Dale Myler, one of the world’s leading bit designers, is coming to the UK this April.
Dale and his brothers Ron and Bob are third generation horsemen. Almost 50 years ago, the eldest brother, Ron, a leading cutting trainer, started to search for kinder bits to communicate more effectively with the horses he was training. His extensive research and experience later melded with the work the middle brother and fellow trainer, Dale had conducted into equine dentistry and physiology. Dale collaborated with top equine dentists, vets, human surgeons and chiropractors, and experts in Chinese medicine in his quest to understand the effects of bit action. He learnt that pressure on the tongue affects not only comfort and swallowing, but also the horse’s entire way of going because of the direct connection from the tongue to the sternum and shoulders, and from the tongue to one of the key nerve centres for proprioception and balance.
Ron and Dale had worked out the importance of tongue relief in successful communication between rider and horse.
The younger brother, Bob, as well as his equine expertise, just happened to be an experienced metal worker, so the scene was set.
What started out as three brothers using their skills, experience and passion to create a superior quality bit has grown into a world-renowned brand that is now used by thousands of riders all over the world.
The Mylers’ work has evolved our understanding, not only of the mechanics of bits but also how they can enhance or inhibit the communication between horse and rider. The Mylers’ unique designs focus on relaxing horses mentally, so they are able to focus on what the rider is trying to teach them. Many traditional bits, due to their shape and action, cause the horse a significant amount of stress and tension. This leads to resistance, and also interferes with the horse’s ability to concentrate, and, critically, his ability to move freely.
Because of the Mylers:
- The average thickness of the bits now sold in the UK has reduced by around 50%, so that horses have less metal in their mouths constricting their tongues and making it hard for them to swallow
- Most bits are now designed with a forward-curved shape to accommodate the shape of the mouth better
- Ported snaffles are now permitted for dressage and are in common use by riders of all levels and disciplines, giving horses much more tongue room.
- The concept that different horses may need different bits and should not just be shoe-horned into the rider’s “favourite” bit has gained general acceptance.
- There is far more information about bitting in the public domain and bitting is starting at last to be regarded as a topic which deserves the attention of responsible horsemen, just like saddle fitting and feeding, etc.
- The concept of and actual words “tongue relief” now appear in the FEI’s bitting rules.
- The interest in bitting has created a market for a number of new manufacturers to emerge, giving riders more choice, and hopefully improving the quality and design of bits.
Known for his kind and thoughtful approach, Dale is motivated by a genuine desire to improve the relationship between horse and rider. He has held bitting clinics and seminars all over the US; the UK, and around the world, including Australia; New Zealand; Sweden; Germany; Ireland; Canada; Poland; Switzerland; and Austria. He speaks at public events and consults for many disciplinary and professional organisations, as well as conducting private clinics and seminars.
Dale has been visiting the UK regularly for nearly 20 years, and has made a huge difference to hundreds of individual riders and horses, and, through his work with international riders and trainers, has had a hugely significant effect on the international attitude to bitting and thereby the comfort of horses across the World.
“All learning starts in the same place: the mind. Get the mind relaxed and focused, and the rest will follow.” – Dale Myler