Monday, August 30, 2010

More on Bits

While surfing and researching more on a good bit to transition Milo with, a lightbulb suddenly hit me on the physical mechaniques of a snaffle shank.

While in theory, a snaffle shank sounds like a good idea; snaffle to feel the same in the mouth, shank to introduce leverage. Thanks to a comment by Kate, I began thinking about what kind of pressure the bit actually applies to the mouth. A broken mouthpiece means that when pressure from the shank is applied (say, picking up the bit as a rein would), the mouthpice falls downward in the inside, physically breaking the snaffle. This means that pressure would be applied to the tongue from the snaffle. This is a very different feel than what Milo now has in the traditional snaffle; in no way is the snaffle going to give that type of pressure. Wow. So the theory of the snaffle shank really does not play out the way you may think and can actually be more severe than a port or solid mouthpice.

So what would be a good bit than? Maybe I really should try the Myler Level 2 I currently have. It has a curviture to the mouthpiece which is good. But what I see hindering is that the shanks swivel up and down, meaning it would deliver the leverage that a solid shank would. This doesnt seem right either.

Maybe I need a mouthpiece like the Myler, with the shank of something more like the snaffle I need a combination? Maybe something like this:
While I dont actually like the looks of this bit, the mechanics seems to be a better option for us.

I know Im sounding wishy-washy, but for my thought processes to work I need to think things thoroughly through....

Maybe moving into a bosal is the next option even? That seems that it is the tradition road to a finished bridle horse...and I have ridden in bosals before and quite like it.
More thoughts and opinions welcomed!!
Edit: Alright Ladies, I think I found the bit that should functionally work the best, as well as make me happy about the way it looks (I know riding isnt about fashion, but a girl can want, right?)
Its called the Myler Black Steel Seven Shank MB 02, Size 5". Singing to the tune of $99. Wow. But maybe I could sell the other...or a few other things to get it? Or maybe just maybe Ill get lucky on ebay or can hope. What I can do though, is when Milo is ready put him into the Myler that I have and asses what he thinks again.


Story said...

It really does drive me crazy that in the western performance world we are forced to have our horses in shanked bits by a certain age to compete. But I guess it's similar for dressage horses that need to wear double bridles at FEI levels, but at least that's a change based on level of training, and not something so arbitrary as age. I had wanted to show my last Arabian mare in western pleasure classes just for fun. She was an aged mare so a curb was a requirement. Saddly I never did get the combination right with her and we stayed in the English ring for ever. If only I could have had her in a snaffle for western...we would have had so much fun! Sorry about getting side tracked there.

I agree with your assessment of the broken mouthpiece on a shanked bit. The action is just not the same and I think if I tried one on Dee she'd probably put her ears up my nose. I've found in my research that a lot of bits work very differently from what you expect at first glance.

I have a couple friends who swear by the Myler bits. There are so many options available and you can get them in nice short shanks, too. I also believe Myler has bit rentals available through some tack shops so that you can test things out without dropping the big $$$ on a new bit. That said, I've never actually owned or rented or even used a Myler, but I still like a lot of their ideas. If I ever decide to try huntseat with Dee, we'll be looking at Myler bits to complete the look.

An Image of Grace said...

I love the Myler bits, I have several, I went to one of their seminars and was impressed by how their bits are engineered. Grace really dislikes the joint part of a snaffle. I own one snaffle mouthpiece that she tolerates, which is a Les Vogt elevator bit. When it comes to bits and my horse I've tried all kinds of mouth pieces. Barrel Racers will talk about bits for hours on end the the forums seem to have most of them chasing after the bit of the week. Of all the bits I've tried I have found that with Grace less equals more. Between bits and saddles, some days I just want to ride bareback in a halter!

paint_horse_milo said...

I hear both of ya.

Maybe this Myler isnt the best one? I will have to do even mor research :)

And Story, I agree entirely, the age thing in my opinion is just stupid. I was at the point with Milo a year ago thinking OMG I have to move him into the bit. Than realized I dont care what the rulebook says, Im not comepteting yet and Im going to take things at a pace that is comfortable for the both of us.

No thoughts on the bosal? Melissa I had chatted with you before about this.

Anonymous said...

One follow-up on the ported bit I linked to - it isn't severe and isn't designed to contact the roof of the mouth at all - just allow more room for the tongue. I use a snaffle with a port like this for Maisie and she really like it - hated tongue pressure.

Anonymous said...

I have used a bosal before. I think if the horse listens well to your legs and you don't have to use a lot of rein, then it might work nice. It sounds like Milo listens well enuogh to only need a bosal. For me, I liked the bosal better than the bit.

Hope that helped you.

paint_horse_milo said...

I could see Milo happier in the bosal rather than a bit. I think this will just take some experiementation as to what will work the best for us. I may try him in the bosal a week or so to get an idea of what he thinks...but maybe also the myler. The thing is I would like to compete in reining, and since hes 6 now I dont think that it is legal to show in a bosal...

An Image of Grace said...

I just watched an episode of Craig Cameron on RFD-TV and the entire episode was on training in a bosal. He had a line of them he sells on his website and he was showing how to use each one. I think bosals are a great training tool. Use a fiadore with it so it hangs correctly, the Western Pleasure people don't use the fiadors in the show ring, which makes it hang incorrectly. Since I am not showing, I have not been riding my 13 year old horse in a shank. I alternate between my Myler Snaffle, Little S Hackamore and Vogt Elevator. If I was to pull out the Myler shank bit - mine has the calvary shanks which I really like the feel of - I would have to tune her up to it before showing her. Do check Ebay for a Myler bit, I have done VERY well there. $99 isn't bad at all for a well made bit, it's a far cry from a Tom Balding!

paint_horse_milo said...

Very true Melissa. It isnt a bad price in comparison, I still need a saddle pad though too.

I do think I have found a good bit here:

A low port shouldnt hit his roof and will give more tongue relief. With shorter shanks it will be a good transition, and if necesary I can use it with direct rein for a mild correction if needed.

Of course, to Mom, I oppose the port idea, I dont feel like he needs one, but if it is shallow enough it actually doesnt do anything, than whats the problem.

It seems I should scower the barn for bits and see if there is anything I like, than ask the owner if I could try it out. Easier than forking over xxx money for something we may not like.

Sorry everyone, you all are probably getting tired about ready about my indesisive-ness. I just want the best for my Milo!

An Image of Grace said...

Asking at the barn is a great idea! Most riders have more bits than they actually use at one given time. I know I do!

Story said...

I have the bit you linked from State Line! I used it on Page when I started riding her in a shank and I actually rather liked it. She never showed any objection to it. The shanks are really short, it offers some tongue relief, and the mouthpiece is fairly stable. Overall it seemed to be quite mild as far as shanked bits go. I'd forgotten about that bit.