Mikmar Hunter/Jumper Reviews

Testimonials from Ludger Beerbaum, Rodrigo Pessoa, and Franke Sloothaak about the use of the Mikmar Combination Bit.

Ludger Beerbaum

My very first impression was, it’s one of these American western bits, which I have seen a few before and I always thought for our warm blood horses they would be too strong or even may be not really fitting and I was kind of doubting, but when I tried this bit I was pretty impressed I must say.
In the meantime, I’ve tried it on several horses, different types of horses and I haven’t had one which really didn’t like it.  You know, they are all very very positive, they all accepted the bit well.  You can play with the bit, you can make it sharp or less sharp, pretty strong or less strong., and even a light horse excepts it really well, you know, is happy with the bit, is chewing, and to me I haven’t had a bit like that in my riding career and I have had many bits.
It doesn’t cut even if you are a bit stronger with your hand you don’t open the horse somewhere and then also because it’s not full metal. You know, it’s kind of a light bit.  It’s kind, and the roller in the middle makes the tongue, you know, chew a little bit and then you have the nose rope also which gives the horses a certain way of walking or working through the neck, through the neck which loosens the back, and there are a lot of little things which are very very good.
I have tried my top horse Goldefever on different bits, on gags… And double bridles and stuff, and I mean I had always 85 % control , it wasn’t too bad.  Then with this bit I can do things which I couldn’t before.  You know, I can turn tighter and still make sure he is with me listening to me and on the long track. I every now and then before I lost a little bit his attention.  With this bit I have his attention all the time., that is actually a very nice and safe feeling.

Rodrigo Pessoa

Well, I am always happy and willing to try something new and it looked a little bit different. And the riders that were using it said really you have to try it because it feels really good and immediately I tried it on two, three different horses at the horse show and it was really good..  I was really impressed how it could fit both kind of horses, those with a really good mouth and really nice flat work and others that are a little bit more stiff.  So really the same bit could fit two different types of horses so that is quite impressive.
In the show jumping, what you are trying to do, is between fences, to have the best flat work possible.  And this bit is allowing you to do this and to keep your horse in a certain shape and in a better shape possible to approach every fence.

Franke Sloothaak

I have to say that all the horses they really accepted it, they loved it.  And so then after that you know, I started using it on the shows and then you know the first experience there was that they all said you know this guy is crazy always putting this bit on any horse and I said okay...  but then I said try it, because you know, if you try this bit,  it’s amazing how it works on every horse.   I still believe that actually the part what’s in the mouth, the position how it’s put in the mouth, it’s in such a nice level that you always get the right pressure on it.  The other part is by depressing what they get on the nose by the little rope …
The position of the bit is actually on the tongue, it’s at such a good level, that the horse, they really, even if you have more pressure on it, it’s on the big part  of the tongue, so they don’t get afraid from this.  I think, this is very important, because before you know, I used bits on horses when they got strong .  I said, okay, I take a bit a little more severe.  But then the horse you know they got nearly afraid of the bit and I had to really use strong legs or really sharper spurs to get actually the horse moving from behind,  but with this bit it’s nice because you know,  you have the control and the horse is actually staying active from behind.  So he is collecting himself better, without that he is getting too heavy in the front.  You know, they start to get light in the mouth, because if the pressure on the bit is coming too much, and you use the rope a little bit the horse understands much easier when they get a little bit pressure on the nose.  So even for any young horse, even when you put it on a three year old, I believe that  the horse will understand the bit a lot easier. 
I have been using it on some horses everyday and I must say that I never had one day that I say okay now the bit is not good enough anymore, because the horse still likes it.  And that’s why I believe in it, because the product is so good that it will last for a very long time. Even Ludger Beerbaum, you know his “Goldfever” was always cutting in on the turns, and now with this bit, he doesn’t cut in anymore, he stays better in line so he gets better approach to the fence again.  Now he is using it on all his horses as well, so actually the bit makes its own advertising.  The horses are not afraid of it. 
It's good even for young horses or for young riders to start to use it, because it doesn’t hurt the horse, it doesn’t make any damage.  It’s much easier for the horse to except and for the riders to learn. 

I spent a year trying to find the right bit for my hunter, Almond Joy. I was referred to Mikmar and did some reading on the Mikmar D Ring Bit and gave it a try. It has been 2 years now and I have 2 year end championships under my belt. This bit is amazing for a stronger headed fellow. My horse loves the bit and so do I!!!

I love Mikmar Flexion Combo w/straight slanted mouthpiece. I use it for retraining, schooling, refreshing, showing and jumping. The Flexion Combo is really versatile with so many choices of rein placement and the swiveling cheek pieces. The Mikmar Flexion Combo gives me the extra control without the harsh effect some other bits have on the horse. The Mikmar Flexion Combo bits let me ride with a soft hand and not have to use brute strength to control a hot horse. I also have found my horses have a quiet mouth in the Mikmar Flexion Combo and have no need for flash nosebands. I look forward to trying the other versions of the Combinations and the Cupreon Ergom Lozenge Bits.

I have an off the track Standardbred who I ride in a Cupreon Eggbutt with Ergom Lozenge and he is loving it. And so do I, we can jump, race and trail ride with it, no problem. Got the full cheek on for show jumping also :-)

I just had to write and tell you what a life saver this bit is!  I rode with it today and what a difference! I have a big thoroughbred that's built like a warmblood, and he pulled against every bit I ever tried.  I couldn't jump him, because he would land, and drag me around the corner.  My shoulders and back would ache so bad after riding too that I'd have to sleep on a heating pad.  I even tried hackamore's and he'd put his head up in the air like a camel. Today when I rode in the Gagavator, he put his head in a nice frame and I could be light in my hands and he loved it.  The canter was so fun to ride, because he wasn't pulling me down to the ground being heavy on his forehand.  It was the best ride I've ever had on him.  People at my barn were commenting on how good he looked today too.

So thank you again!  I can actually enjoy riding him now.

Sincerely, Lisa

I purchased your "Flexion combination bit" this past weekend at Equine Affaire in Ohio.  I went there to learn about bits, and was pleased to take a seminar from Tommy Garland early in the day.  I spent the next two days wandering about looking at the huge variety of bits available.

I have been using french links on my horses, as I am an intermediate rider (I've been riding all my life, and at 41, I still know so little!) and wanted something that the horses wouldn't object to.  The issue is, however, that though the horses are in control in the arena, where I am mostly controlling them by weight and leg, they mostly ignore the bit, so I have never learned to use my hands properly, as I don't get the response my instructor claims I should.  Though I switch to a different bit when riding to hounds in the field, the horse still does what the others do, and ignores the cues to be in control.  As exhilarating as it is galloping fast across the countryside, I like the idea that I could stop if I had to.  And I couldn't.

The bits I was using there worked only on the bars of the horse's mouth.  I now understand that there are many points upon which a bridle can work to cue the horse, and when I walked by the Mikmar booth, the bits were so imposing that my partner called them "bad horse" bits - the severe bits that you put on recalcitrant horses.  I went on to explain to him, using my newfound knowlege, how gentle these bits really were.  They give the horse every possible cue, allowing  you to be gentle with the reins. Yes, they have leverage so you can escalate your initial request if necessary, but always the escalation seems to be softer - a leather wrapped rope to give nose cues, instead of a rawhide thong - a soft leather curb strap to fix the bit in the proper position instead of a chain - a wide, angled mouthpiece where any force from the bit will be spread over the widest area only when the horse's head is in the correct position.


This sounds like the bit I was looking for, for my big gelding that roots with his nose starting mid-way through a ride, and is completely unstoppable in the field.  Firm contact upsets him, as he has a genuinely soft mouth, but he is so forward he needs more bit than I was willing to use on him to come into true control.

I bought one of your bits, and tried it yesterday. He came nicely into frame, and worked in a relaxed and quiet fashion.  He is usually easy to control in the arena, but I could use the feather-light contact he accepts willingly, and get far more out of him than I've been able to with the french link I'd been using.  And the "other" bit I'd been using in the field - he'd brace his neck against the contact.  This bit, if he braces, he'll make himself more uncomfortable than if he softens.  I think this is an intelligent design, that will work quite well for us.  I will be able to get the response I've been told I can expect, without making the horse feel forced and constrained.  I look forward to trying it out on all my horses.

Dr. Stephanie Campbell, PhD.

We have been going to competitions every week-end. The horse went terrific! My daughter and her horse won the Championship in the 3'3"-3'6" Jumping Division and we can surely attribute this to the Mikmar Bit! It does miracles!

When I see a kid having problems with a horse in regards to controling him, I talk about the Mikmar Bits and the miracles it did on our horse.

I wish a very long life time to your products and I will have no problems referring them to anyones who need it.

Gina B.

Today is the first chance I have had to try out the Mikmar combination bit.

I can hardly believe the difference it has made. She is very responsive to
this bit with a very light contact.

Brian Downs

Dear Mikmar:
My A/A thoroughbred hunter has spent four years over-jumping everything and getting very tense and quick at the jumps.  Although we’re successful competitors on the A circuit, schooling was always scary because I never knew what I had in my horse – or which jump was the one too many that would set him off!
Well, I went out on a limb (without my trainer) and bought the Mikmar snaffle and got an IMMEDIATE result!  Now, I hack in a happy mouth, school in the Mikmar, and show only in the Mikmar.  By the way, I showed two days after receiving my Mikmar and was third out of forty-five at the jumps and my horse continued getting better throughout the week.  What a good feeling to have a horse stay so relaxed and to have control without pulling or nipping.  Now my trainer wants several Mikmar bits for the barn.
Thank you for producing quality results rather than the quick fix gimmicks that tend to bombard horseowners!
Kathy C.
Parma, OH

I just wanted to let you know that I adore your bits. I started riding a
horse for someone this winter in FL who was your stereotypical warmblood
gelding. Big, slow, not super smart, and heavy on the bit. He couldn't get
his lead changes, dragged you at the jumps, and was very difficult to frame
up. He was usually ridden in a Pelham, but I just wasn't getting any
results. I bought a Mikmar Short Shank and within 2 rides I was seeing
results. He was rounder, softer, getting his lead changes, and much more
ride-able to the jumps. I was able to start showing him in the level 6 and
7s. Then I decided to try it on my other gelding, who has a tendency to lock
his jaw. Everyone said that  was putting too much bit in him, that it was
going to ruin his mouth. We quickly proved them wrong. He is very picky
about what goes in his mouth, and won't tolerate anything but a soft
snaffle. He took to the bit immediately, and it is the only bit he doesn't
try and avoid when I am putting on the bridle. He throws his head up when I
bridle him but after a few days of the Mikmar he lowers his head to accept
it. Everyone was amazed at how soft he is to ride on the flat now, and he
doesn't lock his jaw or suck back. I couldn't be happier!

Thanks Mikmar Bit Co,

Hello Mikmar Bits!

I just wanted to write to tell you what success my mare and I have had with
the combo bit. She is a thoroughbred, 16.2HH, and every inch a prima donna.
When I first purchased her, I put her in a French snaffle, which we used for
almost a year.

She never really softened to the bit, but occasionally would move into it
quite gracefully for a few strides, so I knew she had what it took. We just had
to find the right mouthpiece to satisfy her finicky nature.

Well, Mikmar to the rescue. This September, I put her in the combo bit for
the first time and I have been just working her very lightly, giving her time
to accustom to the bit. She "tells me" when she wants the full contact, or
when she prefers the reins on the noserope. Well, let me tell you that patience
has been the way to win her over and what a victory.

This past two weeks, each time I ride, she has been settling into the bit on
her own so nicely! Well, I have to brag about her because now when she trots,
she actually floats. And her canter, which we had some trouble with (getting
the right lead, not crow-hopping about, and so on) - she moves into the
canter with no hesitation and on the correct lead. What a pleasure!

My hands just barely hold the reins and off she goes. We also do a little
jumping, which she would get very overanxious about, tense up and clamp onto her
old bit. But now with this bit in her mouth, I have what I need to give her
a check just when I need to, then she'll settle and over we go.

What a difference! We are both thrilled and thank you Mikmar!

Las Vegas, Nevada

(This excert was emailed to Mikmar from the poster on a public forum.)
Thank you for posting that question about the Mikmar bit. As a result I went to their web site, and although there were some negative opinions expressed here on this site, I decided that I needed to try one, as I have several horses that were not responding to more conventional bits and techniques. Here are my results:
1. A tense, uptight, know it all mare that loves to go behind the vertical and jump up and down. I was convinced the bit not only would have no effect but would make her worse. Wrong. Started out her usual you can't train on me attitude but in no time was quiet in her mouth and going forward but calm and slow on a very soft contact. Allowed me to add my leg without any problem.
2. A belligerent, braced mare that hates any contact whatsoever, roots and will not use her back and hind end at all. Became soft and forward without shoving her shoulders through you.
3. A cranky, ear pinning, rearing, upside down mare that is so resistant to any bit that even with a flash noseband we call her "the alligator". Learned finally to trot jumps and not heave herself across with her head straight up, with the contact just being the weight of the reins.
4. A school horse mare that was so sick of beginner rides that she was throwing her head to the ground to unseat them, and was braced from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail. She became the softest, roundest cutest thing in about 5 minutes, all with the same beginners, who finally could sit correctly because they were not being dragged down over her head.
5. A new mare I had just bought for a student who had fallen apart so dramatically I did not know what to do. Running away, throwing her head up when going to the right so violently that even a martigale could not save you. Blacksmith, dentist, vet, chiropractor, massage therapist- no help. Almost called the communicator. I could not do a thing with this mare and was wondering how I was going to get the customers out of her.
As I write this I see that all the above are mares. But the 6th horse we will ride tomorrow. This is a gelding that has learned to pull his rider to the fence and then just buck her off on the other side. Should be interesting.
At any rate, I can not say enough good things. Even though this is just day one, I can see such a difference in all these horses frame of mind that I feel it can only get better. Too bad one can't show in this bit. I hope that the change holds over when switching to a traditional snaffle for the show ring!

We operate a facility in Central PA that caters to show horses in the hunter and jumper rings. We do a lot of showing on the A circuit between Vermont and Florida. I have to admit when my wife and I saw the bits we were skeptical until a good friend of ours told us to try the bit. I have a mare that I bought in Germany this year and WOW what a difference it made getting her in and around the hunter ring. She use to pull on the ends of the ring as a greeny would do, and she was slightly stiff bending to the left. I now hack her in the mornings with it and school her over the jumps just prior to going in the ring before switching back to my show bridle. The past three A rated shows we have been Champion out of a bunch! The Mikmar bit has made the difference not only in her but in the whole crew. Christopher W.

(This excert was emailed to Mikmar from the poster on a public forum.)
I just purchased the short shank Mikmar yesterday and have tried it once. I am so used to "fighting" with my gelding to keep in him a round frame that it is definitely a different feeling just sitting there with my hands still. Although my horse didn't fight the Mikmar he didn't really respond for the first 30 minutes of walking; I just let him figure it out for himself. He soon realized that even though I wasn't "picking" at his face that it was much more comfortable to be soft and round.
From what I understand this is a "training" bit as opposed to a "corrective" bit (e.g. a gag bit, elevator bit). Which means you can school in it and the day of the show put your snaffle back on and he will still stay soft and round.
I can't use draw reins on Remy because he gets that fake bend in his neck rather than rounding his back so I will be very interested to see how he goes after he gets totally used to this Mikmar.
Although my first reaction to seeing this bit was "Wow, how severe is this", when I learned more about the way it sits in the horse's mouth and other details I realized that it's not severe at all.
I'm really not interested in fads but I think this bit has been around for over 50 years and some very experienced hunter/jumper trainers have had EXTREMELY good experience with this bit.

I purchased a Mikmar Combination Bit . I am very happy with it and want to tell you I think my mare is too.

She's a horse who has a bit of trouble setting her head-if excited the back hollows and she goes right through most bits I've tried. If we know the territory well, she's more opinionated and I will use the rope noseband and if not I'll attach the reins directly to the bit.

She drops her head to the floor as soon as the bit is in her mouth. She loves the roller. I primarily trail ride and hunter pace/fox hunt. So, I have to say I was a great skeptic. I gave the gentleman at the booth a bit of a hard time as I have spent way too much money on "do all " bits. I am pleased with the Mikmar, and would buy another. I'm still in the learning curve, and know that I have plenty of options including a curb chin, double reins etc... with the Combination Bit. It's nice to know.

Again, thank you! Karen

RE: MIKMAR SHORT SHANK Thank you for creating the bit. It works well on all sorts of different horses !!! Terrie Hook Train Inc.

(This excert was emailed to Mikmar from the poster on a public forum.)
I gave the bit a trial run - I bought the combination and it came with the video tape. After watching the tape and listening to all the accolades from riders near and far, I went out and tried it on my horse. After about 10 minutes of trying to spit it out, he accepted it fine. I asked him for a halt and he halted right now with very light pressure. I felt his back round underneath me and his change in attitude was immediate. No rooting on the bit, no dragging me around. It was "yes ma'am, what can I do for you ma'am?" He still remained cheerful but was paying very close attention to me. He was light and soft and a real pleasure.

(This excert was emailed to Mikmar from the poster on a public forum.)

I used the Mikmar yesterday again on a longer ride with my QH. I had previously ridden him in a snaffle (which he ignored most of the time) and just switched to the Mikmar. When I turned to come home, instead of trying to drag me or jigging the whole way, he was soft and relaxed. We were able to come all the way home on a long rein in a normal walk. If he got a little fast, just a light touch and he settled back down. He really seems to enjoy the roller and plays with it from time to time.
What a difference. From a horse that I barely had control over to a happy horse and happy rider out for a leisurely jaunt.


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