* Prices may differ from that shown
In the last month I have recently taken on a horse at my yard from my cousin as she no longer had the room for him at her yard but needed him close by as she still needed to ride him as he will be sold in the spring. I offered to ride him for her to help her out as I have a few mornings to myself. Basil is quite a young horse but as he was pretty much left to do whatever he wanted with his previous owner he can be ignorant and unhelpful.
The first time I rode him a few weeks ago he was incredibly wooden, he didn't bend well and it felt that even though his four legs were all moving he didn't felt quite engaged and co-ordinated! Having spent a good hour trying to keep him on a nice outline I decided to check his saddle, teeth and change his bit to see if that made any difference.
One bit I have had for a while is the Neue Schule Waterford Baucher as it was recommended to me by someone at NS as one of my horse's is also quite ignorant and sometimes needs that added help in self carriage. The mouthpiece is known as a Waterford mouthpiece. The multiple links (the mouthpiece can bend in every direction) help in giving a lighter, round outline and generally suits all type of mouths even those horses with fat tongues. This bit has several joints and distributes the pressure of the mouthpiece over both the tongue and bars.
The cheek piece of the NS Waterford Baucher is known as the Baucher cheek and again this can help with steering and help with gaining a good self carriage as it provides a mild lever action which can generally get a horse which ignores your commands to actually listen to your aids and start to pick up his neck and work properly. The Baucher is attached to the bridle by the small top ring and the reins attach to the larger bottom ring this helps give the mild lever action.
The Waterford mouthpiece is made from warm Salox Gold which horses love as it gives a sweet taste when in the mouth promoting a more relaxed acceptance of the bit. The mouthpiece is quite slim (14mm) in this bit and features a lip shelf which can reduce rubs.
The Waterford mouthpiece has proved one of the most popular bits for bitting problems such as leaning, taking hold of the bit and setting the jaw. When the horse tries to lean or take hold of the bit, the mouthpiece collapses. Therefore the horse has nothing rigid to take hold of. It encourages the horse to work of their quarters and carry themselves rather than using the bit to lean on.
For me using this bit on Basil took a few attempts for him to get used to it which can be expected with a new bit as the horse has to get used to it. After he eventually settled with the bit and after using it several times he was finally able to engage himself and feel balanced and definitely not wooden. Even though it took several rides to finally get him to have a better self carriage he was able to use his back legs to push himself along and work through his shoulders. He was also a lot more responsive to what I was asking for without ignoring every request. Because the lever action is mild he didn't find the new bit a problem and didn't resist the requests that I gave him. Even though it has taken a while for him to stop being so wooden but as he had been ridden that way for such a long time it will take a while for him to become flexible and have a decent outline he has vastly improved and as long as he is listening and responding then he will continue to improve.
The Neue Schule Waterford Baucher is available from all NS stockists but I buy mine direct from their website (www.nsbits.com) and it currently costs £59.95 and comes in sizes 5", 5.5" and 6" (The Waterford mouth should be worn ¼" - ½" longer than any other mouthpiece as the mouthpiece needs to curl slightly around the lips to enable the bit to work to its full potential).
For me this is an ideal bit for any horse which can ignore requests and be quite strung out. Ideal for those who are coming back into work and need a little help. Definitely a recommendation from me.