Some People Keep Telling Me The Waterford Is Harsh, Is It?
This is a fairly typical question about the Waterford.“I have recently put my horse into a Neue Schule Waterford Baucher and it has solved all of the issues that I was having. Since I started doing some fast fun work with him, he had got into a really bad habit of snatching, pulling down, occasionally bucking and then running off with me! I do not want to change out of this bit as it has been hugely successful – I have total control, he has stopped snatching and I can canter where I like knowing that I will be able to stop him with a very light rein aid. I even have the added bonus of an outline when I ask for one. My only concern now is that many riders on the yard have commented that I am in a very cruel severe bit and there seems to be so many conflicting opinions, I am both upset and confused.”
There is much confusion and many conflicting opinions regarding the Waterford mouthpiece and we would not recommend the Waterford on a novice horse or indeed any horse that did not fully understand the aids. Nor would Neue Schule recommend it for novice riders, in particular those that do not have sympathetic hands and an independent seat. However, in circumstances similar to those described above, the Waterford is a very logical choice and indeed, as stated by the rider, it has proven to be the total solution. The Waterford is a popular choice when one needs more control and in particular, on horses which lean or pull – this behaviour is what often causes damage and subsequently a hard mouth. The Waterford is designed to save the mouth giving the control back to the rider enabling them to use much lighter downward transitions. It is the look of the Waterford that is off-putting to many riders as it does appear to be a very severe piece of kit. However, the vast majority of horses find the Waterford extremely comfortable, owing to the fact that it is totally flexible, bends in every direction and is very fluid in the mouth. The ‘bobbles’ are evenly dispersed throughout the mouthpiece and only act when the horse pulls against the mouthpiece. The Waterford has been traditionally successful, however it did suffer from some major design defects, for instance the bobbles started too near the cheek and this often caused severe rubbing in the corner of the horse’s mouth. It was also quite a thick cumbersome piece of kit which proved far too thick for many horses.
These design issues have been addressed and the modern ergonomic Neue Schule Waterford incorporates a shelf for the horse’s lip to rest on thus greatly reducing the chances of any rubs occurring. The barrels have been reshaped in order to maximise on control without severity, the mouthpiece is now finer and overall, it is a much lighter more user friendly piece of kit.