Sprenger Snaffles and Double Bridle Bits–a working guide

   Words by Julia

   on 03/02/2017 16:44:24

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As the 2017 show season kicks off we know a lot of you will be expecting more from your horses, or even progressing them towards advanced classes – meaning that you are looking at double bridle bits.  We thought it was time to write our guide to bits – with advice from us but also from many leading dressage riders.   If all you read is our Classic TipsStar – then you walk away with a some of our knowledge.

Our knowledge is only with Sprenger bits.   We chose this brand to work with because they have committed nearly 150 years to researching and manufacturing bits.  Hand made in Germany – they have a lifetime guarantee.  Why would you want to put anything less in your horse’s mouth? 

Our training has been through regular visits by our Equine Dentist Grant Chanter who has spent hours with us demonstrating the way the bits work in the mouth.  Showing us the normal wear and tear in the mouth and also the damage that can be caused by an ill-chosen bit.

 

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Grant Chanter – Equine Dentist
Working with Classic Dressage for 20 years
“Choose Sprenger if you want the best for your horse” 
Carl Hester MBE
“All my young horses are backed and ridden away in the KK Ultra.”  Rebecca Hughes “I want all my young horses to be happy so I choose Sprenger”.  Rebecca Hughes

 

Snaffle Bits.  Virtually every horse happily accepts a snaffle – and we recommend beginning work with your 3 or 4yo with the bit that can take you right through till you put on a double bridle.  Sensogan is an excellent metal that gives optimal taste and salivation from the horse.  The inclusion of Manganese has been proven that it may help with muscle tension and stress reduction. The regular KK Ultra
with lozenge is a fabulous bit that we would love to see all horses wear.  The angled lozenge gives a true contact on the tongue, the shape puts no pressure on the palate and you can choose the thickness of the mouth piece. The angle of the lozenge is the key – it’s patented because it is proven to be the optimum for the horse – and can’t be copied by other bit makers.

As a rough guide, for horses that can be strong and confident in the hand, we recommend the loose ring snaffle so that the horse has less to grab on to.  If your horse would rather duck behind the contact and is very light in the hand, try the fixed side bit which encourages some gentle leaning!

 

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Our ‘start and finish’ bit
KK Ultra
Loose ring with lozenge
Help to take the contact
Dynamic RS
Flat rings with lozenge
May help with tongue issues
WH Ultra
Revolving roller in lozenge
Sensitive small jaw help
Novocontact
Single joint

 

 

Variations – choose the dynamic – with the entire bit curved for even pressure across the whole tongue – if you want a more direct contact.

Choose the RS revolving roller in the middle of the lozenge – designed by Lisa Wilcox to help keep the young stallions focused.  Also useful when you need a bit more life in the mouth! The roller helped to slide the tongue forward and if you have a problem with tooth grinding take a look at the rubber covered lozenge – called the WH Soft.

Classic Tip Star Some horses are so narrow in the jowel that they get irritated and nervous with a lozenge – too much going on in the mouth – choose one of the single jointed bits from Sprenger that won’t give you a nutcracker action – instead a forward action. That might be stiller in the horses mouth

Classic TipStar When you move up to a double, choose a bradoon that is as close as possible to the snaffle you have been successful with.  And choose the same size.  Your weymouth should be 1cm smaller. 


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Michael Eilberg
”We only want the best for our horses and find Spenger bits to be superior in terms of quality and choice”
Maria Eilberg
”I am personally very fond of the KK Ultra, I find it suits most horses and is very versatile”
Laura Tomlinson
”The bit I use most is the KK ultra double jointed loose ring snaffle with lozenge that gives the horse ultimate comfort and the rider ultimate feel”
Rebecca Hughes
”The Dynamic RS is my pick – i like horses with a light contact and this bit helps with a more forward contact”

Weymouth Bits.  Now here’s a big subject.  We all know the theory that you continue to ride on the bradoon (snaffle).  But you can’t ride with a huge loop in your weymouth rein because the rules of dressage are all about submission and the acceptance of the contact so you have to show some of that!   We (and Sprenger) share a favourite Weymouth which is the HO.  The whole mouthpiece is slanted upwards and slightly forwards.  There is a very slight port.    We particularly like the bit curving upwards from the shank.  If your weymouth has a 90 degree angle at the mouth then you could be hard on the bars if your horse moves his tongue around and exposes them.  We’ve seen squashed bars – but don’t worry unduly as the mouth heals itself quickly – just change the bit.  In a perfect world, your horse would be ridden through his GP career in a KK Ultra bradoon and HO Weymouth.   We also all know that it’s not that easy and we can’t all be Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin or Gareth Hughes. 
Try the Bemelmans weymouth for another beautiful feeling shape which has had great success when a horse wants to put his tongue over the bit.

 

CDI Roosendaal 2016
© DigiShots Gareth Hughes chooses the 12mm HO Weymouth 

“Some of my advanced horses have quite small mouths so when I found that Sprenger made my favourite weymouth in a slimmer version I was thrilled.

I like my horses extremely sensitive so bitting is hugely important.  The gentle slope upwards and forwards of the HO Weymouth is the kindest bit i have used. 

For the bradoon, i like to play around with different styles.  Again i prefer the slimmer bits and luckily Sprenger make bradoons in 12mm, 14mm and 16mm thickness so there is an answer for all my requirements!”

Classic TipStar  A port on the bit is great for providing more tongue room.  But remember that the tongue acts as a cushion – if the horse can tuck his tongue up into the port he could be leaving the bars exposed – that’s not nice.  So giving a lot of tongue room is not always a good idea.

Classic TipStar Feel the bars run up alongside the edge of your horses jaw. It should feel like a nice flat topped bank - where you can run your finger across the top. Sometimes we come across a horse where the bar feels like a point at the top. This could explain your horse not accepting the bit. You would look at the slope of the mouthpiece again.

A final word on Weymouths.  You normally have the option of a 5cm or a 7cm shank.  In Germany, Sprenger sell equal amounts of each.  As a very general rule, the more amateur rider is safer using the 7cm.  The reason for this is that the ‘circumference of pull’ is larger on the 7cm – so if you’re riding with a 5cm shank your rein aid is much quicker on the horse.  The margin for rider error is reduced using a 7cm.

Classic TipStar  Use a curb chain guard  – it feels nicer for the horse.  Soft leather or gel are our best sellers. 

Use the official Sprenger diamond paste  to refresh and polish your bits – non-toxic and kind to the skin!

 

Feb17 Phoebe Peters chooses the HS Weymouth

”I was looking for a weymouth that would give the tongue plenty of room yet also protect the sensitive palate.  After trying a number of the Sprenger weymouths,  my horse really settled in the HS Weymouth.  The port has a subtle curve that curves around the tongue in a smooth bow. 

My favourite snaffle or bradoon is the KK Dynamic.  I find that the curved mouthpiece means the bit lies perfectly in the mouth and therefore i get the contact i need.”

Carl Hester chooses the Bemelmans Weymouth

”Of paramount importance to me is the material the bit is made from.  Sprenger use Sensogan which has been specifically developed in terms of taste and salivation to give the most delicate and sophisticated connection to the horse. 

I love the inclusion of Manganese in the metal as tests have shown it can offer a calming influence on the horses.

The Bemelmans Weymouth has a super sloping mouthpiece which gives maximum room over the bars and is really well adapted for a sensitive palate”

Carl-Max SchreinerAustria

 

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Carl Hester Sprenger Bemelmans Weymouth Gareth Hughes Sprenger HO Weymouth

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