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  • Clare Long

Words of Wisdom for different types of Snaffle Bits

(My new tack room, and Bridles and Bits in general):

"This is my new tack room. I love it, love it, love it. I just wanted to point out some of the bridles and some of the bits. This will be really helpful to you guys. Anna, if you can pan down on the bits, you're going to see everything I have is a snaffle. Everything I have is a very simple snaffle, a very comfortable snaffle, bits that feel really, really comfortable in the horse's mouth. I want to talk a little about this, guys. I know in the hunter tack rooms and the jumper tack rooms, you're going to have much harder bits, and some of them are twists and some of them are pelhams or Kimberwicks or bridles that give you a lot more power and strength. I know for the jumping horses, sometimes that's necessary because your seat is out of the saddle and so you might need more strength for your bit, because your seat is out of the saddle so you can't really slow of the horse down with your seat so much. I know a lot of the Western people use harsher bits. I know a lot of them will use twists. They'll use double wires. They'll use all sorts of stronger... I’m trying to pick and choose my adjectives so I'm politically correct, they use stronger bits. I get that. In the hunter jumper world, I get that, in the Western world, I get that. I would really, really, really, really, really like it if the Western trainers only used bits like this. That would make me so happy if we could eliminate any of the twists and any of the tougher bits, that would make me really happy. Also the shanked bits, I don't have any. As you can see, I don't have any shanked bits."

(Happy Mouth Bits): "When I'm training the youngsters, I like to put them in a Happy Mouth. Happy Mouth is a whole line of bits that came out, I don't know, I'm old, 20 years ago, and we love them. All of us love them so much that Happy Mouth as a company made pretty much every damn bit you can imagine in a Happy Mouth. They look like this. We definitely support Happy Mouths. We love them and you can get pretty much any bit in a Happy Mouth. When I'm starting a youngster and I really want them to like the bit, the Happy Mouth tastes good, they feel good." (Full Cheek Happy Mouth Bits): "I do start the horses in Happy Mouths and I love the full cheeks. I love the full cheeks when you're teaching a horse how to steer, they're really fantastic because they influence the whole side of the horse's mouth rather than just the mouth. When you're teaching a horse how to steer, sometimes they don't quite get it and if you use a bit like this, the ring ends up getting pulled through and into their mouth. With a full cheek it won't happen. When you start off a youngster, my very favorite bit is this one. What they've done is they incorporated the full cheek with the Happy Mouth, with the link in the middle. It doesn't get better than this. When you're starting a youngster, in my opinion, not only a youngster, when you're starting a horse in my opinion, this is the best starting bit. They love them. Then if you want, if you need a little more, you can go to this full cheek. So this full cheek, as you can see doesn't have the link in the middle. This is what I call an old-fashioned full cheek, it just has the single. You can see the difference with how it hangs in their palette. See how much softer this one is? This link allows it to sit on their tongue whereas this one pokes against the tongue. See? This gives you a lot more control. A lot more leverage because when you pull back, it points down on their tongue, whereas this one is the softest and the most lovely. You can go from this to this if you want. A lot of horses are really happy working in this. This is what I had on the pony Twirl, except for it was like this, regular full cheek without the happy mouth part. Here it is, here's Twirls hunter bridle, and you see he's just wearing a normal, old fashion, I call them old-fashioned, full cheek with a single joint in the middle. I love them. They're wonderful. They don't have to be fat with the diameter. The width is perfectly fine. So we've got your first starting off baby horse bit, then we can evolve if you want to this bit, perfectly fine. Then if you want, you can evolve to this bit, perfectly fine. Then if you're going to stay in the hunter world or the jumper world, you can stay with this forever. Or you can go[typey 27:36] of the hunters, which is a D ring. I don't have any because I don't like the look of them. I don't have any Ds. I don't like the look of them. I much prefer a full cheek look." (Dressage Bridles and Bits): "Now, if you're a dressage person, by the time you get to the FEI levels to Prix St Georges, you have to be in a double bridle. So let's talk about dressage bits. Dressage bits, as best as you can, try to stay with the German training snaffles. This is a German training snaffle with a loose ring, meaning the ring slips. This is standard dressage equipment. They're wonderful. When they created this, we called it a walnut. In the middle, it's really fantastic because you can see how it sits on the horse’s pallet. It sits on the horse's pallet and tongue really, really nicely. It's very, very comfortable. This is our most standard, wonderful dressage bit. So dressage 101, this is probably the bit you're going to want to end up using until you go to a double bridle, which happens as you're approaching Prix St Georges; most people never get there. That's the FEI levels. That's the international levels. German training snaffle. Here's another one, see this one, this is another standard German training snaffle with a loose ring. Here's another one, standard German training snaffle with a loose ring. Love it. If you are going to evolve into having a dressage type of horse, you'll probably want to go to a German training snaffle.

(Pony bridle and bit):

"I'm going to switch the pony over from this, which is a cob, and you can see I'm already at the very tippy top, and I don't have any more holes to go up and it's still almost too big. Here's a standard bridle for a pony. I'm going to switch his over into this pony bridle, I'll switch the full cheek over, this has the baby horse bit in it. Oh, it's bradoon, baby horse bradoon. You see how little the ring is compared to the standard ring. See how tiny? See how teeny tiny the ring is? This looks really great on a pony. You don't get overwhelmed by the ring size. Maybe I'll leave this on the pony. I'm not sure, I didn't really realize that this was my pony bit. Pony bit on a pony bridle that makes sense. Now let's just run through this bridle quickly. Hunter, you see it's a hunter bridle, right? It's pretty easy to see. It's brown. It’s got the braided reins, correct? Not quite as pretty as the Dover bridle. So there was stitching on the noseband and the browband, but you can't see it because the bridle’s really old."


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