When Is The Best Time to Try New Bits?

September 05, 2021 3 Comments

When Is The Best Time to Try New Bits?

When Is The Best Time to Try New Bits?

When to make changes or try new things can be timed to help your horse better respond. Let us consider some equine factors that help us aim to having the bit suit for the longer period of term. Ever felt like the bit was good for a week, then not so good?

 

Although some elements are time restricted, in the perfect world we would like to see that

  1. Your horse has had his teeth reviewed within the past recent months. We often see issues like head tilting or re-activeness with head movements due to the teeth needing a check over first. Book in your equine dentist first.
  2. Your horse is currently in good health, no body soreness or injuries. Sometimes what you feel may be an issue with the bit may in fact be your horse expelling pressure from body soreness. We see this often with unexpected chewing on the bit. Book in your body worker if you feel this could help.
  3. Your horse is in work and in the perfect world we wouldn’t tell you to change the bit when your mare is at peak of coming into season or a recent change in feeds. These small characteristic traits could be confused with like or dislike to tack changes. Environmental changes can change your horses behaviour too.
  4. Not leading up to a competition. You don’t want to be putting that kind of pressure on you or your horse to respond to your highest expectation. Bits work the best when we are relaxed and perhaps the right feel will come to you both when you are not looking or searching so hard for the right bit feel. Take the pressure off!
  5. Change one piece of tack at a time. Changing your bit and bridle, or bit and saddle at the same time can be too many changes at once. You want to clearly feel the change of one piece of tack at a time. We have even been to bit fittings whereby the horse was reactive to his new girth, it made it really hard to unveil what was going on. One change at a time.

 

Want more pointers on when to and when not to make a bit change? Send us a DM or reach out to you local Bit Fitter!

 



3 Responses

Courtney Fraser
Courtney Fraser

September 14, 2021

Such good points raised! A couple of things I feel are important especially with jumping fittings it to make sure there is sufficient equipment for you to test the bits fully ie: a bit for xc should be tested on a xc course or in an open space. (after having a ride in a safe fenced area first) Same for Show jumping! Horses can respond so differently in open space compared to an arena. Some horses are not so strong until they are further into their lesson, course or training session, so allowing enough time to really make sure your horse is working as he would in a lesson or training situation is really important! Your fitter should always allow ample time for jump fittings.
Also as a competitive rider myself I find it is so important to test your bits well before competition day! You don’t want your bit to arrive on the Friday and you head off to your competition on the weekend and have a problem. And the problem may not be the bit, it could be changing something at a competition where there is more atmosphere and your horse will be more alert and reactive to change.

Nina Lloyd
Nina Lloyd

September 12, 2021

In our team of high level event horses we have a variety of both types and temperament. We expect them to train and preform at the highest levels and so are always trying to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. Getting the correct bit that suits their mouth anatomy and gives the right feel to the rider is essential. The confidence of both horse and rider increase when the lines of communication are clear and the right bit can make all the difference. and set the path for success. In experienced combinations it is often just a fine tune that makes all the partnership soar, in new or green combinations it make the journey towards working harmoniously together so much quicker. Getting a professional bit fit means that the choice you make will be right for both horse and rider. We have seen students with horses that have struggled with stiffness, pulling or inconsistency be able to move on the the next level when the horse id comfortable in it’s mouth.

Jane Tscharke
Jane Tscharke

September 12, 2021

Great points raised. Two factors in particular that I feel are important to a successful bit fit are
1. To optimise the outcome of your bitting fitting for increased comfort and performance of your horse it is important to be organised and plan ahead to allow time for your session. Working with a rider who is distracted by calls coming in on their phone or continually checking their watch as they have a limited time before they need to finish is not ideal as their focus is not completely on the task at hand. The selection of a new bit for your horse should not be rushed instead it should be a carefully considered decision.

2. The rider must be comfortable and confident riding in the end bit choice. Therefore it is optimal to have yourself or the regular rider ride the horse in the bit before making the final selection. I have arrived at a number of fittings to be told oh my sister/friend/instructor will be riding my horse today. That is ok but it’s best that you or the regular rider also has a feel of how the bit actions and the horses response to it. Bit selection is also about selecting the optimal bit for the horse and rider as a combination.

Jane Tscharke
0402096574
jane@equibebitfit.com.au

My area of scheduled coverage includes Adelaide Hills, Onkaparinga Hills, Adelaide, Barossa, Gawler, Roseworthy, Mallala, Murray Bridge, Fleurieu Peninsula and Strathalbyn. Other areas by arrangement.

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