If you were to ask riders at many of the United States’ top horse shows where they should go for their bit fitting needs, odds are they’ll point you to the traveling tack shop of bit aficionado, Beth Haist— CEO of The Horse of Course.
As a longtime equestrian and owner of a tack shop and mobile unit that offers professional bit fitting services, Haist has enjoyed exposure to several bit engineers over the years. Haist is always eager to put her knowledge to the test in order to find the perfect bit and the right fit for all shapes and sizes of horses.
“You really have to think like an engineer when finding the right bit. This is an engineering feat,” The Horse of Course’s CEO explained.
For starters, Haist encourages riders to ensure their bits are the correct weight and size. She also stresses the importance of using a copper bit, which she finds to be the most comfortable material available for horses.
“You need to have a bit that’s heavy and copper – and it has to be at least 70 percent,” she said. “The reason for that is it literally warms to the temperature of a horse’s mouth and, when it does that, it becomes more neutral.”
To find the perfect combination of size, weight, and material, Haist suggests two brands: Neue Schule and Herm Sprenger, both of which can be found at The Horse of Course. The Horse of Course is based in Claremore, Oklahoma, and has a popular mobile unit that can be found at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida for the winter show season and other major shows nationally throughout the year. The next stop for The Horse of Course is the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy Texas April 28 through May 1 for the Houston Dressage Society Spring Classics I & II.
However, understanding the recipe for bit fitting success is only a part of the process. Haist is also a believer in trial and error, which is why The Horse of Course offers a service referred to as the “bit bank.” This service, which is available to everyone, gives riders the opportunity to try bits on their horses before purchase – which financially saves riders significantly in the long run. Instead of purchasing an expensive bit up front that may or may not do the trick, Haist has a collection of bits exclusively available for loan – so that riders can find the perfect bit for their horse before making a major purchase.
Haist continually strives to meet her goal of giving back to the equestrian community, and is excited for opportunities, such as the bit bank, where she can help educate riders and better the sport.
And of course, The Horse of Course offers even more than bit fitting services. Riders can head to the one-stop-shop for everything from women’s and, more recently, men’s apparel to stable necessities and everything in between. So if you’re looking to find the best bit possible for your horse or just want to do a little equestrian shopping, visit The Horse of Course online at www.thehorseofcourse.com, visit their storefront, or find the mobile unit at a show near you.