Elliptical Loose Ring

Here’s the advice MD Stephen gave for a real-life, end-user query:

Q.My boy’s in a Bombers eliptical loose ring, which he is mostly good in, but he can be fussy in the contact. His EDT describes that my horse has fleshy lips and sensitive bars. The EDT suggested that ported bits might help. My horse is in a universal waterford for jumping, which he really likes. Suggestions – the Bombers DC Dressage Happy tongue?

A.The Elliptical bit (left) is generally good for sensitive bars. Because the bit stays in a curved shape, e.g. following the contours of the horse’s mouth, you don’t get the nutcracker action of a snaffle on the bars – hence why your horse has been finding it mainly comfortable.

However it does utilise tongue pressure. It sounds as if it may be using a little too much tongue pressure for your horse, although as he is OK with the Waterford, which spreads the pressure over many points, this doesn’t quite tally up!

It’s possible that the adrenalin of the jumping environment affects his reactions.

DC Morgan DressageThe Bombers DC Dressage Happy tongue (left) is a lovely bit, and one of our top choices for tongue sensitive horses. As a hanging (or drop) cheek, it does suspend the bit in the mouth a little; but it may still apply slightly too much bar pressure, if your horse is sensitive in that area, as it doesn’t have the natural curved shape.

The DC Dressage Happy tongue, (uniquely), has swivel elements – the reins are attached to the large dee, which swings open independently of the cheekpiece. A loose ring attaches to the bridle which can also rotate, ensuring the poll and cheek area are relieved from rein engagement. Hence, it’s great for horses that are sensitive to poll and tongue pressure.

However, we’d suggest firstly trying a Bombers Ported Barrel, because of the central element that helps with bar-sensitive horses. The port will allow for some tongue relief, however pressure will be spread out and shared by the tongue and bars; it has slightly less bar pressure than the happy tongue.

As your EDT may have indicated, a ported bit limits the nut cracker action of a conventional snaffle and helps relieve pressure on the tongue.

We’d therefore suggest the Loose Ring Ported Barrel – the loose ring cheekpiece allows for immediate release and relief from pressure; we like it, as bit is immediately reset to a neutral position in the horse’s mouth. It’s a good all rounder for multiply-sensitive horses.

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