Franke Sloothaak talks tack

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • Former World Champion Franke Sloothaak is not a fan of strong bits and will, whenever possible, go for the mild option.

    “A strong bit must not take the place of enough work and correct schooling. Very often a horse only pulls because part of his body is not in balance and putting him in stronger and stronger bits, or resorting to gadgets, will not make him go any better.

    “In fact, it will often make things worse. Some strong horses never accept strong bits and, in this case, the answer is to go for a milder one, such as a snaffle.

    “Many people seem to think that if they change the horse’s bit for a stronger one, they will be able to ride better. This is not the case; if the horse is not correct in his body, then his mouth will never improve.

    “I don’t really have a favourite bit, other than the snaffle, but I might try different types ofsnaffle to find the one in which the horse goes best.

    “I do think you need professional experience to do this successfully but generally, if a horse likes a bit, he will accept it straight away, so I can sometimes try several bits in one day.

    “Horses must be comfortable in their mouths – if they are against the bit, they will never allow you to ride them properly and realise their full potential.”

    You may like...