Frequently on horse forums I see people talk about the poll pressure that’s applied by Baucher bits. It makes me shake my head because the Baucher is a snaffle bit, as defined by the FEI — by definition that is a bit that applies only direct pressure to the rein.
This posting from Bitbankaustralia does an excellent job of explaining the Baucher and how it functions.
In my opinion, calling the Baucher a leverage bit make work as a placebo. If the rider thinks the bit is stronger than it is (by applying poll pressure), then it helps them ride better because they are more relaxed. However, the baucher is NOT a leverage bit. It’s main benefit is that it sits very quietly in a horse’s mouth because of the way it is suspended from the cheek pieces. Many horses appreciate the reduced “noise” of the bit; they prefer a bit that moves very little.
My Trakehner, Kroni, hated bits that moved too much in his mouth — a loose ring snaffle, no matter how gentle the mouthpiece was torture to him — so I rode him in a Baucher much of the time. If I didn’t believe the mechanics of the bit, I would need to trust my horse. Kroni hated poll pressure of any kind — when I tried him in a Dr. Cook’s bitless bridle he started to rear (that bitless set up exerts poll pressure when you pull on the reins), so I know he wasn’t experiencing any poll pressure with the Baucher.
The Baucher is a very useful bit to have in you bit box, but does not work in the same way as an elevator or a pelham.
The Baucher is one snaffle bit that certainly gets a lot of discussion amongst riders, on forums, at gear checks and I feel is one very misunderstood horse bit! The questions always are- does the baucher bit apply poll pressure or not, is it a leverage bit and should it be permitted to use as a snaffle in competition?
So here are my thoughts on the Baucher.
The Baucher (boo- SHAY, BOW-sher, BOW-cher; there are a number of ways people pronounce it) bit can also be known as the “hanging cheek” snaffle. It is sometimes put on upside down in error, to look like a half spoon bit. Correctly used, the small ring is used to attach the bridle cheeks to, and the larger ring for the reins. The bit is, in its simplest form, a fixed cheek snaffle, meaning that the…
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