At the RAAC, one of the judges commented that I needed to be more careful with my hands, especially since I was using a fairly severe bit. I was actually quite shocked at the comment. No one has ever suggested that one of my bits was severe (I pride myself on using quality bits that are designed with the horse's comfort in mind), and I tend to be too quick to release the reins.
While I was baffled and a little irritated, I decided to think about the judge's comment and look more closely at the bit I was using on Speedy. I also ran the comment by my trainer to see what she thought.
I first started Speedy's dressage training in a Myler French Link Snaffle. When he seemed too fussy in it, I switched to the Mikmar Eggbutt. Speedy did okay in the eggbutt, but the bit always looked too thick for his mouth. I returned to the French Link and have been using it for at least a year and half. Both bits are pictured below.
I gave his mouth a thorough exam and found something that I haven't seen before: rub marks. These are new. At the corner of his lips and on the outside of his mouth there are definitely some rubs. They're small, but a rub is a rub. Here's a photo of the French Link while at the RAAC. Click the photo for a close up.
I only rode for a few minutes, but he seemed to like it. We did a little bit of trot work, and it seemed as though he was more willing to stretch forward. I could also hear him mouthing the bit, and his mouth was much foamier than it normally is.
I'll give him a much better ride this weekend, and he'll probably go to my weekly lesson (which is now on Mondays) so JL can give me her opinion on it, too. I hope he likes this bit better. I felt really bad about the rub marks. Here are some photos of the new bit.