Bits. So many options. How to choose one?
Prior to Rio, I never had any issues in the bit department. My bit choices were always super straight forward, and I never needed to try anything out of the ordinary. When I got Rio, he already had a tendency to drop BTV and gape his mouth, so I went for what I assumed was a ‘soft’ option and used it for about 8 months before Trainer at the time suggested we try something else. The Mikmar is very HEAVY and thick. We surmised that he might not like all that weight on his tongue.
Since he didn’t seem to love it (was still gaping his mouth/resisting it at times), I agreed to try some other options. We tried a smaller diameter and might lighter french link D ring which he seemed to hate. Then I rode him in a Myler with curved bars and copper inlays for a few months which he seemed to like ok (better then the Mikmar and french link).
I was looking into buying one of my own at this point (it was the best fit for him that we has tried so far, MM had one that she had been letting me borrow). At this point though, Rio was still not loving any sort of contact at all. We could not get him to stretch INTO the hand. Even the softest squeeze on the bit would having him trying to drop down/duck away from the contact. MM and I brainstormed, and thought that maybe he would appreciate sometime with a bit of tongue relief. I couldn’t seem to find anything on the cheaper side that didn’t have a HUGE port, so I ended up buying a Bomber to the tune of $135ish.
This was maybe a mistake, because that’s a lot of money for a bit I didn’t even know if he would like. I was pretty MEH. He didn’t seem to want to go forward in it. It wasn’t awful, but not the miracle I had been hoping for. On a bit of a whim, MM suggested we try her Nathe loose ring on him. I had not tried anything at this point that wasn’t metal.
The difference it made!!! All the sudden Rio wasn’t evading the contact. I could put my leg on, take a light feel, and he would step forward into the contact in a lovely relaxed manner. This was finally the type of break through that had me excited about a different bit option. I purchased a HS Duo D ring at this point (basically the same bit but with a D ring).
Rio has been going in it for a bout a year now. He still likes to gape sometimes, and he chews it when he’s bored/anxious/annoyed, which in turn annoys me, but it is obviously the best of the bits we have tried. Unfortunately, it’s not a metal bit, so all the gnawing has left some marks on it and it’s starting to become a bit disfigured. At $165, this isn’t a cheap bit to be replacing every year. (Anyone know where to buy one for less money? I’ve been searching, but to no avail.)
I saw a FB tack sales post the other night that had a bit very similar to a different Bomber bit that I had wanted to try, but not spend the money on.
The only reason I am even looking at bits again is the high price of replacing my HS Duo. I figured it wouldn’t hurt (other then wasting my money) to try to investigate a cheaper alternative. Obviously if I tried it, and Rio hated it, I would suck it up and go back to the Duo.
So I bought the FB bit ($33). It will be here on Monday. My thinking- it’s a mullen mouth like the Duo, and it has a very slight port (which I still think he may like). He’s also much more “broke” now then we started with the Duo, and does occasionally decide to run through my hand. He very rarely tries to drop BTV now, and he is much much more comfortable with a good bit of contact. I feel that he *may* be ready for a metal bit. I could be totally wrong buttttt… for $33 I figured it was worth a try. If it doesn’t work for him, I’ll just re-sell it, or add it to my bit collection.
What do y’all think? Anyone used a bit like this? Who wants to buy it if it doesn’t work for Rio?! LOL. How many bits did you try until you found the ONE?