Fulmer Snaffles

After Llani’s fall from grace on the weekend I decided to change his bit. I’ve been considering this for a while, but hadn’t made a decision on the most suitable bit. Basically when Llani circles he sometimes sets his neck and refuses to bend, which I’ve been overcoming by lots of inside leg and making sure he’s into the outside rein. However when I rode on the weekend he took the “Welsh cob neck set” to a whole new level when he exited the arena and returned to the barn in a fast trot. That will teach me to leave the arena gate open …

So this morning, while turning out the liveries, I suddenly thought of the Fulmer snaffle. That would help Llani; I’d be able to flex his neck a little more easily and stop him setting against the bit. I asked my friend if she had anything in her bank of bits and she produced full cheek and Fulmer snaffles of all shapes and sizes. She uses them a lot on her young horses, so I rifled through and found one suitable.

Firstly, it’s important to know the difference between a Fulmer and a full cheek snaffle. They both have protrusions, or cheeks, to help steering by applying pressure to the sides of the horse’s jaw. However, the full cheek snaffle has a fixed ring to the reins whilst the Fulmer has a loose ring. Experts say that horses who go better in a loose ring will prefer the Fulmer, and they are less likely to take hold of the bit in one.

As Llani is currently in a double jointed lozenge loose ring snaffle I opted for a French link Fulmer, but it was stainless steel instead of the Aurigan metal of the loose ring, to trial.

It was great. Llani was back to his usual well behaved self, but on the circles and serpentines I could affect his neck and bend a little easier, and the change of bend came easier. Yet the bit was still mild enough that Llani continued to take the contact forwards in the transitions. I managed to balance his canter and ride better circles in the canter, so I’m looking forwards to working further with this bit as I think it will help progress the lateral work.

I looked online to see the benefits of using the Fulmer straps, which are small pieces of leather that attach the upper cheek to the cheek piece and so exerts poll pressure and keeps the bit in place. I don’t think Llani will benefit particularly from the bit being stabilised in his mouth but I may trial it one day to see if it’s of any benefit.

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