected canter, as she wants to be too forward. She is being ridden in a loose ring French link snaffle or a happy mouth French link d ring. She seems to prefer bits with some flavor as opposed to a regular stainless bit.
2) Toni: 8 year old warmblood jumper. Very light in the bridle but sometimes comes behind the bit instead of lifting his back and reaching for the contact. He is going in a French link loose ring snaffle with the middle link being flat (Dr Bristol?) and a happy mouth French link, and it almost feels like too much bit for him. I was told by the trainer I bought him from and continue to work with that he likes taste of the bombers bits. Both horses have their teeth and chiropractic work done regularly. Any input would be so appreciated. Thank you so much for your time and opinion!

Posted in General, asked by Erin, 4 years ago. 1071 hits.
Thank you, Claire!!! I tried the Bomber blue loose ring on River and WOW what a difference!!!!! She and I are both so much happier. Thank you so much! I tried it on Toni, and he seemed to go great in it as well. Do you think I should stick with a bomber blue for him as well, or should I try the happy tongue? Do you recommend a cheek piece in particular for him? River tends to fall out on circles,so I was considering a Williams for her and giving Toni her loose ring bomber blue... Perhaps you think he would be happier with the happy tongue though? Let me know your thoughts. I am so impressed with the results. Thank you so much!!!! - Erin 4 years ago
Hi Erin, Thank you for getting back to me! It is always wonderful to hear about happy horses! If Toni is happy in the Bomber Blue, and not showing any signs that it may be too thick, then I would recommend keeping him in that mouth piece. Where ever possible, I always recommend a Loose Ring, because it doesn't add any extra pressure and gives a quick release. The Williams however will help River with the turning aids. Again, I recommend using the lightest setting, the middle ring, as much as possible. I am thrilled to hear that your two are happier!! Regards, Claire@Bombers - Claire @ Bombers 4 years ago


Hi Erin,

You are right that River goes faster to evade the bit. River is showing many signs of being tongue sensitive. She is trying to remove the pressure the bit is placing on her tongue, which she finds uncomfortable. Most bits use tongue pressure to some degree, and a lot of horses are happy to accept that.

I suspect that Toni has the same issue as River, he just shows it in different ways. Going behind the contact is a sign that the horse thinks the bit is too strong for him. This varies between horses. It doesn’t mean that the bit is particularly strong, just that that horse thinks it is.

For River I recommend trying a Bomber Blue. She seems to like the synthetic material, so I believe we should stay with that. The Bomber Blue will completely remove the pressure from her tongue. Although this bit is very soft, you will find that you have more control as River will be happier to listen.

For Toni, I recommend a Happy Tongue, again this is material based. You mentioned that you were told that he like the taste of the sweet iron. The Happy Tongue, like the Bomber Blue, will remove the pressure from Toni’s tongue. This will allow him to go into the contact, instead of avoiding it by going behind the vertical. This in turn will allow him to lift his back, and you should see an improvement in his jump.

Claire @ Bombers
4 years ago
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