This week, we have an exciting guest blog from one of my favourite horse trainers Pauly Daniel! Pauly was a successful competitor in the Australian Equitana Brumby Challenge in 2016, where trainers work with a brumby over a period of 150 days – taking them from the wild and training them to then compete over 4 days at Equitana. Born and raised working stock on the family property in the beautiful Flinders Ranges and having inherited his family’s respect for the beautiful animals, he started his journey with horses from an early age. He has spent his early working life on cattle stations in Australia as a Ringer, drover and colt starter and over the years he has competed in various disciplines. Pauly is passionate about studying classical dressage and in his work he focuses on closing the divide between stockmanship, horsemanship, and English and Western disciplines Together with his wife Lauren, they have built Daniel-Tessari Horse Reflections, pursuing their goal of training and developing confident, soft horses with as much horse and try left in them as possible.
What’s the right bit and the right fit? Bit Bank Australia- For Horse Bits has helped me so much lately, and myself and my horses are incredibly grateful. Here’s a recap of a bit consultation my horses immensely thanked us for.
Gear or saddlery that we use on our horses is simply to have as precise communication through our body to the horses body and mind we can. This communication we are trying to keep precise can change with different jobs we do. This is when we may need to change gear.
In my case I’ve known for a long time that I’ve needed to change the bits I use for Picking-up but have been unsure what to try for fear of making a mistake of what gear I chose for my horses sake.
Nulla for example is soft through his body and therefore my hands in everything he does with two hands in a snaffle... When I use one hand when ponying, roping, picking-up etc though, he almost immediately gets out shape which leads to all kinds of miscommunication and if anyone’s seen any pics under extreme pressure picking-up can make for not such a pretty sight or experience for him.
I’ve asked other professionals I respect for advice which has consistently been to try him in a Shank bit. A Shank bit is fantastic and extremely precise communication in the right hands... My challenge is, when I’m picking up I definitely don’t always have the right hands.
Before Rodeo season this year I booked a consultation with Charmae from Bit Bank to try a few options she suggested. Knowing the theory of what I needed from her practical knowledge, trialing the bits is still needed as only the horses opinion is ever the fact.
On the day of our consultation to try different bits on Nulla and Miss M, we bridled up Nulla with Charmaes first choice to try, I rode him off and I kid you not within a few strides in one hand and some lateral movements I smiled and said “That’s our bit” (If only it was that easy every time hey?) The Myler bit we stuck to for him has a similar action to a shank by dispersing the pressure over the poll and under chin, with a port to eliminate tongue pressure, but without a leverage of a long Shank. Perfect. (Myler Level 2 Eggbutt with hooks) She said it’s what she most recommends and has had great feedback for Polocrosse.
Miss M had a few bits trialed on her and was a little more tricky to listen to what she liked. Her challenge is she’s so near perfectly put together and naturally carries herself in such a beautiful shape, she could be so easily ridden behind the vertical if she was ever unhappy or ridden incorrectly, which should be avoided at all costs. I ended up taking a couple home and seeing what progressive feel I got. The “Bombers Ultra Comfy Lock up Eggbutt” is her most favoured bit, apart from the “Tom Balding Western D Snaffle” which I have mostly used on her. This is the bonus of Bit Banks 30 day trial option on sale of bits. You may not always feel a change immediately or even in a few rides.
The proof is in the results. Both horses went amazingly at Carrieton Rodeo in their personalised gear set ups. Also Lauren, who is actually Nulla’s main human (I just get to borrow him for work sometimes) gave a big tick of approval for how nice she felt he was in his new bit also. Enough said then!
Thanks Bit Bank crew for all your help and advice. Success isn’t possible without the support of coaches, mentors and experts.
- Pauly Daniel
Photo Credit - Leonie Tagan Photography