Let's review . . .
We started in a bit like this and it did not go good.
No brakes. Gaping mouth. Not a happy horse.
This one had the same issues. He hated the nutcracker action.
This is a Raised Rockin' S snaffle.
Designed by Mark Rashid
It was moderately better, but still a struggle.
And less than zero brakes.
Dr Cook's bitless bridle
Hated it. Still tossed his head. A lot.
I added a running martingale, similar to this but not exactly.
It helped a bit, but was not a long term solution.
English mechanical hackamore.
I went through this phase trying to figure out what he might like that would give me brakes.
He had his head straight up in the air.
Rubbed sores on the sides of his face and jaw
This one was even worse and caused huge rubs on the sides of his face.
The S did not fit his face at all.
This is a constant struggle.
Happy mouth french link
A not-so-happy, happy mouth bit
Nothing happy here
Myler comfort snaffle - kimberwick style
We then had an incident in the arena at Table Mountain Ranch where Ashke bolted on me and didn't want to stop. We did five full circuits of the arena at a dead run before I finally got him to stop. (Everyone moved to the inside and just let us ride it out.) That was when I decided I needed to figure out how to make him stop, before I worried about anything else.
Known as a grazing bit. Ashke actually was much better in this bit, but still threw his head up.
And no ability to get any kind of lateral bend or movement while riding in this bit.
We did, however, figure out how to stop.
He was not a fan, although it did allow independent movement between the sides.
Not a bad trail bit, but still not relaxing into contact.
Worked better to get lateral movement.
Spanish bit to match my attire.
This was the bit we moved to a year ago, when I was told by a judge that we needed to be in a Spanish bit. It was better. It is the bit I have been riding in lessons with Amanda and on trail (I got tired of changing bridle sets).
This year, the US Rules for Working Equitation lifted the injunction that stipulated the bit had to match tack and attire,. There are some illegal bits (mechanical hacks, gag bits, elevator bits, high spade bits) but we are no longer held to a dressage legal bit if riding in English attire, or a Western curb when riding western. There is a lot more freedom, which means I could look outside of the spanish curb I had been using. The bit search started again.
We also tried this one.
Not a fan.
Hated this bit and refused to move forward.
Like, rooted to the ground in this bit.
Didn't hate it, but didn't love it.
No lateral flex to the bit.
Wasn't a fan but didn't hate it as much as other bits.
This is the bit my friend C had me try. He liked it pretty well and was more comfortable in the contact. The issue, however, is that the chin strap sits way far up his jaw and we ended up with rub marks two inches up from his chin channel.
Straight Eqyptian Arabian. Not easy.
I also tried another friend's custom made french-link style bit and he acted like he was gagging. It's not a pretty look. I don't have a picture, but it was kind of like a french link with a frog and roller in the middle that laid on the tongue. He was not excited about it.
That makes 20 bits, that I can remember, that I have tried on Ashke. He prefers less tongue pressure without gouging the top of his mouth. He also prefers a shank bit, in part because it is diffused pressure. Anything that is a direct rein was a no go. The last one shown is the one he has been the most fond of, until the bit I rode him in last night. The bit we tried last night was a bit Amanda has wanted me to try for months now and it deserves its own post.
So stay tuned . . .