My favourite dressage legal bits… By bitting expert Stephen Biddlecombe. As published in LOCAL RIDER MAGAZINE.
Pass this onto your customers, retailers!
Fortunately, horse owners have lots of choice now in terms of bits that are precision engineered, offer targeted bitting solutions, and are precisely designed with a particular equine challenge, conformational issue or sensitivity in mind. And best of all, many are also dressage legal!
You can find the latest British Dressage bitting rulings at the website: bit.do/dressage_legal.
Excitingly, a brand new addition in BD’s ‘dressage legal’ bit range for 2017 is Bombers Equestrian Equipment’s ‘Flexible Mullen’, one of my top four ‘dressage legal’ bits for UK-based riders.
Bombers Flexible Mullen (Fulmer and Loose ring)
The Flexible Mullen mouthpiece is made from an internal stainless steel chain covered with a non-toxic, UV resistant PVC tube. This bit offers exceptionally soft and evenly distributed pressure over the tongue and bars of the mouth. There is a Loose Ring and Fulmer (or ‘Full Cheek’) option. The Fulmer cheekpiece will have the same effect as the traditional Eggbutt style of bit, eg. it will prevent pinching on the sides of the mouth; however the extended pins above and below the bit firstly prevent the bit being pulled through the mouth, and secondly have the effect of guiding the horse’s head, which is great for schooling and training purposes.
Bombers Snaffle (Fulmer and Loose ring)
Bombers’ standard snaffle mouthpiece is popular due to the curved mouthpiece, which distributes pressure more evenly over the tongue and bars. With the offset centre link, it will reduce the ‘nutcracker’ action and pressure points on the tongue. The Fulmer version will again have the same effect as the traditional Eggbutt style, eg. preventing pinching and guiding the head. There is a Loose Ring option available too, which allows for immediate release and relief from tongue and bar pressure, due to the way it ‘re-sets’ in the horse’s mouth.
Elliptical (Fulmer and Loose ring)
The Bombers Elliptical has a 45mm central lozenge; the roller is designed to heighten the horse’s awareness of the bit. When the rein is used, this mouthpiece wraps across the tongue, creating tongue pressure and reducing bar pressure. Please note, appearances may be deceiving; this bit joint is stronger than the control plate in the Bombers’ range, due to it having a smaller surface area. A horse using his tongue as a means of pushing against the bit and therefore taking control will draw back and tuck his chin in, coming back to a better point of control with this bit. As discussed, the Loose Ring allows for immediate release and relief from tongue and bar pressure, which will ‘re-set’ the bit in the horses’ mouth. The Fulmer again has the effect of guiding the horse’s head.
Buster Roller (Fulmer and Loose Ring)
The Buster Roller is a great bit for schooling; the link in the middle is shortened to 40mm, increasing bar and tongue pressure, making the bit sharper than conventional link bits. The increased pressure on the bar will lift the head and the roller will increase pressure on the tongue, tucking the chin in.