by John O'Leary
is an extreme problem with Bits and their adverse
effect upon Horses in Dressage and of course
these are the type of things that I notice
a lot. Especially with the use of the double
Bridle. Lot's of Horses scream out for relief
from them, no doubt due to many things, including
teeth not done but also for Veterinary reasons
and particularly Mouth conformation.
There is no doubt in my mind that the F.E.I.
have it dead wrong when it comes to the rules
surrounding the use of Double Bridles, made
up by the "Bradoon' and the "Weymouth" Without
me researching the subject, just the sound
of these terms conjure up images of Generals
on Horse back in the Bore War and he Bits are
a carryover from at least that era and most
I know for a fact, that such
Bits cannot fit all Horses and lot's of Horses
simply cannot be fitted at all. Hence the reason
why so many poor souls are exhibiting unsettled
Mouths at the Dressage and of course with the
resultant lower scores from the Judges. Not
the fault of the Rider, the Horse or the Training,
simply the Bit. Not to mention of course the
torment those that we are supposed to love
and nurture the most, the Horse.
The FEI Bit Rules belong in
the dark ages imho and I have enough evidence
to back this up. You know that Horses never
lie and many a Horse tells me that they simply
cannot stand such Bits and are simply not physically
equipped to even be able to carry them. The
level of stress that I see in Horses and the
resultant resistance, hollowing and evasion
looking after the Horses?
You may know that Mrs. HP and I are sponsored
by Myler and I note that they have just attempted
to make the lives of F.E.I. Horses a little
better and a Bit has been approved that will
actually swivel in the Mouth of the Horse,
BUT there is much more work to be done imho
and I have been conducting studies and experiments
to put a case to the Myler Brothers, to make
a real difference to the Poor Horses. Incidentally,
I am told that optional snaffle F.E.I. Classes
a not being conducted in EU. Where are they
here? The well trained Horse should be able
to do any of the movements, in a snaffle.
These Bits come from the era
of the "Big
Fat Bits" Big Fat everything. I call them
'Gob Stoppers" or "All day Suckers" that
we used to buy at School. There is no room
in the Mouths of Horses for them and therefore,
they are cruel. The Ethics Scientists should
concentrate on such issues rather than "Rein
Gauges" for that would be a most admirable
pursuit of their time.
Quote taken from the Net.
For those of you who are unfamiliar
and need a little more information on it. Here
A bridoon is a snaffle bit
which has small rings, and is used in conjunction
with a Weymouth (curb) bit or a pelham bit
in a double bridle.
The U.S calvary used a "bridoon" bridle
and was standard issue before 1812, although
it was common for some to use just a single
bit. The 1841 bridoon bridles have a separate
strap or "holder" for fastening the "snaffle'
to, which give the appearance that the bridle
has 2 throat straps. This style changed in
the early 1900s, so the 1841 is a rare find.
During the U.S. civil war very few used a bridoon
bridle, a snaffle was most often the bit of
bridoon - Collaborative International Dictionary
of English v.0.48 :
n. [F. bridon, from bride; of German
origin. See Bridle, n.] (Mil.)
The snaffle and rein of a military bridle,
independently of the bit, at the pleasure of
the rider. It is
used in connection with a curb bit, which has
its own rein.
June 21st, 2009
F.E.I. & BITS
More time tonight so I can be more rational
:) Let's examine this subject further:
Not all mouths of Horses are shaped the same,
* The same Bit cannot fit or suit every Horse.
If those points are accepted as fact, then
the following must also be:
* That those Horses with Mouths that happen
to be formed to handle such Bits have an unfair
advantage over the others.
* Those that have Mouths that cannot handle
the size, thickness or shape are unfairly penalized
* It is completely unfair on those that cannot.
Both Horses and Riders'. It is also arguably
cruel to those Horses that don't fit the Bits.
* Therefore the playing field in the Sport
of high level Dressage is not level and so,
unfair and ill designed. It cannot give a true
But it is the need for such
a Mouth full of metal that I must admit I am
There are two Bits put into
the Mouth of a Horse for from the middle levels
of Dressage to the top level. A snaffle (bridoon)
and a Curb Bit (weymouth) Why do people need
two? If the Judges see the bottom rein tight,
they penalize the Rider. If they even see the
shank of the Curb being pulled back at all,
whereby is appears to e heading parallel to
the ground, the Rider is penalized. So what
gives with the fact that the double Bridle
is optional at the 4th level (medium) and compulsory
in Advanced. The 5th Level. Incidentally, these
are the further levels. Advanced, Prix St.
Georges, Intermediate One, Intermediate Two
and Grand Prix (Olympic Level)
So do you agree it is all
a farce???? I think it is. It is just a matter
of the Law being an Ass and the Horse Industry
being stuck in the dark ages and not lifting
out of it. Pony Club, Dressage and others,
all stuck in the Military Times with Military
Rules. If Horsemen were so rigid, we would
still be choking them down and bucking them
Then there is the cruelty.
I recently investigated the case of a F.E.I.
Horse that was at Intermediate 2 Level. The
Horse was being difficult to bridle which is
why it came to me. Upon investigation....."Listening
to the Horse" in other words, I found
that it had been choking......for two years
yet :( The tongue was being trapped behind
the big thick Bit and was trying to bulge over
the top of the Bit as it couldn't fit below.
So how many of you are Riding
Horses at Medium Level or above and find that
your Horse often lifts it's head 'above the
There are plenty of you because I see you at
the Dressage. Your Horses are having a gulp
of air every now and again. How does that make
you all feel????
So for just those reasons
(but there are more) the matter of Bits has
to be looked at urgently. The Horses are relying
upon you all.