MIKMAR bits are made from light aircraft aluminium and are designed to lie flat in the horse’s mouth. They were invented by Frank Evans in the USA, whose goal was to enable a rider to get results from their bit, while still protecting the horse’s mouth

How does it work?

THE combination bit, which comes with a “nose rope”, disperses pressure to the nose, mouth, chin and poll areas. The reins can be attached at various different positions to alter the areas of pressure.

The bit also incorporates a copper roller, which is said to promote saliva production and discourage the horse from putting its tongue over the bit.

Who uses it?

AFTER borrowing the combination bit from fellow show jumper Geoff Luckett two years ago, Philip Spivey has since used the Mikmar on his 2005 Horse & Hound Foxhunter champion Romanov in all his competitions.

Why does it suit Romanov?

“ALTHOUGH Romanov doesn’t pull, he’s always been very difficult in the mouth, but he soon settled in the medium shank Mikmar combination bit with a cherry roller,” says Philip.

“Before that, we’d tried lots of different bits on him. The one I use offers a variety of options, and I find the rope attachment most effective.

“Using two reins offers more choice, as one runs to the bit and the other is attached to the rope, so I can use one rein or the other, or a combination of both.”

It looks severe — is it?

NOT according to Philip: “The bit itself looks like a mouthful of metal, but it’s actually very light. However, we only use the Mikmar for competing. At home, we ride Romanov in a snaffle or something similar,” he explains.

Who else uses it?

GERMAN former Olympic Champion Ludger Beerbaum rode Diablo Du Parc II in this bit.

How do I get one?

MIKMAR Combination bits are available from most leading suppliers and cost around £150.

Visit www.mikmar.com

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (25 January, ’07)