I've been kicking around the idea of trying out new bits on Annie to see if I can get her to be more accepting of a firmer contact. She has such a light mouth that we get into "discussions" about taking contact period and I thought a different bit might help.
This is my current bit, pretty standard in the dressage world I think. I like the three piece action because I think it's a more mild bit that has less of a nutcracker action. I think the bean is even more mild then a regular french link.
It's made out of rubber but it's extra bendy and soft, I think it's a Nathe bit. I actually picked it up several years ago for $5 at a tack sale because it was odd looking. I tried it out on Nikki who HATED it. As in put her head in my face and refused to remove it until I removed the bit. I've heard a lot on COTH about Nathe bits and how sensitive mouthed OTTBs seem to enjoy the mullen mouth and soft action. I was contemplating buying one but then I remembered I had this one in my trunk.
It seems to fit Annie pretty well
I've ridden her in it all week and I still can't make up my mind. It's no miracle for sure, but the circumstances have not exactly been ideal. Monday Annie had been off for a few days and she's always a bit fresh. Tuesday and Wednesday the horses stayed in all day due to crappy February weather (rain, snow, rain, snow, etc) so while I rode on both those days I wasn't exactly expecting a relaxed horse. Thursday they had the day off because I was catching up on stalls and it started raining so the horses were wet and muddy. Friday I decided to jump but for some reason Annie was wired and I could hardly get her to walk let alone relax on the bit.
She seems to not mind taking a firmer contact with this bit, but she wasn't as bendy. I had a harder time getting her to flex to the side or to go round. I am not quite sure if it's because the mullen mouth construction makes it harder to manipulate one side of the horse's mouth or because she wasn't in the mood.
I might try it out for a few days next week and see if there is any improvement.