Asha Warnock is an Australian eventing rider – she is sponsored by bit fitter and Bombers Bits specialist, Gary Mudgway, and also offers tuition in jumping, dressage and schooling.
Here she shares a bitting journey with her ride, Olivia.
“When I first rode Olivia, I never thought she was bad in the mouth; no, if anything I thought she was quite good.
So why all the changes then?” Asha muses, when asked about the mare’s development.
“Oli was in quite a few different bits last season; here’s why.
“She was good in the mouth when I first rode her, but didn’t “go” to the contact; she liked to sit a little behind it. She also loved to tilt her head to one side if I did get her travelling to the contact a bit better,” Asha explains.
“Acceptance of the bit is a really important part of dressage, so while a lot of it comes from correct training, a bit the horse is comfortable in makes it a lot easier!
“My super sponsor Gary Mudgway and I first tried a lot of different bitting options and found her most comfortable in the Bombers drop cheek titanium happy tongue. (The same cheekpiece and mouthpiece are pictured left, in sweet iron).
“The drop cheek lifts the bit in the horse’s mouth, so it’s nice and subtle when you take the contact. This bit caused a range of good and not so good outcomes over the next 3 months!
“She travelled to the contact much better; her flatwork in turn improved out of sight; but she got braver in arguing with a half halt, and also got braver in ignoring my asking her to turn,” Asha continues.
“The negative outcomes were most noticeable when jumping (throw in a nice dash of adrenaline!); but were becoming a problem in her flatwork too. So we moved to a bit more of a “don’t argue” bit, the Bombers McHardy.
“She went out and won the dressage next start; our XC was improved; but still not as much brakes as needed. So we moved up to a Williams cheek McHardy for jumping. (Left).
“Brakes were great, but my princess was very uncomfortable and threw her head about a lot!”
After all of this, it was time for another visit from Gary. Gary suggested what seemed a little absurd to Asha.
“He said: How about we take a step back and go to a softer bit? He had felt a little bruising in her mouth, and said if she’s more comfortable, she’ll be more responsive.
“We tried her in the Bombers ported barrel eggbutt, and wow she went beautifully on the flat from the get go. I certainly wasn’t convinced for the jumping phases though,” Ashsa recalls.
“Gary sent me out a ported barrel drop cheek (below); he said go for a gallop in the paddock and see what you think.
“Which I did, and to my surprise the brakes were spot on. Off I went to Naracoorte horse trials with my two new bits. She won the dressage; show jumped the best round I’d jumped on her, in the drop cheek; and then gave me the best ride yet across country.
“Gary assures me I shouldn’t get too excited, as we probably will need to change things again in future!
“I’m so grateful of the support and the guidance I have received from Bombers Bits, the theory behind mouth confirmation and ensuring comfort for the horse really sit well with me, and the Bombers range has me covered for all options,” Asha concludes.
ASHA’S FB PG – https://www.facebook.com/Asha-Warnock-Equestrian-132700720680499/
GARY’s PB PG – https://www.facebook.com/bitfitter/