Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Expensive bits, are they worth it?

Thanks to everyone for your comments on my post about introducing Guinness to the double. We're a week in, and he's still doing great. Some of your comments, along with Pig's reaction to the bridle, have given me some ideas on what bits I want to buy for Pig's own bridle.

For the bradoon, I'm not looking for anything special. He seems to do fine with the loose ring double jointed bradoon. This surprises me, as he hates a loose ring plain snaffle. But, maybe in conjunction with the curb it doesn't move as much? I've decided to stick with a double jointed bradoon with a lozenge instead of a French link, and I have my eye on a couple. For the bradoon, I'm looking for a thickness of 12-14 mm. No thicker. (Pig's regular snaffle is only around 14mm, so he's used to, and likes, thin bits.) Luckily, these are fairly affordable and easy to find.

For the metal content, I'm interested to try a copper-heavy metal. I've mostly schooled Pig in only rubber and stainless steel bits. He has been doing much better with the introduction of sugar to his bitting and riding routine, though. The sugar is helping him accept the bit even more. Maybe the copper would do the same?
Cheap and easy to find. My favorite kind of horse equipment!
The curb is something I've waffled on. I know, for certain, that I need a curb with far less or zero port. So, I've been looking at Mullen mouthed curbs, specifically thin ones. The thinness requirement has narrowed down my options to the Neue Schule Thoroughbred Weymouth and a plain stainless steel Mullen mouth.

Thoroughbred Weymouth
The Neue Schule Thoroughbred Weymouth -- 12mm thick, tilted at 45 degrees and curved for tongue relief. Supposedly designed for the narrow and sensitive thoroughbred mouth. Runs around $210.


Stainless steel Mullen mouth Weymouth. Also 12mm thick. $40. Zero mention of magical properties in the ad.
My question to you is: Is the expensive Weymouth worth it? What has been your experience with expensive bits? Have they been worth it for you? Anyone used this particular type of curb?

29 comments:

  1. I have gone through so many bits (expensive and inexpensive)! In my experience, I haven't found much difference in terms of quality/design/operation. I went through a bunch of Bomber bits, most of which were $100+ and I found them very similar to cheaper bits, save for the metal content - they used blue copper/(iron? I can't remember) accents. Fiction works best in a $60 Myler loose ring for dressage, and so far, a cheap hackamore for jumping. As for your conundrum, I can't really comment fully except to say that I tried fancy metals with Fiction and he always rejected them. But he was fine with sweet copper. Of course Pig is a completely different horse, but I thought I would share :P When in doubt, see if you can rent one! Bit Bank and Horse Bit Shop UK offer rentals. Other places might as well :)

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    1. I've thought about renting! I'm not sure how I feel about renting from overseas, though. :( Interesting to know Fiction rejected the fancy metals. Pig is pretty picky...

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    2. I rented from overseas and had no issues! If you can find a good place, even shipping isn't that bad! I think I rented three bits from The Bit Shop UK and it came to about $75 total for three full months of rental time. Shipping was fast and hassle free - just make sure (if you can) to get some sort of tracking when you send it back. I didn't and I worried for the longest time haha

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    3. Great to know renting from overseas worked out! I've been considering ordering from over there, as the prices are so much lower!

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  2. this is a tricky question to answer - i have an HS kk ultra with the aurigan metal (around $130 new) and LOVE it and think isabel goes really well in it. but i also kind of *want* to love it bc i spent money on it, ya know what i mean?

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    1. Totally! It's hard to quantify, isn't it?

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  3. I wanted to try a KK Ultra with Miles, but before I got to it, he ended up loving a Happy Mouth!

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    1. Guinness loved eating Happy Mouth bits! He chewed through one in a month! Whoops!! :)

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  4. There is definitely a difference between a cheaper bit and a more expensive one--that's why I ended up buying my KK. The weight and shape and consistency are completely different. Courage is going really well in the KK right now. He was in a happy mouth before and I don't know what will be next.

    I hate to say it, but just because a bit is different doesn't mean your horse will like it better. He might.

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    1. How is the weight different? Are they heavier? The KK weymouths are all way too thick to be okay for Pig. His mouth is tiny, and he hates thick bits. I'm not sure how he would react to a heavier one, though. He seems to do okay with the weight of the current double bit set up, but those are both stainless.

      True. It's sort of a very expensive trial and error, isn't it?

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  5. For what it's worth, the Neue Schule bits are about all we sell on the dressage trailer- they outsell the cheapies and the Sprengers alike. We sell a lot of them online, too.

    If you want to shoot me an email at stephanie (at) thehorseofcourse.com, I'll give you a rundown on what's in stock and what we can get from NS. :)

    For the record, both of my horses go in no-name bits. Gina has a loose ring I think I bought for $25 at Bit of Britain and goes exactly as she did in the Sprenger I'd been borrowing from my trainer. Moe tolerates just about anything- for years he went in a cheap D-ring and recently he's in Gina's old eggbutt because I misplaced the D-ring. They are very easy horses to please!

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    1. Interesting to hear how popular NS bits are. I've heard nothing but good things, so I am totally emailing you!

      Pig's regular snaffle is a JP Korsteel, and I have nothing but great things to say about it. Even though his snaffle is cheap, he's a picky sucker. That said, the couple of training horses I've been working with this month don't seem to care at all about their bits. Silly horses!

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  6. The last horse show I went to, the girl stabled next to me had her horse going in that particular NS bit. I was tempted to buy one for Mikey. Only reason I didn't give it a whirl is his HS kk conrad is going well for him, and I already spent $175 (ebay special! otherwise it's $270) on that bit and I couldn't drop another $200 when nothing's broken. I really liked how her TB responded to it. I've never used it personally. I'd really like to, his snaffle bridle uses a mullen mouth bit, and I like how he goes in the rubber mullen mouth pelham I use for jumping. If you find a place that will rent them, shoot me a message or comment or something, I'd be interested in that for sure!

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    1. I know you can rent them from overseas, but I haven't found anywhere in the us you can get them. If I end up with one, you can be sure I'll review it!!

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    2. I also meant to add that I'm impressed the Conrad fits in Mikey's mouth. I've heard great things about that bit, but it's so huge!

      What did you like about how the other woman's tb responded?

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    3. He was so soft and quiet about it- I mean he should be since he's using it out in public competing. But she wasn't using it all the time like I've seen (I've watched some riders take up contact and their horse's obediently tuck their noses in instead of working towards the contact). I just liked it a lot. Not sure if he would have accepted a cheaper model, but she also liked it because it was thinner. I've seen TBs react 'badly' to leverage bits (tucking their noses and getting short necked) and he happily went into the contact.

      The Conrad just barely fits in his mouth. He can wear either a cob or horse size bridle, he's right in between. I got him a 5.25" bradoon and 5" weymouth. He's not always happy about his double- he's a super obedient horse and he hates opening his mouth for it. Maybe it would be worth it to give it a try, I donno. I definitely don't have $210 to spend on it!

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    4. Also, FYI, ebay is a great place to buy those super expensive bits for a little less. And they're still brand new... but might come from another country. Still with any bit, it's almost never returnable so where it comes from doesn't really matter as long as it gets here!

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Neue-Schule-Thoroughbred-Weymouth-Double-Bit-Dressage-Legal-80107FF-12mm/200978100481?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3Dc645eaf64ad340148d61928b9165fcab%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D200978100481

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  7. Curious, why do you need far less, or no, port?

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    1. Mainly because Pig doesn't have a whole lot of room in his mouth for a big port, but also because he is sensitive and doesn't need much extra pressure. In fact, the bigger port on the bit he's wearing now is backing him off some. I'm pretty sure it hits the roof of his mouth, and he's not liking it.

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  8. I'm too cheap to buy expensive bits. I bought the cheapest bradoon and wheymouth they had (the last one you posted is the wheymouth I have) and Rico went super well in them. I find that expensive bits seem to work best when the rider believes they work best. Psychologically, people are convinced that the more things cost, the better they are (not always the other way around). But maybe I only think this because I'm poor!

    My personal advice is start cheap and then if you HAVE to, go more expensive. Don't spend money you don't know that you need to spend. But it's up to you, you know your horse best!

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    1. I'm super cheap, too. Spending $200 on a bit is ... terrifying. Good to hear someone has had good experience with that particular Weymouth. It's honestly pretty hard to find cheap ones!! I think I'll put the expensive bit on my Christmas list, and if it doesn't magically appear, I'll spring for the cheap one.

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  9. I use the NS bits, they are magic (this after a lifetime of devotion to HS bits). They're lighter, and the horses tend to like them more. Plus they have a bit bank to try bits from and return, which is really smart.

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    1. Really interesting to hear! I think lighter might be a good thing for Guinness. Which bit bank do you use?

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    2. My bitting philosophy is this: less is more. Sinari went in the thoroughbred curb, and felt more loose in it, I currently have it wrapped in latex for Danzador to introduce him to the double. If you can get away with an uncomplicated set up, do it. The current, most popular, bit bank is horsebitbank.com, but Hastilow, which is one of the main reps for NS bits is going to be launching their bit bank pretty soon. I'd give Annette Gavin and Amber Markley a call over there to see when the launch date is (Plus it will save you conversion and international postage).

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    3. Less is more is what I like! Thanks for the info on Hastilow. I'll have to check them out!

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  10. I am really lucky that my trainer has a plethora of bits (we call it Irene's chamber of tortures) I do love mullen mouth pelhams though!

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    1. Oh man! Me too! Pig goes fabulously in a mullen pelham. I call it his "e-brake" and he wears it for gallops. Probably a clue that he needs a mullen weymouth, now that I think about it ... :)

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  11. I tend to like the more expensive bits because they tend be better designed with better metals. My go-to bits are the Mylers and Mikmars, but I am using a cheaper JP Korsteel that I really like. I have several Mikmars, one of which was close to $200 ($90 and $180). I haven't chosen a bit based on price, it just seems that the bits I want tend to run closer to the $100 mark than the $17.99 range. You can rent a lot of Mylers, if that helps at all.

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    1. Mikmar makes a bradoon I have my eye on. Good to know someone has had luck with them! I've never gotten into Myer bits. I never needed to experiment with them, and honestly get confused by their "levels" and whether or not they are legal for USEF competition!

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