Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bits and bobs and bangles

I know I said I was going to finish going through Denny Emmerson's list of goals (he's up to 40 now, like I needed more challenge in my life), but first there is a rant required here. It's a multi-part rant, but it revolves around the one aspect of riding that we can all share: tack.

The reason why my tack trunk weighs as much as it does.
Bit addiction is not a pretty thing.

I got my new bit and bridle today. I love getting tack in the mail, it's always so exciting. The UPS guy is used to me running down the hall with an excited grin like a kid on Christmas when any box with a Smartpak label shows up. There's the leather smell, the excitement of getting new equipment that will surely send my riding from it's current mediocre state right to the next level as soon as I use it, all of that in a glorious instant when I cut the box open. Quickly followed by me groaning and pulling out pieces of tack that must be assembled into something approaching the correct order and alignment. Tradition is great and everything, but did they really need to make bridles this much of a pain?

I've been riding for over twenty years, and almost all of that in English disciplines. I was dismantling bridles in first grade, and reassembling them in second grade. Of course, my mother spent many years going behind me and reassembling my bridles correctly, but by the time I was a teen, I could do it on my own. As an instructor, I once had my bridle disassembled by my students, tossed into a bag, and then I reassembled it. Blindfolded. I was cursing that pelham and the four reins pretty vividly (and that's goal number 40 checked off Denny's list). All of this experience means nothing when you've got a brand new bridle to wrestle into submission. Noseband on upside down, headstall reversed, reins twisted, you name it. It took me about twenty minutes to get my new snaffle bridle assembled. I'm taking off the ten minutes I spent looking for the cheek piece that rolled under the couch. Fitting it to her will probably take another twenty minutes.

But victory is mine! The bridle is assembled with the new copper mouth lozenge loose ring snaffle. Try saying that three times fast. This brings on the second half of the rant. I own so many bits. I find myself browsing through sites full of bits the way some others browse through jewelery or hand bags. I've even called my husband in to see some of the new and rare finds. I get a lot of odd stares, but I'm used to it. I didn't know there was a loose ring model of a pelham. I found one with a lozenge center, in a 4 1/2", but it's in the UK and I can't figure out if they'll ship to me in the US. That one was a heart breaker.

I now own the following bits in a 4 1/2" for Fiona:

Mullen mouth pelham
Single jointed slotted kimberwicke
Single jointed loose ring snaffle
Happy Mouth mullen mouth loose ring snaffle
Lozenge center copper mouth loose ring snaffle
English hackamore

I also own these in 5":
Corkscrew full cheek snaffle
Eggbutt snaffle
Tom thumb jointed pelham
3 ring single jointed elevator

My tack trunk weighs a ton, and it's all for bits. I have three bridles currently set up. And a wish list for some other bits I think I should try (combination bits could be very good, considering how she does in a snaffle and a hackamore . . . Myler has a good combination bit with a snaffle mouthpiece, could be good for when she blows through my hands jumping . . . ). There has to be some form of intervention program for this. Bit Addicts Anonymous.

Hi, my name is Catie, and I'm addicted to bits.


  1. That is an impressive collection. I only have... uh... well, I think less than 10 and they're all 5".

    The 4.5" must be great. You get to buy everything new!

  2. Oh, yes, I'm loving the 4.5". /end sarcasm

    I can't figure out why no one makes the top end bits in pony sizes. KK has a kimberwicke I love, and they could probably con me out of the outrageous price if they just carried it in a size smaller than 5". Even Myler only goes down to 4.75". Most of the bits I've found that I really want are made in the UK. I just haven't made the jump to ordering internationally.