Blog Hop: Bit it up


In the midst of a fairly boring pre-horse show week, the latest Blog Hop from Viva Carlos came at the perfect time! Plus it’s a great topic for Henry… what bit do you ride your current beastie in and why?

For as easy as Henry is about everything else in life, he is picky about bits. Picky picky picky. He chomps obsessively on bits and has a tendency to want to escape behind the vertical with any kind of sustained contact on his mouth. I don’t know what his history is in that regard but he’s got some issues.

We went through lots of bits before finally settling on a hackamore.

We tried this


And this


And this


And this


And this


And this


so on and so on, repeat ad nauseum. There were a lot.

Finally I gave up on all things bit and tried the mechanical hackamore, which he liked a lot, and so began his journey as Bitless Henry. There was a learning curve at the beginning since it’s so much harder to steer in a hack but as he got more tuned in to my seat and leg it became easy.


But eventually even the mechanical hackamore got to be a little bit too much leverage, so I tried a plain leather sidepull hackamore (which I like to call The Haltermore since it’s essentially like riding in a halter) and voila – magic. Sometimes I could use a little bit more oomph when he gets heavy or I have to make a quick adjustment, but for the most part this thing works like a charm. He is much less likely to curl up behind the bit – still does sometimes, but not nearly as much or as badly. It looks a little goofy, and to my great annoyance it does not quite match any of my bridles (and adamantly refuses to darken), but he loves it so I try really hard to just not look at it.



Every once in a while I’ll ride him in a loose ring french link, on the days where we just do a lot of intense flatwork (ie Henry Torture).


His “derby bit”, since he can’t wear a hackamore in the hunter ring, is a twisted D. He only wears it in the ring, in the one class, because any more than that and he starts to get fussy again. But of all the hunter appropriate bits we tried, that was the only one he didn’t raise serious objection with. I have no idea why, other than the simple fact that he’s a complete and total weirdo who makes no sense.


14 thoughts on “Blog Hop: Bit it up

  1. If you decide to try to ride in a bit, you might try a Myler. Even in a snaffle bit, it has a raised port for tongue relief. It may be that your horse hates tongue pressure or he has a low palate, either of which would cause him to fight a bit that breaks in the middle. My Ashke is the same way with bits and HATES french links, simple snaffles, etc. However, he loves his Myler comfort snaffle and his Myler 2″ shank bit, both of which are ported to alleviate tongue pressure, but not so high that it smacks the top of his mouth.


    1. Thanks for the suggestion. A Myler was actually one of the first things I tried (along with a good dentist). His seems to be a nervousness and evasion to all kinds of pressure in his mouth. He doesn’t fight at all – he puts his nose to his chest and zones out. He also seems to be significantly more tense in general in ANY bit… much more relaxed without one, even just at a stand still. He starts chomping as soon as you bridle him and next thing you know he’s stiff as a board from head to tail. The switch to a hackamore resulted in a much happier and more chill Henry. The bit he went best in is actually a single jointed twisted D. I think he likes it because I can essentially ride him on a pretty loopy rein and just barely touch him to get the adjustment we need. He really wants his mouth to be left completely alone, and since he goes well in a hackamore I’ve been happy to comply.


  2. My horse absoloutly hates bits for some reason, always has. Me and his previous owners (my aunt) have tried so. many. bits. but the only thing he’s happy in is his leather hackamore. He goes from crazy pony to dead-broke, awesome horse in 5 seconds with the hack. Weirdos! Oh well, I like bitless riding more anyways but it’s kind of a pain occasionally because he only works in ONE type of hack. :))


  3. Oh I like that D!! I might need to get one so I have the fancy D instead of the full cheek!

    So neat that he goes bit-less… my Henry might take me for a joy ride if I did that lol 🙂


  4. Wow, I have known a few other weirdo horses that have truly enjoyed being in a hackamore. The twisted wire is a surprise. The only thing I can think is that he has a low palate or thick tongue and the thinness is comforting. Makes me wonder if even a bradoon type might work.


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