Myler Combination Bit
The Vintage Equestrian loves the custom design of the Myler Combination Bit. Both a hybrid ring bit, shank bit and Hackamore, the forgiving design features the three- ring setup. The larger, main ring is connected to the bit, and the other two rings are below to allow movability of the rein.
Myler creates different shank lengths for the combination bit in order to provide for more or less leverage. The distance between top and bottom rings gives more leverage. When you add your rein to the bottom ring, you will achieve the most leverage from the bit.
The lightweight mouthpiece slides freely until a certain point on the ring. A softened rawhide-covered rope noseband and curb strap are linked together and run through two small offset rings on the purchase.
The Myler Combination Bit is not a hackamore nor a hackamore combination but a custom design. The fit of both the noseband and jaw strap is located in a different position on the horses nose. The noseband is above the nostrils, not restricting the horse’s airway.
The combination bit uses pressure points and leverage to achieve its simultaneous interaction of the mouthpiece, curb strap, and noseband. When rein pressure is applied, the Myler Combination Bit exerts pressure on the horse’s nose, poll and jaw. It is amazing but it only exerts around 33 percent in each area.
If the rider continues applying rein pressure, the mouthpiece will meet the end point on the ring and start to engage the bit, whereupon the total pressure applied by the rider will be dispersed over 5 areas – the nose, poll, jaw, tongue and bars. This is about 20 percent in each area.
The pressure exerted on the horse’s poll, jaw, and nose are extremely effective at getting the horse to relax at the poll and stay round and connected on the bit.
Myler Combination Bits are available with all levels of mouthpieces, from a snaffle to a mullen mouth. Because all pressure areas engage and release at the same time, the horse is offered a pressure-free reward whenever he is light and relaxed at the poll, (providing, of course, that the rider relaxes his hand.) This makes the Myler Combination an excellent training tool, for horses ranging from youngsters to well-schooled campaigners.
All Myler Combination Bit mouthpieces are made from Sweet iron. This material is excellent because over time it corrodes and emits a sweet taste to the horse. It helps with salivation and collecting.
The Myler Combination Bit, I find is great for starting my OTTB (off the track Thoroughbreds). I use a loose ring snaffle to re-start them, then when they are starting to accept the bit a little use the Myler Combination Bit to further their training. It works well because it’s mad for nervous horses, who run a bit in their mouths. They will evade the bit and not accept it. This is a gentle way to teach the correct way to go on the bit.
With Older horses, it also teaches a correct way of going and more ample communication between bit and hand. I have found it eliminated some horses’ mouth-opening issues.
I was introduced to the Myler Combination Bit bit by three-day-eventing and endurance rider Hilda Donahue. She uses this bit for jumping and schooling on many of her horses and recommends it for advanced students’ horses. She says, “This bit is invaluable. It gets him going soundly and relaxed, with a soft-mouth. Teaches the horses to work off of the other aids and helps school for dressage aids.”
Customizing Your Myler Combination Bit
There is some preparation in using the Myler Combination Bit. I recommend to shape the bit’s noseband to shape your horses face. Soak it in warm water and then work it around. It will then be set in a shape when it dries, so leave it in the sun!
For sensitive horses, you can wrap the noseband with a thin layer of black vet wrap. Don’t put something too thick on it, because then the sliding knots on either side won’t work well. That is a part of the leverage system of the bit.
Attaching and Fitting the Myler Combination Bit to Your Bridle
You won’t need a noseband with this bit! Take off your existing one, and attach cheek pieces to the top of the purchase. The purchase is the part that angles out a bit from the horses face, to avoid rubbing. The shank is much longer than many bits, so you may have to punch a few holes in your cheekpieces. The fitting is much the same and you want a medium wrinkle to appear when your horses bit is in his mouth.
Fit the mouthpiece as normal. Position the rawhide nose piece high on the horse’s nose, so it doesn’t interfere with the horse’s breathing in any way – it must lie on the nose bone above the nasal cartilage but must not be fitted so high that it rubs the projecting cheek bones.
Transitioning Your Horse into his Myler Combination Bit
Please take your time transitioning your horse into a new bit. It is especially vital to go slow when using a combination bit, because of all of the forms of pressure.
With the Myler Combination Bit, you have two things to show the horse, so transition him into the mouthpiece first, leaving the nosestrap on the loosest fitting, until he has ‘given’ once or twice. When showing him the effect of the nose, jaw and poll pressure, do ensure that you tighten the jaw strap very gradually, hole by hole over a few minutes, so the horse has plenty of time to get used to the totally new action of the bit. Ensure that the nose strap remains high on the nose throughout (if necessary use string or tape to support it from the headpiece or cheek pieces, until it is tight enough to stay up on its own).
The horse will instantly cause himself pressure on the face if he demonstrates any of the usual evasions (eg. head up, mouth open, etc.) and time and care must be taken to make sure he learns the new “rules” without frightening himself.
Be very careful not to pull on the reins when leading or mounting the horse and to move off with an extra-light hand when riding with the Myler Combination Bit for the first time.
Tightness and Readjustment
For a correct fit, the jaw strap must be adjusted until it is possible to fit only the tip of your little finger under the hide nosepiece. This will need to be checked several times during the first few rides and then each time you ride subsequently, because the leather and the cord stretch. You may need to make extra holes in the jaw strap to ensure the right fit.
Care of Your Myler Combination Bit
Like any piece of equipment, care should be taken to fit the combination correctly and to check its fit and condition on a daily basis. Further details are provided in the swing ticket on each new bit and every retailer has been trained to advise on its correct fit and use.
The mouthpiece should be wiped down after used to ensure the corrosion of the sweet iron takes place evenly and gradually. The cord may be wiped gently with a damp cloth and the curb strap cleaned like any other leather strap.