There is a lot of talk going on in the horse community about what type of bit to use on different types of horses. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced rider or a beginner; Picking a bit for your horse feels like a daunting task. You want to make sure that you carefully and attentively choose a bit based on how it fits into your horse’s mouth and the control you can achieve with it.
There are a lot of mechanics that work a little bit, and they all work in slightly different ways. The purpose of little horse is to communicate with your horse. The drill bit works alongside the reins and headrests and applies pressure to different parts of the horse’s head to guide the horse to do what you want. If you want to saddle up and ride, read this guide to choosing the right horse bit so you can get back to doing what you love.
What to Look for in Horse Bits
The most important part of each bit is the mouthpiece. Your horse will not react well to funnels with sharp edges or design flaws. These factors can cause unintentional pain in the mouth and cause your horse to act up.
The diameter of the funnel plays an important role in the effectiveness of the bit. The thin mouthpiece only puts pressure on the smaller parts of the tongue. Thicker cuts press against the tongue and provide no relief for your horse.
In each bit there is a section called a port. The port is the U-shaped part of the funnel with some form of driving it higher or lower into the mouth. When high in the mouth, the port helps signal the horse what to do so the rider gets a faster response than those lower in the mouth. While effective, they can also cause pain if not used properly. The goal is to find the bit that best fits the shape of your horse’s mouth and how they respond to it.
Sing a Little Cozy
The shape of the horse’s mouth and the arrangement of the teeth are usually neglected. Some people choose a bit and hope it works rather than finding the kind of bit that fits the horse’s mouth. You may feel like it’s not a good fit if your horse is having trouble holding it, turning its head, clenching its jaw, or sticking its tongue out. Some horses have shallower palates and thicker tongues, and what is comfortable for one horse is uncomfortable for another.
Overgrown teeth can also interfere with the way the bit fits in the mouth. Horses with beet problems should be seen by a veterinarian or equine dentist. These professionals usually have a method for determining which type of drill bit is best for your horse.
If your horse has been ridden before, consider what parts they have worn before. It’s unfair for horses to change parts they’ve always known and expect them to work well with others. If a transition to a new bit is required, be patient with your horse and allow them to adjust to the way the bit feels and signals them.
If you’re having a hard time deciding with what bits, the easiest way to solve this is through trial and error. This doesn’t sound like the most ideal method, but the more you put aside what horses don’t like, the quicker you’ll find out what they’re doing.
How to Choose Horse Bits
Consider the experience level of the rider and the horse when using a bit. Less experienced duos should use softer bits to help riders and horses learn how to use them without breaking their mouths. Harder bits are better used if the rider and horse have a lot of riding experience.
Another important property to consider when buying a bit is the length from ring to ring in the mouthpiece. The bit should be about a quarter inch beyond the horse’s lip on both sides. The drill bit should rest comfortably on the grate, the toothless gap in the horse’s jaw.
Common Types of Bit
While we won’t mention every bit on the market, there are some that are more popular than others. Here is a list of some of the most common bit types and how they work.
O-ring snaffle bits have a fixed or sliding round ring and a two-part bit spliced between them. This type of bit provides only a small amount of pressure from the rider’s hands to the corners of the mouth as they drive. Pulling on one rein causes the ring on the opposite side to put pressure on the horse’s mouth and face.
O-ring snaffle bits are best for younger horses and new riders. This bit helps improve communication with your horse without all the pressure or the louder bits.
Curb bits work by using indirect pressure and leverage. They contain a separate attachment point from the headstall and command and are a bit like the snaffle bit.
The leverage of this bit allows you to apply minimum pressure to the controls while still receiving a fast response. When the rider pulls back, the top of the bit puts pressure on the chin, not directly on the horse’s mouth and lips. This bit is best for advanced riders and horses. Inexperienced equestrians do not have the necessary hand control to use this bit without damaging their horse’s mouth.
Corrective bits are similar to curb bits. This one has long round calves that sit higher in the mouth and add pressure to the roof of the mouth. This type of beet removes stress from the tongue, mouth and lips.
These bits should only be used on trained riders and horses as they rely on minimal control contact and no hard pulling.
Using new bits is a learning experience for both the rider and the horse. Whenever you switch a little or train your horse, remember to be patient and gentle. If you don’t use a bit specially selected for your horse and the shape of its mouth, it can be a frustrating and sometimes painful experience for them.
The purpose of choosing a little horse is to fit comfortably and allow you to communicate with them in a way that doesn’t hurt them. As long as you’re willing to find the right part for your horse, you’ll be right back on the bike, and your horse will feel comfortable when you’re in control.
Featured Image Credit: 11A Fotografie, Shutterstock