Please note this blog is not promoted by Loren or the Horse Bit Emporium. This is an independent article for me to share my experience.
In June 2019, I had a bit fitting for my mare, Tolly.
The fitting was not my first, nor my last bit fitting, so I can comfortably say I enjoy the prosses and get a lot out of this fantastic service. For some back story, those that don’t know, Tolly was, unfortunately, subject to a lousy paddock accident that resulted in her needing a year off from riding. She has always been a sensitive horse, so due to previous experiences and her heightened sensitivity, after the break, she had a negative association with bit pressure. We worked through that over a long period to create a much more confident horse, but once I was bringing her back into work after her spell, the same problems arose and were hindering her progress.
So naturally. After having such a positive experience with Loren, from the Horse Bit Emporium late 2018. I went and booked a bit fitting again, in the hope that I would find something to help Tolly move forward and not feel so offended.
We found the perfect Bit, and it made a huge difference. It was the second Bit I tried, and I fell in love instantly. Tolly wasn’t offended by it and was so much happier in her movement. We did go on to try a few different bits, to be sure, but I was pleased with this second one and made the purchase.
The Bit is a Bombers DC Morgan Dressage Happy Tongue Swivel, designed to swivel and not lay in an incorrect position in the horse’s mouth, therefore releasing unwanted pressure.
To be able to achieve a relaxed and more forward confident horse, this is precisely the Bit we needed. Now, this Bit won’t solve every horse and rider combination, as it can apply unwanted pressure if used inconsistently, or heavy contact. However, with a soft touch, and an independent hand, the Bit works positively for us as a combination. Over a dozen rides in this Bit, she becomes more forward and balanced with every ride. Now that she does not feel the need to argue with the Bit, I can focus our training sessions purely on getting her back to 100% and using her back. She is much more relaxed, and I can help Tolly now more than I could before.
Now if this were a review, I would stop here as I believe I have covered the fact that I loved my Bit fit experience. However, I would like to continue the conversation about the Bit fit itself and what people should consider achieving from their Bit fits.
Loren from the Horse Bit Emporium said, while I was riding in the Dc Morgan Happy tongue for the second time, that “she looks great in this Bit, but you won’t find it makes her more collected. “
To this, I responded “I don’t expect it to” and on her face was a smile. After all, Tolly has just had over a year off and has not kept any muscle.
The reaction I got from Loren made me sense that she comes across riders with the expectation of a magic wand effect from Bit fits all too often. The Bit doesn’t make collection. It does not magically make your horse work better and mean you’re going to go start getting 8’s in dressage tests where you previously kept getting 4’s and comments such as “hollow” or “not through the back” - but it is going to help streamline your aids if you’re using them correctly.
Why is that? Well, it’s not new information, but true collection does not come from the reins! Yes, a horse has to follow contact to be able to collect correctly, especially while they are learning, but to get true self-carriage you want your horse to come from your seat and legs through their back into contact. And yes a bit that fits right and suits both you and the horse (an essential point as every rider is different and every horse is different ) is going to help you achieve your goals, but it isn’t going to fix all your problems.
So the moral of the story is, bit fittings are excellent. A great experience and much better than riding around in a bunch of harsh or unsuitable bits to “fix” a problem that might not even be the Bit. You can feel confident that what Loren chooses is the right choice that will compliment both you and the horse. Keep in mind it might not be a forever bit, but a progressive bit - meaning you might need a new fit as you and your horse progress.
If this has inspired you then get that bit fitting you were debating about, as it could most definitely help! But make sure you’re also getting riding lessons. As I said at the start of this blog, you learn something new every day, and minds that are open to criticism thrive.