Horse & Hound caught up with bitting expert Hilary Vernon recently to discuss typical problems that riders face and how chosing the right bit can help.

In this short video, Hilary explains some of the reasons why horses don’t want to take up a contact with the bit and what types of bit work best to help minimise the problem.

For more expert bitting advice, don’t miss the full feature in Horse & Hound magazine (12 June, 2014 issue) or download a PDF version here

Hilary explains: “When you see a horse like this working they are typically behind the contact because they don’t want to take the bit forward. Alternatively they may tuck their chin into towards their chest, but in a light way and as a rider you feel you want them to reach out.

“The horse uses its tongue as a feeler. If it feels out to the bit and finds a perfect hoop, symetrical and comfortable, then they will draw the rein out. If they feel something that is not comfortable, or something that closes on their tongue or lower jar, or if the joints of the bits sit in an uncomfortable position in the mouth, it may feel very light in the hand. Horses like this can feel like you are riding with the handbreak on as they don’t want to take the bit forward.

“For a horse like that you want something very bland in the mouthpiece, so the horse wants to push its tongue into the bit and give the rider more weight in the rein.”