Overcheck bit - help!

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

roxy's_mom

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
417
Reaction score
3
Location
Waterfal, PA
Howdy all! I'm in the process of retraining my driving horse. I've been showing this horse in driving for three going on four years now. I pulled her out of the pasture the start of this summer to get her ready for my local open show season. I started working her the same way I always have every year but somehow from late last fall until the beginning of this summer she's forgotten and had gotten terrified of everything that involved driving except the harness. I had to start her clean back at the beginning of driving training, like I was just breaking her to drive for the first time. So far so good, she's remembered her basic ground manners but still has little fits every now and then but I work her through them and she's fine afterwards. Still have to get her hitched to the cart yet this summer.

I train/show her in a basic snaffle. She does work and show in a loose sidecheck - only there b/c it has to be for show purposes.

My question is : What does the overcheck bit actually do? Is it something that is just there for looks/show or does it actually serve a purpose?

I see alot of draft horse hitches using the overcheck bit on their show horses and have seen pictures of minis being shown this way. I've never used or driven a horse with one so would like some insight.

I just wondering if its something I may need to add for this horse to get her refocused again or to keep her occupied while driving. My horse loved driving before her issues started, she loved to go fast and took every moving thing on as if it were her competition or challenge!

Thanks for any info!

Becky M.
 

Sue_C.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2002
Messages
3,283
Reaction score
2
Location
Nova Scotia, Canada
You say you use a side-check? An over check bit is not used with a side-check, only with an over-check, so not an option unless you want to change that, which really isn't going to get more focus...as what it does is get the nose out so as to reduce air restriction...which is why it is generally only used on harness racers or roadster harnesses.

I scream inwardly every time I see a poor mini in a pleasure class, wearing an over-check, AND tight martingale, as it is a terribly conflicting signal being sent..."get that head up, NO...put it DOWN".
 

disneyhorse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2002
Messages
5,382
Reaction score
192
The common "safety" reasons for a check rein are to keep the horse from grazing, to keep the horse from taking its bridle off on the tongue or shafts or other horse... And that a horse with its head stuck up is more likely to rear than buck as a horse who can get its head between it's knees can buck really hard which isn't preferable in a vehicle.

Side versus over check depends on the headset and conformation of the horse if you are actually going to check the horse up. It's considered fashionable in the show ring and briefly highlights the horses' ability and performance. Show ring horses are not driven for long periods of time and it is always on level, even footing so just a snapshot of what the horse is capable of... So tight checks and flashy trots are the peak performance. Work horses or carriage horses who are driving for extended amounts of time generally have loose or no checks.

If you need more detail let me know.

Andrea
 

roxy's_mom

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
417
Reaction score
3
Location
Waterfal, PA
Thanks Sue and Andrea! You both explained it well enough that I understand the concept of the check bit and the checks. I guess I need to get back to the grind stone and work a little harder to fix the problems that my mare has! Bits can't fix everything!

Thanks again!

Becky M.
 

Sandee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2005
Messages
2,862
Reaction score
29
Location
Wisconsin
The overcheck, IMO, should not be hooked to the driving bit but to an additional bit (or leather or shoestring or rope or bit) depending on the room in the horses mouth. It is too conflicting to hook the reins and the overcheck to the driving bit.....let's see "head up; oh yeah and then pull it down" My mare drives with an overcheck made from a piece of cotton rope. She understands the use of two things and has NO problems but when I had her hooked up on the one bit she fought it and would not develop a "carriage".
 

Latest posts

Top