All about Myler Bits

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MYLER BITS

1-PAGE SYNOPSIS

Resistance

  • Horses can communicate only through relaxation or evasion
  • Horses produce 5 to 7 gallons of saliva per day, most during exercise, - and need to swallow it
  • Pressure on the equine (and human) tongue prevents swallowing, hence resistance to the bit
  • Tongue is a communication medium, - must be freed from pressure when horse obeys signal

Myler Bits

  • Pressure as comfortable as possible and non-damaging (eg. unlike single-jointed snaffle)
  • All mouthpieces are curved and some have ports, to give tongue room to swallow
  • Centre barrel protects tongue from getting pinched in the joint and allows ISM (see below)
  • Hooks (slots) in cheek rings can be used to hold bit off horse’s tongue unless pressure is engaged
  • Wide choice of mouthpieces ensures each individual horse is bitted for its own specific needs

Barrel or Sleeve

  • Prevents the tongue getting pinched in the joint, unlike "traditional" jointed bits
  • Spreads the centre pressure across a wide area
  • Each half of the mouthpiece is of equal length, unlike "trad" snaffles (hold one up by joint & look)
  • Limits the degree of collapse of jointed bits, preventing ‘nutcracker’ action of "traditional" snaffles
  • Allows Independent Side Movement (ISM) - see below
THE BARREL IS A SLEEVE TO PROTECT THE HORSE’S TONGUE FROM THE JOINT, IT IS NOT A ROLLER

Independent Side Movement (ISM)

  • Allows each side of mouthpiece to be moved independently of the other, using sleeve as pivot
  • This gives a much clearer signal, upwards and backwards; not down as well, like "traditional" bits
  • Less rein pressure is required as only the intended signal is being given

"Traditional Bits"

  • Are not normally shaped to give tongue room for swallowing
  • Joints can pinch the flesh of the tongue and allow ‘nutcracker’ action on bars and lips
  • Very thick bits take up even more room, making it even harder for the horse to swallow
  • When 1 rein is engaged for turning or lifting a shoulder, the whole mouthpiece will move
    This causes pressure across the tongue, (or down into the centre of the tongue with a jointed bit); also the opposite cheek will be pulled into the outside of the horse’s mouth. This all leads to contradictory signals for the horse, and considerable discomfort

The Myler System

  • Three American brothers looking for a gentler, more effective way of communicating with horses
  • Communication through comfort and relaxation
  • All horses are different in anatomy, disposition and behaviour, therefore need different bits
  • Different bits are normally required as the horse progresses through its training
  • THIS IS A WELFARE ISSUE FOR THE HORSE
    The authorities don’t restrict (within reason) the choice of saddle construction; or bandages; or feed or training or fitness regimes, etc. - Should not the horse and rider’s ability be tested on an even playing field, without being effected by the horse’s tolerance, through his anatomy or disposition, to discomfort in his mouth?
  • Bits don’t train horses; riders train horses, the bit is only a communication tool for the rider
  • Bits don’t hurt horses; riders’ hands hurt horses
    While the best riders can compensate for an unforgiving bit, many other riders are not so skilled and we have a duty to ensure all horses are as comfortable as possible
  • MOUTH ANATOMY and BIT DESIGN

    The horse’s mouth comprises the lips, jaw, teeth, bars, tongue and palate, and is one of the least understood parts of the horse’s anatomy.

    The inside of the horse’s mouth is like a cavern, created by the jaws, walled with the teeth, roofed by the mouth and filled with the tongue.

    The Lips

    The lips are covered by a thin layer of skin and are very sensitive.

    The bit comes into contact with the lips in the corner of the mouth, and if not properly fitted, can pinch painfully and cause damage.

    Check the corners of your horse’s lips regularly for scars or sores indicating an ill-fitting bit.

    The Teeth

    Horses have 3 kinds of teeth:

    the incisors at the front, used with the lips for cutting and pulling food into the mouth; the canine teeth (or tushes); and the cheek teeth, known as molars and premolars.

    The cheek teeth are the most likely to require dental attention due to wear causing a painfully sharp edge. Bitting problems associated with the teeth normally arise in connection with the front premolars and wolf teeth. Wolf teeth are small teeth that can appear directly in front of the premolars, one on either side but often angled and mis-aligned. They can be a problem because they are situated exactly where the bit will sit in the horse’s mouth.

    The Bars

    The bars are the teeth-free space on the jaw where there are no teeth, between the premolars and the tushes.

    The shape of the bars can vary – from v-shaped and sharp to broad and flat. The covering skin can also vary greatly in thickness. The shape and skin thickness will make a big difference to the sensitivity of the bars and the most suitable bit.

    The Tongue

    The tongue is a large, strong muscle containing literally thousands of highly sensitive nerves. It is used primarily for eating, drinking and swallowing.

    Horse’s tongues can vary enormously in size and thickness. A very wide and fleshy tongue may be seen squishing out between the horse’s teeth when the side of the upper lip is raised. It is important to assess the size and condition of the tongue, not least to establish how much room there is in the horse’s mouth to accommodate any kind of bit. A very large tongue may greatly restrict the ability of the bit to meet and therefore act on the bars.

    The Palate

    The palate, or roof of the mouth, is covered with hard flesh and skin and is slightly curved upwards towards the horse’s ears. The palate is a sensitive area and the height of the palate will also dictate the amount of space there is inside the mouth for the bit. The average palate is 2” above the tongue.

    The Curb and The Poll

    Two other areas of the horse’s head, the chin (and back of the jaw in some cases) and the poll, are also important in the working of many bits. The chin will receive pressure from a curb strap or chain into the curb groove. The poll, located at the 2ndvertebra at the top of the horse’s neck will received downward pressure through the headpiece of the bridle. Pressure on the poll will release endorphins into the horse’s system, which will have a calming, pain controlling effect.

    Physiology of the Mouth Related to Bitting

    Some of the tongue muscles connect to a small set of bones in the throat called the hyoid bones. Originating from the hyoid bones are two major neck muscles, one connecting with the sternum and one with the inside of the shoulder. Therefore, discomfort and tension in the tongue will lead to tension all the way down to the bottom of the neck. If the sternum muscles are tense, the horse cannot raise its back and use the circle of muscles that connect the poll to the tail and travel along the underside of the horse back up to the poll. In addition, there are muscles connecting the hyoid bones to the temporo-mandibular joint (the TMJ, or jaw,) which is an important centre for nerves involved in balance and proprioception (part of the horse’s coordination system.)

    Bit Structure

    Bits generally have 2 main parts, the cheeks and the mouthpiece.

    The Cheeks

    The cheeks can be varied in style, depending on the discipline, the needs of the rider and the aesthetic effect on the horse’s head. They connect the bridle and reins with the mouthpiece, a key communication tool between horse and rider.

    Shank cheeks give the rider leverage, allowing him to exert both backward and downward pressure in the mouth, downward pressure on the poll through the headpiece and inward pressure against the jaw from the curb strap. The longer and straighter the shank, the quicker the action and greater the leverage, so the quality of the rider’s hands must be taken into account when choosing shank length.

    “Ring” cheek pieces, (eg. eggbutt and loose ring snaffles) give mainly direct action, ie. backward pressure on the mouth from the rider’s hands.

    Some ring cheeks (eg. Myler “hooked” eggbutt cheeks; Hanging Cheeks; or Full Cheeks used with keepers,) will allow some leverage action to tilt the mouthpiece downwards in the mouth, and some poll pressure to encourage the horse to come “onto the vertical”.

    Mouthpieces

    Mouthpieces are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, thicknesses and metals. Each design is meant to communicate in a certain way in a particular horse’s mouth with a particular rider and so the choice of mouthpiece is relative to each horse and rider combination. The mouthpiece shape is very important because of the huge variation in mouth anatomy.

    Mouthpieces generally come in two basic designs, solid and jointed. A solid mouthpiece consists of a non-folding bar attached to the cheeks and is used to exert direct pressure on the tongue, bars, lips and/or palate. The bar can be curved and since the advent of Myler’s patented Independent Side Movement, may have a significant degree of rotational movement to make the rider’s signals clearer to the horse.

    Jointed mouthpieces consist of two or more pieces connected with a joint that allows the bit to fold in or collapse on itself. Besides acting on the tongue, bars, lips and/or palate, a jointed mouthpiece will also exert inward pressure, via a squeezing action on the tongue, bars and lips, this collapsing action increasing in pressure as the rider pulls backwards on the reins.

  • Ported Mouthpieces

    Mouthpieces with ports allow tongue room, which will be more comfortable for the horse and allow it to swallow. In the Western Riding tradition, correctly fitted ported bits are designed to use gentle, isolated applications of palate pressure to encourage the horse to break at the poll. However, Western riders do not maintain a contact like their English counterparts, so none of the English style bits in the Myler range have ports which will go near a normal horse’s palate, they are just designed to give tongue relief.

    Pelhams

    Pelhams have two reins, the top rein activates direct pressure on the mouth and the bottom rein utilises leverage pressure with a curb chain and gives a little poll pressure.

    Kimblewick (American name “Kimberwick”)

    This bit has a D-shaped cheek with a curb chain for increased leverage and a small purchase (the ring to which the headpiece is attached) to give poll pressure. The cheek has different options for positioning the rein. If the upper slot is used, the bit will have a direct action, if the lower rein slot is used, it results in leverage and curb pressure through the curb chain.

    Gags

    Gags exert backward and downward pressure to the mouth, before downward pressure is applied to the poll. Some gags work via a sliding pulley system, connecting the reins directly to the headstall through the cheek. Others utilise a sliding shank on a cheek ring.

    Hackamores

    A bitless bridle, the hackamore uses the same principles as a leverage bit but works off the nose rather than the horse’s mouth. As well as acting on the nose, curb and poll, a hackamore should be fitted so as to restrict the horse’s breathing when pressure is applied by the rider. For this reason it is not a good option for a style of riding where a constant rein contact is applied.

    Combination Bits

    Various designs of combination bit are available. The definition normally encompasses a bit with features of both shank and ring style bits, sometimes also with hackamore action. Arguably, this can include Pelhams, Kimblewicks and Gags. The Myler Combination Bit, however, is a hybrid of the bit and the hackamore, combining mouthpiece, shank, ring cheek, curb and noseband to utilise the pressure areas of the nose, curb, poll and mouth. Because the pressure exerted by the rider is dispersed between the various points, the Myler Combination Bit offers an extremely humane communication tool.

    Mouthpiece Thickness

    Whilst a thin mouthpiece will exert relatively more concentrated pressure over its smaller area, a thick mouthpiece is not necessarily kinder for the horse because of limited capacity in the mouth.

    Mouthpiece Metals

    Mouthpieces can be made of various metals, rubber, and even plastics. Whilst rubber and plastic are obviously softer and less cold, they can catch and drag a dry lip and need to be replaced more often than metal. Stainless steel, whilst being strong, comparatively cheap and smart, has little taste and can dry some horse’s mouths. Copper encourages salivation which aids a soft mouth, but copper is expensive and soft and so an alloy of copper, Sweet Iron, is often used as it combines the advantages of copper with none of the disadvantages.

    Most English style Myler Bit mouthpieces are made of stainless steel, but there are small strips of copper inserted at each corner to encourage salivation. Exceptions are the Loose Ring Comfort Snaffles and the Combination Bit mouthpieces, which are all made from Sweet Iron (these also have the copper inserts).

    Curb Chains

    Myler Snaffle bits are unusual in being able to take a curb chain, attached with J-hooks or quick-release hooks to the small holes at the top of the cheeks. Snaffle curb chains lie far higher up the horse’s jaw than the curb chain found on a Pelham or Kimblewick.

    HOW BITS WORK and HOW THEY DON’T

    The bit works by causing pressure on various points on the horse’s mouth and/or head as the rider pulls on the reins.

    With the correct bit; adequate training; and competent riding, the rider is able to communicate effectively with his much larger and stronger partner.

    Tongue pressure

    Most bits work largely off a horse’s tongue, creating a backward and downward pressure into the tongue when pressure is exerted on the reins. Many bits can only act on the part of the tongue which sticks up above the top of the bars. Jointed bits, however, can drive downwards into the centre of the tongue way past the level of the bars.

    To get an idea of how this feels: put the tip of your finger onto the centre of your tongue and press down with just a little pressure. Now try walking around for a few minutes while still pressing on your tongue. Try and swallow. NOW imagine replacing your finger with a pound of cold steel and replacing the pressure with the full body-weight of a rider standing in their stirrups and hauling on the reins.

    Horses produce around 6 gallons of saliva a day, salivating at the highest rates when exercising strenuously (eg. being ridden). Horse’s tongues are just like ours, they must twist and elevate in order to swallow. If the bit is pulled hard onto the horse’s tongue by the rider, he will not be able to swallow.

    The horse will seek relief from the tongue pressure, and ideally will relax at the poll and bring his head down onto the vertical (the front of his face at a 90oangle to the ground). When the horse responds in this way, the rider ideally responds straight back, releasing the pressure on the reins and allowing the horse to work in a “Comfort Zone”. In practice, however, inadequate rider knowledge or skill and poor bit design will often not give the horse enough tongue relief even if he does come onto the vertical, so he will continue to resist and evade the action of the bit.

    In addition, if a horse is constantly working against the rein pressure on his tongue, he builds up tension through his entire lower neck. This will lead to the horse overdeveloping muscles in the underside of his neck as opposed to his top line, weakening his entire action, giving him a poor appearance and making it harder for him to relax at the poll and come onto the vertical in the first place.

    Bar Pressure

    Bits act on the bars with backwards and downwards pressure on the top of the bars, or inward pressure on the sides of the bars, depending on the mouthpiece. Whilst the horse is generally more tolerant of bar pressure than tongue pressure, the bars can be bruised and damaged permanently, so the tongue is the best buffer to use in a young horse needing more rein aids.

    Poll Pressure

    Poll pressure is exerted when the bit cheek is designed to give a little leverage. Poll pressure will release endorphins which have a calming, analgesic effect. Most horses therefore respond well to poll pressure, which encourages them to break at the poll.

    Curb Pressure

    Curb Pressure from double bridles, Pelhams and Kimblewicks acts upwards and forwards against the chin groove where the mandible nerve is located, and will encourage the horse to break at the poll. Too tight a chain will cause its over-engagement without using the pressure points of the mouth, thereby causing unnecessary pain to the horse. Too loose a curb chain causes the mouthpiece to roll too far forward before it becomes effective.

    With a Myler snaffle, the curb chain sits far higher up the back of the horse’s jaw (see section 20). The chain will help the bit remain stable in the horse’s mouth, it provides another point of pressure and encourages the horse not only to break at the poll but also to “roll over from the withers” ie. round his back and neck for the optimum working position.

    More problems

    Most bits, when no pressure is exerted by the rider, lie directly on the surface of the tongue and bars, and so a thick heavy bit can be uncomfortable even without rein pressure.

    Traditionally-jointed bits can catch the tongue in the joint, even making it bleed in extreme cases. There is also no limit to their degree of collapse, so they “nutcracker” in onto the outside of the lips and bars.

    Miscommunication

    Bit design can lead to the horse receiving confusing signals: If a rider is trying to lift a shoulder or work on a stiff side, the rein signal will be partially carried through to the other side of the bit, either because the mouthpiece is solid, or because the joint rings can lock. With a single jointed snaffle, the rider can be giving the correct aid to the horse to lift his shoulder, whilst the bit design causes the joint to lock and the centre of the bit to drive down into the middle of the horse’s tongue. This results in “miscommunication” or contradictory signals from rider to horse.

    Myler Bits

    Myler Bits are designed to avoid many of these problems. They are comparatively thin, so the horse has less to accommodate in his mouth. All the mouthpieces are curved and many are ported to allow greater tongue room, and most cheeks have the facility, with the hooks (see Section 19), to stand the bit up in the horse’s mouth so it doesn’t lie on the tongue and bars unless actively pulled there by the rider.

    There is a wide variety of mouthpiece shapes to suit different mouth structures. The centre barrel acts as a safe, comfortable sleeve over the patented bushing system which allows each side of the mouthpiece to be activated independently, thus avoiding miscommunication. The barrel also restricts the degree of collapse of jointed mouthpieces, giving them more of a wrap feel rather than a nutcracker effect.

    If the horse is comfortable and relaxed in his mouth, he can focus on what his rider is asking him to do.

    Remember:

    • A bit cannot train a horse
    • A bit is only a training aid to help the rider train the horse
    • A bit cannot hurt a horse without a rider hauling on the reins
    • The rider must relax his signals when the horse has obeyed them, or there is no reward, or incentive for the horse to do so again
    • A bit is a vital communication tool, but it will NOT make up for bad horsemanship; poor riding; or lack of time and patience
    • RESISTANCE AND EVASIONS

      There are various signs of resistance to the rider, including:

      Being Behind the Bit, where the horse brings his head back further than 90oto the ground, tucking his head into his chest. This moves the horse’s centre of gravity forward, pushing his weight onto his forehand and making him stiff and heavy in the shoulder and weak in the hind quarters.

      The rider will automatically give the horse more rein to encourage him to move his head out, and the horse will thereby have reduced the rein pressure on his tongue so he is able to swallow.

      Being Inverted, or Above the Bit, where the horse pokes his nose, or flips his head, snatching at the reins. The horse will be stiff through the poll, with his lower neck braced and possibly overdeveloped at the expense of his top line.

      The horse is trying to change the angle of bit pressure, so he can get his tongue underneath the pressure, where he will be free to swallow.

      Over-Active Mouth, including:

      • Chomping, where the horse constantly chews and mouths his bit

      He is using his tongue and jaw to move the mouthpiece away from his tongue so he can swallow

      • Opening the Mouth, where the horse "yawns" its mouth wide, also causing him to be stiff from his jaw right along the length of his body.

      Again, the horse has changed the angle at which the pressure acts on the mouth. Only the bottom half of the jaw moves, and as it drops, it takes the tongue away from the pressure and allows the horse to swallow.

      • Crossing the Jaw, where the horse moves his lower jaw sideways.

      The tongue will move with the lower jaw, thereby evading some of the pressure from the bit and allowing the horse to swallow

      • Moving the Tongue, the horse can get his tongue over the bit, stick it outside his mouth or pull it right back into his throat.

      All these actions will free the tongue up so the horse can swallow

    • Leaning, the horse can lean forward onto the bit, with his head lowered, making him very heavy on the forehand.

      The horse is trying to get his tongue below the action of the bit so he can swallow.

      However the horse resists the rider’s rein signals, it is his attempt to evade the pressure of the bit on his tongue so he can swallow.

      The traditional approach to a resisting horse is to increase the severity of the bit, or to add gadgets such as flash nosebands or martingales. These do not solve the problem, but merely mask the symptoms, forcing the horse, through pain or immobility, to submit to the bit.

      The Myler approach is completely the opposite. Seeing the bit far more as a means of communication than a means of control, the Mylers advocate using the most comfortable bit possible, so that no restrictive gadgets are required to force the horse into the "correct" position. The horse’s tongue should be given as much release as is right for that particular animal at that particular stage in its training, and the most appropriately shaped bit selected to suit the mouth of each individual horse.

      The Mylers' aim is to make the horse comfortable and accepting of its bit, so it can relax and concentrate on what its rider is asking it to do.

    • LEVELS OF TRAINING AND BITS

      Rather than just using one bit throughout your horse’s working life, the Myler system is progressive and different bits may be required as your horse moves through his training. The bits are rated according to the horse’s level of training:

      Level One:

      A horse at Level One is at the beginning of its training, where basic balance and obedience is being asked for (eg. trot to walk, walk to halt, basic turning, etc.) and where few of the rider’s body aids are understood.

      Level one bits use mainly tongue pressure, but also some bar pressure and, depending on the style of bit, some curb or poll pressure. A Level One bit uses the sensitivity of the tongue to give clear, concentrated signals at its centre, which can be released quickly and evenly when the horse does as he is asked.

      Level Two:

      A horse at Level Two has achieved a basic training, and is now progressing in a particular discipline, with a degree of balance and collection. He will be relaxed and fully broken at the poll and will be able to hold his outline when rein pressure is released. He will be stronger and able to sustain longer periods of work with better concentration and understanding. At this stage the rider wants to refine and define his aids for more precise work.

      Level Two Bits still use the tongue for signalling and control, but with a more subtle, spread pressure. The horse has shown that he can work without the concentrated tongue pressure of a Level One Bit, but it is still too early to release the tongue completely. The bars, curb and poll may also be utilised to a certain extent and Independent Side Action becomes very important as the work becomes more complicated.

      Level Three:

      The third level of training relates to "finished" horses from whom quite a high degree of collection and athleticism is expected. A Level Three horse will be relaxed and will work well off the rider’s seat, leg and hand.

      Mouthpieces at this level give maximum tongue relief, working largely off the bars with a little poll and/or curb pressure, although the appropriate bit will depend very much on the horse’s disposition.

      These levels are not definitive and a horse will straddle 2 of the levels for much of his career.

      The Myler Approach

      This is to allow a horse more freedom gradually as he progresses through his training, rather like allowing a child more and more responsibility. The Mylers point out that we do not communicate and interact with a small child in the same way we do with a teenager, or indeed another adult, so why should we seek to use the same communication tool throughout our horse’s training?

      Most snaffle type bits are level 1, and if a horse is resisting a traditional snaffle, there is not much point putting him into a Myler level 1 bit, because it will act in a similar way, (albeit more comfortably). The horse is probably trying to communicate that he needs more tongue room, so a level 2 or 3 bit, depending on what stage he is at, would probably be more suitable.

      Level of Rider

      Don’t forget that the rider’s experience and skill should count for a lot in the choice of bit, especially in the cheek style selected.

      No bit will hurt a horse without someone pulling on the reins!

    MYLER MOUTHPIECES

    Myler Bits will only be really effective as a training aid if the rider is as responsive to the horse as he wants the horse to be to him, - firstly in selecting the most appropriate bit for his horse and secondly in the way he rides it.

    Myler Bits are more forgiving for novice riders than traditional bits as they are shaped to fit the horse’s mouth and have a no-pinch action. However, they will only work to full effect if a horse is allowed some freedom for his tongue when working correctly into the bridle. Tongue pressure is applied as a command but the pressure must be released when the horse has responded correctly, or there is no reward and therefore no incentive to learn.

    Myler mouthpieces are all curved to fit around the tongue and to meet the outside of the bars and lips at a more sympathetic angle. A centre barrel restricts the degree of collapse, giving jointed bits a wrapping rather than a nutcracker action on the bars and lips.

    The barrel also gives Independent Side Movement which allows the rider to give a much clearer signal to the horse. This only works to its full potential when using a cheek with hooks to fix the position of the headstall and reins on the cheek ring. Use of the hooks also ensures that the bit is held off the tongue unless actively pulled onto it by the rider and this again is part of the reward process.

    MYLER CHEEKPIECES

    Every bit is a combination of a mouthpiece and a cheekpiece. Myler Bits offer numerous cheeks to complement their mouthpieces. When choosing a bit for your horse, first consider the mouthpiece and then match it with the cheek that will suit both your needs and those of the horse.

    Cheeks are available in rings and shanks. Rings are usually considered to give direct action, (where all pressure exerted by the rider goes directly into the horse’s mouth at the angle of pull), whilst shanks are used for leverage. Leverage means that when the reins are pulled upwards and backwards by the rider, the mouthpiece rolls downwards and backwards in the mouth while downward pressure is exerted on the poll. Leverage also maximises the effect of Independent Side Action.

    However, Myler Bits offer hooks on rings (see Section 19), as well as combination bits (see Section 18), both of which allow ring bits to operate in a similar way to leverage bits.

    Whilst the choice of mouthpiece has to be made on the basis of the horse’s mouth anatomy, level of training and disposition; the cheek selection depends on the rider (and sometimes the discipline.) If the rider’s hands are sympathetic and relaxed, he can look to a wider choice of cheeks, including those offering a considerable degree of leverage. A rider with quicker or heavier hands, however, should be wary of a leverage cheek, as this will accentuate the effect of his hands to the detriment of the horse.

    STARTING A HORSE IN A MYLER BIT

    - FITTING AND TRANSITIONING -

    Fitting Instructions

    The height of the purchase is different in every bit, so before you try a new bit on your horse, attach it to the bridle and hold it up to the side of his face, so you can estimate the correct adjustment of the cheek pieces as closely as possible.

    Height

    The bit should fit snugly into the corners of the lips, normally making one wrinkle, but do check how it lies inside the horse’s mouth. If you pull down lightly on the bit cheeks, there should not be a gap of more than1/8" between the mouthpiece and the corners of the lips. If the cheek pieces bow out, this is also a sign that the bit is too low..

    Width

    Ensure the bit is both level and central in the horse’s mouth, there now should be between1/8and ¼" gap between the bit ring and the horse’s lip on each side. (You may have to straighten the mouthpiece to assess this properly in a jointed bit by pulling the cheeks gently outwards.)

    If the bit is too wide, it will slide from side to side in the mouth and give uneven pressure when engaged by the rider. An over-wide jointed bit could hang too low in the mouth and interfere with the horse’s incisors.

    If the bit is too narrow, the cheeks will squash against the sides of the horse’s face and lips, causing rubbing or pinching.

    See Section 22 for information on how to measure your horse’s bit size.

    Flashes, Martingales, etc.

    The entire point of The Myler System is to make the horse comfortable and relaxed in his bit, so there is no need for any gadgets designed purely to force the horse to endure an uncomfortable bit by strapping his mouth shut, holding his head down, etc. Such equipment also infringes the horse’s ability to communicate with you. Therefore, a plain loosely fitted cavesson noseband is normally the most that should be required besides the headstall and reins, especially as you should be in a controlled environment while you accustom your horse to the new bit.

    Loose Ring Cheeks

    Take care to ensure there is a good ¼" gap between the rings and the sides of the horse’s face or the lips could be drawn into the ring hole in the mouthpiece and pinched.

    Cheeked and Ring Snaffles

    Check that the upstand of the cheek doesn’t rub against the side of the horse’s face. Full cheeked snaffles should have a leather bit keeper attaching the top of the cheek to

    the cheekpiece. This holds the bit up in the horse’s mouth to give a clear reward signal and is also critical for ISM.

    Cheeks with Hooks (slots)

    The top hook should always be used. This holds the bit up in the horse’s mouth to give a clear reward signal and enables ISM.

    In order to balance the bit correctly, the cheek pieces must be fastened around the outside branch of the upper hook, leaving the metal on the inside branch against the horse’s face and giving the bit a “normal" appearance from the side.

    To make the ISM as effective as possible, the reins should be attached to the bottom hook, again around the outer branch.

    Pelhams and Kimblewicks

    The curb chain should be fitted at 45oand should engage when the cheek has been rotated to about a 450angle, normally around 2 fingers width. If it is fitted too loosely the mouthpiece can roll too far down into the tongue before the curb activates too late and too hard, possibly upsetting your horse and not giving you the control you need. If it is fitted too tightly, the horse will never get relief from the pressure, he will have no comfort zone and will be unhappy and distracted.

    Starting a Horse in a Myler Combination Bit

    Please see Section 18.

    Transitioning

    TAKE YOUR TIME. Sometimes a horse will let you know that you have the right or wrong bit in as little as 20 minutes, but it often takes a few sessions in a new bit to know for sure. Plan up to 10 or 12 days before you can be certain that you have made the correct choice and make sure this is a quiet time for you and your horse, with no competitions or big outings.

    GIVE YOUR HORSE TIME. Allow your horse to get used to the taste and the feel of the new bit, let him test this new equipment before you mount. Ensure the fitting is correct and then allow him to investigate the bit with his tongue. He may chew a bit more than normal while he gets used to the new feel. Ideally, allow him to stand bridled but loose in the stable, supervised but not held, with the reins tucked behind the stirrup leathers, for 10 or 15 minutes so he can settle down and relax.

    The next step is to simulate the bit’s action prior to mounting so the horse can anticipate how the bit will work. This exercise also allows you to anticipate his behaviour with the bit. In the stable, or enclosed school, stand by his left shoulder and place the reins over his neck as if you were going to mount. Hold both reins just in front of the withers to mimic where the reins would be when mounted. Next, steady the

    reins in one hand and gently apply rein pressure with the other, activating the bit and asking your horse to relax at the poll. When he gives to the pressure by “nodding" his head onto the vertical, release the pressure with your hand. He may take a few steps backwards or forwards until he gets used to the idea but you are aiming for him gently to lower his head onto the vertical, releasing his own pressure and learning where the “Comfort Zone" is. This is a great way to introduce new bits as well as to supple a horse prior to work every day. The Mylers highly recommend working with your horse on the ground as part of the transition to any new bit and as a daily suppling exercise.

    Ensure your horse is in a safe environment before you mount and then walk away on a loose rein for a few minutes. Slowly, slowly take up a light contact and walk round the area quietly while you both become accustomed to the feel of the new bit. When you feel the horse is ready to come into the bridle, just close your fingers on the reins, ask the horse to move forward with your seat and leg and when he gives to you, coming into the bridle, release the rein pressure immediately by opening your fingers and maintain only a very light contact to ensure he recognises the reward. Any new equipment or training approach should be introduced in a safe environment like a school, until you are confident that both are ready to work outside.

    Anticipate some resistance. If your horse has been resistant in his current bit, there is a strong likelihood he will be resistant in his new bit. Simply put - he is going to try what he knows and some evasions will have become learnt habit rather than direct reactions to his bit.

    Chomping and chewing: This may take some patience on your part and some trust on your horse’s part. Horses generally chomp and chew as a resistance to too much tongue pressure. With your new Myler Bit, he should not have as much tongue pressure as before, but it may take your horse some time to realise this. He will need to build trust that his new bit isn’t going to restrict his tongue like his previous one did. So, give your horse time to learn to relax - this may take days. Be sure you are releasing the pressure when he is in the correct position. If you are constantly applying pressure on his mouth, he may not be able to relax.

    Inverting: Inversion is fairly common. The main thing your horse is doing is controlling the application of the bit’s action by staying up out of the “pressure zone". Your new bit should give the pressure you need to ask him to relax at the poll and come into his “comfort zone" where he will have the relief he’s looking for. Many horses will try to invert with the new bit - you will need to ask the horse to go forward and apply consistent pressure until they relax at the poll. As soon as the horse relaxes at the poll, release the rein pressure. Always ask the horse to go forward. Some horses may resist by stopping, flipping their head, grabbing the bit, etc., but always ask him to go forward.

    Leverage and curb pressure can be very helpful for horses that invert by clearly rolling the mouthpiece downwards and introducing new points of pressure, eg curb and poll, so use of the hooks is recommended to maximise this. The occasional use of a

    curb chain on a snaffle bit can also be useful. Be sure your curb strap or chain is adjusted properly with room for only two fingers. Too loose and the cheek rotates too far around before engaging the curb chain. The curb chain activates too late and too hard, possibly upsetting your horse and not giving you the control you are looking for. Too tight and the horse is not rewarded with a comfort zone and is uncomfortable and distracted. When adjusted correctly, the curb chain engages when the cheek has been rotated approximately 45o, adding more downward pressure to the mouthpiece, and offering more control and encouragement for the horse to relax at the poll and stay balanced.

    Because an inverted horse is not used to working while relaxed at the poll, he will tire quickly and easily. Keep sessions short and always finish on a good note where the horse releases himself.

    Horse Behind the Bit: Horses typically hide behind the bit because mouthpiece pressure is too strong or applied to too wide an area. Your new Myler Bit should offer less pressure, but the horse will need transition time to learn to trust this. Give him time and make sure you release properly when he is relaxed at the poll. If you do not release, he will not experience the “comfort zone" while relaxed at the poll and will continue to curl up behind the bit.

    Not Stopping, or Pulling: Horses that don’t stop well or that pull are resisting by putting their own pressure into the bit to control it. Your new Myler Bit should give you the pressure you need for control and correction whilst also providing the relief and “comfort zone" to keep your horse happy and help him learn. Introduce your horse to the new bit slowly so that he can learn to trust having a “comfort zone." Use pressure as necessary for control, but be sure to reward your horse by releasing rein pressure when he stops as asked. Your horse should get lighter and less resistant with time, but he may have a lot of 'baggage' to get rid of, so don't be in any kind of a hurry if you want to do this well.

    Dropping a Shoulder: Horses generally drop a shoulder for two main reasons: laziness or anxiety. Horses usually take the easy route and will cheat you on a corner by leaning in - it’s less work than staying straight! At other times, they know their job so well that they try to be better at it than you want, – for instance when a jumper runs through a turn towards his next jump. He is too anxious and starts to lean on the inside shoulder too much and risks loosing his balance, the turn and valuable time. Your new Myler Bit should help you send a signal to keep his shoulder up - Independent Side Movement is perfect for this.

    When using Independent Side Movement, you will isolate one side of the bit, lift subtly with that side and not affect the other. It works best supported by an inside leg aid for turns, bending and balancing.

    Myler Bits with Independent Side Movement are simpler and clearer in their signalling than traditional bits, so you should find your horse responds well to this new, unambiguous communication.

    As a rider, you may find Independent Side Movement requires some adjustment in your riding technique. You may find you can be much more subtle in your actions as you ask your horse to bend or lift up his shoulder. The need to reward your horse by releasing the pressure the instant he has done as he has been asked cannot be over-emphasised.

    In Conclusion:

    To get the best out of your Myler Bit (and your horse):

    • Take it slowly and quietly.
    • Listen to your horse, he is trying to tell you what he needs in order to do what you want.
    • No bit makes up for bad riding or impatience and a bit cannot train your horse. That's your job, - just make sure you have the best equipment and knowledge to communicate with him effectively.
    • Have fun, or there's no point!
    • Understand what the bit, - and your hands on the ends of the reins, - are doing in your horse's mouth. - Think about what is going on with that tongue:

    HOOKS ON MYLER BIT CHEEKS

    Most Myler Bit Cheeks are available with hooks, (like slots), to fix the

    position of the bridle and the reins on the cheek ring of the bit and to allow Independent Side Movement.

    The top hooks are situated just in front of the small holes at the top of the cheek rings. These are for the cheek pieces and do precisely what the fulmer, or full cheek does, when used, (as it was designed to be), with leather keepers. They stabilise the bit inside the horse’s mouth and hold it off the tongue when pressure is not being applied by the rider, allowing for a much clearer signal and reward. The hooks also allow a little pressure to be applied to the poll (which is known to release endorphins).

    When used, the rein hook allows the rider to get more leverage, exerting pressure on the tongue as the bit was designed to do, - but more efficiently, - so less pressure is necessary. In this way, the backward pressure on the horse’s mouth is less severe and less prolonged. Use of the rein hook gives total ISM and increases the proportion of pressure going to the poll.

    The hooks, therefore, allow the bit to be used as it was designed to be, but more effectively, more gently, and with instant release for the horse as soon as it does what has been asked of it (provided, of course, that the rider relaxes the contact).

    This should also help the rider to have quieter hands.

    The difference can be demonstrated by putting a plain eggbutt Myler snaffle onto one bridle and the same mouthpiece but on an eggbutt cheek with hooks onto another, and comparing the way each bit hangs. The snaffle on the plain cheek would clearly lie on the horse’s tongue, the snaffle on the cheek with hooks hangs almost at right angles to the tongue.

    In order to balance the bit correctly, the cheek pieces must be fastened around the outside branch of the upper hook, leaving the metal on the inside branch against the horse’s face and giving the bit a “normal” appearance from the side.

    To make the ISM as effective as possible, the reins should be attached to the bottom hook, again around the outer branch.

    With Mylers' Full Cheek Bits that only have one hook, it is important to use a bit keeper to secure the position of the headstall and give all the advantages outlined above.

    MYLER COMBINATION BITS

    Design

    Unique in design, and one of the kindest bits available, the Myler’s Combination Bit is a hybrid of a ring bit, shank bit and Hackamore. The design features a large centre ring to support the mouthpiece, a top ring for the headstall and a bottom ring for the reins. The distance between the top and bottom rings determines the amount of leverage, with the short and long shank combination at opposite ends of this scale and the medium or 3-ring combination giving a choice of rein options.

    The lightweight mouthpiece slides freely on the centre ring until the degree of rotation brings it up against the ring stop. A rawhide-covered rope noseband and curb strap are linked together and run through two small offset rings on the purchase.

    The Myler Combination Bit is not a hackamore nor a hackamore combination. The fit of both the noseband and jaw strap is higher, with the noseband set above the nostrils, so it cannot restrict the horse’s airway. The noseband and jaw strap are fitted snugly, but not tight, against the horse’s face, so the action of the bit is smooth and efficient.

    Action

    Utilising various pressure points, Myler Combination Bits offer simultaneous interaction of the mouthpiece, curb strap and noseband. When rein pressure is applied, the Myler Combination Bit exerts pressure on the horse’s nose, poll and jaw (ie only 33% of the total in each area.) If the rider continues to apply rein pressure, the mouthpiece will meet the ‘stop’ on the ring and start to engage, whereupon the total pressure applied by the rider will be dispersed over 5 areas – the nose, poll, jaw, tongue and bars (ie 20% in each.)

    The pressure exerted on the horse’s nose, jaw and poll are extremely effective at getting the horse to relax at the poll and “roll over from the withers”, to hold a rounded outline.

    Mouthpieces

    Myler Combination Bits are available with all levels of mouthpieces, from Comfort Snaffles to Ported Barrels. Because all pressure areas engage and release at the same time, the horse is offered a pressure-free reward whenever he is light and relaxed at the poll, (providing, of course, that the rider relaxes his hand.) This makes the Myler Combination an excellent training tool, for horses ranging from youngsters to well-schooled campaigners.

    All Myler Combination Bit mouthpieces are made from Sweet Iron which will corrode gradually over time giving a taste that the horse will love.

    Use

    The Myler Combination Bit is particularly suitable as the first bit for a young horse or pony, which will be used to head pressure signals from being led in a head collar. It can also be a great bit for horses who are very nervous in the mouth; ex-racehorses who have been trained to “run into their mouths” and are reluctant to come into a schooled-horse outline; and older horses who think they know it all and will benefit from a very different feel in the communication they receive from the rider.

    Many professional event riders find the Myler Combination invaluable to get the horse relaxed and going as softly as possible and working well off the other aids, before they replace it with a permitted bit for their dressage test.

    Preparing Your Myler Combination Bit

    Along with the cord knots either side of it, the rawhide nosepiece’s hard and knobbly surface is part of the signalling mechanism, but it can be shaped to the individual horse’s face by soaking in warm water until it is pliable. It will then set in this customised shape as it dries. If the nose is very sensitive, the shaped nosepiece can be wound with a thin layer of vet wrap, but it should never be encased in sheepskin or similarly altered.

    Attaching the Myler Combination Bit to Your Bridle

    Remove your existing noseband from your bridle and attach your cheek pieces to the top of the purchase (the part which is angled out from the horse’s face to avoid rubbing.) The purchase on a Myler Combination is much longer than that on an ordinary bit, so you may need to make extra holes in your headpiece, or change the cheekpieces for a smaller size.

    Tacking Up

    Before you bridle your horse, ensure that the combination’s jaw strap is opened as far as possible to allow the maximum room for correct, controlled fitting. (Be careful not to loose the metal keepers on the jaw strap when doing this.)

    Fitting

    Fit the mouthpiece as normal (see Section 17). Position the rawhide nose piece high on the horse’s nose, so it doesn’t interfere with the horse’s breathing in any way. – It must lie on the nose bone above the nasal cartilage but must not be fitted so high that it rubs the projecting cheek bones. No additional noseband is needed.

    Transitioning Your Horse into his Myler Combination Bit

    It is very important to take your time to transition your horse into any new bit but particularly vital if it is a Myler Combination Bit because it will feel so different to the horse.

    Please see Section 17. With the Myler Combination Bit, you have 2 things to show the horse, so transition him into the mouthpiece first, leaving the nosestrap on the loosest fitting, until he has 'given' once or twice. When showing him the effect of the nose, jaw and poll pressure, do ensure that you tighten the jaw strap very gradually, hole by hole over a few minutes, so the horse has plenty of time to get used to the totally new action of the bit. Ensure that the nose strap remains high on the nose throughout (if necessary use string or tape to support it from the headpiece or cheek pieces, until it is tight enough to stay up on its own).

    The horse will instantly cause himself pressure on the face if he demonstrates any of the usual evasions (eg. head up, mouth open, etc.) and time and care must be taken to make sure he learns the new “rules” without frightening himself.

    Be very careful not to pull on the reins when leading or mounting the horse and to move off with an extra-light hand when riding with the Myler Combination Bit for the first time.

    Tightness and Readjustment

    For a correct fit, the jaw strap must be adjusted until it is possible to fit only the tip of your little finger under the hide nosepiece. This will need to be checked several times during the first few rides and then each time you ride subsequently, because the leather and the cord stretch. You may need to make extra holes in the jaw strap to ensure the right fit.

    Untacking

    When removing the combination, it is vital to release the jaw strap completely, so that when the horse opens his mouth to release the mouthpiece, he doesn’t cause himself pressure against the partially opened jaw and nose strap.

    Care of Your Myler Combination Bit

    Like any piece of equipment, care should be taken to fit the combination correctly and to check its fit and condition on a daily basis. Further details are provided in the swing ticket on each new bit and every retailer has been trained to advise on its correct fit and use.

    The mouthpiece should be wiped down after used to ensure the corrosion of the sweet iron takes place evenly and gradually. The cord may be wiped gently with a damp cloth and the curb strap cleaned like any other leather strap.

CURB CHAINS

Many Myler Bit designs allow a rider to utilize curb pressure with the use of a curb strap or curb chain. Curb pressure is traditionally used with shanked bits offering leverage, such as many Western bits and also Pelhams and Kimblewicks.

A unique design in Myler’s snaffle cheeks with hooks, however, allows a rider to use leverage and curb pressure with a ring bit as well. (See Section 19)

Curb pressure is very effective for asking a horse to relax at the poll. Firstly, a curb strap helps to stabilize the bit in the horse's mouth. With leverage created by the shank or the hooks on a ring cheek, it allows the rider to apply downward pressure in the horse's mouth and then once the horse responds it helps to bring the bit back into position, so offering the horse a release. It is another encouraging pressure area for the horse to respond to.

Also, downward pressure is better at asking a horse to roll his head forward and relax at the poll. Traditional ring bits apply direct backward pressure into the tongue and bars, which many horses resist by pulling into, pushing their weight straight through their shoulders and onto the forehand.

Curb straps or chains also help distribute pressure around the horse's head. For instance, with a traditional ring bit snaffle, 100% of the rein pressure is sent to the horse's mouth. With a leverage bit and curb strap, pressure is distributed to the mouth, the curb area (or back of the jaw) and the poll. Distributed pressure, as a norm, is kinder and gentler than concentrated pressure.

Another benefit of utilising different pressure areas is that it helps the rider to ride with a lighter, gentler hand. For this reason, the Mylers advocate the use of curb pressure with novice riders and children. It allows the rider to learn the 'feel' of riding lightly, allows the horse to have distributed pressure for softer signals, and also helps the beginning rider maintain control without a high degree of rein pressure.

A curb chain used with a Myler snaffle will sit relatively higher on the back of the horse’s jaw than a curb used with a traditional Pelham or Weymouth. This does not cause the curb pressure to be any less effective or more harsh in any way. It is simply used as a stabilisation point and pressure area for the horse to respond to. In addition, the pressure higher up on the jaw is spread over a larger area than the chin groove.

It is important that a curb chain or strap is attached correctly. Whilst the 2-finger space rule is a good guideline, it is all relative to the size of one's fingers! A better guideline is that one should only be able to move the reins 1 to 1 1/4" before the curb chain engages. This way the horse is able to respond to light rein pressure in the mouth before curb pressure engages, teaching him to be lighter and more responsive. Too tight a curb chain and the horse does not receive a rewarding release. Too loose a curb chain and the horse gets pressure too hard and too late from the curb chain - the rider's message is lost and the horse upset.

Have you had a bad experience with curb pressure before? Some riders have tried bits with curb pressure on their horses but then found the horse resisted more than with a traditional ring bit. If this has happened to you it is worthwhile for you to consider what the horse was resisting. Was it the curb pressure? Or was it the mouthpiece of the bit? For instance, if the horse was ridden in a traditional single joint snaffle bit with resistance and then ridden in a Pelham with a single joint snaffle mouthpiece with more resistance, it is more likely the horse objected to the mouthpiece rather than the curb pressure. This is because the mouthpiece was more stabilized and offered more downward pressure into the mouth, whereas with a single jointed mouthpiece it drove down painfully through the centre joint.

Reconsider the mouthpiece and reconsider curb pressure!

DRESSAGE LEGAL MYLER BITS

The following UK-stocked Myler Bits are legal under FEI (Horse) and British Dressage (Horse & Pony) Rules:

Full Cheek without hooks (stock code 23)
(It is permissible to use bit keepers and this will give the optimum signalling and reward effect on a plain cheek)

  • MB02 COMFORT SNAFFLE with WIDE BARREL (Level One)
    23025 (5”)
    23027 (5½”)
  • MB32 MULLEN BARREL (Level Two)
    23325 (5”)
    23327 (5½”)

Loose Ring Cheek (stock code 28)

  • MB02 COMFORT SNAFFLE with WIDE BARREL (Level One)
    28025 (5”)
    28027 (5½”)
    28028 (6”)
  • MB10 FRENCH LINK SNAFFLE (Level One)
    28105 (5”)
    28107 (5½”)

Eggbutt Cheek without Hooks (stock code 29)

  • MB02 COMFORT SNAFFLE with WIDE BARREL (Level One)
    29025 (5”)
    29027 (5½”)
    29028 (6”)
  • MB32 MULLEN BARREL (Level Two)
    29325 (5”)
    29327 (5½”)
    29328 (6”)

Hanging Cheek (stock code 41 (regular), 42 (small)

  • MB02 COMFORT SNAFFLE with WIDE BARREL (Level One)
    42023 (4½”)
    41025 (5”)
    41027 (5½”)
    41028 (6”)
  • MB32 MULLEN BARREL (Level Two)
    42323 (4½”)
    41325 (5”)
    41327 (5½”)
    41328 (6”)

Pony ”D” Ring without Hooks (stock code 21)

  • MB10 FRENCH LINK (Level One)
    21103 (4½”)

NB
The Myler mouthpieces 02 and 32 became acceptable when the FEI allowed snaffles with rotating mouthpieces, from January 2003.
They are curved forward for as much tongue room as possible. They have a no-pinch action; and Independent Side Movement through the bushing system within the central sleeve, or barrel. However, the ISM does not work to best effect on a plain cheek, so the Hanging Cheek, or the Full Cheek with a bit keeper are recommended. This will give the rider the optimum signalling ability under the Rules, and will give the horse the clearest reward when the rider relaxes the rein.

The Myler’s French Link is again designed with a pronounced forward curve for maximum tongue room, and the joint loops are large to minimise the chance of catching.

Whilst the acceptance of these bits by the dressage authorities is most welcome on welfare grounds, they are unlikely to be the most appropriate bits for horses ready to work under Affiliated Rules, in terms of comfort; clear signalling; and swallowing.

It is strongly recommended, therefore, that the horse is trained at home in the most appropriate bit for his own individual needs, in order to advance him in his training with a comfortable and clear-signalling bit. The horse should then do his test in the most suitable dressage-legal bit.

The horse will be doing a test for a few minutes every few weeks, whilst it will train at home nearly every day. The rider will use various training aids and methods which will help the horse advance in his training although they may not necessarily have a place in the actual arena. Bits are no different.

Most horses adapt well to this practice and their welfare and training will benefit from working for the vast majority of time in the most appropriate bit for them and their rider.

SWEET IRON BITS

Many Myler Bit mouthpieces are made from Sweet Iron instead of Stainless Steel. Sweet Iron has been a favourite of Western riders for years and is now becoming popular with English riders.

Sweet Iron is made from black iron and copper, creating a metal that promotes moisture in the horse’s mouth. The black iron and copper compound slowly oxidizes and rusts. Slow-acting and harmless to horses, the oxidation has a sweet taste that horses like and which encourages salivation. This metal will almost always discolour. The cheeks and all the joints of the bits are made from stainless steel and will not rust or bind.

Whereas copper, also used to encourage salivation, is soft, prone to wear and expensive; sweet iron is inexpensive and strong. A mouthpiece made of Sweet Iron will last years and years and the rust will not flake off or harm the horse. Riders need to be informed about this wonderful metal and how best to care for their bits.

Sweet Iron Bits stocked in the UK and Ireland are as follows:
The 02 Comfort Snaffle on a Loose Ring Cheek
All Myler Combination Bit mouthpieces

Tips for keeping your Sweet Iron Bit looking good

For best results and care of Sweet Iron bits, always wipe the mouthpiece thoroughly after riding. Not only does this keep the bit clean, but it slows down the rust even more. The hinged area of the bit is stainless steel, so it will not rust and/or seize up with wear.

More information is being included on the Myler swing tickets, explaining the above to help ease customer concern.

- The quality and integrity of all Myler bits is guaranteed -

THE MYLER TEAM UK

The Myler Team UK is a group of well-respected horsemen from across all disciplines, both amateur and professional, including both top and up-and-coming junior competitors. Team members include Christopher Bartle; Nicky Barrett; Jeanette Brakewell; Beccy Broughton; Gary Docking; Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks; Bob Mayhew; Richard Maxwell; Robert Oliver; and Nick Skelton.

The Team members are all enthusiastic proponents of The Myler Bitting System and are working with Belstane (the UK distributors), to promote better understanding of The Myler System, and, indeed, bitting in general.

Christopher Bartle: Just made the first Honorary Fellow of the BHS, Christopher is one of the rare individuals who have reached the top in two disciplines. He achieved the highest ever placing of a British dressage rider in the Olympic Games (Wily Trout, 1984), and has been equally as successful in Eventing. He was European Gold Medallist in 1997, and won Badminton in 1998 with Word Perfect. Managing Director of the Yorkshire Riding Centre, Christopher was the official dressage trainer to the last two British Three Day Event Olympic Teams and is currently training the German Three Day Event Team.
"Having the horse comfortable with the bit in his mouth makes absolute sense. Whilst a bit is never the total answer to every problem, having the horse relaxed in his mouth must be the first step to success."

Jeanette Brakewell: Always a keen sportswoman and a former pony club tetrathlon competitor, Jeanette is one of the brightest young stars in British Three Day Eventing. In the spotlight as "one to watch" since the mid 90’s, Jeanette was on the Silver Medal-Winning Team at the Sydney Olympics and won Team Gold at the European Championships in 2001. She has a well-deserved reputation as a rock-solid and inspirational pathfinder across country, and for her ability to produce excellent young horses.
"Anything which helps to make the horse more comfortable is a very good idea and I like the common-sense approach of The Myler System."

Beccy Broughton: Beccy started competing in endurance rides at the age of 6, trained her first pony at 9 and enjoyed growing success through her teens, culminating in her selection for the British Young Riders Team. Now competing successfully at FEI level, Beccy was 7thin the European Championships in Italy in 2001 and has a growing reputation for producing good young endurance horses. She is the top British-based rider in the World ranking and the only one invited to compete in the UAE Federation’s 130km race in Dubai.
"Myler Bits have made a huge difference to my own horses, helping them to relax into their work. A tense horse is less likely to concentrate and more likely to trigger muscular problems throughout its body."

Gary Docking: Born and raised in Cornwall, after a brief but exciting career on the stage Gary went back to his roots in the equestrian world. In the fifteen years since opening his own driving yard in Hampshire, Gary has won numerous top Private Driving Classes, both for himself and his clients. He is also a Council Member of the British Driving Society and the Hackney Horse Society; lectures regularly at home and abroad and is increasingly sought after as a judge and commentator of carriage driving classes.
"The Myler Bitting phenomenon is both interesting and exciting and I am looking forward to introducing this horsemanship and its gadget-free formula to the traditional world of Private Driving."

Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks: Following great success at home in Australia, Clayton came to the UK in 1993 to compete at the top level of international eventing. Lucinda has a long history of success from an early age, including selection for the British Junior Event Team. With Lucinda’s flair for dressage, in which she also competes at Grand Prix level, and Clayton’s reputation for producing horses and training, particularly on the jumping side, they are building a formidable team for the future.
"Control is vital in our sport, it is so important that the horse is comfortable. If there is any tension in the horse’s mouth it is transferred throughout his body and the knock-on effect can destroy the horse’s confidence."

Di Hayes: Di started her driving career in 1982 following a hunting accident and was competing at national level within 2 years. Di’s current Hackney horse was Champion Performance Hackney in 1998 and 1999; National Horse Driving Trials Points Champion in 1999 and 2000; and the Windsor International Driving Trials Single Horse Champion in 2000. As well as competing, Di has been a Horse Driving Trials Judge for several years, through which she is able to indulge her interest in dressage and training.
"Communication with your horse when driving is even more difficult than when riding and the bit is the main tool the driver has. I believe we owe it to our horses to make sure they are as comfortable as possible in their mouths to enable relaxation and thus better work."

James C L Lucas : After an active and varied pony club career with Chiddingfold Farmers, James joined his extensive Family Polo Dynasty. James has represented and captained the England Polo Team in the UK and abroad at various levels and currently plays as a semi-professional player off a handicap of 5. His present string of 7 polo ponies are mainly from Argentine stock. James is also on the HPA Development Committee, concentrating on promoting Under 21 English players. He plays in a High Goal Team with his brother and two cousins and also plays Snow Polo and Arena Polo.
"I am in favour of any bit that helps my ponies and reduces pressure and stress."

Richard Maxwell: Following a career in the Household Cavalry, Richard has been a freelance specialist in equine behaviour problems. He also starts and schools many young horses. He is now internationally renown for his results and spends much of his time travelling out to help owners and pass on his knowledge, giving them the confidence to progress with their horses themselves. His nation-wide lecture/demonstration tours are very popular and successful.
"I am in favour of anything which makes the horse more comfortable and the Mylers’ Bitting System is a thorough, systematic approach to getting the horse comfortable and relaxed in his mouth."

Robert Oliver: One of the country’s best known riders and producers of show horses over the last 30 years, Robert won the lightweight and middle -weight hunter of the year in 2001. He is also Master and Field Master of the Ledbury Foxhounds; an international judge of horses and ponies; and a lecturer and author on showing horses and ponies.
"Being a producer of horses, it is most important to have a soft comfortable mouth, both in the show ring and the hunting field."

Anna Ross: Anna gained a scholarship to the Talland School of Equitation in 1995, training with Pammy Hutton FBHS; Adam Kemp FBHS; and Molly Sivewright FBHS. In 2000 she was the recipient of the prestigious Pat Smallwood Award from the BHS. Anna currently works as a freelance rider/trainer, competing horses up to Prix St Georges level; she trains with Dries Roefs and Judy Harvey FBHS. Holding the BHS Stable Manager qualification, she also manages the London Equestrian Centre and prepares many British and International students for BHS examinations.
"Comfort and relaxation are the keys to successful communication between horse and rider."