Friday, February 4, 2011

Bit check

I had planned to write about Mule Hunter Under Saddle classes today, but I somehow that never happened.  Time just got away from me so I'm going to go with what I'd planned to use as the Mule Hunter Under Saddle postscript...  Is there a such this as a prescript?  If there is, this is that!

One section of the Mule Hunter Under Saddle class at this year's Stock Show included an inside the arena bit check.  This isn't something I've seen before, so I made sure to document it with lots of pictures.  

As the entrants lined up at the in-gate, they were asked to dismount and lead their mules into the ring in groups of three.
The judge approached each exhibitor and asked her to remove the bridle.
 She checked the bit to make sure it was legal (they all were)...
 and then went on to the next exhibitor.
Once this was completed, the mules were rebridled, the riders mounted up and the class proceeded as normal.
I especially like this picture because it clearly shows the remounting, retacking and bit checking all going on at the same time!
I've seen performance showers use the bit check to slide a marginal model into a performance class for which its not particularly suited (usually reining but sometimes dressage).  I'm not generally a big fan of that approach, but if you are, feel free to use these pictures in your reference material!


  1. They also do this in dressage!! But you stay mounted and the ring stewart just puts a glove on and feels around inside the horses mouth to check. It is usually right after you ride your test. They also check whip length to make sure it is legal!

  2. The last time I was at a dressage show, there was an issue with one competitor's bit and it turned into a long drawn out thing with lots of phone calls and such as the steward and competitor tried to work through. All that happened outside the ring, however, and wouldn't have been noticed by anyone who wasn't standing at the in-gate. What was interesting (to me, anyway) about the mule bit check is that it happened in the ring, in front of a pretty big audience. It wasn't a behind the scenes thing at all.

  3. Bit checks are VERY common in Reining. However, they are done AFTER the run, and usually outside the arena. Remounting with chaps on is not an especially easy task!

    In the model world, the Reining bit check is a GREAT use for a standing model. I actually Top Tenned at NAN with that a few years ago!