Learning where and what the rings, cannons, and joints are will help you understand how specific snaffle and curb bits differ. This pictorial will help you identify the parts of a basic bit.
It's often the bit first introduced to horses, whether they are destined to be ridden English or western. Many horses are ridden in some variation of a loose ring snaffle bit.
It is a nice simple bit that is useful whether you ride in your backyard or in the show ring. If you find your horse's lips are being pinched, you can buy inexpensive guards that stretch over the rings.
Because of the way the rings are attached to the mouthpiece, there is less chance of the horse being pinched. English Full Cheek Snaffle Bit is designed, so it does not pull through the horse's mouth.
Description: The bit shown here has a 2-inch port, a 5-inch-wide mouthpiece, and 7-inch shanks. The copper on the bars helps keep your horse’s mouth moist, and the bit will rust with use, further increasing salivation.
That’s a key for your horse’s comfort and thus his ability to respond to your cue. This correctional bit has four moving parts, and both shanks swivel.
In fact, I’ll bet that if I asked 100 horse people if they had a bit like this in their tack rooms, 95 of them would say yes. You can find this bit at varying price ranges anywhere from big-box chain stores to custom bit makers’ booths at horse shows.
I rely on it when transitioning a young horse from a ring snaffle to a leverage bit. It’s also helpful when I bring home a new horse, so I can see where he is in his response to a leverage bit.
Holding a shank in each hand, you can rotate one side of the mouthpiece a complete 360 degrees. You can find this type of bit with all different shanks, varying from fancy to plain and longer to shorter, but what matters is the way it cues your horse, which is why I like it.
The longer shank on this bit slows the connection between my hands and my horse’s mouth, which allows clearer communication to start. Description: I’m a ring-snaffle guy; my friend (and champion cow horse trainer) Teddy Robinson swears by his D-ring snaffles.
This is the workhorse bit that plays a role in every horse’s training, from teaching a colt to respond to pressure when he’s first in training to progressing in his competitive career to thanked bits. When I use it: Snaffles are for starting colts, of course, but they play a role throughout each of my horses’ careers.
A leverage bit won’t fix anything I’ve missed training while my horse was in a snaffle. Bob Avila, Temecula, California, is an AQUA world champion, three-time NRC HA Snaffle A bit Futurity winner, NRA Futurity champ, and two-time World’s Greatest Horseman.
Bits are one of the most Misunderstood pieces of horse equipment man has ever invented. The things that people think they're supposed to do with a bit in a horse's mouth are unbelievable.
A rocket engine is controlled by tiny bits of information being fed one at a time by a computer. The bits flow in a pattern called a program that the rocket understands.
All it needs are tiny bits of information fed to it with the right timing to get with the program. The bit must be shaped in such a way and fit properly within the mouth, so horse is able to understand what the communication is.
Depending on its shape and adjustment, a bit can also put pressure on the horse's lips and on the roof of its mouth. The thinner the bit, the less contact area it has and the greater the pounds per square in of pressure.
The thicker the bit, the greater the contact area and the lower the pounds per square inch of pressure. So the effective size of the mouthpiece is the first thing to look at because it will determine how noticeable the pressure you apply will be.
Rough bit surfaces such as twists reduce the area where pressure is felt much like rough tread reduces a tire's surface area where it meets the road. The second thing to look at is whether the mouthpiece is straight or whether it is shaped, so it relieves the pressure on the tongue.
The bars are the only places in the mouth we can use to communicate an understandable directional pressure. If the mouthpiece is hinged or grooved, so it relieves pressure on the tongue, the bit is more noticeable on the bars of the mouth and gives more directional guidance.
A port is a raised groove or attached spoon so tall that it puts pressure on the roof of the mouth when the shanks of the bit are rotated by pulling on the reins. Leverage decreases the amount of time it takes for the horse to feel a bit pressure.
Because of this exaggerated pressure and release, curb bits impede true feel and understanding between you and your horse. If you use a thick leather strap, the pressure is more noticeable on the bars of the mouth.
The bit is only part of the overall corridor of aids you used to create the shapes you want the horse to take. Whenever you see a horse fighting the bit, he has lost feeling for the rest of the aids.
Instructor and trainer Ron Meredith has refined his horse logical” methods for communicating with equines for over 30 years as president of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Center : Rt. 1 Box 66, Waverley, WV 26184; 1-800-679-260; an ACCEPT accredited equestrian educational institution.
This cheek design also prevents pinching of the lips which makes it well suited for pair driving. Back to Top SIMPLE JOINTED MOUTH -Acts on the tongue and bars with a pinching or nutcracker action.
Applied pressure can't be increased without the use of a pulley device, such as draw reins. MULLEN MOUTH -The mouthpiece is curved outwards to allow more room for the tongue.
ARCH MOUTH -The mouthpiece is curved upwards instead of outwards like the Mullen. GLORY -Curved mouthpiece makes this bit a hybrid between a Mullen and Arch Mouth.
There are basically two types of ports, those that reduce tongue pressure and those that act upon the roof of the mouth. SEGUNDO -Provides room for the tongue and is shaped to conform to the contours of the horse's palate.
HANOVERIAN -A high port with the addition of rollers is available as a jointed or fixed mouth. The rollers promote play and mouthing while the hinged port prevents the horse from getting his tongue over the bit.
The copper wheel gives the opportunity for play to keep the horse's interest. The butterfly bit can be adjusted in severity which allows it to be used by an entire team to keep uniformity.
The butterfly bit can be adjusted in severity which allows it to be used by an entire team to keep uniformity. All our English driving bits come with the Equestrian Collections 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.