a bit unexpected

Or, alternately, “pony knows best.”

This weekend, I decided to, on a whim, check out a consignment tack store not too far away from me in Phoenix.
I hit the jackpot in the bit department. A truly excellent deal on a Myler bit — which, as anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows, is a major weakness of mine. Bit Hoarders R Us.
I was quite excited when I found this bit, since I thought it was a Level 2-3 mouthpiece I’d been contemplating as one I thought might work pretty well for Princess Fussy Mouth. Plus, it was a kimberwick, which is my preferred bit for distance riding.
Bought it…used it the next day…
She LOVES it.
She mouthed at it a couple of times while I was messing with the adjustment (no matter if it looks like the same height as the previous bit…it will inevitably require adjusting of the bridle), and then that was it. Once it was comfortably seated in her mouth, she didn’t seem to give it a second thought.
No weird jaw-crossing or mouth gaping, no tongue sticking out, and most amazingly, no leaning on the bit. At all. Walk-trot-canter-circles-stop. All light, soft, and responsive.
“Okay,” I thought. “Guess I was right that this would be a good bit for her.”

And then I started doing some research this morning. Turns out it wasn’t quite the mouthpiece I thought it was. Very similar…but it’s actually a Level 3 mouthpiece.

Which, in a twisted way makes sense: it’s designed for finished horses who work well off of leg, seat and hands. Which is Mimi.
I just always figured a Level 3 would be “too much” for her and that her small mouth and (presumed) low palate wouldn’t like having the higher port, which was why I always tried to stick with the lower level bits, figuring a lack of high port would be “kinder.”
Turns out all my pony wanted was tongue relief — which is why she leaned-leaned-leaned on any of the lower-level bits that would lay across her tongue, and she softened more when I put her in a Level 2-3 with more tongue relief.
This mouthpiece (MB33) has the most tongue relief of any of their mouthpieces, and she is one happy little girl.
Granted, we only used it in the arena and I haven’t tried it out on trail, but for her, I still prefer the s-hack for going “out” and saving the bit for the arena schooling stuff.
So, go figure. I think the lesson here is that horses are always teaching us stuff if we’re willing to listen to them. (And even after 16 years, my pony still has something to say to me.)

3 thoughts on “a bit unexpected

  1. Interesting!! I will have to educate myself on the Myler bits. I have of course heard of them, know a little about them, but haven't really read up on what each level means. I never feel like Blaze likes his bit all that much (a simple o ring snaffle), he is happy as a clam in his S Hack but of course doesn't collect or do arena work worth a shit in it, so I'd like to discover a bit he liked better.

    Also, cool that you have been with your pony that long :)

  2. That is so Mimi — she really prefers no bit at all, but the flip side of that is I don't have as much nuanced performance control by going bitless, so I school her with a bit to make her remember her manners and what it means to travel collected. I love the Myler bits, won't use anything else, and they're worth every $ you pay for them.

    Yep…16 years the middle of next month. Got her when she was 3 and I was 11.

  3. I need to get more Myler bit education as well… Q isn't THRILLED with any she's had, but she doesn't throw an ever-loving fit either. Definitely has a tendency to lean some… Hmmmm…

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