Myler bits are hugely popular with riders across all disciplines, but with a wide choice of cheek styles and various mouthpieces available, it is no surprise that some riders are confused as to which bits are dressage legal.
While advice should always be sought from a Myler retailer regarding fitting and your horses individual requirements, H&H clarifies the bits you can use in dressage tests under FEI and British Dressage (BD) rules.
What are the options?
The following Myler snaffles are dressage legal, although hooks, the slots in the cheek rings that hold the bit off the horses tongue when pressure is not engaged, are not allowed under FEI/BD rules.
MBO2: Comfort Snaffle Wide Barrel (when used with hanging cheek, loose ring cheek, eggbutt cheek and full cheek; bit keepers are permissible and recommended by Myler with the latter). This bit has a barrel in the centre giving independent side action; it limits the degree of collapse, thereby preventing nutcracker action.
MB32: Mullen Barrel (when used with hanging cheek, full cheek and eggbutt cheek). This features a curved, mullen mouthpiece with centre barrel for independent side movement. It applies pressure across the tongue, but meets lips and bars at a sympathetic angle.
MB10: French Link (when used with loose ring cheek, or pony D-ring, size 41/2in only).
Who uses them?
Former British dressage champion Nicky Barrett uses all of the above dressage-legal bits to compete in, as well as Mylers approved double bridle bits. She is also a fan of the Myler Ported Barrel, which has a curved mouthpiece with a 11/2in port and centre barrel.
This one isnt dressage legal, but is useful when introducing a horse to the double bridle during the transitional training period, she says.
Lucinda Fredericks and Anna Ross Davies are also Myler fans.
How do they work?
The wide choice of mouthpieces aims to ensure each horse is bitted for its specific needs.
Myler bits were developed to obtain communication through comfort and relaxation, so the signal to the horse, as well as the reward, can be clear.
Bitting expert and Myler retailer Heidi Turner-Day, from Fox Saddlery in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, says: The Myler bits are graded in levels according to their action, the riders skill level and the horses training programme.
Myler recommend that the horse is trained at home in the most appropriate Myler bit for his own individual needs, in order to advance his training comfortably. The horse should then perform the dressage test in the most suitable dressage-legal bit.
Where can I buy one?
For stockists (tel: 01335 372600), www.belstane.com
This feature was first published in Horse & Hound (5 July, ’07)