Hopefully, this quiz will be able to set you on the right path to finding the best bit to fit you and your horse. An important factor to take into account is the cheek piece/ring, which can turn a fairly mild mouthpiece into a harsh contraption.
Full-cheeks, when used with keepers, rotate the bit, which can either make it milder or more severe. Pelham and limericks are going to use leverage, which will make a bit more severe when curb pressure is applied.
Has your horse ever had an injury in his mouth, regardless of whether bits were a factor? It is hugely important to make sure all of your horse’s tack fits correctly.
The bit should rest comfortable at the corners of the mouth and the rings shouldn’t press hard against the horse’s cheek otherwise it is too short. A bit that is too short will pinch and rub the skin at the corners of the mouth and on the cheeks.
To start with consider the thickness. The thinner the mouthpiece, the more your horse will feel the effects of rein pressure. You should consider the size of the horse’s mouth as it may not be appropriate to put a very thick bit on a small pony.
The joint in the middle allows the rider to apply pressure to one side of the mouth more than the other. The example in the picture is the Steel JP Stainless Steel Jointed Egg butt Snaffle RAP £21.50.
The entire mouthpiece is movable and so encourages a horse to play with the links in their mouth. This allows the mouthpiece some independence from the rein contact in terms of being able to move in with the horse’s tongue and jaw.
It is very important it fits correctly, if too small when the ring rotates it will pinch the horse’s skin. A fixed ring isn’t the best option for horses who tend to lean on the bit.
The bars that protrude up the cheek help with head direction and turning. The bars on the opposite side will press against the cheek and encourage the horse to turn with its head.
In the picture to the left is the Happy Mouth Hanging Cheek Snaffle RAP £30.99 A Tom Thumb is a great bit to encourage the horse to improve their head carriage.
A great example of a Cheltenham Bit is the Shires Cheltenham Gag RAP £18.99. You will see bits made from many materials so here’s our guide to help you pick which might suit your horse.
Pictured to the right is the Shires Jointed Mouth Loose Ring Snaffle RAP £9.50 Brass bits are alloyed with copper to produce a strong durable metal.
This creates a sweet flavor that should encourage them to produce more saliva and mouth on the bit. The pictured example is the Steel Sweet Iron Loose Ring French Link Snaffle RAP £15.29.
They are good for horses who don’t like the cold sensation of metal in their mouth. You’ll find some of these bits have an apple flavor to encourage mouthing and salivation.
To use a double bridle for showing classes or for your higher level dressage you’ll have to decide on which bit best suits your horse. When you attach a snaffle rein to the Pelham it helps to lift the horse’s head.
The double joint with copper lozenge will soften the nutcracker action and assist with salivation. Some horses don’t like the feel of a Weymouth as they take up a lot of room in their mouth.
Published: May 5, 2016 · Modified: May 5, 2016, by carthorses · This post may contain affiliate links · Leave a Comment Some of them are easily recognized by anyone, regardless of what discipline you ride.
The good news is, there’s an easy way to break horse batting” down so that it doesn't have to be so difficult. A curb bit does the same thing but allows the rider to covey far more complex and nuanced directions to the horse via the “shanks”, which act as levers that can pull down on the bridle crown, put pressure on the top of the horse’s head, and pull the curb chain or strap forward against the horse's chin.
While a lot depends on the rider and how the horse bit is being used, curb bits are generally considered to be more “severe” than snaffle bits because they apply more rein pressure. Curb bits vary widely according to shank and mouthpiece design, but there are two main categories -- Western and English.
Western curb bits usually have gentle ports (the upwardly curved center of the mouthpiece). Two common types of English curb bits are the Weymouth, which has straight shanks and a low port, and the Liverpool bit, which has several rein-attachment slots that provide a choice of leverage power and severity.
Snaffle bits create direct pressure on the mouth without leverage. One of the most common types of snaffle bit is the egg butt, which is considered to be the gentlest type of snaffle bit because it doesn’t pinch the corners of the horse's mouth.
Try to find the gentlest horse bit possible that will still allow you to communicate at the level you need to with your horse. If you’re an experienced rider who goes to horse shows, you can opt for a more severe horse bit than a snaffle bit but still always go as gentle as possible.
Outside verbal commands and touch, a bit is one of the most important communication tools in your relationship with your horse. You may not have invested enough time in learning how to handle and communicate with a horse.
Before you can effectively use a bit, you need to be able to control your horse without one using only a saddle and reins.