original four point pressure Mikmar Bits
The Training Bit
The Combo Bit
This lightweight bit (14 ounces) was designed to develop vertical
flexion, lateral flexion, or just a good mouth. It is the most outstanding,
tried and proven training bit yet perfected, and is now available
to the public. The bit was invented back in the early 50's by all-around
horseman, Trainer Frank Evans, who, by unanimous vote from the American
Horse Show Association, was awarded the highly prestigious Judges
Emeritus Award. In his work as a professional horse trainer, he
made a training bit to accomplish these main objectives:
- An all-around bit for everyday use on trail and in arena.
- Effective results without abuse.
- A bit with three pressure points - nose, jaw, and bar or tongue.
- To put pressure at the most responsive points.
- To maintain the horse's soft, fresh mouth over time.
- To protect the horse's mouth while a new rider was learning
- To provide a satisfactory transition when changing from a snaffle
to a hard or leverage bit.
- Professional results for the amateur trainer.
The founder of the Mikmar Bit Company, Frank Evans, had been around
horses all his life. He grew up on an 800-acre farm in Kansas which
had between 100 and 300 head of horses and mules. His
family moved to California in 1924. In 1943, he opened the Buckeye
Ranch in El Cajon, California and professionally trained horses
for well over 50 years. He was awarded the highly prestigious Judges
Emeritus Award by unanimous vote from the American Horse Show Association.
He was also a senior judge, and at one time held 12 judging cards
including Arabian, Morgan, Quarter Horse, and Western. In 1971,
he was one of 22 people selected by the International Arabian Association
to draw up the judging rules for Arabian shows. In
his career he had numerous National Arabian trail horse champions
and an Appaloosa (pictured at left) who was World Trail Horse, English
Pleasure and Western Pleasure champion.
Like many great ideas, this one came in a flash of inspiration.
Frank was all too aware of the problems that can happen in a horse's
mouth at the hands of an inexperienced rider. He knew about bits
- that the snaffle bit put pressure on the bar or tongue. The hackamore
put pressure on the nose and jaw, and the leverage bit put pressure
on the bar or tongue and the jaw. Frank kept thinking he needed
something to soften the impact on the mouth, which inspired him
to add a soft rope over the nose to actuate the bit, but soften
Frank made history that day. The word spread fast and soon the Mikmar bit was in use in amateur and professional training circles, helping to train world and national champions. Frank went on to build a worldwide reputation as a trainer of champions, and a leader in competition circles. But it was his Mikmar bit that revolutionized training, and fulfilled the Frank Evans goal - to protect the horse while training the rider.
He knew that the inexperienced rider - with all the good intentions
in the world - can still get into the mouth and cause problems.
In addition, having a horse in a hard bit all the time can also
cause the mouth to harden and go sour. These are problems Frank
Evans confronted for many years, and he found a solution in the
Mikmar Training Bit.
He always trained the horse with a good mouth and a good head
set so that the horse would be safe, even for the green rider. But
many riders need time to develop good hands. It is very easy to
mess up the mouth, so riders needed a bit that was mild but effective.
Like many problems in the horse business, this problem came to
a head with a real live situation: a horse and rider trying to work
together. He had a client, a vice-president of a bank,who
was a great banker but a terrible rider. He needed something to
protect the horse's mouth while the owner was learning to ride.
He rigged up a model of the Mikmar Training Bit, tried it, and it worked. The bit, like many inventions made for one purpose, also turned out to be an excellent on-going training aid. He found that the Mikmar Training Bit could be used at all stages of training. It provides effective pressure for training without causing the problems of using a hard bit all the time. It gives the amateur and professional trainer a choice other than too soft or too hard.