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Dressage Horse

Bit & Bridle Fit Consultation

What to Expect

At the beginning of the consultation, I will collect basic information about your horse and note the current issues you are facing that may be related to tack fit. I will palpate certain areas on your horse's head to determine if there are sore areas or asymmetry. I will also take a look and feel of the horse's mouth to assess their interdental conformation and condition.

 

Once the preliminary assessment and information gathering is complete I will observe while you tack up your horse as usual, then we can make our way to the riding area. During this time you can ask questions and we can discuss some of the problems you may be experiencing under saddle. Before you mount up, I will make a preliminary assessment of the bit and bridle fit. The next step of the consultation is the ridden assessment, but if there is a significant welfare concern I may pause the consultation here and discuss a path forward with you. 

The ridden portion of the assessment will take the most time. It will not require any more than walk/trot and change of direction, unless you would like to do more.

Starting off in your current tack, I will observe how your horse moves and reacts during the walk, halt, trot, changes of rein, etc.. I will then make some changes to your current bridle, then observe your horse's movement and behavior after. 

If a "perfect" fit cannot be obtained with your current tack setup, I will provide bridles (or bridle components) to try, as recommended, during the ridden evaluation. Once an acceptable bridle fit is obtained, we will move on to the bit. I may start off by making adjustments to your current bit, but will likely have some recommendations for new bit(s) to try. It is rare if more than 2 bits will need to be tried to find an agreeable solution for you and your horse. I will explain the purpose and reasoning behind each recommendation and will make note of the feedback you provide while riding the horse after each change/adjustment is made. 

At the end of the consultation, I will pause to record my notes and recommendations, and will take measurements of your horse's head and/or ideal bridle component sizing. I will email you a copy of the final report within 1-2 days after the appointment. It will contain a few brands or "types" of bits and bridles, along with sizing, that I recommend based on the consultation, and may even contain suggestions for modifications/repairs to your existing tack (some of which I can provide!). While some bits, bridles, and tack modifications can be pricey, I am happy to work with you to find the most cost effective option(s) including hunting for pre-owned items, look-alikes, and ways you can repair instead of replace (or vice versa). 

While I have a large selection of bits and bridles "in stock", they are exclusively for consulting / trials. I do not lend bits to clients outside of the consultation, and know it is rare for me to have materials in my toolkit that I would be willing to sell on location. 

Client Do's & Don'ts

DO:

  • Have a safe area to host the stable portion of the consultation, where the horse is calm and secured by cross-ties or a halter & lead.

  • Have a suitable area to conduct the ridden portion of the assessment. A riding arena with quality footing is ideal.

  • Have your horse groomed with tack nearby (not on) prior to the appointment.

  • Desensitize your horse to being touched on all areas of the head, neck, and mouth, well ahead of the appointment if possible. This will allow me to conduct a safe and efficient consultation.

  • Follow all farm/property rules both on and off the horse.

  • Have a responsible adult present during the entire consultation if a minor or vulnerable adult is involved.

  • Remember that the horse is truly my client. While it will never be my intent to offend you, the horse's well-being is my utmost concern during a consultation. Sometimes my feedback, while politely delivered, may hit a nerve. This is understandable! However, it is my job to provide you with information and recommendations to best suit you and your horse based on my experience and education. But ultimately you can choose to "take it or leave it".

DON'T:

  • Put yourself, myself, or others in a situation where they could not escape being kicked, crushed, or bitten by a horse.

  • Allow crowding of the consultation area in the barn or riding area if at all possible. Limit risk exposure where possible.

  • Allow small children or loose animals around the consultation area, if possible.

  • Schedule a full consultation if your horse is unfit to be ridden or driven.

  • Ask someone unfamiliar with your horse to ride during the ridden portion if you are unable to do so. 

  • Expect a bit/bridle change to fix a training problem. While bit/bridle fit can be the cause of several problems, it is not a resolution without correct training, fitness, and application.

Still have questions? Send me an email, fill out the contact form below, or head on over to the FAQ page. 

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