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Discussion on Imus Bit

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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1229
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 2, 2007 - 8:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am wondering if anyone uses the Imus Comfort Bit. If so, what kind of horse? Do you find that it is indeed a one size fits all...the website says the bit will work in a 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 inch mouth. Sounds like a stretch!

I need a 5 1/4 to 5 1/2 for Cody. He's not a gaited horse, but I like that this bit seems very gentle. There has been mention of it in other posts.

Any other suggestions for Western looking bits that are that size, and take 4 reins would be helpful too. What's with all the standard 5 inch bits anyhow?
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 156
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 2, 2007 - 8:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I give this bit my highest recommendation. We use it on ALL of our horses - TWH, Arabian, and Morgan. They actually reach for the bit when the bridle comes near their mouths. We have an entire "bit box" of various bits that we have used over the years and they all sit their rusting away as our horses have told us they only like the comfort bit. It really has been a wonder bit for our horses.

It doesn't fit the way a typical bit does which is why you can use it on different sized horses. It is gently rounded at the corners rather than straight on into the port. Speaking of the port, it is extremely gentle and I love the fact it has room for the horse's tongue rather than holding it down.

We use if for both Western and English applications. If you choose to buy one an ddon't like it, I'll buy it from you! (We need another). Just my experience. Shari
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1230
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 2, 2007 - 10:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari

Thanks for your insights, I am really frustrated with the bit makers out there. Many, many wonderful bits I would like to try, but nothing over 5" for the most part. Except for some pelhams, broken only in the middle.

My Arab has a 4 1/2" or 4 3/4" myler bit for her little mouth, and it may be too much for her, so if this Imus will work for her too that would be great. I use mostly a 3 part snaffle with the fat lozenger middle but would like to advance to the curb action in some of my horses.

Have you used the snaffle Imus also or just the one with shanks? I would think the shanks would work for all horses, just use the snaffle rein for initial training.

Yup, I've got a box, and a drawer full of assorted bits. Lots of those worthless Tom Thumb "snaffles"...which of course arn't technically snaffles anyhow.
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 157
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 2, 2007 - 11:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

We do have one of the snaffles and that works well for hunt. However, for training my new walker, I did just clip the reins to the top loops for a direct pull action. I recently moved the reins down to the lower position and he is doing well with that now as well. My daughter even using the shanked bit for saddle seat on her arab - just uses reins on both positions. The bit will not fit tightly against the lips on the side - it's not supposed to - but sometimes it takes a bit of getting used to on the part of what we are used to. But my horses seem to love it. My offer still stands about buying the bit from you if you don't like it!
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NENA DAWS
Member
Username: nena

Post Number: 13
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, Jun 2, 2007 - 3:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

HI ANJIE. I HAVE BEEN USING THE IMUS BIT FOR ABOUT 3 YEARS FOR MY TWHS. ONE DOES VERY WELL WITH IT, ESPECIALLY FOR HALF-HALTS AND GETTING BACK ON HIS HIND END AND INTO GAIT. SOMETIMES HE DOES OPEN HIS MOUTH ALOT WITH IT, AND AFTER CHECKING TEETH, FIT, ETC. I DECIDED TO JUST USE A CAVESON, AS HE ONLY DOES IT WHEN HE IS BEING COLLECTED, NOT DURING MAIN CONTACT. HE THEN JUST STOPS OPENING HIS MOUTH AND WORKS QUITE WELL WITH IT. MY OTHER PREFERS THE REGULAR LOW PORT WALKING HORSE BIT. I USE THE ONE WITH THE SHANKS. HOPE THIS HELPS.
NENA
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18618
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, Jun 3, 2007 - 9:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Nena,
Remember when writing in a forum the use of all caps makes your post harder to read and is considered the equivalent of shouting. Some will refuse to read it and if you get an editor coming through on a really bad day maybe even deleted. So for best results always use proper punctuation and capitalization. Thanks.
DrO
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Sherri L. Hueser
Member
Username: tangoh

Post Number: 894
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2007 - 9:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'll throw in my 2 cents here on this topic. We have 3 Imus bits and are now using it on not only 2 walking horses, but also on my husbands running quarter horse. She responded to it immediately, has become lighter and more responsive to subtle cues. This bit works, works better than any bit we have ever tried. It not only provides a lot of tongue relief, but the rolling action the horse feels initially from a very light first 'ask' is usually all that's required. I find it works best with the reins in the bottom slot giving the bit some leverage for more trained horses, but on a young horse it works best with the reins in the snaffle position. The bit helps the horse move into the bit, encourages a nice bend at the poll allowing the horse to travel in good collection, thus a better and more rounded top line, more hind end reach, therefore better gait.

I think that though Brenda Imus didn't 'discover' this bit entirely, it was rather taken from a previously designed very nice Robart bit, but was just tweaked a little.

Check out the walking horse bit at the bottom of this page on the Robart site....this is a very similar bit, and it's about $20 cheaper, but the Imus bit is a little nicer.

http://www.pinchlessbits.com/Bits1.html
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1236
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2007 - 9:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Sherri, love to save money!

Unfortunately, the website keeps coming up with an error report...sob.

The Imus is on B.O. right now, but I do plan on getting one soon. I'll report back after trying it.
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Cynthia G
Member
Username: cgby1

Post Number: 83
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2007 - 2:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi all, I have never heard of the Imus bits, are they for gaited horses?
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 159
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2007 - 3:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It was developed by Brenda Imus who is a gaited horse specialist. But, the bit works well for many other breeds. A well balanced bit is a well balanced bit! Her website is www.gaitsofgold.com.
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Ilona A
Member
Username: ilona

Post Number: 590
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Thursday, Jun 7, 2007 - 11:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,
Have you considered going bitless? (OK everyone...groan!) I have 5 different gaited breeds (TWH, Paso Fino, Peruvian Paso, Rocky Mountain and Mangalarga Marchador) and have converted them all to Robert Cook or the improved Nutural bitless bridles from Canada. To the horse they have become more responsive, softer, and rounded out to a smoother gait and natural head carriage that promotes gaiting. No more head tossing, resistence to bridling, agitation etc. In fact they all slobber when ridden with relaxed lower lips sometimes bobbing against the top lip. I cannot, with words, adequately state the difference in contact, gait and carriage that this system has delivered to my horses. 2 of my horses will never know a bit as I am putting them under saddle myself.
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1240
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, Jun 8, 2007 - 8:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ilona,

I have looked at them, and even tried to rig one up to see how it would work. I guess I feel the I can do more subtle communication with the reins going to a bit, than not. Just my opinion, which of course could change if I actually rode a horse in a bitless bridle.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Imus bit now! Now, if this stormy weather would go away so I could do something outside...even hauling manure is better than house work!
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1255
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 - 11:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari, And Sherri,

After being on BO for weeks, my Imus bit has arrived. I am a little perturbed to say the least. How can a bit that measures 5" with a tape measure be advertised to work for a horse needing a 5 1/2" bit? Cody's mouth measures 5 3/8", so 5 1/2" would be a decent bit size. I know that for a curb you go smaller than for a snaffle, but the reason I spent the extra for this bit, vs the "other one" for $20 less is because of the wording on the website.

Do you happen to know if any of your horses (or anyone elses) mouths measure more than 5 1/4"?

BTW, I do have a regular walking horse bit from when we had a TW mare, and it is the closest to a bit that he is o.k. with for a curb.

Thanks gals, I will try to simmer down now. Of course it's Saturday, and no one answers the phone at Gaits of Gold.

I'd love to try the bit if I could figure out how to wrap it and keep it new. ????
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 443
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 - 5:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't know for sure but I'd guess you cannot show a gaited horse without a bit. For general riding I ride my MFTs with or without a bit, I use a rope halter with the lead rope tied back into the halter or a bosal. Why use a bitless bridle when a bosal has worked great for hundreds of years?

Good day,
Alden
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1256
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 - 5:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden,

Just want a bit that is the right size and comfortable for my horses. Don't have any gaited horses, don't show, don't care about looks or style or rules. Prefer one that takes 4 reins. Like to do arena work off the snaffle rein, go out on the trails with the curb rein. Refine with the curb action.

Don't know what the problem is with tack makers: Bits come 5" standard. I've got bridles with the throat latch that is too short to hook, and curb chains that hang to the horses knees! O.K., just kidding, and venting.

Don't think you were directly addressing me about the bitless, and I have a bosal myself, just not a nice one and don't care for it.

O.K., there are bits over 5" of course, but very limited IMO.

I am drinking "calming tea", still perturbed over this bit!
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 161
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 - 8:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Angie: I can understand your frustration for the long wait. that never happened to me. I can't say that I actually took a tape measure out and measured my horse's mouths as I have never had any problems with the bit fitting any of them. And for some reason, I thought you were worried about it being too big...
Do call them and I would like to know the answer to your question myself. They are usually very happy to help.

On the other hand, go ahead and try it as my offer to buy it from you at the price you paid - including shipping - still stands. I need another one anyway. I don't care at all if it's a bit slobbery... I am sorry if I steered you in the wrong direction, but I have been nothing but happy with the bit. Shari
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1257
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 - 10:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari,

Thanks for your input and offer to buy the bit. You didn't steer me in the wrong direction; the wording on the website is what did. It states:

"Fits all mouths 4 1/2" to 5 1/2"...so, thinking like most people who measure in inches, it would follow that the bit measures at least 5 1/2" wide!

and:

"These actions are enhanced by the shape and length of the mouthpiece, which is designed to extend slightly beyond the horses lips..."

Hmmmmmm......still sounds like it's at LEAST 5 1/2" across!

I did email them and asked about sizing and how it would fit different sized mouths and the reply was like the website description. She said that idealy it should extend past the corners of the mouth, but o.k. if it fits snug because it don't pinch. Well, heck, neither do any of my other bits "pinch"...they are just not wide enough. At least that's Cody's opinion.

Of course, maybe I'll take a chance, try it on him, and he'll love it. I'll sleep on it.
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 444
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 12:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,

I do know the frustration, one MFT I have is 17.1 with a large head (well everything is large on him :-)) Anyhow a typical snaffle didn't fit him well so I tried a Sprenger KK Ultra snaffle because they come in different sizes. I guess the big warmbloods don't have 5" mouths either. You do have to convert inches to mm but the bit is awesome and the horses like the metal a lot. Just be prepared with the checkbook, they don't come cheap :-)

IMHO starting a horse and never teaching it about bit is grossly unfair to the horse, unless you are absolutely positive you'll never ever, ever, ever (did I say ever? And really who here knows what will happen 10, 15 years from now?) ever sell the horse. If you know that then do what you like, but someone down the road will assume an older horse knows and then there'll be a train wreck.

Another point, all my MFT that I've started are like Ilona describes, soft, slobbering and resistance free... with a bit. One sounds like he's popping bubble gum his lower lip flops soo much (his ears flop also) in the trot. How they're started is much more important than what equipment is used. Take a Tom Thumb bit for example, a terrible bit design but, with exceptionally good hands a horse can be trained with it. In most hands though it's a dreadful weapon and should be banned from existence.

Good day,
Alden
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Leilani Clark
Member
Username: leilani

Post Number: 260
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 12:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden,

Your opinion on the tom thumb is on the mark. Leilani
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2921
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 1:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, have you tried starting in just a simple broken snaffle bit (I like eggbutts so they don't pinch) then moving to a pelham?

I usually ride in a simple snaffle unless I'm showing and need to use a shanked big for western classes. However, I've worked with several horses in a pelham and like it a lot. You could use a regular double bridle, too, if you haven't tried it already.

I'm going to have to go to the website and look at this bit. If it fits a 5" mouth as well as a 4" mouth, it must stick out a lot on the side of a 4" mouth.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2922
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 1:26 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Went to the website. I must be tired and missing something. These bits basically look like a "cowboy snaffle" with a curved mouth piece to me. If you aren't happy with this bit, Angie, there are several companies that make "comfort bits" with curved mouth pieces, some with short shanks, that you might try.
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 162
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 8:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm going to put in my two cents one more time. My horses LOVE this bit. My walker - whom I just started - reaches for it whenever he sees the bridle. We started at the first position, as he had never had a bit in his mouth and he is four- and have moved in the past couple of weeks to the shank position. He is so light on the bit and is moving onto it naturally and beautifully. No pain, no discomfort and a happy happy horse.
The mouthpiece does fit differently on each of my horses, but all of them like it. We have tried other bits on the arab for showing purposes, but he fusses and fumes until we go back to this one. Then he puts his head right where it belongs with no fuss - English and Western. His mouth is much smaller than my walker, but because of the way it curves it hasn't made any difference. For us it has truly been a wonderful bit.

Please note. It is NOT a snaffle as it does not break in the middle and there is absolutely no pinching. Please do try it and give it a few days to let your horse(s) get used to it. Then, if you don't like it, please let me know. I use only this bit and will continue to use only this bit. It just plain works for me!

Last comment. Jamie Imus is generally the customer service person. She has always taken good care of us. I would be interested to know if you have a similar experience. Shari
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 163
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 8:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

To clarify, my walker is a BIG guy - nearly 17 hands with a large head. My arab and morgan are small and dainty. Fits em all as advertised. Bottom line, those of us (and there are many in my area) who use, it love it. But you won't know unless you try it. If it doesn't work for you, you know what to do! (Part of me hopes you don't like it so I don't have to wait 5 weeks for another one!)
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1258
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 9:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden,

I do use a nice 3 part bit to start all my horses. The JP Korsteel Hunter Dee with Oval Mouth. I've rode Cody in it for almost 4 years and he's doing well for what I use him for. I have the 5 1/2" for him and use a 5" on my 2 mares. The one mare is 18, and I still put that on her from time to time. My problem child, I use a full cheek snaffle with rollers, 5".

The only bits I have that are over 5" are a couple of Tom Thumb snaffles and I don't care for them.

Sara,

I agree with your thoughts. And I have looked at the comfort type snaffles, and many others. I couldn't find anything that was over 5". The pelham are usually just a broken bit mouth, and his tongue is really thick so he don't care for the low port that is on most Kimberwickies. Of course maybe this new miracle bit (ha ha) will be uncomfortable for his tongue too.

I like the Monte Foreman bit too, but it only comes in 5". I have 2 of them, one with solid shanks, one that has swivel shanks. Have rode a lot of our horses in those over the years.

Shari,

O.k., what do I have to loose? The only better offer I have would be if you were to show up and let me borrow one of yours! Thanks for listening and your comments. I have like a zero tolerance policy when it comes to buying something and then feeling it's not what I thought it was and feeling like I am getting ripped off. I can try it on my little Arab too, she is one fussy gal. Got her in a mullin mouth right now, man, is that head down as that works only on the tongue and she don't like it. And yes, I've done all kinds of lateral flexing and everything else with her, and I am ready to just let a bit do some of the work on her.

Jamie was who I spoke to when I called to asked if it was shipped yet. And she answered my emails too. I also called to cancel it because I was sick of waiting for the bit, but it was already shipped. She was the one who called back with that message too but I didn't talk to her that time. She did indeed seem very nice and believes in what she is selling.

Off to put the bit on a headstall....here goes nothing!!
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2923
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 10:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, I hope the new bit works if for no other reason than the hassle factor! However, if it doesn't, I know for a fact that Mary's Tack and Feed sells larger bits as I've seen them, also Dover has bits in their catalog up to 5 and 3/4.
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 164
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 10:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Of course you feel that way. We ALL do and I would be just as frustrated in your situation! I have just never had to wait. I wonder what was going on in terms of the backorder situation? And you don't have anything to lose because my offer was genuine and it was just payday!
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1259
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari,

Think you will be waiting for your bit, I am keeping mine. Just got back from ride on Cody. I don't understand this from a mathematical point, but the 5" bit has like 1/4 inch showing on each side of his mouth. NEVER, EVER, had that happen with any of the other bits I've tried on him.

And you ask, how did he like it? (I know everyone is dying to know) Well, I put it on over his halter, groomed and saddled him, then decided to take the halter off. He stood there, bridle hanging on the floor, and made no move to spit the bit out! Like he forgot it was there!

It seems like a very comfortable and gentle bit but I can't give it 100% rating yet due to the fact that he is all sore and swelled up under his jaw from those nasty bugs! I am sure the curb chain was uncomfortable for him whenever contact was made, so I was extra careful.

We did do a short ride in the woods after arena work, and he was a handful. Some balking that required one rein pulling him around had his head going up, but I was only using the curb rein and that is new for him. He did feel light and comfortable when he focused on me, and he musta been really pretty when he did some dancing heading for home. NO bracing on the bit!

So, Shari, my only problem now is that I may be ordering another one, lol! Will try it on all the horses as soon as I can, very hot, muggy and buggy today. Sorry you have to wait for yours, but hey, at least you can feel good that you helped me find a nice bit, my horses thank you.

Sara,

I'll check out Mary's Tack and Feed. I know what Dover has...lots of wonderful bits over $100, and some close to $200!!!! But, hey, I need to eat too. And live with my husband.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2926
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 2:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, I didn't even look at the prices in the Dover catalog; sorry! I don't know what Mary's shows on their website, but their store in Del Mar, CA is two stories of horse lover's heaven.

I'll be interested to hear how you like this bit after you've used it awhile. Is the main advantage of it that it doesn't pinch the horse's tongue? When I first read your post, I thought you were having trouble with the bits you were using being too short and pinching the corners of the mouth. Unfortuneately, I have to use bits that are show legal. I did find for Asmar a bit that is legal and has a cured mouth piece. It is like a snaffle, but has a cover over where the snaffle breaks and has short shanks. He seems very happy in it.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2927
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 2:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, I didn't even look at the prices in the Dover catalog; sorry! I don't know what Mary's shows on their website, but their store in Del Mar, CA is two stories of horse lover's heaven.

I'll be interested to hear how you like this bit after you've used it awhile. Is the main advantage of it that it doesn't pinch the horse's tongue? When I first read your post, I thought you were having trouble with the bits you were using being too short and pinching the corners of the mouth. Unfortuneately, I have to use bits that are show legal. I did find for Asmar a bit that is legal and has a curved mouth piece. It is like a snaffle, but has a cover over where the snaffle breaks and has short shanks. He seems very happy in it.
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 165
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 2:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Sara: FYI: We were able to use this bit in a A rated Arab show without problem.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2928
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 3:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari, what classes were you riding in? Thanks.
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 166
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 5:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie: I'm not sure if I am happy or sad that you are keeping it! I guess I better get my order in at gaits of gold for mine.... (My husband bought me the Imus 4 beat saddle for our 25th anniverssary. Better than jewelry! But, that's another post) We actually have had to train our Arab to release the bit when we say "spit" because otherwise he is content to just keep it in his mouth! Glad to know I didn't steer you wrong.

Sara: Brianna showed both Western and Saddle seat equitation (also Country English Pleasure) with the same bit - different bridles of course. Western on the curb loop and English on both. NO one looked twice at it. She tried to switch to a double bridle this spring, but Raj will have nothing to do with it. He hates the bridoon - no matter what we do, he seems to think the break in the middle of it pinches his tongue. And in fact, if you hold your hand over most snaffles at the break and have someone rotate it vigorously, they "bite!" He actually started clenching his teeth when the bridle came near him which NEVER happens. So, back to the Imus bit while searching for a pinchless bridoon.....
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 483
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 6:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, it is very trying to buy without first seeing the product, because of the area I live in I often buy site unseen, sometimes its good someitmes its not so good.
I'm with Alden, I use a kk ultra, (only because after trying numerous bits its the one that worked). I paid more for the bit itself than for my winter coat! But..the horse likes it.
I forget the mm's but it is larger than standard and there was one size bigger yet I believe.
You can go to the website directly or try Dover saddlery, Apple saddlery.
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1260
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 - 7:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari,

I had to laugh at your "better than jewelry" comment. Many years ago, I desperately wanted an Aussie style saddle for Christmas. I gathered information, took measurements, and was sure I had found the perfect saddle.

On Christmas morning, I didn't see any big boxes for me, so I assumed it was in our barn. Brian handed me a small box; I still was hoping that maybe it was just a note that the saddle was on B.O.! I mean, I had hinted and hinted, surely he knew what I wanted.

Well, I got a ruby and diamond necklace to match my wedding set. A beautiful little heart shape piece of jewelry which probably cost more than the saddle I was hoping for. I know the disappointment showed on my face, and I felt just awful because he really thought he got me what every woman wants!

Our 20th is coming up, I hope we get a horse trailer, lol!! Don't care about a cruise, or a romantic getaway, just a trailer so we can load up and go explore!

Sara,

I was having trouble with the bits being too short. Only the 3 part snaffle was working length wise. I'll report back on how the other horses like it later in the week. The weather is more for swimming & canoeing than riding the next few days. Not complaining though, remember all the blizzard posts, lol!
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 446
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, Jul 7, 2007 - 9:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alright, I couldn't stand it so I ordered the "Imus Comfort Gait Bit" and a curb strap. This is the curb bit, I didn't bother measuring the shanks. Shipping was quick and the workmanship is very good.

But (and it's a big one) the action is nothing like I have seen describe. I tried it on two MFT and they both avoid it like the plague when used as a curb. They will drop their heads (they will with a snaffle so that's no surprise) but it's because their tongue gets crushed by the mouth piece. They both put their tongues over the bit to avoid it.

I compared this bit with a 5" grazing bit with a medium port. I had Elaine watch as I rode and she agreed both horses work much better with the grazing bit. The mouth piece of the Imus bit, because it's forward of the pivot point, drops down in an arc with rein pressure. I stuck my arm through the bit and had Elaine lift the shanks and totally agree with the horses, it immediately pinches right in the center where as the grazing bit rotates and you feel pressure from the outside edges of the mouthpiece and the curb strap but no pinching.

If anyone wants the bit email me and I'll sell it to you. But I in no way recommend it's use.

Good day,
Alden
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1273
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 10:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden,

I am sorry to hear your experience wasn't positive. I can see the bit works off the tongue mostly and I expected some resistance also as Cody hasn't had much curb action of any kind.

I have not had a chance to ride since the day I originally tried it on him, and now I am getting ready to go on vacation for 2 weeks so it will be awhile before I get a chance. I still want to try it on my other horses especially my Arab mare. I am using a Mullen in her, and I think any bit that works off the tongue so much takes some getting used to for the horse, and the rider has to be very, very gentle with the hands. She respects that but I don't think she likes it.

Not saying you don't have gentle hands, I am sure you do. And after thinking it over, it does seem that the bit probably doesn't give relief? Hmmmm......

The while I was waiting for mine to arrive, I was researching bits and mouth structure. It seems to me the ideal bit has tongue relief. A med port in the right shape. And the curved bars for comfort too. So that has left me looking again/still for a nicely made, comfortable bit, over 5" wide. With shanks!

Now I have to go to the barn and see about the pinching of the Imus. I did put in my mouth to gross my kids out before I put on the headstall, thought it tasted o.k., LOL!!!

Thanks for posting and adding your experience; I'll post again if I ever get a chance to start riding again this year!!
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1274
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 10:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just thinking out loud here, maybe you don't have the bit adjusted correctly? Shari said above that the port leaves room for the tongue.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2953
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 1:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden, did you read on the website regarding what Brenda Imus has to say regarding bits? http://www.gaitsofgold.net/content/view/150/9/

I wish you would, and I wish Dennis and some of the other more knowledgeable people on this board would read what she says, and then I'd be very interested in comments.

I'm the first to admit I'm no expert; however, I have been around horses my entire life, have worked with some very experienced people, have read a lot, etc. A lot of what Brenda says goes against what I've learned over the years, what my experience has taught me, and imo what goes against common sense. However, I have never worked with gaited horses, which is where I gather that most of Brenda's experience lies. And, I know that a lot of "horse knowledge" is based on tradition, not necessarily science.

I would love to hear more about not just this bit, but opinions on other bits, what bits people ride in most frequently and why, etc. It's my belief that bits and biting are one of the most neglected areas of horsemanship, and one of the most misunderstood, yet often, the one part of tack that is least thought about. It is also a subject of much controversy.

btw, Angie, I applaud your efforts to find a bit that fits your horse. I was taught that it is important that a bit fit correctly and doesn't pinch, isn't too big for the size of the mouth inside and out. Yet, just the other day I heard a trainer say size doesn't matter; he uses the same bits on all his horses, etc. I was dumb-founded!



I will say that most of my riding in done in an eggbutt broken snaffle, sometimes a D-ring,and sometimes a "cowboy" snaffle with a short shank. In the show ring I use a low port (spoon) bit with flexable shanks that are about 5" long, a little shorter shank above the bit than below. I also use weighted reins in the show ring, which are I'd say a medium weight (going by feel, have never weighed them) compared to others. when riding dressage or working on collection I sometimes use a mild Phelham bit.
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 447
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 2:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just looked at Brenda's article and it looks written to sell bits. Most the myths she lists really are myths. Although I do disagree with #4, it is harder to hurt a horse with a snaffle than a curb bit. Also #7, a horse trained to direct rein softly can direct rein with a curb bit. It isn't as precise, probably because it feels different, but it is possible.

The first paragraph she states a properly designed curb bit can be effective for less educated riders. I'd disagree for the most part, it too easy for a new rider to apply way too much pressure and not even know it's happening. With a snaffle you know because it's 1:1, you have to pull 1 lb for the horse to feel 1 lb.

The part about poll pressure is mostly correct, but her bit doesn't apply poll pressure first. The first thing to happen with her bit is tongue pressure and a lot of it. The tongue plays an important role and the fact both my horses got their tongues out of the way indicates they use the tongue a great deal and this bit places a lot of pressure on it.

I agree about mouthpiece size, but it does very from horse to horse. Some prefer a smaller diameter mouthpiece and some have the room for larger diameters.

Now the point of tongue relief, I agree it's necessary and that's what a port on most bits attempts to achieve. This is my biggest beef with the Imus bit is it's a straight bar except at the ends. Where's the relief? The bends on the ends moves the shanks back in relation to the mouthpiece but provides no relief at all.

Lastly Imus states a cub bit ratio should be 2:1, that's fine 2:1 or 3:1 works fine, but her bit is 3:1.

Sara, does that answer some of your questions?

Good day,
Alden
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1275
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 4:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sara,

You were dumb-founded, but I think the trainer was just plain dumb. I personally think every horse has a preference. There are as many mouth shapes, tongue thicknesses and pain tolerance levels as there are individual horses out there!

Some of things I have read about fitting a bit:

The thickness of the horses tongue; does it stick out between his teeth? That would mean a thicker tongue, or a goofy horse too I suppose!

Are his lips big/or smaller? His muzzle big?

How much space is under his jaw if you stick your hand between his jaw bones? (sorry, I forget what that tells you though)

The shape of the roof of his mouth. Something to look at the next time his teeth are done perhaps? (I am saying him/his, of course this applies to mares too)

I don't see how a gaited horse needs any different bit than any other horse. We had a TW, and we used the Rutger bit on her. Look that one up, it's a big flat ugly bit, but she'd been abused, kids had ran her and ran here, no stop, and I didn't know any better and it worked for her. Now, I'd know more how to retrain her, but then I didn't.

Another thing I read somewheres regarding reins was that having a nice weight to them was important. Of course here again it's someone trying to sell something, but a horse can sense that weight hanging from his mouth. I would think heavier would be nicer than something flopping in the wind? And the horse would feel it quicker when you picked up a rein.

Alden,

So why didn't you order this bit before I did, and report on it? Darn!!!

I went out and put my arm thru the curb chain & the bit on my sensitive forearm. What I found really upset me: Lifting just ONE rein did roll that supposively gentle middle copper mouth piece. I DO NOT LIKE THAT!!!! So using one rein to ask for a stop before asking with 2, would seem that wouldn't be any more gentle. I thought from the description that you could pick up one side.

Cody did hold it nicely in his mouth. It seemed with it just in there, and no rein contact he liked it. And I agree, direct reining isn't a good thing to do with any kind of a shank and curb action...but you see riders on tv showing training doing that even.

O.K., so...I still would like a bit with tongue relief. Over 5" wide. And prefer one that has a place for the snaffle reins too.

Now, I do have a Myler Level 2-3, MB-33. For my Arab, who has a small mouth, kinda peaked inside. The bit has a higher port for the tongue, but it seems that the sides of the port are not too nice IMO. Just looking through Dover Catalog, see that same mouth in a pelham. And a 5 1/2 size too. Of course I'd have to sell a horse to be able to afford it...sigh.

Alden, thanks for your insights. As soon as I get a chance to ride again, I'll be thinking of it and it'll keep me very aware of what's going on in his mouth. The last thing I want is for any of my horses to be uncomfortable.

Now as soon as the thermometer gets under 85 even, I have to trim one mentioned Cody, and then clean out the dog kennel and pack. Maybe about midnight I can sneak a ride in the while it's fresh in my mind.

A last thought: before you toss the bit, maybe try is a few more times?
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Lilo
Member
Username: lilo

Post Number: 540
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 7:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi all,

I had been following this discussion, thinking the Imus Comfort Bit might be suitable for my Rocky Mountain Gelding. I now ride him in a Walking Horse bit - solid mouthpiece with very slight port and the shortest shanks I could find.

I probably keep the curb chain too loose - does that make it milder or more harsh?? However, there are times I need to direct rein him - even do a one-rein stop.

As to the Tom Thumb bit (cowboy snaffle) I have to admit that I used it for years on my mare - still do on the trail because the responds to it and it does not seem to give her any discomfort. However - most of the trail riding is done on a long rein with neck reining for steering. If I ride her in a plain snaffle all is well until we canter or gallop - then it is awfully hard to bring her back down and I don't like pulling on a bit so much.
I have read all the bad press about it and feel guilty sometimes. The only other thing I could think of is a Pelham - but having 4 reins to deal with on the trail seems a bit much.

Here is my real question: It seems some people just love the Imus Comfort Bit, others hate it. That is confusing to me. I got interested in this discussion because it was not on Brenda's website and therefore not biased toward her equipment.

Lilo
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 448
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 11:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It's extremely hard to know what someone's horse is doing by the persons description. I've seen folks riding horses with the mouth gapped and the tongue over the bit flapping in the wind, and they rider thinks the horse is going just great :-(

Someone with very light hands and the right horse may work in the Imus bit just fine. A horse that's been ridden with the bit over time and has been conditioned to it may also, some are more sensitive to tongue pressure than others.

I chose one horse that's fairly tolerant to different bits and one who is not and likes a very particular bit. Interestingly both had very similar reactions, but the more tolerant horse tossed his head more the the sensitive horse. The tolerant horses has a much larger head, he's the one I got the KK Ultra for because it's a wider bit, and I think his thicker tongue was pinched worse with the Imus bit.

I posted my experience on the Imus message board, it'll be interesting the response :-) Just checked, they said they moved the post to a training forum. But it's gone, not to be found anywhere. I guess that's the response to a less than positive post.

The fact that horses have been trained and are ridden with Tom Thumb bit illustrates the complexity of bitting, used with both reins it can be a most severe but it isn't unusable.

Lilo, you can teach your horse to one-rein stop and then use a curb. You'll have to go slow when you switch and let them find the new feel but they'll make the connection. Preferably the need to one-rein stop will be far behind the horse by the time you transition to a curb but sometimes horses forget where you are in the training program :-)

No Angie, the arm test is usually the last straw for a bit. I'll hang it on the wall, a reminder to think the design through a little better before shelling out the dough :-)

Oh, gaited horses are no different than the rest. The exception might be when showing and fine tuning the bit may give you a little edge in the show arena. But I've also seen good horses gait theirs hearts out with a offset D snaffle.

Good day,
Alden
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 449
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 11:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmm, came across a post on the Imus message board about tips for using the Comfort bit. The last tip was to use the bit as a snaffle by attaching the reins to the upper D rings not the shanks.

This from the designer? Doesn't give me warm fuzzies. :-(

Good day,
Alden
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1276
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Jul 8, 2007 - 11:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden you gave some good answers to Lilo before I got a chance to post. Same thoughts I have with bits and riders.

Guess I will visit the message boards too. Interesting that your post just went "ell poofo" in cyber land, huh?

I wish I wasn't leaving for 2 weeks; I would would love to try this bit on the other 3 horses. Going to bug the heck out of me now wondering if I bought another ornament for the tack room wall. 2 of my horses would be with just the snaffle rein, the other both.

What you said about the different horses though, Cody did dance and prance on very light contact on my one experimental ride with the Imus...but he also is a wonderful responsive horse to weight, my breathing...like "whoa"...and let my breath out with a noticeable sound.

Just FYI, www.pinchlessbits.com has the same bit. Don't recall if there if different info on the site or not. I think there might be good info on fitting a bit there
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2957
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 12:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What I call a cowboy snaffle isn't the same as what I call a Tom Thumb. Is my terminology wrong? What I refer to as a cowboy snaffle is a broken mild snaffle with fairly long shanks below the bit that are loose so they can be used individually. Where the bit meets the shanks is like an eggbutt snaffle so it doesn't pinch the lips of the horse. I've been using this bit for years and have been happy with it. I ride mostly with seat and legs and don't use this bit until a horse is pretty well trained.

What I think of as a Tom Thumb bit looks more like a Pelham and where the bit meets the shank there is a joint. I think I need to get a good book on bits!

I'm of the opinion that any bit can be severe if used by the wrong rider. I know some of the spade bits look like they are instruments of torture, yet my first Arab was trained "Vaquarro" fashion by an old California Native cowboy and used one of these bits. I was taught to ride him with it. You barely touched the reins when you rode.

I always believed (was taught) that a curb of any kind could be more severe than a snaffle when used by heavy hands. When I was giving lessons, I never even let a beginner have a bit in the horse's mouth until I could see they had enough control to not balance on the reins and mouth. (My poor students rode for hours in halters on and off the lounge line!)

got ot run and go wach the fire news...we have a 300,000+ acre fire north of us.
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Leilani
Member
Username: leilani

Post Number: 268
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 1:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Now I'm really confused. I was taught that a snaffle bit has reins attached directly to the ring so pull is pound for pound from your hands. A curb bit is a leverage bit with the reins attached to the shanks and pressure is increased exponentially. Help. Leilani
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 1967
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 7:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

No, Leilani, you are correct. The length of the shank increases the leverage, and the amount of curve in the shank can reduce the leverage . . . Long, straight shanks with a tight curb chain being the most "powerful" . . . all dependent on the rider's degree of lift on the reins.
In the western U.S., it has been tradition to call any bit with a broken mouthpiece a snaffle, and that can add quite a bit of confusion to discussions on bits . . .
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 450
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 8:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,

The Walking horse bit on pinchlessbits.com looks very similar to the Imus gaited horse bit. The point where the shank pivots in the mouthpiece looks like it may have pinch potential, but it's difficult to tell.

Now the Reiner bit on that same website is very similar to a bit I have used and it works well. You'll note it has the same type of joint in the middle but it has a medium port for tongue relief.

A very good horse trainer that lived in So. California had over a hundred bits, all with headstalls and reins, on his tack room wall. In the four years I knew him I saw two bits get 95% of the use. One high port curb with a cricket used only on a paint stud that just loved to make a racket with that cricket (I think that's why the trainer used it too :-)) And a Partrade (I think that's the spelling without going and looking :-)) offset D snaffle for almost every other horse he trained. I currently use that same snaffle on two stud horses he trained with great success. So maybe I have a overly simplistic view of bits, but it has worked well for me and my horses.

Good day,
Alden
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1277
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 8:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sara,

A good book in "Bits and Bridles" Power Tools for Thinking Riders by Betsy Lynch and Dwight Bennet, DVM. Explains ratios, many pictures if the bit is severe or not.

It it new enough that it has Myler bits in it, and talks about bitless ways to go too.

Just glancing through it, I see the Billy Allen mouth piece. I thought the Imus would be like that from the website picture. Now I see it's not. The BA has a barrel covering the joint of the mouthpiece which has the bit become like a solid bit after some flexion. I think the Imus is copied after that, but I am thinking it becomes solid quicker. I also am thinking the Imus is straighter across than the BA.

Any thoughts on that anyone?

Alden,

The offset D snaffle is in the book I referred to above. Called the Don Dodge snaffle. I am not clear on what the "offset" part does though. I got the impression that it put pressure on the side of the horse's cheeks like a fullcheck snaffle does?

I'll check out the reiner bit. Bet it only comes in 5", right? Of course it may fit if it's made right.

I think simplistic is good in this case. I am using my 3 part snaffles more than anything because my riding has gotten better over the years. Having said that though, I do believe it's good to switch bits too as a different bit will work on new areas in the horses mouth and whole head if it's a curb.

I had emailed pinchlessbits.com, and asked about sizing on their version of the Imus bit. I thought I got a rather vague answer. "it will fit big mouthed horses" or something like that.

O.K., here's what we all gotta do: Put your favorite bit on your horse, take some x-rays and see how it's fitting!!! There are photos like that in this book, and it is interesting.

On page 22, no x-ray, but a horses mouth open with the typical curb bit you see with headstalls like at feed, farm and home type stores. Says little tongue relief, and the tongue is one of the most sensitive parts of the horses mouth. It's a solid bit, low port.

No midnight ride last night. Kept storming for hours. Got hail, some almost soft ball sized! Now today it's cool, sunny and beautiful out. If it ain't wildfires some place, it's flooding some place else. Yikes!
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 451
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 10:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, I don't have that book but I may look for it. I do like to keep it simple but on the other hand bits and their design is an interesting topic.

I did a search and found a curb bit with a BA mouthpiece. It is straight with a barrel in the middle allowing each shank to move independently. But there is a big difference between this BA bit and the Imus comfort bit. The BA will only rotate in the horse's mouth when either shank is moved because it's straight. Now take the Imus bit, the bends at the ends create leverage in the mouth piece when either shank is moved. The center part of the mouth piece will move down and backwards with shank movement rather than just rotating. That movement is what pinches the tongue down in the the bottom palate.

I get mad at myself sometimes because after seeing the Imus bit in action I should have known what the action would have been just from looking at the darn pictures.

Good day,
Alden
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: dtranch

Post Number: 488
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 11:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

First off, I would have to say that I agree with Alden on the simplicity issue. I have experimented with numerous bits over the years and IMO, there are far too many styles than necessary, making bitting a whole lot more difficult than need be.

I start all horses in a full cheek snaffle and stay with it until I have all basics of stop, back, all turns, neck reining, lateral and vertical flex, etc. Then, since my area is primarily Western, I will move into a shank bit. The bit I prefer is a reining bit with 3 piece mouth, copper roller and slobber chain. I like this bit because, even though it is a broken mouth piece, it will not pinch into a "V" causing discomfort in the mouth or on the tongue. The slobber chain keeps the shanks from pulling out too far and putting the bit in uncomfortable angles in the mouth. Also, the curb strap is directly in line with the mouthpiece which I like for more immediate response before too much pressure is applied with the shanks. All of my horses, and the horses I train seem to work well in this bit and appear to be comfortable with it. If I go to a more traditional curb bit, I will use a medium port grazing bit style, and that is just about it.

I have never understood all the hullaballoo over bits. If you think about it, you are either direct reining, or neck reining ... neither of which in my opinion should have a lot to do with the inside of the mouth. If you have a horse that doesn't want to stop or turn properly, or one that tosses its head, or whatever the problem is, I think going to a more severe bit only disguises the problem. It is almost every time a training issue (barring any physical problems always). I just go back to the snaffle and work on training exercises to make the horse more soft and responsive. If I am going to do direct reining work, I use a snaffle .. period. However, in a pinch on the trail and I need to direct rein for whatever reason, the reining bit design that has the slobber strap, and the non V" pinching mouthpiece seems to work reasonably well as it does not allow for all the uncomfortable angles to be created in the mouth.

As far as the Brenda Imus comments, I think they are like any other vendor's comments ... they are designed to sell bits. I don't agree that any shank bit can be more humane and easy on the horse "even in less educated hands". I do agree that the Tom Thumb bit is a design nightmare and should never go into a horses mouth for any reason.

These are only my observations and they seem to work well for me ... and is very "simple". One last point, avoid any bit that relies on avoidance of pain to get a result, and go back to training instead.

DTreining bitFull Cheek SnaffleCurb Bit
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1278
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 11:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden,

I see what you are saying about the bit action now. Makes sense and I also wish I would have figured that out from the picture. Guess that word comfort is what did it.

I am not writing it off yet, but I hope to get a chance to look at some bits while on vacation; leaving in a couple of hours and will go to big tack shop in MN, and in OKC too..I hope. Funny thing though, I looked at bits in OKC, in an old store that had been there for over 100 years I believe. Don't recall anything over 5" wide. And this is in good ol' real cowboy country! I know darn well lots of those Quarter horses have bigger mouths.

After this conversation & experience, I will at least be looking through different eyes. And seeing, feeling and heck, I'll even put the bit on my arm with a curb chain on it in the store if I have to. I probably leave out putting in my own mouth to see how it tastes and feels though,

You all study this book if ya find it. I'll be offline til I get to Holly's some time Thursday. Hopefully she'll let me check the HA conversation,don't know how I'll stand missing everyone on here, grin!

Later
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 1968
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 11:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ahh, DT . . . as far as bitting is concerned, you are a man after my own heart.
Training, training, training . . .
If we can't get a neck rein or soft stop and give with a snaffle, then we should in no way move to a curb.
Good point about the chin strap being in line with the mouthpiece. Very important to the horse.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2958
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 12:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis, thank you so much for posting pictures! O.K. I see that what I call a "cowboy snaffle" is a "reining bit" as it looks exactly like your picture on the left. I'm heading for Amazon to look for that book!
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2959
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 12:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Holly, what you, DT and Alden say about training goes for tie-downs, etc. also! imo.
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Erika L
Member
Username: erika

Post Number: 908
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 1:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, y'all knew I'd get in on this eventually, didn't you? Been lurking for awhile and I have bits spinning in my head!

I have a friend who must have bought every bit ever made, looking for the secret to getting her horse perfect. She always has a great "rap" about how the latest is the greatest, then next time I see her, she's got another new miracle!

An observation: ANY time I change a horse's bit, I find increased lightness and respect--like they are staying off of it until they figure it out. This happens even when switching back to the original snaffle after trying something new. Maybe it gives one the impression that the new bit is better, but try it, and you'll probably find they lighten up on the original too. Let me know if it does or doesn't happen--curious if you all get the same reaction.

Like many of you, I am a bit of a purist when it comes to bits. Gimme a french link snaffle for English. Although I have used a short shanked pelham for hunting occasionally.

If you can stand another book recommendation, my absolute bit bible is "Horse Control and the Bit" by Roberts. Common sense, no BS, and really good insight about the training and rider's hands being much more to the handling of the horse than any gimmicky new bit. Unfortunately it seems to be out of print and a bit pricey now, but to me it is priceless! (Now, if I can just figure out who I lent it to last....!!!)

Anyway, I am enjoying everyone's opinions on the topic.
Erika
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: dtranch

Post Number: 489
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 2:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sara .. ditto on the tie down response. The concept of a tie down is to keep the working horse's head down on his work. In reality, I think it just gives them something to pull up on. Take the tie down off, and the head comes up. It doesn't "fix" anything. Same applies to a lot of training aids and miracle bits imo. They may change the appearance for a while, but rarely fix the problem, and many times makes the problem worse, thus requiring full time use of the aid.
DT
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1279
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 2:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Haven't left yet...waiting on our son to get home then we'll hit the road. But, I am shutting this thing off after this post!

Erika,

Your post is exactly what I find and why I do like to use more than just the snaffle bit. And I agree 100% with the training and more training. I hope I didn't give anyone the impression that I was looking for a wonder bit, I am not. Just a comfy bit, and something to transition from snaffle to curb, and OVER 5"..that was my original goal in searching out the Imus. And hoping for a bit that I could use 4 reins.

Phew!!!

And, I used to be a fan of running martingales but not any more. Never liked tie downs. So I guess I am getting a little bit wiser at some of this.

DT,

I love the look of the bits you show. Of course, over 5"...noooo, I don't think so. And I did look for them. But still might work if the bit is well made, and how it's made on the sides of the horses mouth.

Thanks for the info on the slobber strap, I didn't know that.

Now, Ya know I respect your training and knowledge, (and here comes the but) But, I don't agree with the full check snaffle because of how it will bridge in the horses mouth. Again, if you can find a picture of it working in the mouth..an x ray picture that is, you will see the 3 part snaffle is so much more gentle. Of course none of pull back on both reins at once, ever, right? So neither bit will bridge then.

But, again, hands are only part of the story of course. And I bet you can ride circles around me any day, so if what you're doing is working, don't change it!

Now I am feeling a " bit " crazy here....logging off now.

later everyone!
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Erika L
Member
Username: erika

Post Number: 911
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 5:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey, Angie, I didn't mean to imply that you were looking for the miracle bit, just telling what my friend does...I was interested to hear if the "changing of the bits" was a temporary effect for others, too.
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 1970
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 6:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Erika,
I have noticed the same thing you describe, and remember a lesson my pony taught me. He came with a pony western curb, but wasn't responding . . . so I got a Kimberwicke . . . It was heavier and had a CHAIN instead of a curb strap . . . and, oh, my! Did he ever break at the poll (which is difficult for this little thick-necked P.O.A.) and acted like a different pony . . . for about a week . . . Then he was right back to pulling his riders all over the place amd diving for grass. It was at about that time that I started studying John Lyons's methods and started to understand that it is TRAINING a horse to give to the slightest pressure . . . 100% of the time, that is the key . . . not the type of bit or chain or other artificial aid (yes, Sara, tie downs and martingales, as well.) . . . and so, Angie, I do use all snaffles on my guys. Some are three piece, some are simple . . . all are full-cheek . . . and I won't move onto any other bit until I know my horse is listening to me and obeying the pressure and release. (And, by the way, you guys . . . I have had about zero time to do riding training in the past two years, so all of my guys are in various stages of learning in the snaffle.) And as I've heard JL and others say, "Everytime we work with our horses, we are training them . . . either to be responsive to our cues or disobedient to our cues."
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Leilani
Member
Username: leilani

Post Number: 270
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 - 6:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a Reinsman d-ring snaffle that I use for everything except shows.

I used to use a really nice full cheek, but my trainer was witness to a bad accident with the sides hooking on a gate. It hangs on the wall now.
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Margy
Member
Username: annaspop

Post Number: 33
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Jul 12, 2007 - 12:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,
I have no idea if the adjustable bits would work, but look at this and see if it appeals to you. http://www.chicksaddlery.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=282 421&Category_Code=1040&Product_Count=3
I did look at some draft horse bits, but they are all 6+ inches. Go figure.
If western looking is not necessary than maybe this one:
http://www.tack-wholesale.com/cgi-bin/ez-catalog/cat_display.cgi?account=X334316 ;search=16-7152;search=Stainless%20Steel%20Slotted%20Kimberwicke%20Bit;limit=pro duct;v=2.0;path=48;layout=system:layout_0100.xsl
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Suzanne Moore
Member
Username: suzym

Post Number: 429
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 11:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just my 2 cents worth. When I was starting my 3 year old Morgan gelding, the first thing I found out was that he has a VERY sensitive mouth, the second thing was that he needed a 5 1/2 inch bit. Yes, my vet actually measured his mouth.

I tried Myler and several others - nope. Then I tried the "Happy Mouth" bits - Dover has them in 5 1/2 inch sizes. Indy loves the D ring three piece with the roller in the middle.

I've been riding him in this for about three years now, and so far the "plastic" has held up perfectly with no damage at all. I do keep a close check for any roughness, but so far it's held up as well as metal.

As others have said, training, training, training. This is an extremely mild bit, but I have all the control I need, and believe me, while Indy is not real tall - about 15 hands - he's a Morgan, and that means POWER.

Hope this helps.

Suzy
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1283
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, Jul 20, 2007 - 3:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Finally back home on my computer. Wanted to add a bit more info here, pun intended.

Got a chance to visit the Cowboy Museum in OKC...well worth going to if your are in town. The paintings alone are breath taking.

An interesting display was the calvalry tack. Love those old saddles! But what pertains to this conversation is the bits of course.

Starting with bits from the late 1800's through the early 1900's, there were maybe 10 on display. What I found amazing was that you can look in any catalog, or visit any tack store and basically find the same bits today. It was considered a modern breakthrough when someone invented the swivel shanks. The one there had 6 shooters for the shanks, and a pretty comfortable looking higher port bit.

The Spade bits looked wicked, but again how they affect the horse depends on training, both of horse and rider.

Still didn't find bits over 5", was told they are special order. Got a feeling lots of horses are rode with bits too small for their mouths; surely all the cowboy Quarter Horses don't have mouths under 5 inches!

As for the action, what was said above still rings true. The Imus still starts "biting" when only one rein is used; I didn't find any other bits that worked like that.

Live and learn, aye? Think I will be ordering a Myler bit. And of course still using the 3 part snaffle...the original COMFORT BIT!
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 176
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jul 21, 2007 - 8:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I must have missed all of this discussion when I was in Gettysburg - where all three of my happy horses used their Imus bit! It's always an interesting discussion when folks get going on bits. Everyone certainly has their ideas and opinions! I just know that no matter where we go, we ALWAYS get comments about how relaxed our horses are on the bit. (It can be comical to my very sensitive morgan mare with her bottom lip flopping as she trots along). I have to say I have been traiing and riding for nigh onto 50 years and NEVER had a reaction as Dennis describes above when using this particular bit. Different techniques? Perhaps. Different communication methods with our aids? Very likely. I think we - and our horses - get used to doing things "our way" and when you hit the combination that works for you - fabulous! Let's celebrate that we all have our horses best interest at heart and truly care about them.

I won't be mucking around with what's a very good thing for us! My "bit box" has been officialy retired. Happy mouths and Happy trails to all.

Shari
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1284
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, Jul 21, 2007 - 4:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari,

Your post got me thinking. The Imus bit, Mullen Bits, Mikmar bits; all seem to have one thing in common and that is they work off the tongue more than anything. All, except for some mullen bits, have rollers to supposively help the horse swallow.

In Heather Moffett's book, "Enlightened Equitation" she is very strongly in favor of a pelham...a mullen mouth pelham. Her theory is (I am reading as I type) that the bit is mild, no nutcracker action, and the curb chain acts on the curb groove, where there is a reflex point that makes the horse relax his lower jaw with light pressure. Asking very lightly with your fingers, his stride will become longer, his back will swing, and he will learn to carry himself. She goes on to say that you must ride with 4 reins though as they all give different actions. (I would not worry about 4 reins on a horse trained to neck rein)

If the book is at Amazon, the front and back cover show pictures of the difference in riding the horse with a snaffle vs the full pelham. Pictures taken minutes apart.

So...thinking "out loud" here again, any bit that gets the horse to lower it's head, round it's back, etc., is a good bit. And if that works of his sensitive tongue, so be it. Or his sensitive bars, that is probably o.k. too. And if it works with very, very little contact, I think all the better. Makes ya wonder, if we had a bit in our mouths (fit to our mouth, not borrowing one from the barn, lol!) Would we prefer something that arched over our tongue, maybe hit the roof of our mouth? Or, sat on our tongue but had a nice roller that rolled as we swallowed and rolled our tongues around? And don't forget it'd be hitting on our "bars" too!

One last thought: Again, agreeing with HM's idea, I just don't see the joy in riding with constant contact on a snaffle bitted horse. I know not all fans of snaffles ride that way, but many do. Why not advance to a "curb" bit? Is it not possible if the horse feels lighter, the riders hands will be lighter?

Phew....I am done now!!!

Ditto to the "lets Celebrate....!"
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Robert Schallowetz
Member
Username: rackn

Post Number: 7
Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Sunday, Jul 22, 2007 - 2:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good golly, every time Brenda Imus is mentioned there is a mob scene!! j/k, but it doesn't surprise me. I have one mare that this bit was truly a miracle for. I fretted over the $60 for a few months before I bought it. Boy, I'm glad I did! It's true, you can buy this bit for less from the original maker, I think the GOG bit IS wider though. Bottom line it's been the one of the best $60 I've ever spent! Oh, and BI is one of the most down to earth clinicians I've come across. I don't agree with everything, but I've found nothing but great cs and honesty from them.
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Sherri L. Hueser
Member
Username: tangoh

Post Number: 895
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Monday, Jul 23, 2007 - 2:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I use the comfort bit also and my horses seem to approve of it. BUT, all this talk of bits sometimes perplexes me. To me, it is not any one bit that causes a problem, or will 'fix' a problem, it is the hands that hold the bit that need to be trained. As with saddle fit, there is a lot of 'junk science' out there right now confusing simple issues. Even the mildest bit in the wrong hands will be extremely severe.
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: dtranch

Post Number: 498
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 23, 2007 - 2:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari ... what reaction are you referring to?
DT
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1288
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 23, 2007 - 4:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sherri,

It is perplexing, isn't it? You hear of tongue relief, and of other bits that work off the tongue. One says the tongue needs freedom to help the horse swallow, and those that work off the tongue sometimes use a roller to help with the horse swallowing.

Now, I am not trying to fix a problem or solve a problem, but I do want to PREVENT any problems. And I would like to simply advance to a bit that uses "curb action". That of course for lots of folks means a solid higher port bit with shanks. Not in my mind; a Kimberwickie has curb action. And can be solid or broken.

N'how, I have used the Imus a few more times, and I am finding it more frustrating than anything. Why? Because I find that it's just taking hold way too soon is the best way I can put it. Used it with 4 reins, and found I didn't like how it worked on the snaffle at all. I thought Cody was frustrated with any contact from this bit; of course it's new for him too.

Guess for me, and Cody, at this point, I may be happier with a broken mouth bit yet. One that works independently on each side, which the Imus don't do IMO.

I am going to try it on my Arab one day soon; just to get her "view point" on the bit.

I've got some e-mails sent to various web tack shops hoping to find a 5 1/4" or 5 1/2" bit yet that appeals to what I am looking for.

Ah, the joys of owning horses!
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: srobert

Post Number: 178
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Monday, Jul 23, 2007 - 8:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis, I used the wrong name (I can only plead old age). It was Alden's experience I was referring to. I realized that AFTER I posted. So sorry. I guess you are just so memorable that your name pops to the surface!
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: dtranch

Post Number: 499
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007 - 8:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari ... not sure memorable is the proper term. My name was also the first one all my teachers came up with, but I don't think they would say it was because I was memorable.
DT
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Erika L
Member
Username: erika

Post Number: 930
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007 - 9:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ha ha! Dennis!! I blame your namesake, that kid on TV...
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: alden

Post Number: 453
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007 - 10:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shari, I think the action I was referring to was how the copper roller pinches as soon as the curb chain tightens. And that was my experience because my arm was in the bit and being pinched. Both my horses agree with me.

I'll admit that I'm puzzled that any horse would work well in the this bit, so I tried it again and a set it up as close to what is described on the Imus site as possible. I purchase a curb chain with the bit and that's the one I'm using. The Imus site say at least 3" between the curb groove and the chain. I used a ruler and believe me that is a absurd amount of space. For starters a horse probably could get the chain over their lower lip it dangles so much, two the curb chain is only long enough for 1 3/4" (I used baling twine to get 3"), and finally it does explain why some horses may accept the bit because it's nearly impossible to engage the curb chain at all with it that long! I'd have to lift the reins over 10" to get any curb action, I use a curb bit the refine my rein cues and that's way too much movement for me.

I will say that attaching the reins to the upper rings does nearly make the bit a simple mullen mouth snaffle. But I bought curb bit not a snaffle and I'd use the KK ultra any day over the Imus as a snaffle.

Again I rode with the Imus bit and then a short grazing bit with a copper roller and my mare is happier with the later. I'll offer the bit again with the headstall and curb chain (I'll take the baling twine off :-))

Oh yea, one final straw. The message I posted on the Imus message board was promptly removed, gone, deleted, and it was a genuine posting.

Good day,
Alden
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1291
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007 - 11:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

For those of you interested in bigger bits, I got a reply to an inquiry at www.bitnspur.com that they will make bits in any size you request and for the same price on their website. I am not sure if that means EVERY bit on the site, I had asked about the Billy Allen Sweet Iron, number 5146. It's under Greg Darnell bits. I've read many times that this is a wonderful bit for transitioning from the snaffle to the curb.

I'mus about done with this Imus Discussion!
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Fran C
Member
Username: canter

Post Number: 1094
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 25, 2007 - 8:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've been following this discussion just because I read every thread on HA, thinking that I will learn something...which of course is nearly always true. I have no bitting issues. But I just wanted to say thanks to Alden for his very methodical experiment with the Imus bit and willingness to describe those experiences in great and very understandable detail. Having always used either a full cheek and now a loose ring snaffle, I never fully understood how some of the other types of bits worked. Now the light bulb begins to go on and I really appreciate the added knowledge.
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1294
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 25, 2007 - 10:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Fran,

I hope Alden's post has you doing the arm experiment with bits. Put your snaffle on the inside of your elbow and then have someone pull on the reins, and bend your arm...see how it pinches and how it bridges.

Ever since I read about how snaffles pinch and bridge, I've quit using them unless they are the 3 part snaffles with the fat middle. Even the "curb" bit I am looking for will have a 3 part mouth piece.

I'm glad also that Alden gave such good advice as I've now scrutinized every bit I own and reread many pages of my "Bits and Bridles" book.

Our horses sure are lucky we all visit HA and learn so much.
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