There are a few questions that I get asked time and time again, so here' s a series of "cheat sheets" for you to give you a place to start. Please keen in mind, that these suggestions are general, and do not take into account the details of your exact situation. Use them as a guide, read the product descriptions of the bits listed, and consider them as they might apply to your particular issues and training that you are also undertaking.
Cheat Sheet #4- Pony Bits
Pony bits can be a bit tricky. They have smaller mouths, and less room between the upper and lower jaw, and often the "pony" sized bits are simply shorter versions of the horse sizes, and not correctly scaled down to suit. The other problem is that they are often only available in one size- 4.5", where I have clients with ponies in anything from a 3.5" to 5" pony bits. Consider these factors as well:
• Is the pony being ridden by a child of adult? An adult is stronger, and so I feel that the very fine mouthpieces are often not suitable, where they can be quite effective and comfortable with a child rider.
• If the pony is ridden by a child, is he being schooled by an adult as well? No matter how good you consider your 5 year old to be, it is always beneficial to have an adult pop on regularly to tune the pony up and prevent little problems becoming big issues.
• Is my pony pain free in both mouth and back?
• Is my pony educated enough to understand your rein aids clearly?
Here are a list of our favourite pony bits and a description of why they may suit your needs.
Just a divine little bit perfectly suited for smaller pony mouths and child riders. A very elegant and scaled down 45mm diameter cheek with a comfy lozenge style mouthpiece. The eggbutt cheeks protect the sides of the face should the rider be using very open rein aids and pulling the bit through slightly, as well as taking away some of the unsteadiness from the rider's hands.
(For larger ponies and adult riders, the 8022E Eggbutt bridoon is available in a 4.75 and 5" with the smaller 55mm rings.)
A rubber style that is PC and EA dresasge legal, and the 11cm size equates to just smaller than a 4.5", with the 12cm size being just smaller than a 5". This bit has a little bend and give, while still with a steel core for safety. Being rubber, they are less hardwearing that steel bits, and more prone to teeth marks, but if your pony has a nice quiet mouth this bit should still last for years without any problems.
This simple little budget priced bit is available in quarter inch increments in size from 3.5" to 4.5". 50mm diameter rings to suit the smaller heads with a short, flat french plate. Perfect for PC, and has been used by clients for their driven mini's as well.
The PeeWee bit is essentially a thin mullen style with bars that influence the lower jaw like a full cheek bit would. I have found this bit useful for the slightly stronger ponies for jumping or speed events, where the rider can be a little light on with the rein aids. This bit makes the aids very clear, and most ponies tend to sit very nicely in this. PC legal in most states, but please check your rule books. (not legal for dressage) Available in Mini or Small to suit the pony mouths.
The simple french link pony eggbutt and the PeeWee bit.
Neue Schule do a large range of very nicely scaled down pony bits, you can see more of the pony range here. We are still waiting with baited breath for NS to make a nice, delicate weymouth set suitable for show ponies. The smaller sized they make now are really only suitable for the galloways, and Sprenger's smaller sizes are very thick and heavy still, and in our mind, unsuitable for the Riding Pony types we have here.