Bit crunching / chewing - anyone tried the NS Turtle Top?

VioletStripe

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Hello! So from the title -

My 13yo 15.1hh connemara gelding has always been a bit muncher. Always. He has a reasonably narrow head (we tend to sedate and use power tools for the dentist to make life easier with this). Always up date with the dentist, never had any issues.

- Never been lame (bar a hoof abscess once), regular physio and saddler checks - no problems.

- Works very nicely across his back in a true outline, both long and low and collected up.

He previously never liked much pressure on his mouth, and after a few trials and errors including:
- Loose ring NS Team Up lozenge
- Loose ring NS Tranz Angled lozenge
- Straight bar happy mouth
- NS Tranz Angled Baucher/hanging cheek - we have found the absolute best so far to be the baucher. It's the most relaxed he has ever been with a bit, but he just loves to chomp on it and chew - particularly if he's concentrating or we are doing fast work.

It's never an evasion of work (for one it clearly doesn't succeed because he maintains a soft contact and outline willingly), and he genuinely loves his work and going fast - it's just he likes to chomp and mouth the bit. He doesn't cling to the bit and pull it though, so it isn't a leaning/tanking scenario. It's just an over-active mouthing? I know this is common with tension in horses, but he's not in pain anywhere and we've never found him to be either.

I have him in a Micklem bridle, before that a simple padded cavesson noseband. Changing made no difference, and I am not keen to strap his mouth shut. Reading on the NS website, they suggest a Turtle Top mouth piece for overactive mouths - has anyone tried this? Does anyone else have any ideas or suggestions? Should I not worry too much? His teeth don't have any problems with it, and he he seems very happy - there's always an appropriate amount of salivation with riding, and he's very enthusiastic. I just find it really odd!

He is naturally a very switched on horse, forward going and thinking and at times a little sharp but never silly or explosive - and he has a very soft mouth. It doesn't matter how engaged he is with work - the type of work makes no difference, and neither does changing the type of work - ie trying more or fewer transitions, doing more lateral work, working long and low with little contact, collecting up, jumping/pole work... I just can't get to the bottom of it! Do I dare try bitless?
 

rextherobber

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One of mine is very similar sounding to yours, was recommended the turtle top, so tried it and she absolutely hated it. She goes best in a Bombers happy tongue loose ring.
 

Bernster

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Tried it and it did seem to help. Not a total fix as mine still chomps when he’s tense, or working on something he’s not sure about. But otherwise it seems steadier in his mouth. I also like the collegiate comfitec bridle which also seems to have helped.
 

ycbm

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There are some cheap copies of the mouthpiece on ebay at the moment, I'm just waiting for a long cheek version to arrive for my mare, but she seems to like my copy myler so I might try it on the other horse to see if he prefers fixed or loose rings.

.
 

Micropony

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I have mine in a turtle top. Trainer suggested it a few years ago, can't remember why, and I have never seen a reason to change it. He's not fussy in the mouth, but the way it's designed it's quite still in the mouth so I can see why it might be worth a try. I would have thought an eggbutt cheek might be better than a loose ring in terms of being quiet in his mouth? They are quite expensive, can you borrow or hire one rather than splashing out?
 

rextherobber

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I have mine in a turtle top. Trainer suggested it a few years ago, can't remember why, and I have never seen a reason to change it. He's not fussy in the mouth, but the way it's designed it's quite still in the mouth so I can see why it might be worth a try. I would have thought an eggbutt cheek might be better than a loose ring in terms of being quiet in his mouth? They are quite expensive, can you borrow or hire one rather than splashing out?
Mine apparently "needs" a certain amount of play, hence using a loose ring, the eggbutt was too still, but agree in principle. I got my Bombers secondhand, was roughly half price, and they seem to sell very well, so can always sell on what doesn't suit. Ycbm also says earlier that there are cheap copies on ebay at the moment.
 

milliepops

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my chompy one did improve quite a lot in the turtle top. i bought a normal one and hired a tactio and the normal one was best.
 

HufflyPuffly

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Skylla had the turtle top for a while, but she goes much better in an Informed Designs harmony snaffle. Topaz I tried to the TT but she's ended up in a Myler and much happier in the contact.
 

Rosietaz

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There are some cheap copies of the mouthpiece on ebay at the moment, I'm just waiting for a long cheek version to arrive for my mare, but she seems to like my copy myler so I might try it on the other horse to see if he prefers fixed or loose rings.

.
Do you have a link or a eBay username? I’ve just searched “turtle top bit” but only the genuine NS ones have popped up so far - would be interested to see what the copies are like. I bought some NS Verbindend copies from “UKSALES25” and was really unhappy with them so got a refund
 
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VioletStripe

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Thanks for your replies everyone - I'm glad I'm not the only one and I wanted to have a sanity, in case anyone else had experienced the same and found out there was a definite cause - sinister or not!

I have heard of the Bombers Happy Tongue and have been very tempted to try it - I've seen they do a trial on Bit Bank so might give it a go!
 

Surbie

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I have mine in a NS turtle top (for leaning) and he goes well in it. I looked at the happy tongue after posts on here but they don't make them big enough to fit in his enormous gob - he's in 6"/XL NS as the large was just a little too snug with the loose rings.
 

AnShanDan

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I've got a tbxconn that loves to chomp. I had a bit fit person out and we tried many bits, she said that my mare had a pony tongue but a long smile so when you took up the contact with a normal bit it came back far enough in the mouth to put pressure on the step in her tongue and she instinctively chewed rather than there being any other reason ie poor contact or discomfort.
Best bit we found was a sprenger turnado which has a joint that kind of turns down when you take the contact. Improvement has been slow but steady, as she has relaxed over the months.
 

oldie48

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I struggled with Mr B as he was very busy in the mouth, like your horse he had a very narrow muzzle but a thick tongue and fleshy inner cheeks. The TT boucher worked for him, tbh it was pretty miraculous. Rose is pretty easy to bit and she's in the TT loose ring and goes well in it. The thing about the TT is that although it looks bulky it does sit very flat on the tongue which is helpful if the horse has relatively little room. Both horses went better in a Micklem which was annoying as I had a lovely Albion bridle! I'd hire bits first just to check. The sizing on the TT are a bit odd but apparently it's because they are cast in one piece (I think that was what I was told).
 
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