Myler Bitting Series Part II – Bit Levels and How to Use Them

Welcome to Part II of the Myler Bit series dedicated to helping you make a better bit choice for your horse. We started the series off with Understanding Bit Resistance. In this blog, we will discuss the Myler Bit Levels, what their intended use is for, and how this relates to your horse.

The Myler Approach to Bitting 

In Understanding Bit Resistance, we explained that the primary source of bit resistance is excessive tongue pressure – most commonly from a single jointed or double jointed mouthpiece (ex. french link). Our goal is to give him as much tongue relief as he can mentally handle and respect under saddle.  

When you start working with a horse, whether it’s newly started, green broke, or a seasoned competitor – this approach applies to each one equally. When we start any horse, the first thing we work on is teaching them to give to pressure. The first bit we use will apply pressure to the tongue and we look for a positive reaction called  “giving to the bit” or flexing at the poll and softening the mouth. As the horse’s understanding of giving to pressure grows, we start to ask for more advanced maneuvers, building off of the initial foundation of giving to pressure.

What we often fail to realize is that the more educated our horse is, the less contact, pressure, and guidance they need (and want). Think back to your first Driver’s Ed class. The instructor gave you frequent commands and corrections, which was extremely helpful and taught you how to safely travel the roads. Now picture that same instructor riding with you on your daily commute.

“We are approaching a stop sign”

“The speed limit is 35 mph”

“Remember check your rearview mirror!”

A tad irritating?

When your obedient, responsive horse becomes unresponsive, irritable, and resists your cues after an extended period of time, remember the analogy above. Some horses seem to “start” off with this mentality. We begin to feel like our horse is working against us or is starting to have an attitude under saddle.

No two horses are mentally or physically identical. Basic training principles may apply, but you can’t work every horse the same from start to finish. Some take more time, some require a soft hand, and some can be downright difficult. Bits will not always fix a horse that is determined to be difficult, but they will give you the best chance in communicating with him in a positive manner. Bits don’t train horses, people do. A bit can only do two things, create interference or promote relaxation. The Leveling System was created in an effort to produce the most effective and positive communication, no matter what experience level your horse is.  Below we will start to break down the different levels and the types of horses that usually fit these Level profiles.

 

Level 1 Bits

Level 1 bits were traditionally recommended for horses being started under saddle, are very green, or challenging. These bits have a middle barrel that prevents the bit from collapsing in a “V” shape, eliminating the nutcracker effect. The bit collapses in a “U” shape, allowing the tongue more room to sit comfortably and reducing the amount of tongue pressure applied compared to a single jointed snaffle.

These mouthpieces are also made for disciplines with rules regulating the type of mouthpiece you can use – often found in dressage. To view all dressage legal bits (of all levels) click HERE.

Because the Level 1 mouthpieces apply the maximum amount of tongue pressure out of all the Levels and offer the least amount of tongue relief, we rarely recommend them. Tongue pressure is useful when introducing a horse to the concept of yielding to pressure, but once he has learned this, the Level 1 mouthpiece doesn’t offer much benefit compared to the other Levels. If you are considering a Level 1 mouthpiece, we would strongly recommend moving up to a Level 2, specifically the MB 04.

Level 2 

 

Level 2 bits are great for green horses with trustworthy dispositions or challenging horses that are showing signs of bit resistance. The Level 2 bits introduce a little more tongue relief  than the Level 1 – perfect for sensitive mouthed horses or horses advancing in their training that are starting to resist their current Level 1 bit.

Level 2-3

When you look at the examples of the Level 2-3 mouthpiece, you will notice that all of these mouthpieces have ports. The port gives the tongue room to move, offering increased tongue relief. Some of the mouthpieces are solid (like the 06, 36, 43LP)—these are considered curb bits, which means they don’t use the tongue as a primary pressure but use the bar, lip, poll and chin (if there’s a curb chain or strap). Some of these mouthpieces collapse (like the 41PB, 27PB); a ported bit that collapses is called a correctional. Basically it offers increased tongue relief with a port, but the collapsing action will use the tongue as a pressure point when both reins are engaged. They are used to “correct” a problem, hence the name.

Level 2-3 has the widest variety of mouthpieces, balancing increased tongue relief with varying degrees of tongue pressure.

The Young and Sensitive Student

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You take your next shining star into the barn to be started under saddle or perhaps just purchased a green broke youngster with the basics. You take them out to the arena in a single jointed snaffle or Level 1 bit and it is evident that they are heavily resistant to the bit and fidget restlessly. You feel perplexed on where to go from here. This is a perfect example of a green horse that is good minded that needs more tongue relief. The best step up bit being the MB 04. This bit can be used on its own, or in the combination bit series to offer tongue relief while still providing the control that you need.

The Tenacious Teenager

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This horse usually has a decent amount of education and has started his career in a particular discipline. He shows a lot of promise and talent but often has his own thoughts and ideas about how his training should go. You have ruled out any pain from saddle fit, chiropractic work, or dental issues. He is resistant in a single jointed snaffle or in a Level 1, but you worry about giving a challenging horse too much freedom. The Level 2 and Level 2-3 bits are great for this situation. Just because we have a horse that definitely needs to have a good handle on them, doesn’t mean we want to leave them in a Level 1. We would suggest a MB 04 for a horse coming from a single joint or Level 1, or perhaps an MB 36 (Level 2-3) if you have a horse currently being ridden in a mullen or MB 04 that shows resistance.

The MB 04 will give them the tongue relief they are looking for, but will still collapse and apply tongue pressure as needed. This is the ideal transition bit if your horse is showing resistance in a single jointed snaffle or a Level 1 mouthpiece. An MB 36 works great for horses that are seeking more tongue relief but still need adequate control. The MB 36 is a mullen mouthpiece with a forward tilt. When you apply pressure to the mouthpiece, it will roll forward onto the tongue instead of collapsing, giving a soft and more subtle cue.

The Seasoned but Stubborn Steed

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Whether he is a veteran trail horse or a world champion reining horse, sometimes he just can’t have as much tongue relief as the MB 33 (Level 3) provides as he takes advantage of this freedom. This can mean that he doesn’t have the responsiveness you need in the show pen or you still need a way to remind your forward trail horse that you are in control. The MB 06 mouthpiece gives a good amount of tongue relief while still giving you control when needed. If your horse performs well in a correctional bit but it is still showing some signs of bit resistance, our MB 41PB is an excellent mouthpiece because it offers the same amount of tongue relief as a Level 3 – but applies tongue pressure when needed for control.

Level 3 Bits

 

Level 3 mouthpieces offer your horse the most tongue relief out of all of the levels. These mouthpieces are best suited for very good-minded, trustworthy horses that have enough training that they don’t need “looked after” under saddle. It is very important to note that with maximum tongue relief comes maximum freedom. This gives ultimate comfort for the seasoned athlete, but can be unsuitable for a challenging horse that tries to take advantage of his rider. Our two most popular Level 3 mouthpieces are the MB 33 and the MB 33WL. Both bits offer maximum tongue relief and are considered the mildest mouthpiece that we offer. The MB 33WL was designed specifically to be USEF and FEI dressage legal.

Steady Eddy

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This horse can be a seasoned show horse or your go to trail horse, either way, he is solid, safe, and knows his job. He doesn’t take advantage of his rider or become impatient. He knows and enjoys his job and doesn’t require much direction. This horse would be the perfect candidate for a Level 3 bit. The MB 33 will give him ample tongue relief and will cue mostly off of the lips and bars of his mouth, giving him freedom and the most comfort overall – the perfect reward for your trusted partner.

Still wonder which category your horse falls into? Stay tuned next week for our final part in the Myler Bitting Series where we talk about some of our personal horses and what bits we ride in. You can also visit our website and fill out the Myler Bit Wizard for your bit recommendation!

 

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Toklat Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for gift ideas for the horse enthusiast in your life? We have compiled a list of gift ideas with every horse and rider in mind from English to Western! To shop all of our products, visit our website.

 

T3 & Matrix Saddle Pads

Whether you need a work or show pad, our T3 and Matrix pads are designed to protect you and your horse from the impact of schooling and competition. Available in styles for every discipline and level – ranging from high impact to low impact performance protection.

 

Myler Bits

Looking to treat a friend or even your four-legged partner? Myler Bits have created a whole line of bits with your horse’s comfort and performance in mind. Designed to eliminate bit interference and correct bit evasion through the use of tongue relief, Myler Bits encourage positive communication and a relaxed mind for horses of all levels and personalities. Need help selecting a bit? Complete our Myler Bit Wizard for our best recommendation!

 

Bucas Recuptex Therapy Blanket

 

Made from an extremely fine stainless steel mesh that reflects the magnetic fields created inside the body to stimulate blood circulation and oxygen flow through the horse’s back and body. This reduces swelling and inflammation and promotes faster healing when used as a therapeutic treatment

 

Woof Wear

Wanting to add a pop of color for fun or need a protective boot for your competitive rider? Woof Wear offers a wide range of boots for every rider. School in our fun Sport Brushing Boots or compete in our high tech Smart Tendon or Smart Event boots for optimum leg protection.

 

Irideon Riding Wear

Stay warm this winter with Irideon Riding Wear! Offering a wide range of must-have layers, cozy breeches and water-resistant (and waterproof!) jackets to keep you comfortable during the unpredictable winter weather. Click HERE to see the entire Fall/Winter 2017 line.

Myler Bitting Series Part I – Understanding Bit Resistance

Whether you enjoy a leisurely trail ride or compete at a high level, using a bit that does not work for your horse can not only reduce the quality of their performance but also negatively affect your relationship over time. Chances are good that you’ve experienced bit resistance at some point in your riding relationship with your horse.

What does “Bit Resistance” actually mean?

Resistance is any behavior the horse employs that puts him in conflict with the actions of the rider, often to evade that action. In this article, we’ll go over the most common Signs of Resistance and what they mean, but knowing how to address resistance speaks to the root cause of resistance: excessive tongue pressure.

Tongue Pressure

The primary cause of most bit resistance is essentially tongue pressure, most commonly from a broken bit, such as a single joint or three-piece. When the rider engages the reins on a broken bit, the bit collapses and applies pressure to the tongue. The tongue is a big, thick muscle connected to other muscles in the neck, shoulders and back. When it can’t move, the horse can’t go forward easily (the same is true for people). When it becomes more than he can bear, he will be forced to find a way around that pressure. The result? Resistance.

How to Recognize Bit Resistance

Horses can express bit resistance in many different ways but before you make any changes to the bit, make sure your horse is not experiencing dental or chiropractic issues.

Myler correct form

This illustration shows a horse in a good collected frame, with his head perpendicular to the ground for optimal movement. Ideally, this is the position you want your horse to travel in when you are riding. Resistance occurs when the horse leaves this position in reaction to the rider’s rein pressure.

Once dental and medical concerns have been ruled out, you can comfortably conclude that you are dealing with bit resistance. Do you recognize any of these behaviors?

Above the Bit

Going Above the Bit

When a horse goes “above the bit,” his head comes up and his nose goes out, often accompanied with head tossing. As a result, the bit slides back over the tongue, freeing the tongue and distributing the rein pressure to the lips and bars of the mouth. He may carry his head high for a   few strides and then come back into frame, or he may continue with his head held high. As long as he is traveling above the bit, the rider has little to no control.

Behind the Bit

Going Behind the Bit

This horse is showing the same type of behavior as the horse Above the Bit, but is avoiding the pressure by tucking his head behind the vertical, allowing the bit to slide over his tongue and applying the pressure to his lips and bars. As long as he has his head tucked behind the vertical, the rider has no recourse but to release the pressure and try to encourage him back on to the bit.

Rooting

Rooting

Rooting is a very common sign of bit resistance that also has varies in severity. Some horses seem to reach through the bit and become very heavy in the rider’s hands; others will take the bit in their mouth and pull down towards the ground or run through the bit. This will reposition the bit onto the lips and bar, while the pressure is relieved from the tongue. Severe rooting can easily pull the rider off balance.

Tongue Outside Mouth

Tongue Over, Outside, or In Throat

Moving the tongue around is a very common sign of bit resistance, although these behaviors can be more easily observed from the ground. If a horse chronically puts his tongue over the bit or sticks his tongue out the side of his mouth, it can look comically playful but it signals severe discomfort. More difficult to see is when a horse brings his tongue up behind the bit into his throat—the rider feels as though she’s pulling on a brick because the rein pressure is entirely engaged on the lower jaw.

In all three of these situations, the horse cannot tolerate the amount of tongue pressure being applied to his tongue and he is willing to cause his own discomfort to avoid it. When bringing his tongue back into his throat, he even significantly cuts off his own oxygen supply.

As a precursor to these behaviors, your horse might have a busy mouth, with gaping and chewing. Recognizing this busy mouth as an early indication of bit resistance will go a long way to preventing more severe resistance.

Why is Tongue Movement Important?

No one enjoys going to the dentist and for some people, it can create a lot of anxiety. Imagine being at the dentist office: as they begin working on your teeth, you need to swallow. Instead of allowing you to freely swallow, the dentist holds your tongue down so that they can continue to work on your teeth. Without the ability to move your tongue, you are not able to swallow. At this point, panic and anxiety kick in and you begin to struggle. If the dentist doesn’t allow you to swallow soon, you will begin to panic completely and try to make yourself comfortable by getting away from the pressure. Now imagine that you are running a mile with a 20 pound backpack uphill and you are unable to move your tongue or swallow. Sounds unpleasant?

Riding in a traditional broken snaffle (single joint or three-piece), when you close your hands and make contact, the bit collapses into a “V” and rotates downward onto the tongue. As long as you have that contact, the bit will inhibit any natural movement of the tongue. As your horse salivates and begins to work harder, he struggles to regulate his breathing and swallowing because his tongue is restricted. You might notice you have the hardest time maintaining collection at the trot and canter–these maneuvers will require more effort from your horse, his respiration goes up, and he needs to swallow more frequently. But he can’t because the bit is interfering with his ability to move his tongue. You can test the pressure of a traditional bit using the “arm test.”

What is the solution to bit resistance?

Now that we can recognize the problem, how do we begin to search for a solution? The Mylers’ approach to bitting is that as our horses become better trained, they deserve more tongue relief and freedom to perform the job that they are now educated to do. They earn your trust as they prove themselves more responsible and reliable. It’s much the same as a child learning and growing. You treat a teenager differently from a child in elementary school because that teenager has earned your trust and proven more responsible.

When looking at where to start in regards to bits; there are 5 important points

  • Confirm there are no impeding dental or chiropractic issues
  • Know what bit you currently are riding in and how they are reacting – this is ground zero to making a better bit choice.
  • Know how your horse reacts in stressful situations – Is he reactive? Spooky? Easy-going?
  • Be honest about his/her personality and how trustworthy they are under saddle. Is your horse anxious and insecure? Or dominant and challenging?
  • Do you compete and have bitting regulations that you must follow?

Knowing how your horse reacts in unusual situations indicates his level of self-control and obedience. This is key to bitting selection because the more tongue relief, the more freedom. Going back to elementary school – if you have taught two children to use scissors, and one tends to be unpredictable and run off and another very cautious and careful – you can relax the amount of supervision you give the cautious child but you will probably increase the amount of supervision with the mischievous child. Again, same goes to your horse.

We try to offer each horse as much tongue relief as that horse can mentally handle. Bitting a horse is always a balance between offering tongue relief but also maintaining communication and control. Understanding your horse’s disposition will go a long way in helping you make a better bit choice for him.

Tune in next Saturday for Part II of this Myler Bitting Series: Myler Bit Levels and How to Use Them for a detailed explanations of what the Myler Levels mean and how you can use them to make a better choice for your horse.

Don’t want to wait? Click here for the most comprehensive overview of the Myler approach to bitting.

Roeckl Winter Riding Glove Guide

It’s no secret that Roeckl Riding Gloves are the #1 choice of riders around the world. Famed for their “second skin” fit, Roeckl gloves maintain the tactility of the reins while keeping riders’ hands comfortable and protected. Did you know that Roeckl also has an extensive range of winter riding gloves? Here is an overview of their features to better aid you in selecting the right winter gloves for your riding.

Winter Glove Infograph-New

The Indoor Winter Range

For many riders in the US, winter weather can really curtail outdoor riding. Winter is a good time to catch up on your schooling and address challenges in your riding.  For the indoor winter rider, warmth is a consideration but so is tactility—keeping the feel of the reins and the contact with your horse while wearing gloves. The Roeckl indoor winter range does just that. These gloves have a soft Micro Bemberg lining, a thin breathable fleecy layer that wicks moisture to the outside of the glove to keep your hands from getting chilled and won’t interfere with your grip.

Roeck-Grip Winter

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The flagship of Roeckl, the Roeck-Grip (also known as the Chester) has Roeckl’s proprietary breathable, elastic Roeck-Grip outershell, with the Micro Bemberg lining for warmth and comfort.

Malta Winter      

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The Malta is the Roeck-Grip with an attractive accent piping.

Madison Winter   

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The Madison Winter has a 2-way stretch outershell and a synthetic PU palm for good grip. The Micro Bemberg lining will keep your hands warm and dry.

The Outdoor Winter Range

                For the more intrepid riders who are faced with outdoor riding conditions, a key feature to keep the hand warm and comfortable is windproofing. The Roeckl outdoor winter gloves use a variety of technical fibers to deal with inclement and downright unpleasant weather.

Winchester

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One of Roeckl’s most popular outdoor winter gloves, the Winchester has a soft, flexible outershell of Gore® Windstopper®, a palm of Roeck-Grip, lined with the Micro Bemberg lining for warmth and comfort.

Weldon   

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The Weldon uses the ever popular Polartec® for fleecy warmth and comfort, with a silicone on the palm for a secure grip, silicone reinforcement between pinky and index finger, and a knitted cuff that tucks into the jacket sleeve. The Weldon is one of two winter gloves that is Touchscreen Compatible.

Warwick 

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The Warwick is also a Polartec® glove with silicone grip, although it lacks the Touchscreen Compatibility. The knitted cuff tucks neatly into the jacket sleeve.

Whitehorse      

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With a sporty look, the Whitehorse has an outershell comprised of both Gore® Windstopper® and Roeck-Proof® Ural, a Roeckl softshell fabric that is 100% windproof. The palm of Durasense, a thin synthetic suede, maintains tactility but wears rugged enough for winter riding. The extended knitted cuff is extra warm, with an elastic wrist belt to keep the cold air out. This glove is heavy duty warmth for extended hours in the saddle.

Willow

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Introduced in Fall 2017, the Willow is likely to become a favorite with riders. This lightweight, flexible winter glove has an outershell of Roeck-Proof® Andes fabric for 100% windproofing and a palm of Dry Tec G5 laminated with a lining of Micro Bemberg for warmth and comfort. The Willow is terrific for climates that are moderately chilly but not extreme.

Julia  

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Also introduced in Fall 2017, the Julia is an elegant women’s glove with an outershell of Roeck-Proof® Ural for windproofing and a palm of Roeck-Grip laminated with a lining of Micro Bemberg. Like the Willow, the Julia is designed for climates that are moderately chilly.

Winter Waterproof and Warm

If your riding doesn’t slow down with winter weather and you enjoy the adventure of outdoor winter riding in all weather, a waterproof winter glove is going to be your best choice.

Westlock

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100% waterproof, the Westlock also has the distinction of being one of the few winter gloves in any brand that is not only waterproof and windproof, but also has Touchscreen Compatibility. Westlock uses OutDry®, a waterproof/breathable insert technology that maintains a high degree of tactility despite being warm and winter-proof. The Duradero synthetic suede palm has silicone for a secure grip. The soft TR lining provides comfort and warmth.

Wellington GTX®

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Not only is the Wellington 100% waterproof, it’s also the apex of Roeckl winter technology. This glove has an outershell of Gore-Tex® for extreme weather protection, a layer of Primaloft® insulation for maximum warmth, and a palm of Durasense synthetic suede lined with Micro Bemberg for tactility and grip. A knitted cuff with elastic belt keeps cold air out. Whether you’re outside chopping ice out of water buckets or riding through the snow, the Wellington will keep you warm and dry without sacrificing tactility.

Bucas Blankets – Choosing Your Winter Blanket

Winter can mean many different things for people depending on the geographical area, climate, and horses’ living situation. Here is our Bucas Winter Blanket Guide for the 2017 Fall/Winter season, including blanket temperature ranges and important product features.

The Irish Turnout

Built for rugged terrain and temperatures, the Irish turnout blanket is more than just your average turnout blanket. Providing exceptional value and versatility, the Irish Turnout brings the same Bucas quality at a cost-effective price for temperatures ranging from 14°-46° (300G Heavy) and 41°-54° (50G Light) making it perfect for cold and snowy conditions or moderate temperatures that have occasional rain and wind. Bucas creates each blanket with features that enhance fit, protection, and function, no matter what the price point, including:

  • 1200D Ripstop Polyester
  • Waterproof/Breathable Outershell
  • Neck darts give optimum shoulder fit and range of motion
  • Padded Front W/ Hidden T-Loc Closure Keeps Your Horse Safe Inside and Outside
  • Silky Nylon Lining for a Smooth Coat
  • Combi Neck Attachment for Additional Weather Protection

Retail Pricing:

Irish Extra (300G) Turnout: $200.95

Irish Light (50G) Turnout: $178.95

Irish Combi Neck: $80.95

 

The Select Range

 

 

Does your horse live indoors and outdoors? For many of us, this means having turnout blankets, stable blankets, coolers, and sheets, not to mention all of the blanketing changes!

The Bucas Select Range was created to be versatile, cost effective, and easily adjustable depending on the weather to reduce the number of blankets and blanket changes. The Select Range starts with a 1200D Ripstop, Waterproof/Breathable Turnout Sheet, perfect for use on rainy or windy days in temperatures from 46° to 57°. The second part of the Select Range includes your choice of a quilted, insulated stable blanket that can be used with the turnout sheet to create a warmer turnout, or as a stable blanket on its own. The Select Quilted Stable Blanket options are:

  • Quilted Stable 150G Stay Dry Lining – Temp Range 14° to 53°
  • Quilted Stable 150G Silky Nylon Lining – Temp Range 23° to 50°
  • Quilted Stable 300G Stay Dry Lining – Temp Range -4° to 50°
  • Quilted Stable 300G Silky Nylon Lining – Temp Range 14° to 46°

The unique Stay Dry lining quickly wicks moisture away from your horse while keeping him warm and dry, even when used in combination with the turnout sheet! This means even if your horse is caught in an unexpected rainstorm or is sweaty after riding, you can throw your Stay Dry stable blanket on without worrying about your horse getting chilled or staying damp for hours. The Quilted Stable blankets also have a waterproof/ripstop edging that keeps the stable blanket dry and prevents water from leaching up into the blanket on a rainy day.

The Select Range also offers and insulated Quilted Combi Neck and a waterproof/breathable Turnout Combi Neck. Both blankets also offer neck darts for optimum shoulder fit and mobility, attachment options for the Combi neck, and padded front T-Lock to keep your horse safe in both the stall and paddock.

Retail Pricing:

Select Turnout: $163.95

Quilted Stable 150G Stay Dry Lining: $167.95

Quilted Stable 150G Silky Nylon Lining: $145.95

Quilted Stable 300G Stay Dry Lining: $176.95

Quilted Stable 300G Silky Nylon Lining: $156.95

Select Turnout Combi-Neck: $80.95

Select Quilted Combi-Neck: $61.95

 

The Power Turnout 

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The Power Turnout is truly an unmatched turnout blanket. Designed to be the most durable, ergonomic, and technologically advanced blanket, the Power Turnout will keep your horse comfortable in a larger temperature range and climate setting than any other blanket on the market!

The Power Extra (300G) can be used comfortably in temperatures ranging from -13° to 55° and the Power Light (no fill!) is equally impressive with a temperature range of 14° to 61°. This is possible due to the Stay Dry lining, a heat-reflective aluminum backing on the outershell, and a light-reflective silver outershell. The Stay Dry lining used on the Power Turnout is also antibacterial as well, which means you can use the Power Turnout on a wet horse and the Stay Dry will quickly dry the horse and move the moisture outside the blanket, eliminating extra blanket changes. The antibacterial properties will also prevent any odors from building up during use. The outershell is made with a tough 1000D Ballistic Nylon to hold up against even the liveliest of horses.

The Power also features a padded stainless steel Click N Go closure, easily used – even with gloves! Neck darts are also used for optimum shoulder fit and motion. Combined with an optional Combi-Neck, the Power Turnout blanket really is the best climate management for your horse!

Retail Cost

Bucas Power Combi-Neck: $123.95

Bucas Power Extra: $354.95

Bucas Power Light: $318.95

The Recuptex Therapy Blanket and Quarter Sheet

Fall and winter normally bring cold and damp weather which can be hard on older or hard-working performance horses. If you notice that your horse isn’t warming up the same or seems stiff walking out of his stall, consider the Recuptex. Bucas answered the need for a stable blanket that can be used for therapeutic purposes when they developed the Recuptex Therapy Blanket.

The Recuptex Therapy blanket is made from an extremely fine stainless steel mesh that reflects the magnetic fields created inside the body to stimulate blood circulation and oxygen flow through the horse’s back and body. This reduces swelling and inflammation and promotes faster healing when used as a therapeutic treatment.

This blanket can be used 24/7, unlike many other therapy blankets. When introducing the blanket, slowly increase the amount of time used in the beginning as the properties will warm up the muscles and some horses may sweat after extended use.

This blanket is an ideal tool to rehabilitate horses with chronic back problems and warm up muscles before riding and to stimulate muscle recovery after a strenuous ride. Also available in a quarter sheet for use while riding.

Retail Price:

Recuptex Therapy Blanket: $240.95

Recuptex Therapy Quarter Sheet: $138.95

Shop Bucas Blankets Now at: https://www.toklat.com/Products/Brand/Bucas

 

Bucas Blankets – An Informational Guide to Denier, Fill, and Blanket Linings

The air is a little crisper, the nights are a little colder—autumn is here! When autumn arrives, horse owners start thinking about horse blankets. If you ask 100 horse people about blanketing, you’ll get 100 different answers, theories and ideas about horse blanketing; this blog is not about “To blanket or not to blanket.” If you have already decided to blanket, we want to help you decide on the right Bucas blanket for your horse.

How durable does my blanket need to be?

One of the most confusing terms in horse blanket lingo is “denier.” You see a denier number on every blanket intended for turnout, typically abbreviated to “D”; for example, 1200D, 600D. The generally accepted understanding is that the higher the number, the stronger the material, but this is not always the case.

“Denier” is a unit of measure used in the textile industry to quantify the linear mass density of a fiber. That’s a mouthful! Technically it’s the mass in grams of 9000 meters of the fiber (although the denier is usually obtained by weighing 900 meters of the fiber and multiplying by 10). The basis for denier is the mass of 1 strand of silk fiber, where 9000 meters of silk weighs about 1 gram.

What does this mean for horse blankets? What denier does not take into account are the qualities of the textile itself. Denier is only a good measure of strength and durability when comparing different deniers of the same textile. For example, 1200D of ripstop polyester is definitely stronger and more durable than 600D of the same ripstop polyester fiber. But 1200D ripstop polyester is neither stronger nor more durable than 1000D of ballistic nylon.

When considering which horse blanket to buy, consider not only the denier but also the textile itself. The most commonly used textiles in horse blankets are nylon, polyester or polypropylene, all synthetic materials. (Fun Fact: nylon was originally invented to replace silk). Here are some of the materials used by Bucas.

Ballistic Nylon One of the strongest textiles available, ballistic nylon was invented by DuPont for flak jackets in World War II to protect airmen from flying fragments. Ballistic nylon is much stronger than standard nylon or any polyester. Bucas uses 1000D ballistic nylon in the Power and the Smartex. Because the textile is so strong, 1000 denier ballistic nylon is strong enough for horses without adding a lot of unnecessary weight.

Ripstop Polyester is a polyester fabric specially woven in a cross-hatch pattern and interwoven with reinforcement threads. The ripstop weave means the polyester is less likely to continuously tear, making it more durable than standard polyester and a perfect textile for horsey shenanigans. Bucas uses 1200D ripstop polyester on the Irish and Select Turnouts, 600D on the Freedom Turnouts. 1200D ripstop polyester is a tough fabric, but not as tough as 1000D ballistic nylon.

Teflon®-coated Polyester is just what it sounds like—polyester fabric treated with a Teflon® shield to increase durability. Adding the Teflon® coating means that the denier of the polyester can be reduced so the fabric is lighter weight, making it more suitable for a warm weather turnout sheet. Bucas uses 840D Teflon®-coated polyester in the Sunshower sheet, making it a lightweight but durable sheet, perfect for wet weather.

Polypropylene is a synthetic textile with high abrasion resistance and low heat transfer. More simply put, it’s extremely durable and acts as an insulator; these properties make polypropylene perfect for a stable blanket to keep the horse warm. Because polypropylene by nature doesn’t absorb water, it’s naturally water-resistant without additional fabric treatments, but not waterproof. Bucas uses 1100D polypropylene in the Celtic Stable Blanket.

Understanding denier will help you evaluate the durability of the outershell to make the best choice for your horse.  Is your horse is destructive? Does he have pasture mates that are hard on blankets? Does your pasture have lots of trees and brush? If your horse’s turnout environment is tough on blankets, you probably should invest in the ballistic nylon Power or Smartex.

For horses that aren’t particularly hard on blankets or have regular turnout in a clean paddock or field, the Irish and the Select are great choices. The Select is actually a blanket system of several blankets in one: an outershell sheet, a quilted stable blanket liner, and when put together, a waterproof/breathable turnout. The Select System offers quite a bit of versatility for horses that are in and out daily, worked year round, or traveling.

Watch this video to see how versatile the Select System can be.

If your horse is stall-bound or has a stall with a walk out, the Celtic Stable Blanket or Select System may be the choice for you.

If you live in a geographic area where the spring, autumn and winter is chilly but not brutally cold, or wet, the Sunshower might be the best choice. As a rain sheet without any insulation, it’s lightweight but durable, with a mesh lining that allows air to circulate between the sheet and horse’s skin.

Select Turnout+Combi Neck Navy 2019

What kind of lining should my blanket have?

Most blankets have some sort of silky lining to prevent rubbing. These linings work well unless the horse becomes overheated or was wet before the blanket was put on. Then they become a moisture trap, much like wearing a t-shirt under a sweater, where the t-shirt absorbs but can’t release the moisture, ending up with the wearer getting chilled. Turnouts that have a silky lining should not be used on a horse that has been exercising until the horse has cooled down; to avoid a chill, use a cooler first, and then change out to a turnout when the horse is relaxed and dry.

To solve this problem for horse owners, Bucas uses a unique fabric called Stay Dry as the lining in Power, Smartex, Celtic, and Select Stay Dry Stable Blanket. Stay Dry is a very low pile fleece that transports moisture rapidly away from the horse’s skin, which in turn allows heat to escape. The Stay Dry lining on the Power, Smartex and Celtic contributes to the overall climate management features of these blankets, as well as cutting down on required blanket changes. You can put any blanket lined with Stay Dry on a wet horse without worrying about changing the blanket to avoid the horse getting a chill, minimizing the need for coolers. If you board your horse and have to pay for each blanket change, having a turnout that minimizes blanket changes can save you money, as well as be healthier for your horse. The Stay Dry lining in the Power and Celtic is anti-microbial; the Stay Dry lining in the Smartex and the Select Stay Dry Stable Blanket is not.

Watch this video on the unique properties of Stay Dry lining found in the Power, Smartex, Select and Celtic.

A side benefit of Stay Dry is that by itself, it is a 200g fleece, providing quite a bit of warmth on its own, whereas silky linings offer no warmth.

How much insulation does my horse need?

Once you’ve settled on the outershell and lining, you need to decide on the warmth factor, usually referred to as the “weight” of the blanket which indicates the amount of insulation in the blanket. The insulation, also known as “fill,” is quite often a synthetic batting that provides not only insulation but also breathability. The insulation value of a blanket is usually indicated in the grams per square meter of insulation (a standard 75” blanket is about 3.3 square meters in size, which means 300g of insulation adds about 2lbs of weight). Your goal should be to choose a blanket with enough insulation to keep your horse comfortable, but not so much that your horse overheats and sweats. Insulation also adds weight for your horse to carry so finding the proper balance is necessary for your horse’s overall health. The standard insulation for a “heavy” turnout is 300g. Blankets that have no other way to keep the horse warm will simply add even more batting, which of course adds weight but does not necessarily increase warmth. All Bucas “Extra” Turnouts have 300g of insulation. Medium Turnouts have 150g or 200g, depending on the blanket, and Light have no insulation (with the exception of the Irish, which has 50g).

To further assist in making a good blanket decision, Bucas has provided a temperature range for most of its turnouts. The temperature range indicates a comfort level, although certain factors like a clipped or unclipped coat, humidity, amount of sunshine, wind, and general horse activity can cause the range of comfort to vary, but it gives you a place to start. A comparison of the Power and the Irish Turnout demonstrates how the combination of the right materials can work together for prime efficiency. The Power Light has no insulation, but the aluminum backing on the outershell combined with the Stay Dry lining maintains enough warmth that insulation is not needed. The combination of outershell and lining on the Power Light also makes this turnout more efficient, so horses will be comfortable in a much wider range of temperatures, from 5°F up to about 61°F. In comparison, the Irish Light, with a ripstop polyester shell and silky lining, requires 50g insulation to maintain a much narrower range of comfort, 32°F and up to 54°F.

If you need more information on how to choose the right blanket for your horse, visit the Toklat website for more Bucas videos or email us at info@toklat.com.

Watch this video on how to measure for your Bucas blanket.

Sources

www.fibersource.com

www.fiber.net

National Council of Textile Organizations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Units_of_textile_measurement#Denier. Accessed 10/4/2017.

Welcome!

Welcome to our new Toklat Blog! Toklat Originals is a equine product manufacturer and distributor based in the Pacific Northwest. Check our blogs for new products, educational material, and helpful hints for brands such as Irideon Riding Wear, Myler Bits, T3 Matrix Saddle Pads, Roeckl Gloves, Bucas Blankets, Woof Wear Boots, Cavallo Boots, and more.