Bit Suggestions

I’m looking for a new bit, something in between a Waterford and a slow twist, perhaps more like a slow twist but without the joint.

She can get a little heavy and strong, more so right now because I am rehabbing her. She tends to really lean on the Waterford. The slow twist backs her off but she really hates the snaffle joint. She hates a plain snaffle.
In general, she is mouthy - she loves to suck on the cross ties - so I’ve been wondering if she might like something with a little ball she could play with. Any thoughts?

Something like this, so it won’t collapse in her mouth like a standard joint?

I’m surprised she leans on the waterford, that’s normally the anti-lean bit!


Have you tried different side pieces? A gag could help get the leverage, without having to up the mouth piece. I wouldn’t be surprised if fitness is also a factor, as you mentioned she’s rehabbing and getting her strength/stamina back.

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Try to track down a waterford gag. Those things are magic.

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Would try this:

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Check out KCH custom bits, she has a lot of very unique bits you won’t really find elsewhere including a few options that are double jointed with a twist, which may be an option for your horse if the twist backs her off but doesn’t like the single joint.


Horses do tend to figure them out though.


Indeed, it didn’t work as well as I hoped with my late mare. She was less pull-y and more just STRONG though.

OP, for my young mare who tends to be heavy, I rotate bits about every week or week and a half. That keeps her from finding the “best” way to lean on a bit. Just something to consider.


Thank you for all the bit suggestions! I am going to poke around the barn and see if I can find some of these to try out.

@endlessclimb. I have been rotating them, and that seems to help. I had thought that maybe one would be the bit for flat work and one for jumping, but I am figuring out that just rotating them in general is helpful. I think like @tatertots said, fitness is a factor as she tends to get heavier and lean more towards the end of the ride.

I’ve also started to wonder if her heat cycles might be influencing some of this, so I am starting to pay attention to this and see if regumate might help. We’ve got of stuff going on right now but it is all worth it to get my girl back to her regular self!


Has your Vet checked the teeth?

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I had one who could really lean on a Waterford. At the time, he was young so a lot of leaning was age related lack of balance and strength. A little pelham helped a lot just to give me a half halt that worked. It’s easy to find a Mullen mouth pelham if your horse doesn’t like jointed bits.

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Yes, the vet checked her teeth just last month.

Some of those Pelham’s on that site have some nasty mouth pieces :grimacing:

Of course, always remember that your bit is just the tool. The horse must have some sort of release of pressure (at the right times) to know that its doing the right thing. If pressure is release too soon or too late, you can have issues with the horse leaning, or evading contact, or any other number of “issues”.

Yes, fitness is a factor and a consideration. You have to know when to quit when you know your horse is getting tired. But at the same time, don’t give your horse an “excuse”. They truly are muscular physical animals that we really only “tap into” a small piece of their potential. They can usually handle more than we give them credit for. (Now if you mean you are rehabbing an injury, of course, follow vets advice.)

I do personally think it’s beneficial for horses to learn to carry and respect different bits so I think it’s good to switch it up once in a while. However, always remember that if a horse is doing something undesirable, always take a look at yourself first in case there is something you might be asking wrong, or releasing pressure at the wrong time.

In my opinion, if a horse has time to think about playing with a ball on the bit, then they are either NOT paying attention to you, or they have other anxiety issues that need to be addressed.

I know I didn’t make a bit suggestion after all that … because it’s more important to use the tool correctly. :wink: Yes, the horse will appreciate you trying to select something they seem to like the best. But you’ll also teach your horse valuable tools if they can learn to be accepting of anything you put in their mouth, even if it is not their favorite. It just makes for a good soft horse if you can teach them that. (as a long term goal)


This x 1000.

Whatever happened to Good Hands classes in shows?

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I didn’t say I endorse all of them, just that there are some on there that may be worth trying :slightly_smiling_face: