Bits And Biting (Spooner)
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Bits And Biting (Spooner)

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  • 1. My Horse University and eXtension’s HorseQuest welcome you to this live Webcast. A “Bit” of Information: Bits & How They Function Holly Spooner, PhD, PAS Extension Horse Specialist & Assistant Professor West Virginia University
  • 2. Meet our presenter:
    • Holly Spooner, PhD, PAS
    • West Virginia University
    Question facilitator: Dr. Christine Skelly Michigan State University
  • 3. Why a bit?
    • Aid for communication
    • Should be used after seat and leg
    • Not for punishment
  • 4. Snaffle vs. Curb
    • Snaffle: direct pressure, no leverage, reins and headstall attach to same “ring”
    • Curb: indirect pressure, leverage, reins and headstall attach to different place
  • 5. Snaffle vs. Curb
    • The “hybrid”
  • 6. 8 “Places for Pressure”
    • Bars
    • Corners of lips
    • Tongue
    • Roof of mouth
  • 7. 8 “Places for Pressure”
    • Poll
    • Nose
    • Curb groove
    • Side of face
  • 8. Judging Severity – All Bits
    • 1. RIDER!!!!!
  • 9. Judging Severity – All Bits
    • 2. Mouthpiece diameter
    • Measure 1 in. from checkpiece
    • 5/16”-3/4” is “legal” for AQHA
    • 3/8” considered moderate
    • Too big may not always be better!
  • 10. Judging Severity – All Bits
    • 3. Mouthpiece texture
  • 11. Judging Severity – All Bits
    • 4. Broken v. solid
    • Broken: independent lateral control
    • Solid: difficult to have “independent movement”
  • 12. Judging Severity – All Bits
    • 5. Port height/shape; tongue relief
  • 13. Judging Severity – All Bits
    • Width: needs to fit horse/pony
    • “ Nutcracker” effect
  • 14. Judging Severity – Snaffles
    • Ring type may influence severity
      • Eggbutt believed to be “gentlest”
      • Loose ring “harshest”
  • 15. Judging Severity – Snaffles
    • 1. Length of shank: “Bottom to Top Ratio”
  • 16. Judging Severity – Snaffles
    • 2. Angle of shank relative to headstall attachment
  • 17. Judging Severity – Snaffles
    • Curb chain
      • Material
      • Adjustment--generally “2 fingers”
  • 18. Materials
    • Steel: heavier, will rust
    • Stainless
    • Copper: generally in mouthpiece; believed to increase salivation
    • Aluminum: not recommended for mouthpiece
  • 19. Hackamores
    • Pressure on nose or nose and side of face
    • Bosal Mechanical
  • 20. Safety Factors
    • Utilize a browband style headstall and bit hobble when using a snaffle bit
  • 21. Hints for Selecting a Bit
    • Consider your horse and rider combo
      • How are your rider’s hands?
      • How broke is your horse?
    • Know the rules
      • Bring any necessary rulebooks and a tape measure shopping with you
    • Small steps/“Only what you need”
      • If you must use a harsher bit, your goal should always be to go back to the softer bit
  • 22. Hints for Selecting a Bit
    • Quality always pays off
      • Smooth edges
      • Tight joints
      • Balanced Feel
  • 23. Thank you for attending this live web presentation! For more information about My Horse University please visit us at: www.myhorseuniversity.com info@myhorseuniversity.com | www.myhorseuniversity.com | 517-353-3123