Sunday, September 5, 2010

Horse bit confusion

By Definition the thinner the bit the more sever it is.
On average a bit is 3/8 of an inch in diameter.
Some bits are illegal in horse shows – Check show rules for more information on this subject.


  • Copper helps dry mouthed horses salivate, becoming more responsive to the bit
  • Sweet Iron – Cold rolled carbon steel – rusts easily - encourages the horse to salivate, becoming more responsive to the bit.
  • Nickel
  • Aluminum
  • Rubber
  • Stainless steel
  • Synthetic - combined with rubber


  • Nut cracker effect gives pressure to the tongue lip and bars
  • D-ring Snaffle – Spreads the pressure along the outside of the horses mouth and prevents the corners of the mouth from getting pinched.
  • O-ring Snaffle – use when lateral pull is needed
  • Loose Ring Snaffle – the mouthpiece is attached to free sliding rings, which prevents the horse from grabbing hold of the bit in an attempt to avoid the bit action.
  • Eggbutt Snaffle – The mouthpiece and bit have a lesser chance of pinching the corners of the mouth.
  • Full Cheek Snaffle – Full Cheek prevents the bit from sliding through the mouth.
  • Applies pressure to poll chin and mouth.
  • Principle: works like a lever (a lever uses an appropriate fulcrum to multiply mechanical force)
  • The longer the shank the more severe the bit will be.
  • Kimberwicke – Used in polo Crosse, provides more control than a snaffle
  • Uxeter Kimberwicke - Has slots in the curved portion of the ring to set the reins in a fixed position giving more leverage to the curb action.
  • • Tom Thumb Western Snaffle (Shanked Snaffle, Broken leverage Snaffle) – when the bit rotates, the nutcracker action of the broken mouthpiece acts on the tongue and bars of the mouth.
  • • Can be very severe in uneducated hands


  • Has the action of a Snaffle bit and a Curb bit through the use of two sets of reins. One set connected to mouthpiece and the second set connected near the shank or cheek.

Gag – most often used in show jumping and polo Crosse and can have a jointed or smooth mouthpiece.

  • Works on the horses poll and lips through two sets of reins.
  • Elevator
  • Dutch/Continental/Three-ring/Pessoa
  • American gag
  • Half-ring/Duncan gag


  • Dr. Bristol – Ring in center of mouthpiece assists in holding the tongue in place below the mouthpiece.
  • French Link – Reduces the nutcracker affect found with single jointed bits, such as the snaffle bit.
  • Mullin Mouth – Slight curve allowing room for the tongue. Putting pressure on the tongue, lips and bars. (Rubber, Steel, Copper, Sweet Iron)
  • Straight bar - Puts pressure on the tongue, lips and bars. (Rubber, Steel, Copper, Sweet Iron)
  • Iron Twist - Decreases the contact on the tongue, intensifying the amount of pressure.
  • Wire Twisted – Twist with a small diameter greatly intensifies pressure on corners of the mouth when rein pressure is applied.
  • Port – lips, tongue, roof of mouth and bars


  • Full-spoon – Cheeks are flat and spoon-like
  • Flat-ring - Circular rings have been flattened giving them an edge
  • Tubular Butt – Sliding loose rings

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