The Bits and their Action: Cheeks, Mouthpieces, Doubles
The Action of the Loose Ring
The most popular - the loose ring has much more movement and play than a fixed butt or cheek. It discourages fixing, blocking and leaning and encourages mouthing. It allows the mouthpiece more movement so that it may follow the angle of the tongue because the angle of the poll and the horse's overall outline changes through different work etc. A quality loose ring correctly fitted should not cause any nips or rubs.
The Action of the Eggbutt
This is a fixed cheek. Everything remains more still in the mouth and if a horse is lacking in the confidence to stretch into the contact, this may prove extremely beneficial.
The Action of the Baucher
When a contact is taken the upper arm is angled forwards causing the mouthpiece to lift - thereby suspending it in the mouth and reducing the pressure across the tongue and the bars - this is often beneficial for cases of over sensitivity. Any extension above the mouthpiece causes poll pressure - this in itself has a head lowering action. However, if the horse is going forward into a contact and active behind this will encourage a rounding action and help tremendously with the outline. This cheek is dressage legal as a Snaffle (on its own) or as a Bradoon used in conjunction with a Weymouth. The legal limit for the length of the baucher/hanging cheek snaffle is 12 cm - this is from top to bottom - not just the upper arm.
- The Baucher at rest - the cheeks are always attached to the small ring and the reins to the one main bit ring.
- When a contact is taken the upper arms tilt forwards causing poll pressure and suspending the bit in the mouth - not only useful for promoting an outline but very beneficial for sensitive mouths as the pressure within the mouth is alleviated.
The Australian Cheeker
If you wish to lift the bit in the horse's mouth a comfortable way of achieving this is by employing an Australian Cheeker. Obviously when the bit is suspended in the mouth, the pressure is reduced across the floor of the mouth, tongue etc. The Australian Cheeker is often seen on racehorses. It is generally made of rubber and it attaches to the headpiece, running down the centre of the face then divides in order to support the cheeks of the bit. The racehorses wear this in order to reduce the risk of the horse getting its tongue over the top of the mouthpiece.
I discovered the benefits of this many years ago with a Warmblood I had in for schooling. He was overactive in the mouth and constantly getting his tongue over the top of the bit. The benefits were immediate and it in time eradicated this long term tongue habit. It may be used in conjunction with any noseband but is not legal in a dressage test.
The Action of the Full Cheek
This reinforces the turning aids and providing the mouthpiece is the correct size (snug fit) will not allow the mouthpiece to slide back and forth across the tongue and bars thus reducing friction. If the upper cheek is fixed to the bridle cheekpiece with fulmer keepers this will fix the mouthpiece in the mouth and also give some poll pressure. The full cheek is very useful for starting babies especially if you do not have access to a safe working environment such as an indoor or outdoor school. A lot of years ago before I got my outdoor I used to start babies in a big open field and it was often safer to use a Full Cheek as it will not allow the bit to pull through the mouth if a hazard is encountered. At this stage of their training I would not generally fix it as we wish to encourage mouthing and acceptance.
The Action of the Half Cheek
The half cheek reinforces the turning aids and will not pull through the mouth - usually used in conjunction with fulmer keepers attaching the bit cheek to the bridle cheek piece. This fixes the mouthpiece and gives a little poll pressure.
The Action of the D Ring
This would fall under the category of a fixed cheek - it also helps with the turning. The racing D cheek is bigger in order to prohibit the bit rings being pulled through the mouth. The D Ring is ideal for children or novice riders who are not always aware of the potential hazard of the full cheek. I have personally witnessed three accidents with the Full Cheek including once when a child dismounted and allowed her pony to rub his mouth against a brushing boot - part of the full cheek was caught under the ponies brushing boot near the fetlock (ankle) causing the pony to panic, snap his bridle and career off across a crowded show field. It can also very easily get caught in jumpers (sweaters), hay nets, etc.
The Action of the Universal
Any extension above the mouthpiece will cause poll pressure (head lowering), any extension below the mouthpiece will give leverage (head raising). When the two are combined this is generally referred to as a gag action. The Universal is one of my personal favourites. The gag action is not excessive and even strong horses generally appreciate this and respond as opposed to fighting it.
The cheeks are always attached to the small offset ring at the top - the top ring is angled very cleverly in order to avoid excessive cheek pressure.
- Gives some poll pressure and is usually acceptable for flatwork, etc.
- Gives a mild gag action.
- Roundings are employed reducing some gag action and allowing the use of one rein.
- Two reins to differentiate.
- A curb strap is used with the reins at any option but usually in conjunction with one rein on the bottom ring to maximise on the gag and curb action.
This is an old showjumping trick which is still extensively used. A Curb chain/strap does not have to lie in the chin groove in order to be effective - if you think about many western bits the curb strap is often employed further up.
The Action of the Neue Schule Jumper
This is a cross between the American gag and the Elevator. It is a popular showjumping and cross country bit as it offers more control and precision, it has a lifting effect in front and is especially good for showjumping as you can sit the horse more on its hocks (bottom) and turn tight. This bit is used regularly by many international showjumpers and eventers. It is also used generally for horses that tend to lean owing to its uplifting action. The cheeks reinforce the turning aids and will not pull through the mouth. The NS Jumper Cheeks are allowed for Pony Club, Showjumping and Eventing.
- Giving the action of an extended baucher (poll pressure).
- Most popular setting to maximise on the gag action (Lifting action).
- Two reins in order to differentiate between the aids.
- Slightly less gag action - occasionally used if the middle is not sufficient but the bottom a little sharp.
- A curb strap may be used in conjunction with any rein fitting - this is usually employed in the top ring - do not start off with so much tension on the curb strap that it inhibits the gag action. The cheek must be allowed to lift and tilt forwards.
The Action of the English Gag (Running Gag - Lifting Action)
The recommendation is to ride on two reins and I would generally endorse this as I have known horses start off brilliantly on one rein and end up over-bending (chin on chest). If you ride on two reins you can totally differentiate between the gag and the Snaffle. It helps tremendously with brakes and outline and is often used on horses that are strong, heavy in front (on the forehand) or too deep (head too near the ground). It is available with rolled leather cheeks (aesthetically more pleasing) but not as fast in their action as our rope cheeks that slip back and forth through the rings much more quickly, giving a faster and more clearly defined aid, however, you will find Neue Schule gags have slightly larger rings so the rolled leather cheeks do slide more easily if you prefer to use leather cheeks. The eggbutt is referred to as the Cheltenham Gag, the loose ring is the Balding Gag (also referred to as the Polo Gag if the rings are larger), and the full cheek is known as the Nelson Gag which is a very popular show jumping cheek (aids turning).
The Action of the Cartwheel (Swivel)
The Cartwheel cheek lays flat against the horses face - this emphasises the turning aid giving more shoulder control and overall help with straightness. This is especially useful for accuracy when approaching a fence (arrowheads for example). Hence, this is a very popular cheek with the showjumping fraternity.
- A milder gag action.
- Emphasises the rounding and lifting action offering more control.
The Action of the Pelham
The Pelham is a compromise between the Bradoon (Snaffle) and Weymouth (Double Bridle) Curb Bit. The purist would maintain that it should always be ridden on two reins but if you take this to extremes the Pelham should never be used anyway as you cannot totally differentiate. However, what is the ideal and what is practical do not always coincide and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The fact remains that the Pelham bit has been used successfully with one rein (employing roundings) over many years. Children and novice riders would have great difficulty riding with two reins (too much knitting may prove hazardous!!!).
The Pelham exerts pressure on the poll, the curb groove and the mouth. It is used extensively and is available in a variety of mouthpieces. The Pelham should always be employed with two reins for the show ring. One does need to be methodical if trying out a pelham for jumping purposes. Some horses will not jump with a curb action. The curb action occurs when the horse is stretching out the neck prior to take off as obviously we are not going to "drop" the horse in the bottom of a fence and a contact is needed until one can give through the air. My advice would be to jump a small track first and if the curb action is going to back the horse off try an elasticated curb. It is common practice to run the curb chain through a curb guard in order to lessen the severity as an alternative.
The Action of the Beval Cheeks
The Beval is particularly popular with the show ponies, often used for lead rein and first ridden. It is not a severe bit although it offers a little more control and helps especially the child rider as it promotes outline, head carriage and responsiveness (it helps the child to bring the pony's nose in). It is available with a small, neat bradoon ring and is perfectly acceptable on the show pony's head.
The Beval cheeks have two settings:
- Gives some poll pressure and is usually acceptable for flatwork, etc.
- Gives the action of a mild gag.
The Action of the Doubles (Weymouth and Bradoon Set)
I apologise in advance - when it comes to dressage I am a purist). A set of doubles is generally used for showing or dressage (only allowed in a dressage test from elementary onwards). I do not introduce the doubles until my horses are going correctly in a Snaffle and I have established a true consistent contact.
Fixed to the top rein, the Bradoon (Snaffle) works on a variety of points within the mouth depending upon the design of mouthpiece and in addition when a Baucher Bradoon is used; the poll. The bottom rein (curb rein) attaches to the Weymouth applying poll pressure (head lowering action) and curb groove pressure, asking for the correct degree of head angle (5° in front of the vertical). The doubles are used when more engagement is required (hind legs further underneath and lighter in front - the poll should be the highest point). From personal experience I have discovered that this is a physical impossibility with "cresty" necked stallions!! However, this advanced outline should almost be there in a Snaffle. The advanced outline is needed in order to perform the advanced movements - many of these movements require the horse to lower the croup, flex the hind leg and sit on the bottom.
The Weymouth needs to be a snug fit and the Bradoon (if lozenged) is usually worn ¼" (6 mm) bigger than the Weymouth - a single jointed bradoon may even be ½" (12 mm) bigger. The Neue Schule Weymouths are often available in a 5 cm, 7 cm or 9 cm cheek (the legal limit is 10 cm). The measurement of the cheek is taken from below the mouthpiece to the end of the arm and does not include the ring for the rein. You will find with the Neue Schule Weymouth cheeks that the balance is always correct as the arm above the mouthpiece is scaled up or down accordingly. The 5 cm gives the least leverage and is ideal for starting sensitive horses or horses that are not truly into the contact, the 7cm is average and is the most popular and the 9cm is used for horses that lean or prove extremely strong.
The Weymouth may be used with or without the lip strap; however the lip strap does keep the curb chain in situ. It is common practice to soften the feel of the curb chain in the chin groove by using a rubber, leather or gel curb chain guard. Please note that an elastic curb is not currently legal - personally I think that it should be and it is yet another issue that I am raising with the FEI.
Another ruling that I consider illogical is that some FEI/BD legal snaffles are not legal when used with a Weymouth - this includes the mullen mouthpiece and any snaffles with a revolving barrel and independent side action. There are now no rulings regarding material for instance, you may use a plastic Weymouth with a metal bradoon or you may use a stainless steel snaffle with a copper lozenge.
Introducing the Doubles
This is a little tip that I have found extremely useful over the years and it is not only beneficial when introducing the doubles. Using the same sized ring on your Bradoon as you would on your Snaffle (70mm instead of 55mm) will give you far more purchase on the mouthpiece. The larger the ring, the more distance there is between the cheekpiece and the rein therefore, more leverage is obtained on the mouthpiece and the aids are obviously emphasised. British Dressage have recently changed the rulings on when doubles are compulsory. A snaffle may now be used up to Grand Prix. FEI rules differ and doubles must be employed at Advanced.
The horse's mouth conformation should always be assessed. Plenty of time should always be allowed for the doubles to be introduced in a very relaxed, low key manner so that there is no association between the doubles and more advanced work. At all costs we need to avoid the all too familiar double tension scenario. If the doubles are introduced in plenty of time any little hiccups can be addressed in a much more methodical manner and before they become an issue.
The doubles, when fitted, should be viewed in situ. This requires two people (one on board and one at the head) and a contact taken in order that the mouthpieces shift position and angle and attain their true position, lying as they are going to do under saddle. Is anything interfering with the palate and have we given the tongue enough room?
Allow the horse to become accustomed to the feel of the two bits in the mouth and always work initially off the Bradoon. It is prudent in the first instance to walk the horse in-hand, bringing him back to halt several times. If everything is going well and the horse is relaxed, mount up in a school environment and work equally on both reins (left and right), performing up and down transitions from halt to trot through walk. If your horse is still accepting and relaxed in his doubles and if he hacks out sedately, do this two or three times a week for up to three or four weeks. The reasoning behind this is that we do not wish the doubles to become a focal point in the mouth and in a school situation the horse is more likely to be focused on them, than if out on an enjoyable, sedate hack with distractions. If everything is still proceeding well cut your hacks short, return to a school environment and start to play. Employ the curb rein diplomatically at the appropriate time. It is really only from this point forth that we can start to assess our doubles.
If your horse does not hack out then after a schooling session with your Snaffle, introduce the doubles for 10 minutes and build up from there. Some horses for various reasons do not hack out. If this is the case choose a day where you have had a relaxed constructive schooling session in your snaffle then pop your doubles in and introduce them as previously described. It is traditional thinking that a horse should always be established in a snaffle before one should contemplate the doubles. There is however always the exception to the rule and although this is uncommon I have known some horses in very experienced hands that have not been totally happy or relaxed in any kind of legal snaffle but have welcomed the double and started to work brilliantly.
The Neue Schule NS Tranz Mouthpiece
It is very important that the arrow engraved at the end of the mouthpiece is positioned on the left hand side (nearside) of the horse pointing forwards otherwise the lozenge will be positioned in an incorrect angle over the tongue. A swing tag providing fitting instructions is attached to each NS Tranz mouthpiece.
The NS Tranz (or any other rounded lozenge) does not suffer from the major design flaw of the French Link. When a contact is taken with the French Link there are two proud semicircles either side of the flat link which dig into the tongue - this often discourages a true contact. Compare the feel between the NS Tranz and the French Link by wrapping them both around your upper arm and try to imagine how much more sensitive the tongue is. The NS Tranz Link is ergonomically designed for both comfort and communication. This design is a very popular dressage mouthpiece. It encourages a true contact and higher level of responsiveness. The lozenge is set on at an angle activating more feel over the tongue, so when a contact is taken, the rounded lozenge rolls down contouring smoothly over the tongue, utilising feel but not abusing it, thereby enabling clearly defined aids to be given through the reins. The ergonomically designed NS Tranz is shaped over the tongue, thereby taking up less room in the mouth and not interfering with the palate.
The fitting of the NS Tranz (or any other lozenge) is critical - the lozenge is designed to sit centrally on the tongue and we do not want it sliding back and forth across the tongue. This bit does not shorten up in the mouth, unlike single jointed bits. When the NS Tranz is in situ the lips may touch the hole that the bit ring slides through, though not cover any part of it. When a contact is taken the holes will shift further away from the lips.
Look at the pictures below. You can see how the ergonomically designed NS Tranz conforms to the horse's mouth anatomy. It is smoothly contoured over the tongue, giving even pressure and shifting the emphasis away from the outer edges where the horse is more sensitive, encouraging contact and response. Look how the single jointed bit shoots forward in the mouth, shortening up, creating an acute angle (nutcracker), hitting the outer edges of the bars and excessively squeezing the outer edges of the tongue, thus creating the possibility of palate interference which will not encourage a true contact or outline.
The NS Tranzform Mouthpiece: New
The TranzForm is not a severe mouthpiece owing to the comfort factor of Neue Schule Tranz Central Lozenge. The NS TranzForm mouthpiece is deigned to prohibit the horse from gaining any purchase on the mouthpiece with the teeth. In other words it should physically stop the horse from grabbing the bit and ------- off!!!! Also beneficial for horses that snatch the rein, lean and pull down. The NS TranzForm generally gives much greater control without a fight or head toss during downward transitions. Very popular for jumping as an outline and rhythm are much more easily maintained - the pony may be placed but should still willingly take the rider in.
The NS TranzForm mouthpiece used in conjunction with the Cartwheel cheeks has a similar action to that of the NS Tranzform Beval - in short this should give much greater control and help with rounding and lift. Again owing to the Neue Schule Tranz Angled Central Lozenge this mouthpiece is much more comfortable than the ordinary racing or cherry rollers as when a downward transition is asked for the nutcracker action of the single joint is eliminated. Therefore the horse is much more comfortable, much much less likely to fight and head toss. This is obviously a lot more desirable especially when approaching a fence - the added bonus of the cartwheel cheek greatly aids turning.
The Starter: Establishing the Basics
This mouthpiece is designed specifically for starting babies. The Neue Schule training lozenge is not too rotund or long so it will not cause excessive pressure in the centre of the tongue or break too near the tongues sensitive outer edges. The lozenge will align at 90 degrees to the vertical when a contact is taken - this will offer a smooth weight bearing surface over the tongue. The angle joining the lozenge, combined with the shape of the Demi Anky arms give extensive tongue relief it will not force the tongues sensitive outer edges onto the teeth. The arms are slightly proud down towards the bar offering a more comfortable, even weight bearing surface. The end of the mouthpiece towards the bit ring curves away from the lip prohibiting any chafing or rubbing in that area whilst not lessening the aid for turning. The Starter mouthpiece is designed for comfort, encouraging the baby to seek forward and down into the contact. The central lozenge gently stimulates the tongue promoting mouthing and salivation whilst the comfort factor deters overactivity which may lead to tongue evasions such as drawing the tongue back, getting the tongue over the bit, etc.
The Team-Up: Enhanced Response
Our usual training lozenge mouthpiece is set on at 90 degrees to the vertical when a contact is taken - this mouthpiece is different - we have set the training lozenge on at 90 degrees so it is horizontally aligned when a contact is taken. We have incorporated more exaggerated, symmetrically curved arms in order to accommodate the larger or more sensitive tongue - this bit should not cause palate interference, abuse the tongue or force the outer edges down into the teeth - it will also enhance the turning aids by exerting a little more pressure on the cheek. This mouthpiece exerts kind uniform pressure throughout the mouth and takes up very little room. The central lozenge gently stimulates the tongue promoting mouthing and salivation.
The Verbindend (Connection): Shoulder Lift
Usually sourced when a true, consistent contact has already been established Patented, unique bit exclusive to the Neue Schule Collection. The 20 degree NS Tranz angled lozenge stimulates more feel in the centre of the tongue enabling a more precise aid to be given thus promoting a higher level of responsiveness. The 20 degree angle of the NS Tranz will give the rider a more finite connection but will not abuse or desensitise the tongue nor will it squeeze the tongues sensitive outer edges forcing them down onto the teeth. The NS Tranz lozenge, combined with the curved Demi Anky arms subtly connects the pressure points required to encourage the horse to soften and relax through the jaw and topline promoting the throughness needed for sustained, harmonious movement. This mouthpiece is also useful for the larger tongue and lower palate as it rolls further forward within the mouth when a contact is taken.
The shape of the Neue Schule Waterford differs from the conventional - it is slightly slimmer and is not as spherical a shape but more of a smooth barrel incorporating a slight rise in the centre of each link. Sometimes people look at the Waterford and have a problem with it but horses generally do not as it is not rigid in the mouth but fluid, bending in every direction. It therefore usually suits any type of mouth conformation and is excellent for horses that lean or pull down as it gives specific pressure across the mouth where the balls are thereby creating a head raising action and also helps tremendously with control. It also prohibits the horse from "grabbing" the bit between the teeth as the Waterford is extremely difficult to gain any purchase on. It generally promotes mouthing and salivation. The Waterford is usually worn ¼" - ½" (6 -12 mm) longer than your traditional mouthpiece in order to curl around the lips and maximise the effect. However, the Waterford when in the Pelham is not worn any longer than normal otherwise there will be no curb action. The Waterford Pelham is a very popular bit in the show ring especially for the show cobs as they usually have thick cresty necks and have a habit of "setting themselves".
The Demi Anky
The Demi Anky is a very popular Dressage bit. It can be used as a Snaffle or a Bradoon in conjunction with the Weymouth and usually encourages a true consistent contact. Although single jointed (and I do not usually use single jointed bits for my flatwork), it is curved and shaped very cleverly, it curves slightly away from the lip so as not to squash it in, it is curved subtly down towards the bar giving an even weight bearing surface across the bars it bends down toward the central joint so that when a contact is taken it forms a long low shape over the tongue offering tongue relief. Owing to the shape of the bit it is very rare that palate interference occurs. I find this design is very beneficial for horses that back off or only offer an intermittent contact. Do not be put off trying this design if your horse leans or is heavy - horses often lean because they are not comfortable in the mouth. I know that this may not sound logical but horses will lean into pain or discomfort.
The Schulung Lozenge
An ergonomically designed double jointed mouthpiece - the lozenge lies on a horizontal plane eliminating any unequal tongue pressure and shifting pressure away from the sensitive outer edges of the tongue. There is a unique curvature of the lozenge, it is convex on top of the tongue, allowing more room, and concave underneath the palate, following the natural alignment of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. This therefore conforms to the mouth anatomy of the horse, offering comfort and encouraging mouthing and communication. Due to the thickness and curvature of the lozenge it gives an even pressure across the tongue. It does not suffer from the same major design flaw as the thin, flat French Link. With the French Link when a contact is taken the two little proud semi-circles joining the link are felt by the horse near the outer edges of the tongue and this is where they are most sensitive. The Sch?g lozenge is one of the most popular mouthpieces with the dressage fraternity.
The 1CC "Comfy Contact"
This mouthpiece has a revolving barrel in the centre that restricts full closure - this design and action does not squeeze the sensitive outer edges of the tongue and should prevent any palate interference. The independent side action allows clear communication for instance, if the horse is falling in one would simply raise the inside hand in order to lift the inside shoulder. This mouthpiece is also excellent for horses that have little room between the tongue and the palate or for horses that are short from the corner of the lip to the muzzle owing to the fact that the mouthpiece will not shoot forward. Generally speaking an Eggbutt (fixed cheek) could incline a horse to block, fix or lean however, with the huge amount of movement obtained by the independent side action this is not so with this eggbutt design. The Comfy Contact mouthpiece has no copper inlays unlike most other bits of this type. This is owing to the fact that we have experience of horses being chafed and sensitised by the undulating copper inlays. So the Neue Schule Mouthpiece is smooth and our material is solid sweetiron. Sweetiron is not a new material - it has stood the test of time by proving to indeed live up to its name giving a sweet taste within the mouth encouraging mouthing, relaxation and the horse to stretch into a true contact (stainless steel can dry the mouth). The sweetiron mouthpiece is black and it is designed to oxidise - this is what tastes sweet and it is during oxidisation that a thin brown coating will appear on the outer surface and this will not wear off as our mouthpieces are solid.
In order to clean a Neue Schule Sweetiron mouthpiece simply wash it off after use and allow it to dry naturally. The cheeks are made of stainless steel.
The Neue Schule "NS" Jumper
The mouthpiece is slim so it is quite active over the bars. The lozenge in the centre reduces pressure from the sensitive outer edges of the tongue but does utilise the centre owing to the clearly defined shape of the lozenge. This helps with lightness and lift whilst still encouraging a contact (they still take you in).
The Single Joint
This is over 2,000 years old and obviously since then significant advances have been made in design. I rarely use a single jointed bit for flatwork (apart from the shaped, curved Demi Anky) - I find the nutcracker action does not encourage a true contact. When a contact is taken, pressure is exerted over the outer edges of the bars and the edges of the tongue are squeezed excessively. There is also a danger of palate interference. However, there is always the exception to the rule so a straight armed single jointed Bradoon is available. The single joint usually has a head-raising action.
The Mullen Mouth
This is a slightly curved bar with no joints. Very kind, giving universal mouth pressure, some bar relief and does not cause any pressure between the inner cheeks and the teeth (there is no closure). This type of design is particularly suitable if the horse is very short from the muzzle to the corner of the lip as it will not form a V shape and shoot forward in the mouth unlike most jointed bits. However, the solid mullen mouth usually gives a very wooden feel through the rein.
The Intermediere/Schooling Bit
This mouthpiece is designed specifically to give tongue relief and promote a correct outline (discourages leaning) although it would not be considered severe. It is very cleverly shaped to give tongue relief but be kind over the bars. It does not cause any pressure between the cheeks and the teeth as there is no closure. Unlike the mullen mouth horses are usually very responsive in this, and the eggbutt type handlebar finish is brilliant for the oversensitive mouth that is prone to rubbing in general and especially at the corner of the lips, as it usually eradicates any rubbing or chafing.
Not dressage legal but often used for training purposes especially to save the tongue or solve long term tongue evasions, such as drawing the tongue back or trying to pop it over the top or out to the side. Tongue problems with dressage horses have to be solved if the tongue is seen even slightly sticking out marks will be lost - the Intermediere/Schooling bit removes the pressure then breaks the habit.
The Training Lozenge
Same lozenge as the NS Tranz but set on horizontally as opposed to an angle. This is very good for establishing a true, consistent contact. It is especially good for the sensitive mouth where the contact is inconsistent. The training lozenge is one of our most popular Dressage Legal Mouthpieces, it is a very gentle bit, the lozenge rests centrally on the tongue stimulating feel thereby promoting mouthing and relaxation. For a horse that lacks the confidence to stretch into the hand it is often employed in the Eggbutt encouraging the horse to take the rein forwards and down.
The Fixed Cheek Weymouth
It is not very often nowadays that we use a sliding cheek Weymouth. Better results are obtained from the fixed cheek Weymouth as it is stiller in the mouth so the horse is more accepting and the aids through the rein more definitive. The play and mouthing is generally obtained by using it in conjunction with a loose ring bradoon.
The High Arched Upover Weymouth 90° 8009
Gives tongue relief. Usually sourced for strong horses or where we need to lighten up the forehand. Not generally a first choice when introducing doubles.
The Mors Lotte Weymouth 8010
Sometimes known as the French Curb a very mild Weymouth giving even pressure across the tongue and bar relief. It is set on at 90° and very gently curved.
The Thinner Mors Lotte Weymouth 8010T: New
The Mors Lotte Weymouth is now available with a thinner mouthpiece - the thickness of the mouthpiece is 11.5mm - this is ideal for horses that do not have much room in the mouth and it is also extremely beneficial for horses that are strong but sensitive at the same time. The mouthpiece is subtly curved upover in alignment with the curb cheek. When the curb acts the mouthpiece does not abuse the tongues sensitive outer edges, nor does it roll forwards again onto a thinner more sensitive tongue area. This promotes comfort and has consistently proven to eradicate many tongue evasions. Owing to the extra room that is created if a horse is particularly sensitive then a thicker bradoon may be employed.
The Mors Lottle Pelham 8010P
The Mors Lotte Weymouth (the curb that is used in conjunction with the bradoon to form a set of doubles) has proven consistently popular over many years as this gentle mouthpiece also promotes response. This is why I have experimented extensively with the Mors Lotte mouthpiece in the Pelham. We have conducted extensive field trials that have proven hugely successful. At first glance you may think that the Mors Lotte Pelham is just like the Mullen Mouth. Obviously the mouthpiece is the same shape - it is a solid mouthpiece with a very gentle curve however, the Mors Lotte is set on vertically in alignment with the cheeks. The Mullen Mouth is set on forwards at 90 degrees to the cheeks. Please bear in mind at this stage that you do not have to change much in the horse's mouth before you have totally changed the action and therefore, the feel from the horse's perspective. When a contact is taken with the Mullen Mouth curb (Weymouth or Pelham) the mouthpiece rolls forwards and down onto the tongue lifting it way off the bars causing uniform pressure across the whole of the tongue. This action often causes the horse to be too low (deep), wooden and heavy in the hand. The difference with the Mors Lotte mouthpiece is it will not roll forward and exert too much pressure across the tongue. It will also allow more room for the tongue and exert very gentle bar pressure. This will generally establish a rounder, lighter, more responsive way of going.
The Forward Cut Ported Weymouth 8011
This is a slightly more exaggerated version of the 8028 - it offers tongue relief and is angled slightly higher in order to discourage leaning.
The Forward Cut Ported Weymouth (Thinner Mouth) 8028
Usually proves to be a very comfortable Weymouth, exerting even pressure across the whole of the bars and giving plenty of tongue relief.
The Ultimate Tongue Relief "UTR" 8028R
The revolver is FEI approved. A new combination of mouthpiece and cheek that has proven phenomenally popular with many international dressage trainers and riders. This gives even more tongue relief than the 8015. This revolutionary design allows poll, curb chain and bar pressure without compromising the tongue and offers unique independent aids for finite control of the head carriage (head tilts, etc...). This design is comfortable and usually eradicates fixing, blocking and leaning. Although not normally a Weymouth that we would use when introducing the doubles unless the tongue is huge and needs to be accommodated. This is not just a Weymouth for the professionals - we now have many amateur riders benefiting from this design.
The Revolving Cheek Weymouth 8015
FEI approved. A relatively new concept with an extra low wide port to ensure a dramatic reduction in tongue pressure. This revolutionary design allows poll, curb chain and bar pressure without compromising the tongue, and offers unique independent aids for finite control of the head carriage (head tilts, etc). This design is comfortable and usually eradicates fixing, blocking and leaning. This Weymouth would not be deemed severe but we would not usually use it when introducing the doubles.
The Swales Pelham 8015SP
The Swales Pelham is designed to give control specifically for strong horses that are inclined to lean down. It is not suitable for a Novice Rider or Horse that does not fully understand the aids. It is an extremely popular bit with the Showing and Driving fraternity and is often used in other disciplines for faster work on an experienced horse that is "over enthusiastic". This is the only pelham that removes poll pressure (the head lowering aid) as the cheeks are attached to the inner rings. This emphasises the action of the curb and exerts more pressure on the jaw causing the lifting action. The mouthpiece we have incorporated is a very gentle upover curve that allows tongue room and gives gentle bar pressure. The Swales is a traditional design that has proven extremely beneficial in the right hands over many years.
The Gently Sloping Forward Ported Weymouth 8016
Definitely one of our most popular ergonomically designed Weymouths - thick enough to ensure kindness over the bars without taking up too much room in the mouth. The forward sloping port offers tongue relief without impinging up into the palate. This Weymouth is also especially favoured in Germany. Owing to the comfort factor this may be used for starting with doubles, long term use or on older horses alike.
The Gently Sloping Cut Away Weymouth 8027
A mild ergonomically designed light weight Weymouth. Very gently sloping cut-away mouthpiece - one would not call it ported as such - more of a wide, low curved tongue groove designed for maximum comfort over the bars and giving tongue relief whilst taking up as little room as possible in the mouth with no danger of any palate interference. 16 mm diameter over the bars and tapering to 8 mm over the tongue. Available from 5" - 6 ½" in ¼" increments with various options on a 5 cm, 7 cm and 9 cm shank. This is proving to be one of the most comfortable and popular Weymouths in the collection.
The Low Wide Upover Ported Weymouth 16 MM 9003
A very traditional design that is still as popular today. This gives good weight bearing surface over the bars, a good amount of tongue relief with a slightly cut away medium height medium wide ported centre.
The Forward Cut Ported Liverpool 2/3 Slot 16MM 9007 2/3
The Liverpool has a similar action to the Weymouth acting on the poll, the curb groove and pressure points within the mouth hinging on the design of the mouthpiece. The Liverpool is available in either a two or three slot. Obviously the lower down the rein is employed the more emphasised the action is however, many people drive and ride "rough cheek" - this means that the rein is attached to the snaffle ring. Predominantly used for driving in the past but many more people are now sourcing this bit where more control is required for cross country and general faster work under saddle. Although the Liverpool would be deemed severe when used with the rein in the third slot the mouthpiece we have used in conjunction is ergonomically designed for tongue relief and comfort whilst also offering good weight bearing surface over the bars - we have experienced no damage with this combination and found it offers phenomenal control.
The Ultimate Tongue Relief Liverpool "UTR" 2/3 Slot 9007R 2/3
As above but does offer independent side action and is particularly useful for horses that "set" on the bit. By setting I mean blocking, leaning or physically grabbing the bit between the teeth.