From Endurance to Dressage
I like bits a lot. Good bits are like fine jewelry - every girl needs a few nice pieces. I've got a nice collection of bits in my tack room, but it's time for a change, and I don't have quite what I need.
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.
JL and I talked about the judge's comment. Her thinking was that now that we have Speedy driving more from behind up to the bit, maybe he doesn't like it now that he has to actually be on a steadier contact.
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 am wondering if the problem is with the loose rings. Do they move around too much? Do they pinch where they connect to the mouth piece?Since I like bits and don't mind purchasing nice ones, I went ahead and ordered a Korsteel Eggbutt with a copper mouth piece. It's very similar to the Mikmar Eggbutt, but I am hoping that the mouth piece is a little thinner. I am also hoping that the eggbutt will be quieter in his mouth and that there will be no pinching on the sides.
The bit arrived the other day. I switched out the loose ring and hopped up on Speedy bareback on Thursday afternoon to give it a try. I immediately felt a difference. Even on a loose rein, my connection to Speedy was much more solid and steady. He didn't feel so much like a wiggling fish on the line.
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.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: