Morgan Mouths

A few days ago, someone made mention on one of the Western threads about the low palates in Morgans and how that can be problematic in bitting.  I was thinking I’d posted a topic on this at some point in time, but I just did a search and couldn’t find anything.  I like to use a simple, copper eggbutt snaffle for pleasure riding, but have often wondered if this is the best bit for Morgans.  I’ve heard the joint in the snaffle, which is intended to allow for independent lateral control, can hit the roof of the mouth and become uncomfortable on a Morgan.

Has anyone done much experimenting with Morgan bitting?  I know it can vary so much from horse to horse.  But I’m curious if anyone has noticed Morgan specific trends in what seems to work.  I would guess something like the Myler Comfort Snaffles could be a good option.

6 Responses to Morgan Mouths

  1. leslie says:

    This article from the USDF magazine suggests that the joint in a regular snaffle doesn’t actually move closer to the palate when rein pressure is applied because the arms indent the tongue. That offsets the increased angle.

    I use a French link snaffle because I heard somewhere that Morgans have low palates and took it as gospel without giving it much thought until this very moment. I wonder if it’s really true, and who actually studied that to find out. Not that it matters a whole lot. I think a French link is probably nicer for most horses, so I’d use it anyway.

  2. rodmanstables says:

    When possible, I use ‘pinchless’ snaffle bits, but not the Myler ones. I prefer “Robart” brand ones…they are easier on all horses IMO. (I find Myler bits to be awkward and not very effective). I use the Robart pinchless tom thumb style and full cheek pinchless on my lesson horses, and they do very head shaking, unecessary sensitivity, sores, or cocking of the jaw. They are several breeds, not just morgans. I also work my show horses in it when possible, but they need more than a smooth snaffle…so it’s hard to do.
    The problem is, the selection is very limited. Working a stronger show horse, especially those who must wear a full bridle, presents an issue. Robart doesn’t really make twisted mouthpeices, or bridoon snaffles with the pinchless mechanism, so it limits it to work bridles, or just horses that wear smooth snaffles (and western horses that wear a light bit, such as a tom thumb). If you’ve ever worked with the Robart bits, you could see how useful the concept is, but I’m pretty sure adding it to a twisted wire, etc goes against their original purpose and intention. However, I wish more mouthpieces were available, because I really like the existing idea. I think adding their mechanism to a more severe bit would still give the control, without so much of the unintentional pinching. Hold a traditional broken snaffle in your hand, close your fingers, give it a twist…ouch!
    I promise I’m no saleman for Robart or anything, just a satisfied user. Anyway, it’s just another, more forward-thinking option.
    -Yvonne :)

    p.s. getting teeth done often by someone who knows what the heck they’re doing (not usually the traditional vet) is also a huge help! for me, anyway.

  3. RaeOfLight says:

    You know, I’ve always just assumed that anyone who said “Morgans have low palates” probably knew what they were talking about. But I’ve never looked into it either. I honestly wouldn’t even know where to look. Does anyone know of any research that backs that statement up? Or where the idea came from?

  4. dressagemorganrider says:

    What I’ve found (based on working with 2 Morgans and knowing a number of people who use them for sport) yes, Morgan mouths are a bit crowded, and the standard sport horse advice of using a thicker bit for a horse that’s sensitive just does not work. Some of us ride in thinner bridoons rather than regular snaffles, though I have to say that competition dressage’s minimum allowed thickness is still thicker than your average “show” Morgan snaffle. For all but the hardest mouths, use some form of double-jointed mouthpiece — French link, Dr. Bristol, a “bean” etc. Many do like the Myler Comfort Snaffle (mouthpiece MB02 which is the only Myler allowed to be used as a snaffle in dressage competition.) The other useful thing is a shaped mouthpiece that curves back at each end, which Myler, JP Korsteel, and some Stubben and Herm Sprenger bits (among others) have.

    Bitting rules are very strict — no ports, no twists/corkscrews, no rollers, etc. A good dressage horse should be able to do all its work in a mild snaffle.

    Some of us out here in dressage land do wish that short-shanked curb bits or pelhams were allowed at the lower levels because so many of our Morgans just go better in something with a little leverage. Pelhams are not allowed at any level, and doubles starting at Third Level.

  5. MTBMorgans says:

    If you want an excellent bit that not only gives LOTS of control WITHOUT hurting you horse’s mouth, you need to try this one:

    I have tried it on my Arabian who HATES all other bits I have tried and he LOVES this one! Worth every single penny!

  6. MTBMorgans says:

    …oh and I might add….I managed to get plenty of collection just with this bit and a lift of one rein…and NO gapping mouth or head flinging either!

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