H&H Asks: Citation bit

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  • THE Citation, also referred to as a Norton Scitation or a Norton Perfection, was named after the famous Kentucky Derby winner who raced in this type of bit.

    What’s different about it?

    THE Citation bit comprises a loose-ringed snaffle to which the reins attach, plus a second, thin wire, single-jointed snaffle attached to the cheek pieces of the bridle with sliding rings. The bridle features a special noseband attached to the headpiece, which divides into a Y shape at the nose.

    The Citation uses both mouth and facial pressure, as bitting expert Richard Brown from Abbey Saddlery in Cheshire explains.

    “It has a reputation for being one of the most severe bits available,” he says.

    “The action stems from the second very thin bit and the resulting nose and poll pressure. When the reins are used, the cheeks of the thin snaffle are pushed into the horse’s face, and the joint is forced up into the roof of the mouth. The more the bit pulls back in the mouth, the more pressure is applied to the nose and corners of the lips.

    “We prefer to sell the Citation only through reputable outlets with a high degree of bitting experience. It is not suitable for novice riders.”

    Who uses it?

    FLAT racing trainer Karen McLintock has used the Citation on Dunaskin, an ongoing, strong horse, to good effect.

    “I’ve only ever had one other horse strong enough to need a Citation,” she says.

    “I’ve tried other options with Dunaskin to no avail, including much milder bits, but he’s very keen and strong. He needs consistency in his pace, as he can go too fast, and the Citation helps us to control the pace. It doesn’t tear his mouth, which has happened with other bits. He trains in it at home and races in a Dexter ring bit.”

    Where can I buy one?

    THEY cost around £60 from Abbey Saddlery Tel: 01565 650343 www.ridingbitz.com

    This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (7 June, ’07)

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