As promised in a previous post, The 3 Must Have Snaffles of a Showjumper, here are The 3 Must Have Jumping Bits. As already discussed in my previous post, I do prefer to jump my horses in the lightest possible bit. However, it is very common that a horse is easy to ride in a snaffle at home, but when it gets in the competition arena the going gets tough.
This is where showjumpers start trying different bits to find what suits their horse. Every bit has a different effect on a horse, depending on the mouthpiece and the cheekpiece. Finding the right bit that makes your horse comfortable and allows it to jump freely, while giving you enough control to go around the ring, is important to give you the confidence you need to win! But where do you start from?
Here are my 3 favourite showjumping bits:
The Pelham is a bit very often used by showjumpers. It can be used with two reins or with one rain and a connecter if the horse is two strong. The Pelham has a leverage action, a curb chain or a strap is placed under the horse’s chin to prevent the bit from rotating too much, while simultaneously applying pressure. Pelhams come with different mouthpieces, allowing riders to choose the one that fits their horse better.
It is a strong bit, but with the correct mouthpiece, chain or strap, choice of reins, and proper handling from the rider it is a great choice for a showjumper. Personally I prefer to use a softer mouthpiece, such as rubber of leather, that encourages the horse to carry the bit.
The American Gag is also called an elevator bit, although it does not have an elevating effect on the horse. It actually has the exact opposite effect. When the lower ring of the American Gag is used, it puts pressure on the poll of the horse by pulling down on the cheek pieces. Hence it is a very handy bit for horses that are a little argumentative and tend to lift their head and get too strong in the ring.
3. The Gag
The Gag is a bit that is very effective on a horse that puts too much weight on the hand. The action of the gag is almost entirely on the horse’s lips, though there is some very mild poll pressure, with little or no tongue or bar pressure. This bit can also be used with two reins to make it milder.
TIP! It is extremely important that all three bits are used on horses only when it is necessary, as they can be pretty strong. Also remember that the firmness of a bit depends on the hands off the rider. Use your feeling when you ride! Your horse is your teammate, not your enemy!
That was it. These are my favourite jumping bits!
What are yours??