Bit Fitting Clinic
Have you ever thought about the bit that you are using on your horse and how it could impact your horse?
Have you contemplated trying a new bit, but are unsure of how to chose one? A couple of weeks ago, a large group of Utah equestrians received some amazing assistance with these questions.
Stephanie Brown Beamer of Horse By Horse recently held a bit fitting clinic at Sage Creek Equestrian and Zephyr Ranch. Stephanie is the first and only Lantra Certified and fully qualified bit fitter by Neue Schule in the US. In order to gain this certification, Stephanie went through training that focused on the mechanical operation of the bit and how the horse is affected by not only the bit, but also the bridle.
I personally attended the clinic with my horse and was simply amazed at the details and examination that went into finding the correct bit for my horse. Stephanie measured for the bit length, as we have
all done many times, but then she proceeded to do a full oral evaluation of my horse's mouth, which included evaluating his tongue, the height of his palate, the condition of his teeth (especially the pre-molars), this thickness of the tissue in the corners of his mouth, the tissue thickness on his bars, and the bony structure of his bars. She also evaluated his head and poll for soreness and overall conformation.
Based on her evaluation of my horse's oral conformation and after watching me warm up in my current bit, she placed her first suggested bit in my horse's mouth. The difference in him was astonishing and immediately noticeable not only to myself, but also to spectators. His topline softened and he became energized in his hind end, which is a huge accomplishment for the horse I thought was just lazy. I tried several other bits and and was in awe of how quickly my horse felt different when a bit was changed. Sometimes, I could tell he didn't like the bit just when I lead him back to the mounting block.
I highly suggest attendance of a bit fitting clinic for every equestrian. Problems with lateral movement, tightness, and forwardness that I thought were due to my horse not wanting to work were almost immediately solved with a bit change. Just as a poor fitting saddle can cause performance problems, so can a poor fitting bit.
Other attendees to the clinic also had great things to say:
'I am so glad I tried out the Bit Fitting clinic. I was somewhat skeptical I could find something my horse might like better but this is a great opportunity to try a bunch of bits out that would be cost prohibitive otherwise. Stephanie (or clinician) was very knowledgeable on how bits should fit in the mouth and assessing the kind of mouth your horse has and how relates to the kind of bit you might need. She will also asses the bridles and let you know if there is something that needs to be changed there as well.'
-Mary G Smithing
‘Learning about where the more sensitive areas of the tongue are and how my horse's short smile impacts the way the bit sits on those sensitive areas made a huge difference. Using this knowledge in bit selection helped my horse be more comfortable, greatly improving relaxation from the jaw through the topline, and a far more consistent and steady contact with a horse who has struggled with contact for years.’
This clinic filled up quickly, but UDS is looking at holding another clinic by Stephanie later this fall. Please let us know if you are interested and we can get you on the list
to contact as soon as we schedule.