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Re: Any English riders out there?

The full cheek snaffles work really well. Their advantage is in turning the horse. The full cheek helps turn the horses head. I have found that Arabs do ok in 5" and sometimes better in 4-3/4" if they have a small head. A french link (broken in 3 pieces) is a nice bit for horses that tend to throw their heads up & protest a regular snaffle sometimes. A regular 2 part snaffle breaks in the middle of the roof of mouth & it hurts some horses whereas the french link is broken in 3 pieces and is putting more pressure on sides of mouth.
Generally, the thinner the snaffle the harsher the bit. The eggbutt snaffles are on the gentler end. The slow twist snaffle is just a bit more aggressive for the horse that has outgrown the plain snaffle. Dee rings are similar to full cheek snaffles with their sides aiding in turning but are a little softer than full cheeks. Nervous horses do well with copper bits and snaffles that have rollers in them.
The twisted wire snaffles are much harsher and to be used by someone with "kind" hands. I saw one the other day in a tack store that was as thin as a telephone cord---it frightened me!
xMy horse is not too fond of any bit so I use the S Hackamore which we both really love. I still use my full cheek snaffle when doing ring work (bending/flexing/cavelleti, etc.) but my horse gives me evil looks when he sees it coming. Once your horse has learned to flex, as mine has, you might want to try someones S Hackamore & you'll be surprised at how much he will flex in it and love the freedom from the bit.
If you buy a bit that does not work for your horse, hold onto it or do as I do--sell it on ebay and get back most of your money to buy other stuff on ebay!! (I'm an addict)
Remember, when your horse spooks on the trail, there is not much you can put on his face to make him stand still for very long. I find that making him turn around immediately and look at the spooky thing helps--along with training him to lower his head so he relaxes. I do alot of ring work with leg yields, bending, starts and stops, etc. that have really paid off on the trail.
Coming from an intense Hunter/Jumper background, loving this endurance thing!!!
----- Original Message -----
From: Lynette
Sent: Sunday, December 09, 2001 12:04 PM
Subject: RC: Any English riders out there?

  Since I started riding many, many years ago, I had always ridden western. Everyone I knew rode western. I got started into endurance and soon realized how uncomfortable and confining a western saddle can be. So I got a couple of aussie saddles, but got the stock type. I could not give up the horn, until I got jabbed in the gut and caught up in it too many times. Then I tried an Big Horn endurance saddle, loved it, but found it too wide for some of the finer arabs I was starting to ride. So I broke down and finally bought an english saddle and a snaffle bit. I'm finding out I really like the english way of riding. I like the closer contact to the horse. And riding collected seems to work much better for endurance riding. I feel more like a team instead of a passenger on my horse as we negotiate the rough terrain.
The problem with english is my total lack of knowledge. The English saddle that I have is a all purpose saddle, not a name brand, not a very expensive saddle, but seems to fit my horse pretty good.  I am looking at an EquiFleece saddle pad by Roma in the Millers catalog.  The problem with my english pad is that is will not stay underneath my saddle. This pad has pockets that the saddle slides into so it will not slip around. I though that was a neat idea, But the pad is fleece. What is the difference between fleece and wool? They also have one with a fleece top and a cotton lining. Would these pads work in endurance riding? Also what do you do with the buckle on the stirrups to keep in from bothering you or the horse? What are the best snaffles for a light mouthed responsive horse who needs  more control when he is frightened or excited. What size works best for Arabs? Do they normally have smaller mouths? I don't want to be bumping the roof of the mouth all the time. How effective is the full cheek snaffle? Is it a must for the kind of riding we do, in order to keep the bit in the mouth? I know that this is probably some very basic questions, but I really do not know anything.  Also what kind of cinch should I be looking at. The cinch that came with the saddle seems to stretch out when I ride. It is a rope cotton cinch.
Best Regards,
Lynette Helgeson
North Dakota


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