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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  

Bitting Miss Ellie

It seems that there are as many opinions out there about bits as there are horse people.  ;-)  Not to mention the large (and pricey!) options that have surfaced over the past several years!  I have always favored a French link mouthpiece for my horses and generally have stuck with a loose ring or eggbutt ring.  That is to say, I have started with a loose ring and found that my horses have preferred the stability of the eggbutt instead.  Snappy was even fussy in the eggbutt and I tried a French link boucher which finally seemed to be stable enough to keep her mouth happy.  Any excess bit movement appeared to give her tension.

So, my personal preference is to start with something I think tends to work best (such as the French link eggbutt) and follow the horse's lead.  With Ellie, she was in a loose ring with a flash in the pics I received before I bought her.  I don't use flash nosebands (just a personal preference as I don't see a need for them) and she was SUPER fussy in a loose ring, so we moved to the eggbutt literally in the middle of the first ride LOL!  A lot of her fussiness went away, but she still had an incredibly fussy mouth.  Now, much of that is because she was so green when I got her and she just needed time.  

Ellie's bit set up at her birthplace farm, though I also saw a pic from February 2017 (when they started her undersaddle) with an eggbutt and Micklem).
But even over time, she still seemed fussy to me.  On a whim,  I switched to a more curved shape of the JP French link eggbutt, after raiding my bit box to see what I had that she might like (before I spend money haha).  There was a noticeable difference, so OK, I can fall for the idea that the curved shape gives her more room for her tongue.  But the bit still seems kinda thick for her tiny mouth.  It is easily a 16mm when she could use a bridoon like 14mm.  I tried Dreamy's Stubben French link (which really has a more oval shape lozenge center instead of the traditional looking French link) and while it looked much better in her mouth thickness wise, she wasn't thrilled.

The JP curved French link

Oh look, it finally snowed LOL!  (And I clipped her bridle path)
I am leaning towards a Neue Schule, but hot damn, who wants to spend $200 on a bit that my horse might not like?  Yeah, I can probably resell it and recoup some, but ugggg such a pain (and stupid Paypal fees!).  I found a bit bank in the UK which allows you to trial bits for a month, so I am considering that.  And it comes out to only about $160 USD to purchase, so a little bit of savings if I do keep it.  I also found a random person on FB who is selling the exact bit for £50 (which is like $67 USD), but she won't mail to the US blahhhh.  That is crazy since I would pay exact shipping but WHATEVER.  For $67 I could easily resell that sucker for $100 and still do well LOL.

Snow pony!
But then our last few rides she was been lovely soft and quiet with the (cheap) JP bit.  She is even stretching out and seeking the bit (yay mare!) and then I'm like, calm yourself and just give her time.  I don't know.  The bit still  looks too thick to me and it squeaks (!!!!) which is super annoying hahaha.  It's like you want to FIX ALL THE THINGS but frugality and the idea of patience gets in the way hahaha.  A bit change is easy when it is for something already in my bit box, but I have a hard time justifying it when I don't want to spend that much money on an unknown.  

Love her!
No indoor, no problem!  We've got snow tires haha!


Jen said…
Hastilow has a Neue Schule lease-a-bit progra: If you don't like it after 2 weeks, you send it back and get 80% of the purchase price back. SmartPak also will allow you to return them. I personally love my NS bits! If you're going to drop a lot of coin on a piece of tack, it should be the thing in their mouths that allows you to communicate, IMO.
APitts said…
Bitting fascinates (and frustrates!!) me. After going through my horse's bit saga I'm convinced someone needs to start a mobile bit fitting unit, like a saddle fitter! It would have saved me some money for sure.

I wasn't sure if you were aware of Cotswold Sports? They are a UK company and have bits similar to the NS Verbindend. I loved my NS Verbindend but my horse ultimately disliked the loose ring for a lot of the same reasons your mares disliked loose rings. When I was shopping for a replacement, I came across Cotswold and they do have an eggbutt version of the Verbindend for much cheaper than the NS. Also, I used the Bit Bank a lot and never used their return policy but even with the international shipping they had some of the best prices around.
Oh the bit struggles are so real! Fun tip though, when I wanted to try a NS Verbindend and didn't want to shell out $$$$ in case it didn't make a difference, I communicated with SmartPak customer service about their return policy and was assured that providing my horse didn't damage the bit, I could return it for a refund. That may or may not be helpful, because they may not carry the particular bit you were considering, but thought I'd share ☺️
Thank you!! They do have the exact bit, so I will probably do this instead of ordering from overseas! :-)
Thank you!! They do have the bit, but it is a 16mm instead of 14mm, so at least if the Hastilow deal doesn't work out, I can try the thicker one through Smartpak! :-)
I have an entire tupperware bin full of bits and I still need a different bit for Levi. I found a NS bit at Dover in the clearance (used) section for $20. I bought it because I figured I'd resell it for a profit, but Eugene has since claimed it.
Martidoll said…
isnt it funny back in the day when i was a kid we had a dee ring, a kimberwicke and a pelham LOL. Now there are so nay choices. i have two bouchers 4 and 3/4 if you ever want to try. I only use one so would totally ship you the one to give a whirl over the winter. I love the boucher. Remus is also in a loose ring french link at times but he is much fussier with that the boucher he never even bats an eye. Good luck finding the right bit for Ms. Ellie :)
Ohhh, good find! I have been scouring eBay and Facebook. Nothing yet LOL!
Right?!?! We put horses in eggbutts back in the day, a kimberwicke if they were being naughty and needed a tune up, and once in a while a pelham. And thank you for your offer!! I have a few bouchers from Snappy that I could try first because she, like Remus, loved the stability of it.
TeresaA said…
I am a fan of the curved bits with the lozenge. Carmen goes really well in the stubben golden wing.
Sara said…
Gem went in a full cheek for years until this summer when I switched her to the baucher. She loves the stability of it and is so much softer now.
Martidoll said…
i love hearing about all the bits everyone uses. So interesting!
Somehow your comment got into my spam and I JUST now saw it! I ordered a NS from Hastilow the other day with the 30 day return policy, so I guess I will start there. I will definitely check out Cotswold Sports in case she doesn't like it. And I TOTALLY agree on the mobile bit fitting unit! That would be GREAT!