Our Guide to Weymouths and Bradoons; The Fager Perspective!
Here at Fager our approach is to choose a Weymouth from the individual horse’s perspective and consequently the Bradoon from your own.
All Fager Weymouth and Bradoons are designed to maintain a light and flexible feel in the hands, taking up less physical space inside the mouth; ultimately creating a noticeably engaging connection.
We always recommend fitting the Bradoon in the usual snaffle size of the horse whilst fitting the Weymouth in one size bigger.
The reason behind this is due to the Bradoon being a jointed bit; if it is fitted in too big a size, it has the potential to cause injury from the joints sliding from side to side in the mouth and coming into contact with the bars and palate. This undesirable action could cause rubbing and sores, whilst also hindering any communication from the reins.
The Weymouth should sit to the outside of a correctly fitted Bradoon. A straight mouthpiece doesn’t create the same risks as a jointed one and it will also be stabilized by the Bradoon to prevent it from sliding across the mouth. When fitted correctly, the Weymouth will leave enough space for the upper ring to swivel freely over the Bradoon.
We have three recommendations to bear in mind when choosing the correct Weymouth;
- The bend of the mouthpiece.
- The raw material used.
- The length of the shanks.
1. Bend of the mouthpiece.
Wide freedom – Diana and Daniel
This mouthpiece bend suits a horse that finds it difficult to relax and seek out the contact.
The wide port allows the tongue space and freedom without locking it down.
Shaped freedom – Felicia and Philip
This mouthpiece bend suits a horse who is sensitive to pressure over the tongue, falls easily behind the hand and needs support to achieve balance and security down both reins. It assists the rider to create and maintain a natural frame.
Framed movements – Sofia and Sebastian
This mouthpiece bend suits a horse who needs to work in a more natural frame. It creates a more direct and swift response to the aids, with no delay.
Low Flex – Elisabeth and Erik
This mouthpiece bend suits a young or tense horse who initially prefers stability in the mouth and can easily over-react to movement.
Sweet Iron – Daniel, Philip, Sebastian and Erik.
Sweet Iron will encourage the horse to take up the bit and accept the contact. It is especially suited to a horse who lacks confidence, is young or unbalanced.
Titanium – Diana, Felicia, Sofia and Elisabeth
Titanium gives the rider a flexible feeling with a more responsive contact.
3. Length of the Shank;
A shorter shank, 5cm, will give the rider a more uplifting effect. The shorter shank is suitable for horses who need to loosen up through the shoulders and come up in front. The shorter the shank; the easier it is to create bend and flexion.
A longer shank, 7cm, encourages the horse to follow the bit’s contact forward and down.
This longer length creates a steady, more forgiving contact.
Once you have decided on your Weymouth, it is crucial to source a well-balanced pairing with a Bradoon which also meets your requirements. A number of Fager’s Snaffles, Fixed and Loose Ring, also function as a Bradoon; the main difference being simply the size of the rings.
We recommend that you consult with your specific Country’s Annex to see if there are any additional rules for the use of Bradoons.
When choosing your Bradoon we recommend you consider the following:
- The shape of the mouthpiece.
- The design of the sidepiece.
- The raw material used.
- The shape of the mouthpiece
Single jointed vs double jointed? Basically, the more joints you add to the equation, the more flexibility you will create. Using combinations of different shaped joints and designs can significantly alter the amount of movement.
For a horse that is unsteady in the contact yet responsive, consider a single jointed Bradoon. This mouthpiece creates a clear signal down each rein; for left and right rein as the individual bars of the bit will apply tongue pressure to each specific side, pushing upwards and over the tongue. This helps to create a more equal and secure frame.
Double-jointed Bradoons breakover towards the outside of the tongue, creating a softer feeling in the hand. They are also more forgiving to an uneven contact, whilst creating a more flexible feel down the reins. This feature makes this mouthpiece suitable for a horse that requires more movement to soften the mouth, without becoming too unstable.
The addition of a roller to the centre of the mouthpiece is suited to horses who can feel heavy and lean towards the hand. A flexible roller places a rolling pressure on the tongue, creating a better response when the rider takes up the reins, allowing more flexibility through the shoulder.
If the horse reacts by shaking their head or backing off when the contact is taken up, or when more pressure is applied, we recommend choosing a bit design which allows more freedom for the tongue or alternatively choose a single-jointed bit.
2. Sidepiece; taken from our Sidepiece Guide.
Loose rings are designed to move independently to the mouthpiece, allowing the horse more freedom and enabling them to use their tongue to place the mouthpiece higher or lower in the mouth. This allows them to disperse pressure to where they feel more comfortable.
Loose rings allow the mouthpiece to works more independently than with fixed ring designs.
The hole in the mouthpiece where the ring goes through should sit just outside the flesh at the corners of the mouth. To avoid any pinching, we recommend using our Mouth corner tape. (FEI dressage legal)
Loose rings are a sensible choice for a horse who has a tendency to lean on the bit and can feel stiff in the hand. However this will also depend upon the choice of mouthpiece; for a playful tongue, you might consider using something more stable.
Fixed rings are physically attached to the mouthpiece, creating a rein contact which is more stable towards the mouth. Fixed rings encourage a horse to keep the contact towards the bit and create stability for both horse and rider; how much contact and stability you achieve will depend upon which mouthpiece you choose.
Fixed rings also assist with any steering issues and can also calm a horse who consistently plays with the bit.
Sweet Iron will encourage your horse to take up the bit and accept the contact.
Sweet Iron is especially suitable for a horse that lacks confidence, is young or unbalanced.
Titanium will provide you with a supple feeling and a more responsive contact.