Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Happy Mouth Snaffle

I meant to do this a while ago, but never got around to it and just found this draft sitting in my folder!

I think I got this bit around November so I've been using it a while.
I mentioned when I got Misty, but I was not impressed with her previous training. At all. I know she was a ranch horse and as a result is a pretty chill, well-mannered horse, but after I bought her and rode her for the first time (not how I'd recommend buying a horse lol) she was alternatively sensitive to the bit and dull to it at times. As in I'd cue for a downward transition with my seat and get nothing, use a little bit of rein, getting a gaping mouth, use a little more seat/hand and get a slam on the brakes. Fun times.

I use Mylers on pretty much every horse I've ever had. I've found that they're thin enough to fit comfortably in mouths, too uncomfortable to lean on but kind enough to encourage a soft contact. So this is what I had Misty in. But even using a noseband to discourage opening her mouth and trying to teach her to listen to my body weight and seat aids for transitions she was still quite unhappy with the bit.

I think mostly because she was so used to a curb bit. You get the action of the shanks applying pressure via the curb strap first, plus there's no contact to speak of. Anywho, in teaching her dressage I wanted the softest bit possible to encourage her to accept contact. Enter a happy mouth.

Modeling the bit

I went with a D-ring version since I was also wanting the added control for jumping and showing hunters. The first few rides weren't encouraging. She was trying to figure out the bit, chewing on it a lot, trying to lean on it or tossing her head in the air alternately.

Now that it's been a few months though, I have to say I'm really happy with the bit. It hasn't gotten any chew marks. I don't like how the plastic yellows as it ages, but that's pretty unavoidable. Misty has settled down and seems to really appreciate the bit for working with contact. I still use the Myler for riding western but the Happy Mouth is for all our English work. She's definitely much happier taking contact and steady in the bridle. We still obviously have quite a ways to go, but I went and bought a second Happy Mouth that's a loose ring to show dressage in and keep the D-ring for jumping.

New bit on left, old bit on right


  1. Love this bit! It was the only bit Bobby tolerated when we went on our great bit hunt a couple of years ago. Fortunately he also likes the french link version of it just as much because the roller piece isn't legal for eventing dressage.

  2. Mylers are decieving, they are quite severe and that's why some horses aren't too fond of them. They are a great bit for strong horses who are sensitive. Happy Mouths are great if your horse likes a light bit - glad it's working for you.

    1. I haven't found that Mylers are severe at all. They probably fall more in the middle of the spectrum of severity in my opinion. Regardless, Misty was the first horse I've found that didn't like the Myler so I'm just happy that she's at least going a little bit better in the Happy Mouth.