Bitting Expert Stephen Biddlecombe answers a Bitting Query!
November 30th, 2017
In our latest blog our very own bitting expert Stephen Biddlecombe takes a look at a query from a reader of Polo Times Magazine. The article was featured in the magazine but we thought we’d share Stephen’s expertise with you all!
Stephen Biddlecombe of Equine Management Ltd answers a reader’s question on bitting.
I have a sensitive polo pony with a very light mouth, and I have light hands. She was going in a copper gag, which is pretty soft, but she was shaking her head when being ridden in this bit. I changed the bit, with what I thought was a less severe bit, to a rubber Pelham, and she hated it. Should I try a gag that takes all the pressure off, or a snaffle?
A different-tasting mouthpieces such as copper is a good place to start, as opposed to stainless steel, but I doubt she was objecting to the bit metal. It could have been the lifting action of the gag. A Pelham bit with a rubber mullen mouth piece is actually quite strong, especially as the rubber mullen mouthpiece has little to no flex in it. The Pelham would also have introduced curb pressure to her mouth, which would probably have been too much for her, especially if she has as sensitive or soft mouth.
Horses with soft mouths often react very well to removing the pressure from the tongue. I recommend a Polo Happy Tongue Three Ring for her from Bombers. We prefer to recommend the Three Ring because it uses the same pressures as the Big Ring Gag (poll pressure and leverage on the mouthpiece), but it does not lift the bit in the horses mouth as the Gag does. The Happy Tongue mouthpiece will take the pressure off her tongue, which will hopefully eliminate any head shaking. The Happy Tongue has a nice medium port, creating plenty of space for the tongue, relieving pressure and allowing the horse to relax. Hopefully your mare will get on well with it!
Bombers Bits include hundreds of off the shelf bitting solutions, and customers can even design their own bespoke bit from a selection of mouth pieces, cheek pieces and widths, using a ‘design your own bit’ service. Bombers bits are made from blue sweet iron – the metal oxidises easily, creating a warm, sweet taste in the horse’s mouth. This encourages the horse to salivate. Visit www.worldwidetack.com.