“We never school the show horses in double bridles at home, and find the four-ring Wilson snaffle is a useful alternative at home,” says leading showman and producer, Robert Oliver. “We have at least half-a-dozen in the tack room.”
“Of course, it’s generally thought to be a driving bit,” he continued, “and many driving people do use a Wilson. But I just happened to have one about the place years ago for some reason and tried it purely out of curiosity.
“I found that the horses respect it – they don’t lean on it at all – and go very kindly in it. Of course, a show horse has to be supple and light, and balanced as he turns, and I find the Wilson excellent for such preparation.
“I don’t like these big, thick snaffles that everyone seems so keen on. I think that they’re very cumbersome in a horse’s mouth.”
The Wilson snaffle has four loose rings, with the inside two attaching to the cheek pieces. The reins are then attached to the outer rings, thus the inner rings act as a fulcrum which increase the effectiveness of the rein aids.
“Some people imagine that the action of the Wilson is very severe, and might make a horse’s mouth sore, but we’ve certainly never found that with any of our horses,” Robert observes. “But, after all is said and done, it’s the person on the end of the reins that dictates these things.”