Problem solving saddle fit cannot be seen as an isolated set of circumstances when assessing the whole horse. Along with other clinical, manual therapy and equine care professionals, bit and bridle fitting is now seen as important in its application as other aspects of horse welfare. It is therefore essential for those fitting saddles to understand the implications that bit and bridle fitting has on the trainability, relaxation and muscle development of the horse amongst other things.
The subtle indicators that we use to identify evasion and discomfort associated with saddle fit can also manifest themselves when a bit or bridle is restricting the horse or causing pain. In addition to saddle fitting, we offer a comprehensive static and ridden consultation of bits and bridles and can often combine such a consultation when checking your saddle. This often works well in mitigating shortcomings from all aspects of ill fitting tack, especially where restrictions of the head and neck are concerned.
Equine balance in motion is dictated and controlled through the delicate and complex anatomical processes within the head and jaw; this means that any adjustment or pressure caused by an unsuitable or ill fitting bit or bridle can change the balance and thus the overcompensation of particular muscle groups associated with movement. We are committed to helping you find a long term and simple solution for you and your horse through bitting and bridle fitting. We will discuss and explain how bits work, how they affect your horses motion through their action and will assess your bridle for fit where it may be causing pressure on nerves, the poll of the head, the TMJ, Hyoid apparatus etc. Consultations are designed to take the guess work out of bitting as we will help you trial bits and bridles which are designed with the head, jaw and mouth conformation in mind whilst working closely with recent clinical and behavioural research. We will identify the subtle signs which are manifest in shortened movement, tension in particular muscle groups, and temporary lameness which is seen as a symptom of restriction.
Our sessions will allow you to try a number of different bits and several styles of bridle which have been developed to remove pressure from the most common parts of the internal anatomical structures of the head associated with movement. The approach is completely independent; we draw upon a wide variety of bits across several manufacturers and are not paid commission by any company to recommend their product. Bit and bridle fitting is a purely advisory service which means you are not obliged to use a specific company and we carry over 50 bits for you to try. Removing the ‘trial and error’ from bitting with the associated pre-ridden checks and discussion means that we often only have to choose 3-4 bits which may work for your horse. Finally, an alternative bridle is chosen according to preference and using the shaped crown pieces which are suited to the conformation of the horses head. All bridles are simple cavesson nosebands. We do not use drops, flashes, grackles or anything which may restrict the free and relaxed movement of the jaw as this masks a pre-existing issue which is often a symptom of discomfort elsewhere. A full written summary is provided of what has been discussed and recommended: we work with you through the trial period which can take 3-4 weeks for a horse to work consistently with the new bit and bridle. We specialise in horses with deep and prolonged aversions to bits, those with interesting pathologies of the mouth and where all other solutions have failed in the past. We accept referrals from veterinary and equine bodywork professions, equine dentists and other holistic therapists.
We are LANTRA approved and work under the banner of Horse Bit Fit. We are CPD accredited and complete over and above the necessary minimum of additional training each year to stay abreast of new research.