Friday, May 18, 2012

Baucher



I've never really been a "gear" type of person.  Generally, the most interest I show in my gear is in making sure it's all there before I mount up.  (And I still sometimes forget things.... Girth?  Who needs that?)

I know how the stuff works, but I just don't find it all that interesting.  What I find particularly "not interesting" is trying to figure out what is legal for dressage and what is not.  Especially when it comes to bits.  So, I usually stick with the basic, boring loose ring snaffle.  But, since introducing the curb to Spider, I had noticed how much more happy and relaxed he is in a double bridle compared to the snaffle.

Spider is a typical Thoroughbred in that he will fuss with a bit if allowed to.  He also tends to suck back or dive out of contact.  We worked for many years to get him over this in his training, and I was very proud of him last year when we were finally able to move up to a full bridle with a curb bit.  Although, I did think that we would have some of the same problems when the curb was introduced.  Surprisingly, we did not.  He was willing to accept the contact of the curb quite nicely.  We did, however, have the old fussing, diving, sucking back problems when we would switch back to the loose ring snaffle.  Color me confused!

After some ruminating, I began to think that maybe what Spider didn't like was the instability of the loose ring snaffle in his mouth.  I knew the baucher, or hanging cheek, snaffle was supposed to be more stable due to the cheek pieces being fixed, but I didn't actually have one to try.

Luckily, I just happened to find one in my local tack store in the right size and not too expensive!  (South Jersey is the land of Quarter Horses.  Trying to find a bit in giant-headed Spider size is usually impossible.  I once had a tack store employee tell me, snottily, that "Only Draft horses wear that size." I was not amused.)

So, I hooked up my new bit and put it on Spider.  And he liked it!  No diving, no sucking back, no fussing.  He went straight into the contact.  It seems that the baucher is exactly as advertised, at least for Spider.  That's a first!




18 comments:

  1. Horses can be so particular . . . . !!!

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    1. No kidding! I call Spider "The Princess" because he's so particular with things. I swear he would know if there were a pea in his bedding!

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  2. Horses are so picky when it comes to bits. The only thing my pony likes (that we can find in a 4" pony size) is a "D" ring with a french link. She still not happy with that bit and I've considered trying to find her a legit bitless bridle. But again, pony sized, harto find! Oh, and of course, illegal to show in :-/

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  3. My friend had a mare (also a Thoroughbred!) who was basically a giraffe with loose-ring snaffles. Yet, she loves loves loves the stability of the Baucher. Horses can definitely be particular!

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I love it when new people comment, I always find new blogs to read!

      Thoroughbreds are especially particular with things. I have learned far more from riding hot, sensitive Thoroughbreds than I ever did with the steady Warmblood Schoolmasters!

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  4. Hmmmm - so the thing with the Baucher is that the ring is fixed? Interesting.

    Would Spider be in the 6" bit category by any chance? I generally have to special order for Val. :)

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    1. The ring is fixed, like the D and eggbutt snaffles, which prevents pinching... but also it is fixed to the bit separately from the ring. This prevents the bit from rotating in the horse's mouth and adds more stability.

      Yup, Spider is a solid 6". I never thought it was that big, my Swedish Warmblood goes in the same size. As do most of the Warmbloods I know. I was quite offended by that sales girl's implication!

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  5. All the TBs I've sent time on (which is 3 or 4 over the years) have really prefer fixed cheek bits. The first two went in single jointed eggbutts and Cuna wears a rubber mullen full cheek. Not sure what they have against bit movement, but it works for them.

    Of course, I love gear and now I want to play with a baucher. Maybe Steph has one lying around.

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    1. I bet Cuna will love it! Not that I'm enabling your tack fetish or anything.....

      I look forward to hearing how Cuna goes in it!

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  6. Same here with the TB's I've had. I use lozenge eggbutt bits on them. Chance is still in a full cheek--but not a loose ring--and seems to prefer a single jointed bit.

    I too think that in some horses a loose ring bit does not offer enough stability for them to feel they can "hang" on it a little--take contact. (I guess South Jersey really is another world. *lol*)

    Glad to know you seem to have found a bit that works, even if it is "draft size." *giggle*

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    1. I tried an eggbutt on Spider under saddle years ago, but he was the same in it as he was in a loose ring. Never tried a full cheek. I do use an eggbutt when I longe or long line, just because I worry about pinching and not being able to give my rein as quickly. But, I've never noticed a difference there, either. He tends to dive in and out of the contact on the line if I'm not on top of it. I guess I'll have to get another draft sized baucher for my longeing rig!

      I guess I got spoiled at Toll Booth and Rick's, 5.5", 6" was the normal size. I was so offended when the girl argued with me about what size bit my horse took! She was adamant that only Draft horses needed a 6" bit! Maybe my perspective is skewed, but I think 16.2 hands is short!

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  7. As a North Jersey transplant, I can attest that South Jersey is very much "another world"! New Jersey is a big state trapped in a tiny geographical location. ;)

    I have read good things about the Baucher, but never tried it. I use a double-jointed loose ring. I agree about hot-blooded horses teaching us more than warmbloods. My QH must have a lot of thoroughbred blood in his veins and the prominent withers to match! There are many things that the warmbloods used to ignore that he cannot tolerate. He makes me a better rider, for sure.

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    1. I always giggle a little when I hear people trash Thoroughbreds. Little do they know that the modern Warmblood and Quarter Horse lines have quite a bit of Thoroughbred in them!

      I learned the feel and the movements on WB schoolmasters, but the TBs have showed me how to train a horse. An invaluable lesson.

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  8. Sounds awesome! Finding the right bit for my last horse was always a challenge for me, and right now with my new girl we've just been sticking with a plain old eggbutt snaffle. I'm not sure if I want to mess around with the bit too much unless I know it will help her. And she seems to be doing fine as of now. :)

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    1. If it works, don't mess with it!

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  9. I've heard Bauchers do offer more stability, and thought about trying one with Jabby, since he seemed to worry about the loose ring and was a little steadier in an eggbutt. Willie, on the other hand, loves his loose ring and HATES eggbutts and D-rings, but was okay with the full-cheek he was started in. Go figure?

    Funny thing about bit sizes... Willie is 15.3hh and can get away with a cob bridle, but takes a 5.5" bit. Jabby is 17hh and on the border of "draft sized" and -seemed- to fit into the 5.5" bits okay but I'm wondering if he doesn't just need a 6" -- or, heaven help me, even bigger...

    I have to laugh about the tack shop worker, though. I had one tell me I most definitely did not need an 18" saddle, at which point I pulled one off the rack and sat in it. Some of us customers DO educate ourselves elsewhere, ya know!

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    1. Oh boy, the local tack store would have a fit over Willie! Spider is "only" 16.2, just a regular sized horse to me!

      Saddle sizes are very fickle. I can ride in anything from a 16.5 to an 18 depending on how deep the seat is and the size and position of the block. My saddler has told me that seat size has more to do with the length if your femur and how it attaches to your pelvis than it does the actual size of your "seat"!

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  10. So I have to add in here, because although I haven't tried a baucher on my guy, I like the idea and am familiar with them. (I also seem to have less of a giraffe if I ride in an egg-but or D-ring instead of the loose ring.)

    Anyway, I saw a lease ad on craigslist once. Her photo of the horse undersaddle had a Baucher bit in the mouth. Except that it was upside down!!! Cheek pieces attached to the large ring, and the small ring point to the ground with the reins attached to it! Guess for the uninformed it doubles as a leverage bit? I didn't have the heart to be the random stranger that emails to say her, "Not interested in your horse, just want to tell you your tack is on wrong."

    Just can't see this bit without the mental picture or it upside down...

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