What is everyones views on gag bits??

MoniqueCSS

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Hi everyone, I am trying to learn more about different bits and was wondering what peoples views were on the gag? When would you put a horse in a gag, for what reason? I know that the different rings have different effects and cause different pressures etc. I have seen many horses in a gag and have also felt the improvement in a horse myself after being put in one. Could someone just give me some more information on how they work? And any info on other bits would also be appreciated if someone has the time. Many Thanks!
 

MS123

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I don't know too much about them, but a friend of mine has a 3 ring gag on her firecracker of a pony. For flat she has him on the snaffle ring, jumping on the second, and hunting on the third.

I have my horses in NS snaffles and they are amazing! Why don't you have a little look on their website, each bit has a description, and I found it to be very formative when looking for one to try.
 

MoniqueCSS

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Thank you MS123 I will definitely have a look! That's what the horse I ride is in - a 3 ring gag and he is lovely in it!

horsemadmum1 - Great! Why did you chose a Cheltenham?
 

peaceandquiet1

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I chose it because I used it myself as a teenager on a strong pony and it made such a difference. Have never tried any other type of gag but I prefer gag action to bits with curb chains. I recently posted a thread on here asking about bits for this pony then remembered my own pony-and found a little one on ebay and it's been great. The same pony did not respond to a kimblewick and was too strong in a snaffle for jumping.
 

HaffiesRock

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I like gags too. My Haflinger can be very strong when jumping. For flatwork and hacking, he is in a snaffle, but for jumping he is in a dutch gag on the 2nd ring. On a rare occasion I need to put it on the third, but once he has the message I put it back to the middle again. Its the only bit I have found that he respects, and I have tried loads!
 

Meems

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I used to have control issues with my horse from time to time, not very often but when she decided to go she would go. I ride her in a gag, only ever on the second ring, and she goes absolutely fine in it, and I have control when I need it.

I know some people view them as harsh but it works for us.
 

Lolo

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I dislike the two/ three ring gags as they are so rarely used correctly. I appreciate they have their use. But I have almost never seen one used with two reins or roundings. I particularly dislike them in novice hands- they apply a huge amount of pressure and whilst the horse may be strong you are often creating more weight by applying more pressure and just perpetuating the problem.

I'm not a snaffle-only advocate. Different bits are needed for different situations and if your horse is strong it can be quite dangerous to persist riding in a snaffle in situations where you need control. I used a Cheltenham gag on my horse for everything bar flatwork because he was a massive twit who merrily ignored anything less. I had two reins (aside from hunting, where I never touched the snaffle rein- he was either strong or standing still!). But I do dislike the constant misuse of gag bits.
 

Micky

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I also mislike the use of gags and certain bits in general, most people fail to school their horse to listen to them, then freak when they become strong and gag them, put a flash on etc etc etc...
Interestingly I was watching an old dvd from my mothers hunting days (70's)...and guess what, not a gag in sight, nor a flash...
 

Mince Pie

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I dislike the two/ three ring gags as they are so rarely used correctly. I appreciate they have their use. But I have almost never seen one used with two reins or roundings. I particularly dislike them in novice hands- they apply a huge amount of pressure and whilst the horse may be strong you are often creating more weight by applying more pressure and just perpetuating the problem.

I'm not a snaffle-only advocate. Different bits are needed for different situations and if your horse is strong it can be quite dangerous to persist riding in a snaffle in situations where you need control. But I do dislike the constant misuse of gag bits.

This ^^ Personally I like to see the 3 ring/dutch gags used with a curb as well.
 

AmieeT

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My boy can be very strong so he wears a Dutch gag.

it pretty much stays on the snaffle ring for me, as I'm still learning, but when we do jumping it goes down a ring- haven't tried lately as the shools been boggy, but we've done a lot of leg/position work out hacking so I'm hopi g it'll be able to stay on the snaffle!

Owners (I loan) daughter could only ridehim XC in the gag, had a second rein on the third ring as emergency brakes lol.

He only really still wears it for me because I see no point in getting a different bit when he's happy as he is.

Ax
 

iconique

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I'm with Lolo, I have very rarely seen them used correctly - with 2 reins or roundings (something else I'm not keen on!)
They have a place like most bits, but are mostly overused and not understood! However the most distressing that i've seen 'in trend' at the moment is the waterford!
"A bit is only as good as the hands it is in" many are too quick to change the bit and not train the horse!
 

kerrieberry2

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I swapped from a mullen mouth Pelham, with kerb chain and rolled lip strap, used with bit roundings (what she came with)

to a

Waterford 3ring gag, again used with bit roundings on the top and bottom rings, because my friend suggested it! I knew nothing about its, and don't pretend to know much more now.

but what I do know is, my mare used to bite down on the Pelham and bolt, I had no control, I couldn't stop her for toffee! I pooped myself swapping to something else but my mare never slowed down so easily as she did with the Waterford! this was at least 7yrs ago and I never struggled to stop her once she was in that bit! she seemed much happier too!
 

lucindakay

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i only ever use the dutch gag/3 ring with double reins and only for hunting or xco, i strongly believe that gags can be severe in untrined hands, and i also ride with two sets of reins just so i can try using the 'snaffle' part first and if that fils then i have the 3rd ring, correct me if im wrong but i thing 3 ring gags should be ridden with two sets of reins anyway?


//sorrry just realised all the post above say the same thing//
 
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Pearlsasinger

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When I bought the Draft horse, she came with a Dutch gag with one set of reins on the 2nd ring. Apparently she had tanked off with her previous novice owner, so this was the remedy.
She schools well n a NS Tranz but I hack her in a NS Universal, which is their answer to a gag bit. They recommend only using the bit with a curb and 2 reins, which I do. It works well, as I ride on the 'snaffle' rein most of the time but can bring the curb rein into play if she gets very strong. I much prefer it to the Dutch gag.
 

Honey08

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I agree about the three ring gags, the bottom ring is really severe, and usually the riders don't realise how restricted and uncomfortable their horse is. I don't dislike the bit, I use it now and again for my husband's 17h hunter when he gets a bit bolshy with weaker riders or for jumping. But everyone rides softly in it, and its only ever on the first ring usually. I do think its become too fashionable nowadays and is used as an easy fix.

I ride my mare in a Cheltenham gag for jumping and mid winter when she can get feisty. I like to think that I have a little bit of knowledge and experience, and tried a lot of different bits before settling on this one as its the one she goes best in. I don't ride in two reins with it, 99% of the time I only ride on a very loose contact with this horse anyway, so there is no action other than the action of the snaffle..
 

Pigeon

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I agree that all bits are only as harsh as the hand at the other end, but those hands do need to know the leverage forces and how much pressure they are actually applying...

I didn't realise until recently that a dutch gag should be used with roundings or two reins. Never used one myself, but they're quite common and pretty much no-one uses the roundings, let alone a curb...
 

Queenbee

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I like them, but used correctly. Of late they became a bit too 'fashionable' for my liking. Too many people using them consistently on their horses. I'm a fan of a bit being used for a job, a gag snaffle used when it's needed, let's say for jumping or hunting can be impactful and useful, but too many riders tend to use them daily and the horse becomes dull and the bit, ineffective.
 

weebarney

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Well I would never have that dilemma because I wouldn't try one!

She goes perfectly well in a snaffle and previous horse, who was strong, was good in a Kimblewick or Pelham.
That's fine , I was meaning in general rather than your current horses. I have always used snaffles or Pelhams until I got given a horse who was literally unstoppable in a snaffle, she hated a Pelham and bubble bit so we tried out an American gag. It's not something I would ever have anticipated owning but it worked and we went on to win Xc's and affiliated sj in it.
 

Starbucks

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Personally, I try to ride in as mild a bit as possible. I think there are more accidents from people over biting when jumping than under biting.

I've never found a 3 ring gag that severe, I tried my horse in one on middle/bottom and didn't have any more control than in a snaffle. I don't know why people think they are so strong, they work the same as an American gag but with much less leverage?
 
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