Article written by Fager bits team rider Sanna Forsell, Swedish showjumper, horse educator and influencer, about her favorite Fager bits.
My name is Sanna Forsell, I’m a Swedish showjumper and influencer that loves to work with all types of horses, especially young green horses and horses with different types of complications (don’t like to call it problems, because there’s always some complication behind their behavior/problems) needing help to get on the right track.
As a team rider for Fager, I’ve really changed my way of looking at bits. When I first got the honor to try Fager, I was very skeptical because I’ve always thought ‘’Well, how much of a difference can it really make? Aren’t all double-jointed bits pretty much the same?’’. I couldn’t be more wrong, and now after cooperating with Fager for 2 years I’m probably one of the biggest bit-nerds you can find! Once you realize how big of a difference it actually makes when you find a bit with the right material, shape and pressure points for a specific horse, you will get so much help.
A bit itself can’t fix a problem, but it can be one the biggest part on your way to solving a problem. A bit itself won’t teach a horse to follow smooth, light aids or seek a stable, consistent contact, but it can be one the best tools helping both you and your horse through the education.
It’s much easier to communicate with small aids when you have a relaxed, comfortable and confident horse than trying to communicate with a horse that only fights the contact and signals from the bit. Therefore, Fager has been an important partner for me during my work with different types of horses.
The 2 horses that Fagers bits really have helped me a lot with were 2 horses that I educated the time Fager and I got in touch. It was one very green 8yo gelding and an even greener 6yo mare.
The gelding was a big and heavy horse, and I’m a pretty small rider. He did put all his weight forward on the bit and his shoulders which made him very heavy and stiff for me to work with, it wasn’t impossible, but it was hard. I started with the bit Sally Loose rings and got a really light, flexible feeling in my hand and a much more comfortable horse. Starting to jump, he still was a bit too much on his shoulders hanging in my hands, and there the bit Sabina double jointed was our saving. He was so wonderful in that bit, and I got that perfect contact in my hand which made it possible for me to focus on his education instead of just focusing on getting him soft, light and relaxed. Of course, I still had to ride for the results, the bit didn’t fix the problem, but it sure was one the biggest part of our way to solving that problem, developing his whole body and education. Sally Loose rings was perfect for flatwork, and Sabina for jumping.
The mare, a big showjumping horse with a lot of nerves, was a challenge with everything and still is. Finding a bit to her felt impossible, very hot and strong but still so sensitive to pressure all over the mouth. With too much tongue pressure, she either stands on her hind legs or bite on the bit without any reaction when I try to make a half halt. With too much pressure on the bars, she throws her head up. So, strong and forward going but still unbalanced and sensitive. Before I could start working with all that, I needed something that she could accept and enjoy. It’s no point trying to learn a horse to understand your aids when it does everything it can to avoid them, and then it’s our responsibility to make them happy first.
With this horse I’ve tried a lot of different bits and Fager helped me to understand where she wanted the pressure, and why. Julia was her first favorite bit, it helped her to seek the bit, trust the bit and even enjoy the bit thanks to the sweet iron coating and small tongue relief. The copper roller in the middle still helped me to get her back when she got strong without scaring her. She was really happy with it!
When developing more trust to the bit and more muscles, I needed something more to help me get her back. Carl Kimblehook and Fredric Kimblehook was perfect to get her stable, balanced, comfortable but still more responsive to my aids. They were both perfect for jumping.
After a while she got more and more controlled, educated and learned to listen to smaller aids, just the result I wanted. Then we needed something that gives a little less effect than the Kimblehook bits, but still more effect than the Julia bit we use for flatwork. Sally Loose Baucher was then launched, and a given favorite!
Same shape as her favorite Julia bit, but in titanium instead to help me get quicker response in the hand, and Loose Baucher sides that helped me getting her as stable and balanced as the Kimblehook bits did but without the leverage. It really gives a wonderful, framed feeling without getting too stiff. This gives me the perfect feeling while jumping, she listens to me, take the aids really well, but still has the ‘’go’’ that I love!
On a sensitive horse like her I change between lots of bits to never give the same pressure for too long. The bits I’m chancing between now are Maria loose rings and Julia Baby Fulmer for flatwork/calm hacks, Sally Loose Baucher for jumping, Fredric Kimblehook for hacking and Gustav Baby Fulmer for long reining. All these makes a perfect mix for my sensitive mare, and she has never been this happy in her mouth before.
Now me and my wonderful, but very special, mare are working our way up in the classes, developing a lot, hoping to get to the bigger classes in the future. Of course, with Fager by our side!
Fager will change your world, they changed my world.
Sanna and her mare Little Martha. Photos by Clara Nilsson