What are they for and how can you tell them apart?!
In our latest shipment we were lucky enough to get a couple of bits in that I've wanted to write an article about for a few months. It's rare that we have both of these in stock in similar sizes for very long as they usually sell quickly. This was originally going to be a video, but alas, one of the bits has sold already and is on its way to a new home today, so a blog post it is!
Two of Neue Schule's most popular bits are the NS Starter and the NS Verbindend. If you haven't seen them both together it's easy to miss the subtle differences. They are designed with two very different types of horses in mind so it's important to buy the right one. We see a lot of people selling bits on Facebook and other websites describing Starter's as Verbindend's and vice versa. So in this blog post we are going to explain the differences between the Starter and Verbindend, what kind of horse each suits, and how to tell them apart when you're buying online.
A Fresh Start....
The Neue Schule Starter is an ergonomically shaped double jointed lozenge style mouthpiece that offers some tongue relief. The starter was designed to promote acceptance and confidence in the contact, especially for horses that are being mouthed or remouthed, or those who lack confidence in the contact and show a reluctance to take the contact forward and down. It's available as a loose ring with standard 70mm or Bradoon 55mm rings. EA & PC Dressage Legal.
A Better Connection...
The Neue Schule Verbindend (with my rough German, it translates to concepts such as "connection", "alignment", "joining"). This gives us a pretty good idea of what type of horse this bit is intended for. Another double jointed ergonomically shaped mouthpiece that at a glance looks very similar to the Starter (more on that below!) The Verbindend is designed to assist in getting horses of the forehand and lift through the shoulder. The more extreme curve to the mouthpiece is useful for horses that have tongue evasions (out the side, sucked back etc) and for horses who are tense through the jaw. If you horse plows along heavy in your hands then the Verbindend is a great choice. There are a few breeds that are traditionally built downhill which makes it common for them to travel on the forehand. Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Quarter Horses and often Draft crosses are often built in this way.
The Verbindend is available in a variety of side cheeks including loose ring, bradoon, universal and D Ring. The loose ring, bradoon rings and d rings are EA and PC dressage legal.
What's the difference??
Until you see both bits together, you're probably thinking "They don't look THAT different" How can they be designed for such DIFFERENT types of horses?"
In the picture above, the Starter is at the front and the Verbindend is at the back. From this angle the curve of the mouthpiece looks similar. There is one key difference in this picture. The angle of the lozenge in the middle of the mouthpiece. The lozenge of the Starter sits 90 degrees from the surface of the table. The Verbindend is rotated forwards 45 degrees... From this angle. What you can't tell from this picture is that the Verbindend is not sitting flat like the Starter is - and this is why people confuse the two. This is a good indicator when you're buying online. If there is a photo of the bit sitting on a flat surface - if the lozenge is straight up and down, it's a Starter. If its tilted forwards, it's a Verbindend (the Tranz Angled mouthpiece also has a tilted lozenge, but the arms of the mouthpiece are completely different. So we won't cover that in this comparison - they're easy to tell apart!).
Now let's have a look at the difference when i tilt the Verbindend back so it is sitting flat on the table, the same as the Starter. (This is not the position the bit sits in the mouth, it lays at its tilted forward position, this is simply to show you the difference between the two). You can see that there is a significantly larger curve of the mouthpiece arms in the Verbindend Vs the Starter. The arms curve up much further than the surface of the lozenge like in the Starter.
Hopefully this blog post has helped you identify the difference between a Neue Schule Starter and a Neue Schule Verbindend, and identify what kind of horse each of these bits suits. When you buy online you'll be able to tell the difference. You wouldn't use a Verbindend on a breaker, and you would get no benefit from using a Starter on a horse heavy on the forehand.
You can find our in stock Neue Schule bits here: https://abitless.com.au/collections/neue-schule-bits
If there's something you'd like us to blog about next, please get in touch.
X Kirby @ A Bit Less Equestrian