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Tips from the Top: Yogi on Bitting

This comes from my notes from Yogi Breisner’s lecture at the BE Training day at Newmarket in 2010.

His thoughts on bitting, especially for the XC phase:

Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 20.10.58“Strong bitting can lead to the horse fighting and not focussing properly on the fence.

Leverage bits affect steering.

Then, to steer, there is a vice action on the poll downwards, from the martingale’s pull.

Then the horse runs from the bit, stiffens up.

Horse is more likely to slip over.

There are lots of SJs down on the final day of a 3-day because of XC bitting – horse is sore in the mouth, worried about the mouth.”




Sorry, I realise the notes are a bit staccato but I think there are some real gems in here, worth mulling over when considering whether to go for stronger bits, especially leverage bits, or not.

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  • Thanks for this. Good to be reminded of common sense for the top.

    I rode my strong horse xc in a cheltenham gag but wouldn’t wear a martingale for the reason of bit/martingale/hands contradictions. Got several funny looks (and people telling me I needed a martingale) before xc for years.

    I had tried him in a few leverage bits first (3 ring gag and american gag) but he hated these and I had no steering in them. However, the cheltenham gag he liked (as the majority of the time is just a snaffle) and I had steering in it!