New at Greenhawk – Myler Bits! At Greenhawk Vancouver Island, we are extremely proud and excited to be carrying a large selection of Myler bits in both English and Western styles! Myler Bits are world renowned for overcoming bitting problems and resistances in horses. Designed according to horse’s anatomy and through collaborative research with equine dentists, vets, chiropractors, and riders and trainers, Myler bits place a premium on the horse’s comfort and finding the right bit to suit an individual horse.
The Myler Bitting System has a huge variety of options, so many in fact, we now sell a book and DVD to help people find the right bit for their horse! Therefore, the information to follow is just a brief summary on bitting and specifically Myler bits. We have lots of informational brochures at the store if you would like more information, and we will of course do our best to answer any questions you may have, so please come in, check out the bits and pick up a brochure!
Myler bits are offered in a graduated bitting system from Level One to Level Three. The idea is that as your horse progresses in his training, he will graduate from his elementary school bit (Level 1), into his high school/university level bit (Level 2 and Level 2/3) and finally into his advanced career level bit (Level Three). Myler bits reward a horse for becoming better trained by progressively taking more pressure off the tongue of the horse. At the same time, the Level 2/3 and Level 3 bits instill greater sensitivity in the horse so more subtle/refined aids can be used, by starting to utilize the bars of the horse’s mouth.
The majority of the Myler bits at all levels are designed for optimal comfort for the horse by offering tongue relief and not collapsing into a “V” shape (think ordinarysnaffle with single joint) but instead collapsing into a gentler “U” shape that does not put nearly as much pressure on the bars, lips and roof of the mouth as a traditional bit.
One thing that really struck me after watching the Myler DVD, was the Myler theory on tongue pressure. Myler experts believe tongue pressure is a major cause of resistance in many horses. Unfortunately many bits do nothing to accommodate the tongue and in fact the majority lie across the horse’s tongue in such a way that horses are unable to move their tongue at all, up or down. Swallow, and as you do, take note of what your tongue does. You will notice it moves up to the roof of your mouth and then rolls back slightly. Horses use their tongue in exactly the same way in order to swallow. Now try to swallow without raising your tongue. Impossible right? This is one of the major theories behind the Myler bits. As most bits pin horses’ tongues down, they cause horses to lose the ability to swallow. According to Myler, this is one of the main reasons horses resist the bit. Most resistances, be it opening the mouth, inverting, curling behind the bit, pulling down into the bit, Myler explains as the horse’s attempt to find tongue relief. The Myler DVD has good diagrams that visually explain how these common resistances do in fact provide the horse with momentary relief from tongue pressure.
Another very interesting theory behind the Myler bitting system, is that the bits are designed in order to save the bars (or the gums where there is no teeth and the bit lies) of the horse’s mouth until a horse is highly trained. The basic Myler Level One and Level Two bits, which are designed to be used on relatively young, green horses, tend not to put pressure on the bars of the mouth. The idea is that if a lot of pressure is applied to this sensitive area of the horse’s mouth all the way through the horse’s training, it will become fairly dull by the time the horse is highly trained. We then start to see horses requiring stronger and harder bits to control them even though they are in theory more experienced and better trained. Their mouth has just become dull over time. Myler bits do not use this part of the mouth until the horse has reached a Level Three bit and is very advanced in its training, and by conserving the bars of the mouth through the Myler bitting system, the bars are still sensitive so rein aids can be very subtle. As well, Level Three bits offer the greatest tongue relief so comfort for the horse is optimal, a reward for him reaching a high level of training. At a high level of training, regardless of the discipline, we seek to build sensitivity back into our horses (after years of trying to desensitize to a certain degree). The preciseness and comfort of the Level Three bits, helps to eliminate any resistances and allow the rider to use very refined aids.
One more quick note on Myler bits…as there are so many cool features it is hard not to go on and on! Many of the bits offer the feature of independent side movement. This means you can lift one side of the bit without moving the other side. This helps greatly with bend, suppleness, lifting a shoulder through a turn or balancing a horse that likes to lean in one direction. It is a unique concept to Myler and really enables precise riding and subtle corrections.
The Myler bits are all about comfort for the horse and effective communication for the rider. We are so pleased to have them at Greenhawk and really look forward to showing them to you next time you visit us at the store!