I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I think I'm pretty good at bitting. Star is something of a special case, and I still don't have quite the perfect bit for her (well, actually, I think I have found it, but more on that later), but other than that, I think I'm pretty good at finding the right bit for a horse. However, I have recently come to the conclusion that I must have a very European taste in bitting.
Let me explain: You see, in my head, I think up these bits that I think would be great to have around... just useful sorts of bits. And then I decide that I want one. And so I go looking for it. And I can't find it. Apparently, the bits I dream up are imaginary. That is, until I happen across a European website (usually a UK site, because my German is not too good anymore, and I don't read any other languages), and lo and behold, there is my bit. And this has happened to me not once, not twice, but several times.
Now of course, I could just buy these bits from Europe, but herein lies the problem: it's a pain in the ass, you have to wait forever, shipping is more expensive, and I'M CHEAP! I don't want to pay full price for any of these fancy European bits. But apparently no one else in the United States wants them (or doesn't want them and are therefore selling them cheap to me). So I'm stuck.
So my list of European bits I want goes something like this:
Eggbutt Bradoon with lozenge mouthpiece (OK, technically available in the US - for $200!)
Cheltenham Gag with lozenge mouthpiece
JP Korsteel Oval Mouth Full Cheek (I mean, really?!?)
Mullen Mouth Baucher (though I did cave and buy this one)
Happy Mouth Cheltenham Gag (again, really?)
It's not as though any of these are particularly severe bits, or particularly uncommon mouthpieces or cheekpieces... it's just the particular combination that isn't common here. Now the one exception to this comment might be the Swales Pelham (pictured above). The Swales Pelham is unique in that it is a Pelham that applies little to no poll pressure. Great for a horse that needs a little curb, but at the same time, with poll pressure will get strong and heavy on the forehand... like, say, Star. I am dying to try her in a Swales; I think it might be just the ticket for her.
Maybe I just need to open my own tack shop or bit shop: "Nicole's Exotic Bits." Whaddya think?