Hooks on Myler Bit Cheeks
Most Myler Bit Cheeks are available with hooks, (like slots), to fix the position of the bridle and the reins on the cheek ring of the bit and to allow Independent Side Movement.
The top hooks are situated just in front of the small holes at the top of the cheek rings. These are for the cheek pieces and do precisely what the fulmer, or full cheek does, when used, (as it was designed to be), with leather keepers. They stabilise the bit inside the horse's mouth and hold it off the tongue when pressure is not being applied by the rider, allowing for a much clearer signal and reward. The hooks also allow a little pressure to be applied to the poll (which is known to release endorphins).
When used, the rein hook allows the rider to get more leverage, exerting pressure on the tongue as the bit was designed to do, - but more efficiently, - so less pressure is necessary. In this way, the backward pressure on the horse's mouth is less severe and less prolonged. Use of the rein hook gives total ISM and increases the proportion of pressure going to the poll.
The hooks, therefore, allow the bit to be used as it was designed to be, but more effectively, more gently, and with instant release for the horse as soon as it does what has been asked of it (provided, of course, that the rider relaxes the contact).
This should also help the rider to have quieter hands.
The difference can be demonstrated by putting a plain eggbutt Myler snaffle onto one bridle and the same mouthpiece but on an Eggbutt cheek with hooks onto another, and comparing the way each bit hangs. The snaffle on the plain cheek would clearly lie on the horse's tongue, the snaffle on the cheek with hooks hangs almost at right angles to the tongue.
In order to balance the bit correctly, the cheek pieces must be fastened around the outside branch of the upper hook, leaving the metal on the inside branch against the horse's face and giving the bit a "normal" appearance from the side.
To make the ISM as effective as possible, the reins should be attached to the bottom hook, again around the outer branch.
With Myler's Full Cheek Bits that only have one hook, it is important to use a bit keeper to secure the position of the headstall and give all the advantages outlined above.