Bits, Bridles And How They Affect Your Horse

This is a great video showing the physiology of the horse’s head and how bits and bridles can affect your horse.  Horses mouths are so sensitive, and many of them are uncomfortable with the bit.  This video offers great explanations and solutions for keeping your horse comfortable!

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17 Responses

  1. Debbie Jones

    Really enjoyed watching the video on bits & bridles,it really applies to a horse I bought not to long ago, when I ride her in a bit she plays with it and puts it over her tongue, under her tongue constantly. I was in a clinic and the person holding the clinic said to tighten it up and she would stop playing with it, I wasn’t thrilled about that at all but it seemed to work, so what should I do I don’t want her uncomfortable.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Howdy! This is my video, while I could give you a few things to try, the most important thing would be her opinion. If she likes the bit higher, so be it.

      Reply
      • Daniel

        Didn’t mean to do that anonymously. If you would like to send a pic of your bit to my Dauphin Horsemanship Facebook page, I’d be glad to offer my thoughts.

    • Karen Flewellen

      Moving it up may sit the bit in a better place for her. TBH if she can get her tongue over the bit it maybe to low for her anyway, being too low is just as bad as being to high
      I was always taught rule of thumb is two creases at the corner of the mouth so I’d adjust from there to suit the horse I ride.

      Reply
  2. Leslie Ball

    Excellent video explaining things for simple folk like myself. I have never been happy with the broken mouth bits. Prefer a roller mouth. There is a newer line of bits designed by John O’Leary, the Australian horseman who wrote the article used by Dale Myler in his book and bit catalogue. You can check them out on the above web site. Worth a look. Well made and reasonably priced.

    Reply
  3. Dennis Quilliams

    Well said – I believe if there is a problem with the mouth it is usually the riders hands. Keep your horse soft and supple – I use sidepulls most of the time. Again we ask for responsiveness – soft and supple.

    Reply
  4. Collie

    Really enjoyed your video. I’ve been riding for sometime and love learning g something new. Thank you so much. And Happy new year

    Reply
  5. Kerry

    I am a classically trained Dressage rider. I live in an area where the ‘backyard rider’ has very little training and believes in running their horse till it is too tired to move, and the solution to any forward horse is “Put more bit in his mouth.”

    I am absolutely amazed (in a good way!) to find such a wonderful advocate for correct, classical riding in an online video about biting! You NAILED It with your pop-up about how both gas-pedal and brake-pedal are located in the rider’s seat, not their hands. This is the foundation for classical Dressage training and TRUE and correct training of all disciplines, frankly. Sadly that practice seems to be the exception, not the rule.

    My horse is an 11yo off the track thoroughbred. He likes F-A-S-T. He is ridden in the same Loose Ring french-link snaffle that my 20 yo QH Schoolmaster was ridden in.

    That snaffle is sooo soft and gentle, it certainly won’t put more ‘woah’ on my OTTB- nor is it supposed to! That bit’s job is to create the soft and supple mouth and contact that is required in Dressage to free up the horse’s back and allow them to round and stretch. Getting a firmer bit or more hand in his face is self-defeating. It also doesn’t teach my horse that my actions are gentle as a human.

    Embrace the half-halt, riders. It is always your best tool when riding.

    Bravo to you, sir, for advocating so well for the rights of the horse to be ridden correctly and respectfully. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Chris

    Hello, I don’t usually comment on these videos so I am sorry I did not catch your name. I have been “rehabilitating” horses for many years. Meaning that all of the horses I have and have had are those that others have deemed unrideable and given up on so I have seen a lot. I am also a developmental anatomist and therefore have many issues with timing of introduction to tasks for horses, dogs, kids. But anyway I gave you this background so you can determine how to respond. I don’t mean that with disrespect just that you know your audience. So…My two questions are; 1. How do you deal with a horse that insists on putting his tongue over the bit as soon as you lower it. I have had several but one in particular who does this no matter what bit or which rider so I have eliminated the bit and hand factors, 2. With your comments on the trigeminal nerve how do you feel about cavesson adjustment?
    This comment is directed to the author of the video
    Thank you for your thoughts

    Reply
  7. Daniel

    Chris,
    This is Daniel Dauphin, from the video. Most of the information that I offer is geared toward prevention of vices. Following these guidelines, I am consistently able to produce horses with calm and relaxed mouths, many of whom find me because “they can not be ridden with a bit”. That being said, I have a few thoughts for your horse. First off, I would want to see him simply learn to carry the bit. So, I would probably go to a bit with copper rings on it, hung fairly low, to try and entice greater salivation and the urge to play with the rollers with his tongue. I would maybe just put this bit on a leather thong and let him merely lose to play in the round pen or arena while carrying the bit. No reins, no driving, no pressure. Getting the tongue and suction involved would be paramount. On the subject of suction, and anatomical development, teeth alignment, hooks, or some form of interruption breaking his mouth “seal” could also be to blame. At the end of the day, it is entirely possible to have an animal who has had enough bad experiences with a bit in his mouth to permanently sour him on the idea. Starting them properly as a youngster, I have never seen this. Rehabbing OTTBs and horses from abusive situations, you sometimes will find “unfixable mouths”.
    As to the cavesson question, I personally never use them. While I can understand their intended function, I feel like they mask many of our horses ‘ signs of discomfort that are so very important to gauge their true obedience and acceptance of the bit. I seldom see a “happy mouth” that is being restricted in any way.
    I much prefer that we educate the rider ‘a hands and methods rather than use gimmicks and things to cover up issues and mask vices. Let’s just train vice free horses instead!

    Reply
  8. Carissa

    I appreciate this video is people insist on using bits, however you never place any bitless bridle (hackamore, bosal, sidepull etc) that low on the nose. The rule of thumb is 3 fingers with below the cheek, or to feel down along the sides of the nose and fit the noseband at the top of where the nose nose hollows. I despite mechanical hackamores as you do, but I also despise bits. They are unnecessary pain devices. A properly fitted rope halter, sidepull or bosal is all anyone needs. Ground work, ground work, ground work

    Reply
  9. Andy Butcher

    Really interesting video. We have generally all been taught to put a couple of creases in but this makes sense to me.

    Reply
  10. Jennifer

    I have a mare I ride in a curb kimberwick. She gets it under her tongue no matter how tight it is. I’m trying a hackamore now, but just don’t feel as safe. I want to add that she has a very tiny Arab head. What should I do?

    Reply

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