Full Cheek Snaffle for Dressage Work: Yes or No?

I’m sure you all know by now, that the clinic I attended last month with Dolly Hannon was a huge learning experience for me. Today, while I was thinking about bits, I remembered Dolly talking about full cheek snaffles. Her take, is that the cheek piece of the full cheek prohibit the bit from moving freely in the horses mouth which keeps the horse from chewing and excepting contact. I had not really thought of this before as I have never ridden a horse in a full cheek.

What are your thoughts on using a full cheek snaffle in dressage work?
What are your thoughts on using a full cheek snaffle in dressage work?

I Googled the full cheek snaffle and what I found was that the bit is indeed constructed to keep the bit from moving through the mouth and is an excellent choice for those horses that need extra assistance in turning and is a popular choice of hunter riders. In order to assist in turning the horse, the bit works by applying indirect pressure to the opposite side of the mouth when a direct rein aid is given.

What do you think? I am interested to hear everyone’s take on this. Does the bit work for you and your horse?

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4 thoughts on “Full Cheek Snaffle for Dressage Work: Yes or No?

  1. I have been using a full cheek rubber bit snaffle for a while now. We switched because my guy decided to grind as we were working into collection… various reasons, we’ve explored them all to realize he just “thinks” that way. I showed First Level (rated) and didn’t get a sideways glance. It worked/works for us. He’s not grinding as much so I’m thinking about going back to my regular snaffle. He has not problem accepting the bit or foaming when we use the full cheek (by the way). (he’s a coming 7, Thoroughbred)

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    • Hi Sue, Thank you for the feedback! That is very interesting – I had someone respond via Twitter that they were using the full cheek with success as well, BUT, was using a happy mouth, mouthpiece. This has me wondering how the various mouthpiece materials affect each horse. Interesting for sure!

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    • Sue – I didnt know Carter was in a full cheek as well. Pippi is too, but lately has been throwing her head as I ask her to bend. It may be the gnats/flies, but I am going to try a d-ring and see what it does. She is a diva when it comes to flies!!

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  2. Another reason for the full cheek kis to keep the bit from sliding through the horses mouth. My mare was very bad about opening her mouth to be able to ignore me and not be steerable. She hated tying her mouth shut which just created more issues, head tossing and constantly rubbing on her legs. Trail riding was rather dangerous and accomplishing anything was not going to happen. Eventually I made a noseband that stopped the avoiding and opening her mouth. Now the bit is all I need with a regular noseband/cavesson.

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