Choosing the Right Myler Bit for Your Horse

More than just another bit, the Myler Bit system was created by horsemen for horsemen. Brothers Ron, Dale, and Bob Myler are third generation horse trainers who have revolutionized the horse bit marketplace with their approach to tongue relief and pressure on the bars of the month.

Comprised of three levels, the Myler bitting system is a graduated system that allows you to transition bits as your horse increases their level of training and becomes more sensitive to the bit. According to the Myler bitting philosophy, when the horse responds to the bit with resistance, they need a gentler bit, not a harsher one. This is a counter approach to many equestrians’ thinking, but Myler bits (and this philosophy) have been proven time and time again.

Keep reading to learn about the various levels of Myler bits and where your horse fits into the system, or pick up a Myler brothers’ The Level Best for Your Horse book and DVD set for more extensive coverage on this compelling topic. Keep in mind that not every horse will begin their Myler bit journey with a Level One bit; it all depends on your individual horse’s demeanor and level of training.

Just Say No

Resistance is a hot topic when you talk about Myler bits. According to the Myler brothers, when your horse begins to show resistance to the bit, it is most likely time to move to the next level Myler bit, giving your horse increased tongue relief. After all, once you have put in the work and the hours in the saddle, it is time to trust your horse and your training, allowing your horse to show you how well they can perform with decreased tongue pressure.

So what does resistance look like? The fact is, resistance can manifest in a number of different ways depending on your horse and his attitude.

If your horse has an overactive mouth, this an easy way to diagnose resistive tendencies… your horse is literally begging for less tongue pressure in this situation. A busy mouth can be presented as mouth gaping, a tongue hanging out of the mouth, a horse that routinely gets his tongue over the bit, or even a horse that draws his tongue behind the bit.

Other forms of resistance include ducking behind the bit and traveling behind the vertical, rooting and learning against the bit, running through the bit, and travelling above the bit.

If your horse is showing signs of resistance, it is time to move to a softer bit.

Level One

Level One Myler bits are designed for green horses who are just beginning their training. These snaffles help your horse to learn what bit pressure is and how to interpret the rein aids coming from their rider.

The hallmark of the Level One bits is the way that they rotate on the tongue to apply ample amounts of tongue pressure. This effectively explains to your horse what you are trying to communicate. Once your horse has responded to your request, it is up to the rider to release the tension on the reins, and therefore rewarding the horse with a lack of tongue pressure.

Designed with the horse’s mouth conformation in mind, these bits protect the lips and the bars of the mouth from being pinched with a wide curved shape. Many snaffle bits collapse into a “V” shape when the reins are used, but Myler bits form a soft “U” shape that does not dig into the roof of your horse’s mouth, making the bit more comfortable for your horse.This unique curved shape also allows for more room for the tongue when the bit is in a neutral position.

Because these innovative bits were designed for especially for green horses, they have an incredible feature that helps teach your horse to turn and bend. Featuring independent side movement in the majority of the mouthpieces, your horse will learn how to respond to the aids promptly in one of these bits.

Many Level One bits are legal to use in the hunter/jumper and hunter pleasure show rings, as well as in dressage and eventing. As always, it is a great idea to consult with your association’s rule book (or the on-site steward) if you have questions about the legality of any of your equipment.

Level Two

Are you looking for the right bit to begin training your older horse for a new discipline? Perhaps your green horse is showing resistance to the Level One bit? Are you retraining a horse after a long lapse in their riding careers? The Level Two Myler Bits may be perfect for you and your horse.

In theory, Level Two bits are used a horse has been trained and educated in a Myler Level One bit. However, many green horses with stellar dispositions may be better suited to beginning their training in a Level Two Myler. Let your horse show you what bit and what Myler bitting level they are ready for.

Featuring the ergonomic curvature that equestrians and horses love, the bit allows room for the tongue while protecting the lips and the bars of the mouth from being pinch. Level Two bits have either a small port or a flexible mouthpiece that rotates to apply some tongue pressure when the rein aids are utilized.

A handful of Level Two bits are approved for dressage competition; refer to the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) or the United States Eventing Association (USEA) rulebook to learn more.

Level Two-Three

This transitional level bridges the gap between Level Two bits and Level Three bits. These ported bits are recommended for horses that have a strong foundation of training with a good disposition, or for highly trained horses that may be anxious, aggressive, or fearful in certain situations.

Level Two-Three Myler Bits utilize primarily bar, poll, and chain pressure to communicate with your horse. However, there is a slight amount of tongue pressure to reinforce the rider’s commands. Level Two-Three bits use significantly less tongue pressure than Level One or Level Two bits. The curved mouthpiece allows the bit to sit comfortably in the mouth with ample room for the tongue when the bit is in a neutral position.

If your horse begins to show resistance to the bit when ridden in a Level Two-Three bit, it may be time to transition to a Level Three bit.

Level Three

Highly trained performance horses with a solid disposition are prime candidates for Level Three Myler Bits. Experienced and trustworthy trail horses often benefit from the freedom and comfort that the Level Three bits bring to the table as well.

These curb bits are created with wider ports for maximum tongue relief, and they utilize little to no tongue pressure. Because your horse can now pick up on the most subtle cues from their rider, Level Three bits rely on the smallest amount of bar, poll, and curb pressure for communication. As always, the comfort of your horse is at the forefront of the design process with these bits, which have been manufactured with a delicate curve to allow for more room for your horse’s tongue.

Available in both English and Western options, we carry Level Three bits in a variety of cheek pieces such as Western shanks, English dees, eggbutt snaffles, and kimberwickes.

Pick Your Bit

Picking the right bit for your horse can be much like picking the perfect pair of shoes for yourself. Not only does it need to fit correctly and have the right function, but it also needs to offer proper support as well.

That is where we come in. Offering a full line of Myler Bits, our friendly sales associates at The Cheshire Horse have the tools and the knowledge to help you select the right bit for you and your horse. Together, we can help you learn what so many equestrians have already discovered… how Myler Bits can transform your riding experience and relationship with your horse.

2 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Myler Bit for Your Horse”

  1. My quarter horse is about 17 yrs old and in fantastic shape. I ride him at least twice weekly on trails and a bit in round pen which he dislikes. When I trail ride alone he throws his head a lot and tries taking off. I’m able to handle him BUT not an enjoyable situation. He’s been in a level 2 myler bit for about 7 yrs. What do you recommend. I trail ride only and walk/trot.

    • Hi Linda, thanks for reaching out. Myler makes a number of “Level 2” bits. Which one are you currently using? They are usually an intro to leverage and mildly ported bits to begin providing slightly more tongue relief and beginning to work with indirect pressure. You may want to try going back to basics and try a single jointed snaffle, perhaps a full cheek snaffle to give you a bit more leverage. It might also be beneficial to take the time to do a lot of pressure release work, and maybe go out with a couple of buddies to help keep your horse more relaxed, and essentially just schooling out on the trail. If the head tossing behavior still continues, then you might want to try a Kimberwick with a port (this provides tongue relief), since these bits allow you to set the amount of leverage applied depending on where you connect the rein. It might take a while until you have a nice relaxing ride, but schooling hot horses on the trail consistently is often the best way to get results in showing them that they can relax while away from the barn. It may take a period of trial and error, but it can help to go back to basics for a while!


Leave a Comment