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Bit suggestions: New USDF Baucher regulations

I use a baucher bit on my very sensitive horse. After a lot of trial and error, this has been the bit he’s happiest in. I haven’t shown since Dec 2022 because of some horse and human injuries. So, I didn’t realize until now that as of Jan 2023 there were new USDF regulations around bauchers:

D**R121.2.a.6: the upper cheek of a hanging cheek (Boucher) snaffle (measured from the top of the mouthpiece to the top of the upper cheek) may not exceed 5 cm.

Measured this way, nearly every available baucher on the market exceeds 5cm when measured this way. Mine is 7cm and online others have shared photos of their bauchers also exceeding 5cm. Some have suggested the bomber pony bits have a version that is 5cm, though I haven’t seen photos confirming this. My horse also doesn’t do well with sweet iron bits.

I’ve sent an email to USDF asking them to reconsider the rule. But in the meantime, I probably need to start trying to see if I can find another bit that works. So, two questions for the hive mind:

  1. can you think of any other baucher bits that would be under 5cm?

  2. those of you that have transitioned your baucher loving horses to another bit–what did you find was successful? there are SO MANY bits out there, that I’d love to narrow down my set of options of try

If you hear back with clarification, please let me know. I saw that rule amendment and went hmmm, because I have the Herm Sprenger B-Ring Boucher, which is listed as permitted below:


However if you measure it, it exceeds the 5cm rule by 2 full cms. I wondered if they perhaps meant the “bar” part of the hanging cheek - IE the straight piece of metal that conjoins the rein ring with the headstall ring?

I only have a few Baucher bits but not a single one is 5cm or shorter when measured from top of mouthpiece to the top of upper cheek.

I have shown 2 shows this year with that bit, and not had an issue. I will not be changing the bit since it’s specified as approved in Annex A. :woman_shrugging:

My horse is in a baucher because he does better with a quieter mouthpiece. If your horse is the same, the Bomber or Fager may be worth checking out, but again not sure if they are 5 cm or less. Korsteel might be worth checking out.

Barring that an eggbutt would be my next bet. There really aren’t many show-legal bits that truly function the way a Baucher does with the negative poll pressure. I hope you hear back.

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This one passed at Dressage at Lexington (Janine looked at it herself and we were measured at bit check) https://www.doversaddlery.com/hanging-cheek-copper-lozenge/p/X1-013280/

I have an eggbut I use for the bradoon on the double double bridle. If there’s ever a problem with the baucher, I’m switching to that. It’s not ideal but my mare accepts it

My thought is they have to mean this part that I attempted to circle in red:

Because measuring 5cm from the top of the actual mouthpiece to the top of the entire upper ring would leave no room to put the cheek piece through the ring.


I hope you’re right. Clarity on exactly how to measure these things is another thing I asked about in my email. But not sure if I will get a response.

My horse is one that not only likes the steadiness of the baucher but also has a really sensitive poll. So, I think to make something else work, I’d probably also be looking for a new bridle the most extreme cutback I can legally get away with in addition to an eggbutt.

or I wonder if a full cheek with the keepers would act similarly to a baucher…


physics would say this would be the closest approximation.

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My assumption based on how this is written would have been the red measurement, but maybe the blue is what they mean?


That was my first thought. A full cheek with keepers should offer similar stability of alignment in the mouth. Perhaps not the “negative poll pressure”, but I guess I’m pretty far behind in baucher mechanics, and unfamiliar with this concept.

Last I’d read was that they don’t have any elevator/gag effect and don’t increase poll pressures that way. Negative poll pressure makes me think they reduce pressure on the poll because of the top ring acting as a pivot point? Super interesting idea! Please excuse me while I google my way down that rabbit hole.


That makes sense from how every baucher I’ve seen would measure. Like the attachment point on 3cm including the ring would be closer to the mouthpiece than a lot of loose rings. But… if it doesn’t include the ring then that leaves the door open for a larger ring to be used on top of the shank to create more “shank length”. I think that would defeat the desired mechanics of the bit pretty quickly, but people do dumb things. Hope there will be clarification on this rule.

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Their language also made me think the red, which is how I measured and got 7cm. If they mean the blue, then most bauchers should be legal. I wish they would be as kind as to do an illustration just like you did!


Neule Schule has some good information about this! https://nsbits.com/article/neue-schule-poll-pressure-guide

But yes, basically the idea is that when the bit is engaged with contact, the pivot point of the arm actually relieves poll pressure. So, when the contact isn’t there, the poll pressure is 0 (neutral), when it is engaged it’s relieved (-1). Most bits would stay at a 0 since there is no actual action on the poll. And then leverage bits or curbs would have some amount of poll pressure.

For a horse like mine who is hyper sensitive in that area, the baucher makes him actively seek contact. He gets poll relief when he reaches into the hand–so for him it makes going for contact really positively reinforced.


For sure, the blue measurement is utterly useless, from the standpoint of basic logic I hope that isn’t what they meant!

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I had mine measured at a show and it was measured the red way. USEF said it was out.

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Interesting - in the case of the HS B ring Baucher, which is specifically shown as approved, how does that work? It’s 7cm long. :joy:

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No clue.

I sent an email in May asking for a diagram and clarification if it was to the top of the mouthpiece as how it was measured at the show I attended or along the edge as I would have thought it should be done.

This was the answer I received.


The rule states that the upper cheek of a hanging cheek (baucher) snaffle is measured from the top of the mouthpiece to the top of the upper cheek. I will consult with our Rules Working Group to see if we can put together a diagram that can be shared for these types of questions. I will be in touch.

Lauren Moore
Director, Sport Management Administration
t 859 225 6922 f 859-721-1151
e lmoore@usef.org


Im surprised they didn’t have an illustration like they do for other bit measure rules

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I just got a reply to my email, which says the following:

We have recently received several reports of baucher bits measuring over this limit, and our Rules Working Group is actively looking into this to determine if a rule change is necessary. Your feedback is noted, and I will share it with our Rules group!

I don’t think there is any baucher on the market that falls under 5cm when measured with the ‘red line’. And it seems like there is some inconsistency with measuring as well, since I too have the one @Knubbsy said passed in Lexington and when I measure the ‘red line’ way, it is over 5cm.

So, it does seem like the rule book needs both a diagram and an amendment!


I imagine the goal is to exclude bauchers large enough to potentially create a leverage point. Unless they are trying to exclude all bauchers. :thinking:

USDF is usually better about defining these things these days so I’m surprised it’s so ambiguous.

I followed up to the email response with the picture posted in this thread asking if it would be possible for them to provide a diagram to clear up confusion as to whether the top ring should be included in measurement or not.

Sounds like they are at least aware that there is confusion and some problems, so that’s good! I am cautiously optimistic.

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I checked FEWI to see if they have any directive and they do not appear to have rules about these bits. It was a superficial perusal, however as I find their rule book to be a big challenge to plow through