From Endurance to Dressage
Book Review: A Whole Bit Better
If you like bits, you should probably pick up a copy of the Myler brothers' book about bits. The book has been updated since I bought mine; it's now called The Level Best for Your Horse. It's on sale for $11.16.
My version of the book is quite small, pocket-sized really, but the pages are packed with great information about how bits work, how to know if a bit is not working, and what all of the different mouth and cheek pieces are designed to do. It's written in simple terms without being too technical. Even if you're not a Myler bit enthusiast, the book is a great resource about bits in general.
The last 100 pages of the book make up the appendix. Each page shows a mouthpiece with an explanation as to the function of that bit and then how it might be used.
Included in the appendix is a section on cheek pieces and their function. In English disciplines, it's common to simply use the cheekpiece most generally seen in your sport. Many of my bits have Kimberwick cheek pieces because that's what endurance riders used when I was competing. I don't have any Dee rings because they're typically seen in the hunter ring.
The book explains the purpose of various cheek pieces including the loose ring, the eggbutt, the dee ring, the full cheek, and all of the western shanks.
After researching the various mouth and cheek pieces, I decided (with the help of my trainer, Chemaine Hurtado) on the loose ring low wide ported barrel bit. The loose rings will allow me to be super subtle when Izzy is willing. The low and wide port is dressage legal while also offering Izzy the maximum amount of tongue relief.
The Myler philsophy centers around keeping horses comfortable and relaxed. "When the horse is resisting the current bit, it is too much bit for him and he can't relax." When izzy decides to be naughty, the ported barrel won't allow me any control which is why I am going to stick with the correction bit for a while. When he's behaving, we'll switch to the ported barrel. Hopefully he'll develop some confidence and decide that it's easier working with me rather than against me.
Check out the book. For the price, it's a super handy resource that offers easy to undestand explanations about a piece of tack that we riders don't always think about.
12/30/2016 07:36:06 am
I actually read this book straight through while waiting for the vet one day. I found it in the tack room, and was really intrigued by it. Definitely a fun little book to have around!
12/30/2016 08:49:07 am
That was time well spent. :0)
Comments are closed.
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%: