H&H has spotted pictures of a new dressage-legal snaffle with curved arms — why is it special?

THE Neue Schule Verbindend was developed by bitting expert Heather Hyde and is proving popular at higher levels of dressage.

“This bit is usually sourced by riders when a more advanced outline is required,” says Heather.

“The 20 degree-angled Neue Schule Tranz lozenge may help stimulate more feel in the centre of the tongue, enabling a more precise aid to be given by the riders.

“The angle may also help the rider achieve a better connection without abusing or desensitising the tongue. The mouthpiece has been designed to avoid squeezing the tongue’s sensitive outer edges or forcing them on to the teeth.

“The lozenge, combined with the bit’s curved arms, helps to connect the pressure points required to encourage the horse to soften and relax through the jaw and topline.

“Another aim of the Verbindend is to give more lift from the horse’s shoulder and enhance the bend for lateral work. Customers have told me that the Verbindend has eradicated many long-term tongue evasions.”

Who uses it?

ESSEX-based dressage rider Michel Assouline is a fan and H&H columnist Richard Davison and his wife, Gillie, use the Verbindend on some of their horses.

“The Verbindend bit is very comfortable for the horse and lessens the nutcracker effect,” says Richard.

“I find that mares often don’t like the nutcracker effect of a straight arm, and that horses who are light in the mouth and don’t like taking a contact respond well to these bits.

“I’m pushing on Hiscox Komanchi’s grand prix work, and need her to be working nicely into the contact.

“The Verbindend really helps with this. I’m delighted that leading bit manufacturers are taking the function of the horse’s mouth into account when designing bits and it’s great that bodies such as the FEI remain open-minded about bit developments.”

Where can I get one?

Contact Neue Schule Tel: 01642 710627 www.nsbits.com

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (23 August, ’08)