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reidhorsegrl10

Bits...

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So I'm just wanting to see what people use bit wise?!?! I've been riding my boy in a twisted wire O-Ring and of course need to get him into something for the Hunter ring. Was thinking of just a plain D-Ring Snaffle :questionicon:

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That's an awful, awful lot of bit for every day. Why do you use that bit?

For sure I wouldn't go to a plain D ring to show if your horse really needs that much for every day.

I ride both mine in a nathe mouth loose ring at home, my little one goes in that all the time.

My big horse does shows, clinics and big jump schools in a sprenger kk (french link) loose ring and a mechanical hackmore together.

Edited by Little.Wing

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My young 4' jumper does everything in a straightbar happymouth eggbutt snaffle.

The older guy I just sold 3'3 hunter/jumper schooled at home in a snaffle, didn't matter which one just not too skinny not too fat not twisted. He showed jumpers in the same bit and showed hunters in short Shanked copper mouth Pelham.

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My gelding goes in a KK Ultra or a Slow Twist Dr Bristol Full Cheek.

My trainer has used a continental gag/ elevator on him and he seems to go well in it.

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It depends entirely on the horse. Both of mine go in D-rings, one in a french link, the other in a slow twist. If I'm jumping or going out hacking, I need to bit up my old guy with a rubber tom thumb pelhalm. Otherwise, I'm rather partial to a solid (not hollow mouth) loose ring, either a KK or one of those JP curved snaffles.

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About a month ago switched to a Myler dee with a copper roller. Its the one where it's bent a bit so it doesn't do the nutcracker thing. Mare loves it.

Before the Myler I was alternating her between a short shanked plastic pelham and a slowtwist dee. Mare is softer in the new bit, and I don't feel like I need as much "whoa" power anymore, so we are both happy.

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Old guy jumps and flats in a loose ring snaffle, unless he's jumping outdoors with itty bitty kids, then it's a slow twist.

Big horse flats in a loose ring, jumps and goes cross-country in a plain eggbutt gag.

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About a month ago switched to a Myler dee with a copper roller. Its the one where it's bent a bit so it doesn't do the nutcracker thing. Mare loves it.

Before the Myler I was alternating her between a short shanked plastic pelham and a slowtwist dee. Mare is softer in the new bit, and I don't feel like I need as much "whoa" power anymore, so we are both happy.

I've always liked the Mylers but they are a little pricey haha!!

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I've always liked the Mylers but they are a little pricey haha!!

eBay lol. I bought 2 KK bits on there for $30 and $26.

If it doesn't work with your horse you can put it back on there or keep it for less money. :)

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I use a twisted snaffle also on my lad, he's lovely and soft in it and I never have to touch the reins at all, he respects it and works beautifully...however in a normal loose-ring he's just not as soft in it and doesn't work as nice and I have to engage the bit more in that than I do in the other.

For showing over here, it's allowed in the ring so I'm ok for that. However for dressage it's not legal and just have him in a very thin eggbutt loose-ring which he seems to go the best in! I tried D-ring on him with copper rollers [though not allowed in dressage either] and he hated it.

Just have a play around and see what he likes best. I'd suggest going for a thinner mouthpiece if he works best in the twisted one - my lad seems to work well in it.

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Sounds like our boys are alike!! I just want to also find something to switch to in order to have that as a schooling bit per say!! A bit to go back to when he's lugging on it and not as supple!! Thanks for all ya'lls help!!

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Sounds like our boys are alike!! I just want to also find something to switch to in order to have that as a schooling bit per say!! A bit to go back to when he's lugging on it and not as supple!! Thanks for all ya'lls help!!

If he's luggy and not supple in that I'd be looking for a new trainer first and foremost. I also wouldn't be looking to change bits to solve that. A "twisted wire O ring" is a SINGLE TWISTED WIRE folks- NOT a slow twist. A slow twist is one thing, a single twisted wire is a very sharp bit. A slow twist is 4-5 steps away from a single twisted wire, and only 1-2 steps from a plain snaffle of some kind.

I'm not fighting the idea of a very sharp bit. I jumped my last horse in a triangular snaffle (or knife edge bit). Single twisted wire is in that neighborhood bitting wise. I have a single twist I used sometimes. It was a totally correct use of that bit on that horse. That horse was a brat that took advantage, and in a sharp bit, with sharp spurs and highly accurate riding horse became pretty honest to the jumps when it wasn't otherwise. However, that bit was used VERY, VERY infrequently. (Big classes at shows ONLY after the initial test period for the bit.) When I put this horse in a sharp bit horse was a supple and light as could possibly be. Since that's not the case for you you need good quality TRAINING for that horse, not a new bit.

Sharp bits can do WONDERS for lazy, luggy, slow to respond horses. I bit to the level of sensitivity of the horse.... so the more sluggish and luggy the horse, the sharper the bit... the hotter and more reactive the horse, the softer the bit. (Hence both mine I have now go in really soft options.) But you have to use the correction sparingly or it looses its effect, like the single twisted wire has with your horse.

Think about it this way? If you want something stronger than a single twisted wire what do you go to? Go cut a piece of smooth wire off your fences and use that with some rings as a bit? What's next? Barbed wire? You run out of options really fast if your horse is leaning on one of the sharpest bits out there. That's where TRAINING needs to go back and fix the root problem.

Really, there's no reason to change bits around just because it's home and show. 99% of shows I go to my horses go in the same thing they go in at home. I very rarely mess with that because what I have mine in works. My big horse gets changed based on what we're doing, not where we are. I ride with less when I flat because it makes her happy, but I have to have more control to jump bigger courses- so I get more by changing her bitting rig.

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Always makes me nervous when people talk about bitting up and say "it's great, he's so light, I never touch the reins!" The only thing I picture is a horse over-bitted and curling.

As someone who had to work for two years to fix a horse that curled...I WANT a horse to be in my hand. Yes, leaning is an issue. But not all pressure in your hand equals "leaning"...if your horse is between your leg and hand, you will have some weight on the reins. You won't have a horse that is through from behind and pushing their back up, between your hand and leg, with no weight on the reins. Lack of any weight on the reins means they are ducking behind the contact and evading the bit, likely because of the heft of bit that you have in their mouth. (Or gadgets, or heavy-handed riding, or...but I digress)

Evaluate if your horse is truly leaning or if they are pushing into your hand before going gangbusters and bitting up. I hate riding a horse that just "isn't there" in my hand. What do you half-halt against? How are you dictating bend and counterbend? Can you tip their head at the poll to just flex their outside eye out? Not if they're ducked behind the contact.

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Right now I use this flexible rubber loose ring mullen. It's really super flexible and my gelding love it. He also has a myler bit that he likes, but the mullen is his favorite. He was fine in a regular snaffle, fine in a rubber coated snaffle, but he would back off a little too much in those. I'd love to find his current bit somewhere (I see some online, but it's hard to tell HOW flexible they are--I've ordered a few, but they're not nearly as flexible as the one he has) because I'd like it to be a touch larger (I acquired this bit from a friend and have no idea the size)... I also tried the Nathe bit with him and he hated, hated, hated it.

My other gelding goes in a rubber coated snaffle. He'd also love the rubber mullen I'm sure, but he's got a larger mouth and the bit is too small.

Mare goes in a rubber mullen mouth pelham. I've only been using that for a few months (and now she's off until we can resolve this abscesses/laminitis issues), but she's 100% a different horse. No more falling on her face, no fighting, no ignoring everything I ask (she had been in a slow twist). She listens, she's happy, I'm happy, and best of all, she's not falling on her face. Mare was broke western and is used to a curb bit. She doesn't understand this snaffle thing. Maybe one day we can get consistent and experiment more. But for the time being, pelham it is.

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If he's luggy and not supple in that I'd be looking for a new trainer first and foremost. I also wouldn't be looking to change bits to solve that. A "twisted wire O ring" is a SINGLE TWISTED WIRE folks- NOT a slow twist. A slow twist is one thing, a single twisted wire is a very sharp bit. A slow twist is 4-5 steps away from a single twisted wire, and only 1-2 steps from a plain snaffle of some kind.

I'm not fighting the idea of a very sharp bit. I jumped my last horse in a triangular snaffle (or knife edge bit). Single twisted wire is in that neighborhood bitting wise. I have a single twist I used sometimes. It was a totally correct use of that bit on that horse. That horse was a brat that took advantage, and in a sharp bit, with sharp spurs and highly accurate riding horse became pretty honest to the jumps when it wasn't otherwise. However, that bit was used VERY, VERY infrequently. (Big classes at shows ONLY after the initial test period for the bit.) When I put this horse in a sharp bit horse was a supple and light as could possibly be. Since that's not the case for you you need good quality TRAINING for that horse, not a new bit.

Sharp bits can do WONDERS for lazy, luggy, slow to respond horses. I bit to the level of sensitivity of the horse.... so the more sluggish and luggy the horse, the sharper the bit... the hotter and more reactive the horse, the softer the bit. (Hence both mine I have now go in really soft options.) But you have to use the correction sparingly or it looses its effect, like the single twisted wire has with your horse.

Think about it this way? If you want something stronger than a single twisted wire what do you go to? Go cut a piece of smooth wire off your fences and use that with some rings as a bit? What's next? Barbed wire? You run out of options really fast if your horse is leaning on one of the sharpest bits out there. That's where TRAINING needs to go back and fix the root problem.

Really, there's no reason to change bits around just because it's home and show. 99% of shows I go to my horses go in the same thing they go in at home. I very rarely mess with that because what I have mine in works. My big horse gets changed based on what we're doing, not where we are. I ride with less when I flat because it makes her happy, but I have to have more control to jump bigger courses- so I get more by changing her bitting rig.

Let me correct a sentence in that statement I made I think I left a word or two out, guess I should have proof-read it... I would like a lighter bit to get the O-Ring out of his mouth, and to only keep the O-Ring as a bit if he decides he wants to go back to his old ways!! My gelding is 9y/o and green, before putting him in the O-Ring I tried lighter bits on him and couldn't find one that got him to listen like he needs too and be supple so just remember when you are posting you don't actually know the horse you know a small tidbit of what is said in the post. Not really sure where you get that my bit is soooo harsh but I don't have one issue with his mouth, not sore a bit. And in my initial post I was just asking what people used on there horse not to judge what I use on mine, but thanks for your input!!

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We get that your bit is "soooo harsh" because a single twisted wire bit is a harsh bit. Now, a bit is as harsh as the hands that are using it, but a single twisted wire will always be a harsher bit than a plain snaffle.

A bit does not create suppleness.

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I have a green horse that had many issues when he came to me. Rearing, being afraid of the bit and running off being a few of them. I rode him in a plain d ring, rubber full cheek, happy mouth double jointed 2 ring Dutch gag, French link loose ring, now the kk loose ring. Putting a sharp bit in his mouth would have caused more issues because of the issues we were already dealing with. Did he listen all the time? Of course not, but we kept working and he kep getting better.

I had a horse when I was 12/13 who was even worse when I got her. I rode her in a kimberwicke, a double twisted wire full cheek and eventually a plain Myler d ring. She never got very good training wise, but she improved a lot while I owned her.

My concern with having such a harsh bit, is that their mouth gets deadened to it and you may have a hard time getting him to listen at all. What other bits did you try before landing on the one you're using? What issues were you having with your horse?

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My background with riding is running barrels and riding cutting horses. Every trainer I have ever worked with has used this bit mainly on horses that have an issue pulling on you or horses that just don't listen (how my guys is) I have been using this bit on him for about 2 wks now, it's served it's purpose and that's is why I'm wanting to switch! You do what you know!

Again I put this post out just to see what bits ppl used on their horses to get an idea of bits to look into and see which if any might work on my guy not for people to judge what I use on mine!! It's all a trial and error in my opinion of finding a bit that works!! I wanted a general idea of what ppl liked to use not tell me what to use!

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I don't believe that Anyone was trying to attack you here. They are just giving you their opinions and explaining their bitting and why. You did ask for what we use and you also told us the issues you were having. It's natural for some to respond with what they did.

This is a friendly forum, I can say I honestly believe everyone who takes the time to post something that well thought out and insightful was thinking about the best interest of the horse and not trying to offend you. You don't have to listen to anything anyone says but I would encourage you to think about the fact that we all just want to give you the best info we can and everyone wants everyone to succeed. I love it when my topics get long explanations and personal experience. Sometimes it helps me to figure stuff out better myself.

I hope you find the correct bit for your horse.

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It doesn't matter too much what I ride fred in- he's in a french link.

I've had todd in a rubber D, then I switched to a 3 piece loose ring copper snaffle per the suggestion of my dressage friends. He has been in that for about a year and I just wasn't really happy with it. He isn't strong at all, so it's not a matter of power, but he doesnt accept the bit too well.

So I rencently (like 2 weeks) just put him in a regular plain vanilla D ring snaffle. And I am very pleased with it. I think the 3 piece snaffle was too loose in his mouth and he is already prone to gaping his mouth open. I find the snaffle provides some stability from my hand to his mouth, doesn't move in his mouth quite so much.

As for your horse, a twisted wire is strong, but how does he do in a regular snaffle? Quite a few folks use some sort of pelham/kimberwicke in hunters for stronger horses. However horses can sometimes lean on those bits. I would just experiment!

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No problem, hope you find one that suits him!

Don't know what your boy's like, but my lad's not fizzy, sharp, lazy, etc....he's a complete schoolmaster and a sweetheart, but he just works best in that bit. He's been in it over summer and for hunting and now is back in the normal thin loose-ring again. If he starts to get a bit sluggish in that in the future, then he'll go back into the twisted one again for a while, then back to the normal one again. He doesn't over bend or curl up, his natural response is to carry his head high in a typical OTTB style. He's not got the best conformation which doesn't help but he's a dude to ride, you just think and he does it bless him.

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http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/319063_256434164395889_222090217830284_747503_763619352_n.jpg

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/309352_10150388050876753_708806752_9863930_947438844_n.jpg

I'll try and find a pic of the one he's in now... I don't know much about rules and regs in the States, so you'll have to see yourself whether it's correct or not!

Edited by NaughtyNeigh2

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My background with riding is running barrels and riding cutting horses. Every trainer I have ever worked with has used this bit mainly on horses that have an issue pulling on you or horses that just don't listen (how my guys is) I have been using this bit on him for about 2 wks now, it's served it's purpose and that's is why I'm wanting to switch! You do what you know!

Again I put this post out just to see what bits ppl used on their horses to get an idea of bits to look into and see which if any might work on my guy not for people to judge what I use on mine!! It's all a trial and error in my opinion of finding a bit that works!! I wanted a general idea of what ppl liked to use not tell me what to use!

Western background is going to have taught you very different bitting lessons than an english background would have.

I know several western trainers that will put a huge leverage bit with a single twisted wire mouthpiece on two and three year olds as they break them, and they ride those bits with draw reins only for a minimum of 4-6 weeks to make the horse "broke in the face/neck/head/mouth/poll/etc." I'd say a great number, if not a vast majority of english riders and trainers will visibly flinch at that thought and reality.

You came to the hunter/jumper forum with this question- many of us have primarily or all english backgrounds, myself included. I can count on my fingers and toes the total number of times in my life I've ridden western in my life, and on one hand the number of times I've been in a western saddle in the last 5 years. You posted the topic here, not in barrel racing, so I'm going to assume you're planning on riding english or jumping this horse- otherwise you wouldn't have asked us.

Unfortunately (at least for my wallet) I've had a LOT of experience choosing and evaluating bits for different horses in the last few years. All my horses have been challenging to bit, and my bit collection (now well exceeding 100 bits, some of them absolutely bizarre and wildly unconventional) reflects this experience. I've also been lucky enough to have been guided in this by one of the best teachers and riders in the world of the classic American jumper style. (Think late-80's vintage.)

That said, I feel I have a really good handle on bits and bitting as a whole. It's something that fascinates me. One of the things I enjoy most about going to clinics with this teacher- he frequently makes bitting changes and I enjoy getting to watch the results with his commentary and reasoning. My general theory on bitting, scale of harsh to mild, and understanding of the finer points and nuances of small changes and more unusual equipment all comes directly for this teacher.

This isn't meant to be an attack on you. I'm aiming to point out something very important before serious harm comes to you or your horse from pure ignorance. The bit you said you were using is one of the harshest conventional bits on the market for english riding. There's one very important reason that western riders can use bits much harsher than the one you mentioned. English riders ride with contact. Many western disciplines avoid contact, relying on the fine training of neck reining. Doesn't matter as much what's in the horse's mouth if you ride with a two feet of slack in the reins and don't touch the bit. Makes a huge difference when you're holding 3-10 pounds of pressure on it all the time as most english disciplines would. If your horse is stiff or resistant in this bit, leaning, pulling, NO bit will solve this. This is a TRAINING problem. A bit is only a band-aid at that point.

Don't get me wrong, a bit change can make a HUGE difference in a horse's way of going. But what you describe -a horse that's luggy and stiff- is not something a bit change will fix. A horse that's fussy, over sensitive, sucked back, fidgety-- I've seen all those issues absolutely vanish with a bit change. (My current horse is a shining example in some regards, but the 'miracle' bit change was accompanied by 4 months good, correct training.) My horse that was luggy and stiff did wonderfully in a very sharp bit. In order to preserve the effect of that sharp bit, both by not deadening the nerve endings in his mouth and by letting not his brain get used to it, I used it VERY occasionally, only when it was most important. It wasn't something that I pulled out to make him supple, it was something I pulled out when I needed to take total control of his body, mind and the situation. It wasn't a correction or training aid, it was a tool used for a specific purpose. There were corrections and training aids I used with that horse to improve him over time, but that bit was NOT one of them. I did a lot of work to improve that horse's flexibility and suppleness, and had a set of tools for that purpose, but what I used to train him was very different than what I put on when I needed him to preform his best. The sharp bit gave me a level of control that nothing else did, but through training (in a plain kk ultra, for what it's worth) that level of control increased between the times I put the sharp bit on. Does that make sense?

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My mare goes in a mullen mouth eggbutt snaffle. I have used it on her for about six years, and we used to jump in it as well with no issues (back when she was sound enough to jump). I go for the least amount of bit possible, she was in an eggbutt french link, but it didn't fit her mouth well, the mullen mouth is so much better. She has a small mouth.

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Western background is going to have taught you very different bitting lessons than an english background would have.

I know several western trainers that will put a huge leverage bit with a single twisted wire mouthpiece on two and three year olds as they break them, and they ride those bits with draw reins only for a minimum of 4-6 weeks to make the horse "broke in the face/neck/head/mouth/poll/etc." I'd say a great number, if not a vast majority of english riders and trainers will visibly flinch at that thought and reality.

You came to the hunter/jumper forum with this question- many of us have primarily or all english backgrounds, myself included. I can count on my fingers and toes the total number of times in my life I've ridden western in my life, and on one hand the number of times I've been in a western saddle in the last 5 years. You posted the topic here, not in barrel racing, so I'm going to assume you're planning on riding english or jumping this horse- otherwise you wouldn't have asked us.

Unfortunately (at least for my wallet) I've had a LOT of experience choosing and evaluating bits for different horses in the last few years. All my horses have been challenging to bit, and my bit collection (now well exceeding 100 bits, some of them absolutely bizarre and wildly unconventional) reflects this experience. I've also been lucky enough to have been guided in this by one of the best teachers and riders in the world of the classic American jumper style. (Think late-80's vintage.)

That said, I feel I have a really good handle on bits and bitting as a whole. It's something that fascinates me. One of the things I enjoy most about going to clinics with this teacher- he frequently makes bitting changes and I enjoy getting to watch the results with his commentary and reasoning. My general theory on bitting, scale of harsh to mild, and understanding of the finer points and nuances of small changes and more unusual equipment all comes directly for this teacher.

This isn't meant to be an attack on you. I'm aiming to point out something very important before serious harm comes to you or your horse from pure ignorance. The bit you said you were using is one of the harshest conventional bits on the market for english riding. There's one very important reason that western riders can use bits much harsher than the one you mentioned. English riders ride with contact. Many western disciplines avoid contact, relying on the fine training of neck reining. Doesn't matter as much what's in the horse's mouth if you ride with a two feet of slack in the reins and don't touch the bit. Makes a huge difference when you're holding 3-10 pounds of pressure on it all the time as most english disciplines would. If your horse is stiff or resistant in this bit, leaning, pulling, NO bit will solve this. This is a TRAINING problem. A bit is only a band-aid at that point.

Don't get me wrong, a bit change can make a HUGE difference in a horse's way of going. But what you describe -a horse that's luggy and stiff- is not something a bit change will fix. A horse that's fussy, over sensitive, sucked back, fidgety-- I've seen all those issues absolutely vanish with a bit change. (My current horse is a shining example in some regards, but the 'miracle' bit change was accompanied by 4 months good, correct training.) My horse that was luggy and stiff did wonderfully in a very sharp bit. In order to preserve the effect of that sharp bit, both by not deadening the nerve endings in his mouth and by letting not his brain get used to it, I used it VERY occasionally, only when it was most important. It wasn't something that I pulled out to make him supple, it was something I pulled out when I needed to take total control of his body, mind and the situation. It wasn't a correction or training aid, it was a tool used for a specific purpose. There were corrections and training aids I used with that horse to improve him over time, but that bit was NOT one of them. I did a lot of work to improve that horse's flexibility and suppleness, and had a set of tools for that purpose, but what I used to train him was very different than what I put on when I needed him to preform his best. The sharp bit gave me a level of control that nothing else did, but through training (in a plain kk ultra, for what it's worth) that level of control increased between the times I put the sharp bit on. Does that make sense?

I do get what you mean!! I think I should have stated my background some too for the fact it is western and this is an english forum lol!! I only came to the Hunter/Jumper bc that is what I intend to do with him eventually. As of now I am riding him western bc it's what I know best when it comes to getting a horse to bend, flex, break at the poll, and all that good stuff. My intentions were to see where I needed to go next once it came to getting him in the hunter ring. I'm sure my knowledge is somewhat different bc I know the english & western worlds are some what different. I'm not sure if this was all even the right stuff to put lol!! Just getting to that crossroads to where I need figure out whats next. At this point I have trainer friends but can't necessarily afford to send him off for help nor do I really want to, I got him as a fun project! Thank you for your help!

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Loose ring french link for dressage, twisted full check (not wire, but not a slow twist - is it called a corkscrew?) for jumping. Soon I'll be adding in a slow twist d ring for jumping in the arena so I can keep the regular twist for cross country.

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