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Country Pleasure & Snaffles


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#21 Chile

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 07:58 AM

For the same reason upper level dressage and show hack riders do? We are asking for extreme elevation and collection, which are easier to maintain with a snaffle to elevate and guide and a curb to help with collection and head set. Being shown in a full bridle is an indication that the horse has reached a point in their education that they can distinguish and respond to the bits correctly.
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#22 huntseat

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 01:35 PM

For the same reason upper level dressage and show hack riders do? We are asking for extreme elevation and collection, which are easier to maintain with a snaffle to elevate and guide and a curb to help with collection and head set. Being shown in a full bridle is an indication that the horse has reached a point in their education that they can distinguish and respond to the bits correctly.


That's very nice in theory, but ultimately that is an incorrect statement. A correctly used curb in dressage really should have very little to do with "head set". There is a reason why dressage horses aren't ever introduced to a curb and a full bridle until years and years into their training and after developing an incredible amount of strength, if ever at all.

I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with the fact that saddleseat horses go in long curbs, but to say that it serves the same purpose and is used the same way in both saddleseat and dressage is not correct.

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#23 Zoe

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:56 PM

I don't have insecurities about a double bridle. I was just wondering why they don't show in them, and how you ride at home in a snaffle. Thank you all for your answers!

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#24 Marilee

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 03:21 PM

My stallion was shown at the Snaffle Bit Futurity at 3 in 1981 (snaffle, saddleseat). When we brought him to Las Vegas, we continued to use the snaffle (eggbutt, large copper or stainless). Over time we did try different martingales or draw reins, but then already having had dressage lessons BEFORE getting him, thought through the process of LESS IS MORE, and learning to ride with snaffle, NO martingales or spurs, but rather over time to build up the horse from the rearend forward. We had soft hands anyway. Rode a lot in the desert, on trails, and in the mountains with the same snaffle only. So for us, NOT using these other aids/gadgets over time produced the athleticism and softness, responsiveness to the aids-not just using a more severe bit. Did lunge him with the snaffle too, often with loose side reins. Did most of his work under saddle or free work. When he was older, per the rules, we did introduce the double bridle (snaffle and curb). Experimented with a shorter length of curb/side shanks (he didn't need much or any really as he was so light in the bit and so engaged from behind)and also with a lighter weight curb. The snaffle then was the thinner/less circumferenced one to go with the curb. But we only used the double bridle for showing, and used the snaffle only (back to the eggbutt) for the rest of his training/conditioning. Thinking back now, I still remember how he looked over the years compared to other horses of that time (I had him from 3 to 27)and he was shown in open English classes (against other breeds, Saddle Seat and hunt seat too combined) and in Arabian breed EP classes---this was before the split of the English classes. Elegant movement, balanced front and rear, very light response to the aids. I would do the same again with another horse today, regardless of the way things are in the ring now. Judges of all kinds really looked at that horse, and that is what you want--real appreciation for the package of horse and rider, and soundness of the horse over time. Many of the people and horses we showed against and knew back then, used all kinds of bits/tiedowns/gadgets/shortcuts and you really saw the horse and rider confused over time as to how to progress. I still think less is more.... and training takes time to get the desired result.

#25 ancientoaks

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 08:21 AM

That's very nice in theory, but ultimately that is an incorrect statement. A correctly used curb in dressage really should have very little to do with "head set". There is a reason why dressage horses aren't ever introduced to a curb and a full bridle until years and years into their training and after developing an incredible amount of strength, if ever at all.

I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with the fact that saddleseat horses go in long curbs, but to say that it serves the same purpose and is used the same way in both saddleseat and dressage is not correct.



well said. the double bridle is introduced way too soon in most EP/CP training barns, certainly partly in response to owners being in a hurry. (Or trainers!). It does take years to properly educate a horse to the double, and ditto on the riders. It is not a tool for the novice, or near mid level rider. and you are correct, the curb is NOT to intended to 'set a head' or 'create elevation'. THAT comes from the rear end.
And, despite the 'trend' a well trained, and seasoned double bridle horse (saddleseat, polo, dressage,etc) should still be able to be ridden and framed up while wearing a snaffle. (note I did not say 'with a snaffle'..there's a difference in 'while in a snaffle' and 'with')

it all boils down to patient and experienced training. period.

#26 windridge

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:02 PM

well said. the double bridle is introduced way too soon in most EP/CP training barns, certainly partly in response to owners being in a hurry. (Or trainers!). It does take years to properly educate a horse to the double, and ditto on the riders. It is not a tool for the novice, or near mid level rider. and you are correct, the curb is NOT to intended to 'set a head' or 'create elevation'. THAT comes from the rear end.
And, despite the 'trend' a well trained, and seasoned double bridle horse (saddleseat, polo, dressage,etc) should still be able to be ridden and framed up while wearing a snaffle. (note I did not say 'with a snaffle'..there's a difference in 'while in a snaffle' and 'with')

it all boils down to patient and experienced training. period.


Seems like a simle rule change could fix that- hunter jr horses have to show in a snaffle, western jr horses have to show in a snaffle or bosal, yet the majority of CEP and English jr horses show in a full bridle...hmmm

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#27 huntseat

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:12 PM

Seems like a simle rule change could fix that- hunter jr horses have to show in a snaffle, western jr horses have to show in a snaffle or bosal, yet the majority of CEP and English jr horses show in a full bridle...hmmm


But not futurity horses... I always found that one curious. What, in terms of training, separates a 3 year old futurity horse from a 3 year old junior horse, and why should one go in a snaffle and one in a double?

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