What Is A Horse Bit? (Best solution)

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  • The bit is an important item of a horse’s tack. It usually refers to the assembly of components that contacts and controls the horses mouth, and includes the shanks, rings, cheekpads and mullen, all described here below, but it also sometimes simply refers to the mullen, the piece that fits inside the horses mouth.

Can you ride a horse without a bit?

Yes, it is entirely possible to train a horse to be ridden without a bit right from the early days of its training. If you ride your horse at home, out on the trail, or at very small shows where there are no rules regarding bits, and you feel safe with your horse in a bitless bridle, you don’t need a bit.

Does the bit hurt the horse?

Most riders agree that bits can cause pain to horses. A too-severe bit in the wrong hands, or even a soft one in rough or inexperienced hands, is a well-known cause of rubs, cuts and soreness in a horse’s mouth. Dr. Cook’s research suggests the damage may go even deeper — to the bone and beyond.

How does a horse bit work?

Bits function by placing pressure on and around a horse’s mouth. That pressure can be on the bridge of the nose, under the chin, corners of the mouth, tongue, bars, palate, or poll.

What do you call a bit for a horse?

Top 8 English Horse Bits and Their Uses D-Ring Snaffle with Single Joint and Smooth Bars. Eggbutt French Link Snaffle. Loose Ring Polymer-Covered Mullen Snaffle. Full Cheek Double Twisted Wire Snaffle.

Can a beginner ride bitless?

A basic rope halter serves as a good means to start introducing bitless riding without putting out much money–or any if you already own one. Rope halters allow for more refined cues as far as halters go, due to the placement of the knots.

Is a horse bit cruel?

Even the slightest carelessness from the rider can cause severe pain for the horse. It is an extremely cruel tool if it comes into the hands of an unskilled user. Why do you put a bit in a horse’s mouth? A bit is used as an aid of communication between the rider and the horse.

Can a horse eat with a bit in?

Super Moderator. they can eat w/ a bit in their mouths but if you let them graze they get to where they try to yank the reigns out of your hands to graze whenever grass is near and they also get green slimy mouths and make for a dirty bit.

Does a bridle go in a horse’s mouth?

A bridle also includes reins and a bit. Reins are held in a rider’s hands and are used to guide a horse while riding. A bridle bit goes into the horse’s mouth and is used with the reins to communicate with the horse. Snaffle bits are most commonly used for English riding, and they come in many variations.

Can a horse bite off your finger?

Horse bites are relatively infrequent but are associated with crush injuries and tissue loss when they occur. This article describes a 23-year-old man with amputation of his middle finger at the level of the proximal phalanx after being bitten by a horse.

Whats the purpose of a snaffle bit?

Snaffle bits are generally gentler on a horse’s mouth than other types of bits while still providing adequate communication. When a rider pulls the reins, the snaffle bit puts pressure on the bars, lips, and tongue of the horse’s mouth. When using a snaffle bit, no pressure is applied to the horse’s poll.

What is the purpose of a bit?

The bit, bridle and reins function together to give control of the horse’s head to the rider. The bit applies pressure to the horse’s mouth, and reinforces the other control signals from the rider’s legs and weight distribution.

What does snaffle mouth mean in horses?

The term is used to descride a horse which has not got a ‘hard’ or ruined mouth and therefore responds to a snaffle bit rather than a stronger one.

What is the harshest horse bit?

The harshest bit is the one which is in the heavy hands of an unskilled horseman. Any bit can be harsh in the wrong hands. The majority of bits are perfectly fine in the hands of a skilled, light-handed rider. To say one type of bit is inherently the “harshest” is too broad of a brushstroke.

What is the difference in horse bits?

In general, the thicker the bit, the softer the effect in the horse’s mouth. But some horses with a low palate or large tongue might find thick bits uncomfortable. A thinner mouthpiece is generally more severe, as it concentrates all the pressure on one narrow area in the horse’s mouth.

What is the purchase of a bit?

The purchases are the part of the cheek pieces on each side of the bit that extend from the butt of the mouthpiece to the tops of the bridle rings (shown here in green). Whenever the reins are pulled the bit revolves around the butt of the mouthpiece.

Bit (horse) – Wikipedia

This is a horse wearing an English bridle with a snaffle bit, the end of which can be seen poking out of the horse’s mouth just enough to be seen. It is not the metal ring that is the problem. The huge gap between the front teeth and the back teeth of a horse’s cranium may be seen here. The bit is positioned in this gap and extends beyond it on both sides of the gap. Thebitis an extremely vital piece of a horse’s equipment. It usually refers to the assembly of components that comes into contact with and controls the horse’s mouth, which includes the shanks, rings, cheekpads, and mullen, all of which are described in greater detail below, but it can also refer to the piece that fits inside the horse’s mouth if that is all that is needed.

In addition to being situated on the horse’s head by the headstall, the bit is made up of numerous components that enable for the most comfortable modification of bit placement and control for the horse.

The bit exerts pressure to the horse’s mouth and works in conjunction with the other control signals provided by the rider’s legs and weight distribution to manage the horse.

The horse appears to be less stressed when the rider utilizes a gentle, constant bit contact than of intermittent or erratic touch, according to research.

Basic types

Despite the fact that there are hundreds of design variants, the fundamental families of bits are determined by the manner in which they employ or do not use leverage. They are as follows:

  • In order to provide direct pressure on the bars, tongue, and corners of the mouth, a snaffle bit makes use of a bit ring located at the bit mouthpiece.
  • An ashank-style curb bit applies pressure not only to the mouth, but also to the poll and chin grooves, thanks to the employment of a type of lever called an ashank. Pelham’s tidbit: Two sets of reins are linked to rings at the mouthpiece and end of shank of a single curb bit with two sets of reins. Snaffle and curb pressure are used in combination to some extent. In this hybrid design, a little amount of mild curb leverage is applied to the bit ring by the use of fixed rein placement on the bit ring. Kimblewickor Kimberwicke: A hybrid design that employs a small amount of mild curb leverage on the bit ring.
  • A Weymouth or double bridle is a type of bridle that holds two bits, an abradoon and a curb, and is worn with two sets of reins. The name comes from the typical usage of the Weymouth-style curb bit in a double bridle.
  • A gag bit is a bit that, depending on the design, may seem similar to a snaffle or a curb on the outside, but has additional slots or rings that generate leverage by sliding the bit up in the horse’s mouth, making it a fairly harsh design.
  • In-hand bits are used only for the purpose of guiding horses and include the following:
  • The Chifney anti-rearing bit is a semicircular-shaped bit with three rings and a port or straight mouth piece that is used when guiding horses in a straight line. The port, which is the straight piece, is placed within the mouth, and the round piece is placed beneath the lower jaw. a separate head piece or head collar is used in conjunction with the bit in order to reduce severity
  • A lead is clipped onto both bit and headcollar in order to restrict the severity
  • Tattersallring bit
  • Tattersallring bit Bit made of horseshoes for a stallion

Bits are further classified according to the kind of mouthpiece that is placed within the horse’s mouth as well as the type of bit ring or bit shank that is placed outside the mouth and to which the reins are linked. Hackamores are a type of horse headgear that uses a noseband to exert control over the horse rather than a bit. However, the phrase “bitless bridle” has become a widespread colloquialism in recent years due to the popularity of bitless bridles.


The riders of early domesticated horses were likely to have worn some form of bitless headgear fashioned of sinew, leather, or rope to protect their heads. It may be difficult to identify the components of the first headgear since the materials used would not have lasted for a long period of time. It is for this reason that no one can claim with sure which bridle was invented first, the bitted or the bitless one. Evidence of the usage of bits has been discovered in two sites of the Botai culture in ancient Kazakhstan that date back to around 3500–3000 BC.

It has been shown that images of Synian horsemen, from roughly 1400 BC, have some type of bitless bridle, which is the oldest known artistic evidence of its use.

Metal bits, initially composed of bronze, began to be used between 1300 and 1200 BC and are still in use today.

Various metals such as copper, aurigan, and sweet iron (cold rolled steel) are added into some bits to induce salivation in the mouth of the horse, which results in a softer mouth and more relaxed jaw in the horse.

Throughout history, the requirement to maintain control of horses in conflict has spurred substantial innovation in bit design, resulting in a diverse range of prototypes and designs that have been used from Ancient Greece to the present day, among other things.

Design and terminology

A bit is made up of two fundamental components: thebit mouthpiece, which is placed within the horse’s mouth, and thebit rings of anaffle bit or the bit shanks of a curb bit, which are attached to the bridle and reins. A mixture of pressure and leverage is used by all bits; this is typically in conjunction with other elements of the bridle, such as the curb chain on the chin, the noseband on the jaw and face, or pressure on the poll from the headstall, among other things. The type of bit is not determined by the type of mouthpiece used.

  • The severity of the mouthpiece also plays a role in determining which family the bit belongs to.
  • Consequently, while selecting a bit for a horse, care must be taken to avoid making a mistake.
  • Bit mouthpieces can be single-jointed, double-jointed, “mullen” (a straight bar), or feature an arched port in the middle of the mouthpiece that can be of different height and with or without joints.
  • Moist mouthpieces, wire-wrapped or otherwise roughened, or made of twisted wire or metal, are all possible options.
  • Steel and nickel alloys, which do not rust and have a neutral impact on salivation, are among the most often used metals.
  • It is possible to manufacture synthetic mouthpieces with or without the use of internal metal cable or bar reinforcement.
  • Often the same size as metal bits, plastic-coated bits are available in many flavors as well.
  • Because of the existence of a shank, they are considered to be members of the curb bit family of bits.


The incorrect use of a bit can give a horse a great deal of discomfort. However, rather than resting on the horse’s teeth, the mouthpiece of the bit is designed to rest on the gums, also known as the “bars,” of the horse’s mouth, which is located behind the front incisors and in front of the back molars. In reality, when someone says that a horse “grabs the bit in its teeth,” they are referring to the horse tensing its lips and mouth against the bit in order to evade the rider’s demands (although some horses may actually learn to get the bit between their molars).

Bits provide varied degrees of control and communication between the rider and the horse, depending on the design of the bit and the competence of the rider using it.

It is critical that the kind of bit used is suited for the horse’s requirements and that it is correctly fitted in order for it to work well and to be as pleasant as possible for the horse.

Snaffle or direct pressure bits

All bits operate on the principle of direct pressure or leverage. Snafflebits are bits that apply direct pressure to the tongue and lips, and they are classified as such in the general category of bites. Snaffle bits are most usually seen with a single jointed mouthpiece and work by creating a nutcracker effect on the bars, tongue, and, on occasion, the roof of the mouth in horses. However, regardless of the mouthpiece used, any bit that acts only on direct pressure is referred to as a “snaffle.”

Curb or leverage bits

Curb bits are bits that feature shanks that come off the bit mouthpiece to produce leverage that exerts pressure on the horse’s poll, chin groove, and mouth while the bit is worn. A typical curb bit mouthpiece is made of a solid bar with a slight arch, known as a “mullen” mouthpiece; a “ported” bit, which is slightly arched in the middle to provide tongue relief; and the fullspade bit, which is used in the Vaquero style of western riding and combines a straight bar with an extremely high “spoon” or “spade” extension that contacts the roof of the mouth.

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Again, a bit with shanks and leverage is usually referred to as a “curb” type bit, even if it has a jointed mouthpiece that is more generally associated with a snaffle (such bits are occasionally referred to as “cowboy snaffles,” which is inaccurate).

Combination designs

Leading horses with a Chifney anti-rearing bit is a popular choice. There are several types of bits that combine direct and leverage pressure, the most common of which are thePelham bit, which has shanks and rings that allow both direct and leverage pressure on a single bit and is ridden with four reins; theKimblewick or Kimberwicke, which is a hybrid bit that uses minimal leverage on a modified curb-type ring combined with a mouthpiece that is typically seen on curb bits and is ridden with two reins; and thedouble bridle When applied, the gag bit is a bit that combines direct pressure and leverage in a novel way.

It is derived from the snaffle and, instead of having a rein attached to the mouthpiece, runs the rein through a set of rings that attach directly to the headstall, applying additional pressure to the lips and poll when applied.

Idiomatic usage

It is not just horses that are wearing bits, but also people who are not involved in the horse industry, who are interested in their conduct.

  • It is now commonplace to use the phrase to describe a horse that sets its jaw against the bit and cannot be controlled (although the horse rarely does so with its molars), but it is also used to describe someone who is either taking control of a situation or who is uncontrollable and refuses to be restrained. Champing at the bit, also known as chafing at the bit, refers to a tendency of certain horses to chew on their bit when they are agitated or apprehensive, and especially when they are being held back by their riders. Chafing at the bit is to express impatience or explode with activity. Occasionally, head-tossing and ground pawing are observed in conjunction with this activity. This behavior was most frequently observed by the general public in horses who were anxious to begin a horse race in the days before the invention of the starting gate, and as a result, the term has become popular in everyday speech to refer to a person who is impatient to begin or to complete something. The word “raring to go” is derived from observations of equestrian behavior because certain restless horses, when held back, will occasionally rear as well.

See also

  • Bit guard
  • Bit mouthpiece
  • Bit ring
  • Bit shank
  • Bitless bridle
  • Bridle
  • Hackamore
  • Rein
  • Slave iron bit


  1. “Archived copy,” according to Thoroughbred Racing SA. The original version of this article was published on April 6, 2008. CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)Definition
  2. AbEdwards, E. Hartley,Saddlery, Country Life Limited, England, 1966
  3. AbPrice, Steven D. (ed.)The Whole Horse Catalog: Revised and Updated, The Whole Horse Catalog, Revised and Updated, The Whole Horse Catalog, Revised and Updated, The Whole Horse Catalog, Revised and Updated, The Whole Horse Catalog, Revised and Updated, 153
  4. AbHowling, Kelly. ” Bitless Reveolution “. New York: Fireside 1998ISBN0-684-83995-4p. 153
  5. AbHowling, Kelly. Equine Wellness was published in 2007. On April 11, 2008, the original version of this article was archived. As cited in Anthony, David W. and Dorcas Brown, 2000, “Eneolithic horse exploitation on the Eurasian steppes: food, ritual, and riding,” Antiquity74: 75-86
  6. Miller, Robert M. and Rick Lamb. (2005)Revolution in Horsemanship. New York: Routledge. The Francis C. Shirbroun Bridle Bit Museum
  7. AbcPrice, Steven D. (ed.)The Whole Horse Catalog: Revised and Updated
  8. AbcEdwards, p. 17
  9. AbcHenderson, p. 117
  10. AbcPrice, Steven D. (ed.)The Whole Horse Catalog Fireside 1998ISBN0-684-83995-4p. 149
  11. Edwards, pp. 52-58
  12. Edwards, pages 91-93
  13. And Price, Steven D. (editor)The Whole Horse Catalog: Revised and Updated (New York: Fireside 1998ISBN0-684-83995-4p. 149. New York: Fireside Press, 1998, ISBN 0-684-83995-4, p. 151
  14. Thesaurus.com has a definition for take the bit between your teeth
  15. AbChamping at a bit, chomping at the bit – Grammarist
  16. AbChamping at the bit Synonyms, Champing at the bit Antonyms | Thesaurus.com
  17. AbChamping at the bit, chomping at the bit by Thesaurus.com
  18. AbChamping at the bit by Thesaurus.com has a definition for champ


  • Elwyn Hartley Edwards is a fictional character created by Elwyn Hartley (2004). The Complete Book of Bits and Bitting is a compendium of information about bits and bitting. Devonshire: DavidCharles.ISBN0-7153-1163-8
  • Devonshire: DavidCharles.ISBN0-7153-1163-8 Carolyn Henderson is a writer who lives in the United States (2002). The New Book of SaddleryTack is now available (3rd ed.). ISBN: 978-0-8069-8895-9
  • New York, NY: Sterling Publishing

External links

  • A bit article from Equestrian magazine
  • A fluoroscopic study of oral behavior in reaction to the presence of a bit and the effects of rein tension
  • And a fluoroscopic study of oral behavior in response to the presence of a bit and the effects of rein tension.

Horse Bits

As defined by the Equine Veterinary Association, a bit is a piece of metal or synthetic material that fits in the horse’s mouth and assists in communication between horse and rider. A portion of the bridle, it lets the rider to maintain contact with the horse through the use of the reins. Unless there are dental disorders that require attention, most people’s teeth rest securely in the interdental space between their incisors and premolars, which is frequently referred to as the “bars” of the mouth.

Check out these signs that your horse may require a dental examination- I’m interested in further information. While most horses are handled in a bridle with a bit, horse owners who dislike bits will use a hackamore, or “bitless” bridle, which is similar to the term “bitless.”

Snaffle vs. Curb – What’s the Difference?

Bits are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and materials. The majority of the pieces are composed of metal. Stainless steel is common, but other parts integrate copper, and some even have a rubber or plastic covering to protect against the elements.

Snaffle Bits

In both English and Western riding, as well as driving, snaffles are one of the most popular parts, and they are utilized in both disciplines. Instead of shanks on either end of the mouthpiece, a snaffle bit is defined as one that contains rings on both ends of the mouthpiece. It may or may not have a jointed middle section, although most snaffles do have one. In addition to the horse’s bars (the region of gum between the front and rear teeth), where it sits, the corners of the mouth and the tongue are all affected by a snaffle bit.

The specific regions of action will vary depending on the sort of snaffle used in the game.

Curb Bits

Unlike other types of bits, curb bits feature an extra-long shank (a portion that extends down from either end of the main body of the bit) on either side that attaches to the horse’s cheek piece and reins. An additional feature of a curb bit is the presence of a chain or curb strap that fits under the horse’s chin. The shanks provide additional leverage on the mouthpiece, and pressure may be given to the poll and chin, resulting in the bit being referred to as a “stronger” version. It is possible to increase the severity of the bit by lengthening the shank; however, it is also possible to decrease its severity by relaxing the curb strap.

Western riding requires only one pair of reins, which are attached to the shank at the bottom of the horse’s leg.

Bit Fit

Bits are available in a variety of sizes and with a variety of mouthpieces, each of which is designed to perform a specific action on the horse’s mouth and muzzle. In addition to being jointed in the center, snaffles can also be made of straight or curved bars, or even include copper rollers in the middle, as previously indicated. Curb bits are available in either a single piece or a jointed design. There is usually a “port” or elevated area in the center, and little “keys” or rollers can be added for horses that prefer to wiggle their tongue or roll around on the ground.

Whatever mouthpiece you pick, be certain that it is correctly fitted for both safety and comfort before using it.

Using a “Light Hand”

When using a bit, it’s crucial to remember that the objective is to assist the rider in talking with his or her horse. The bit has the ability to guide the horse to turn, alter gaits, go sideways, or come to a complete stop. Not to punish the horse, but rather to aid in his control, is the purpose of this device. A competent rider will communicate with her horse by using her hands (through the bit), legs, body (by weight shifting), and voice, among other means. Riders that use their hands to interact with their horses in a gentle and easy manner are referred to as having “light hands,” which is a compliment.

Others choose the simplest and softest of all the bits available to them.

The majority of young horses begin their training with a bitless hackamore or a plain snaffle. As a horse grows into more demanding and precise tasks, such as the upper-level dressage horse, stronger, more sophisticated bits may be beneficial.

A “Bit” of Concern

In the event that a horse objects to his bridle being applied, you must establish the reason for this opposition. Possibly a dental issue such as a broken tooth or sharp points on the teeth that are being pushed into sensitive cheek tissue by the bit. It is possible that the bit is not correctly fitting – either too tight and pressing up on the corners of his mouth, or too loose and hanging down and banging on his teeth. It’s possible that the bit itself is too tiny, squeezing his lips. Perhaps the bit is a little too powerful for him.

Throughout his career, your horse may go through a number of different bit configurations.

Check your horse’s bit on a regular basis to ensure that you are using the proper kind and size bit for him.

Understanding Bits for Horses Learning Lesson – Extension Horses

This bit, also known as a ring snaffle, is made up of two parts: the mouthpiece and the rings. The centre of a snaffle bit mouthpiece is most often joined together with a hinge. Therefore, curb bits with jointed mouthpieces are sometimes referred to as “snaffle bits,” even though the bits really function by leverage or curb pressure. When properly made, snaffles are designed such that the bridle headstall and reins are fastened to rings that are placed on the horse’s outside of the mouth. In Snaffles, rein pressure is applied to the mouthpiece directly; the amount of rein pressure applied to the mouthpiece’s contact points is proportional to the amount of pressure provided by the reins.

  • An O-ring snaffle is seen on the right side of the image.
  • The majority of ring snaffles feature jointed mouthpieces, which increase the amount of pressure applied to the horse’s corners of the mouth.
  • Using several mouthpieces, tiny diameter mouthpieces, rolling or twisting mouthpieces, or any combination of these, increases the amount of pressure applied.
  • It is predicted that young or inexperienced horses would require many reinforcing after the horse’s reaction to an initial signal.
  • Because these horses are ridden with a steady, light touch, English style riding allows for the employment of the snaffle throughout the horse’s lifetime.

Despite this, snaffles are commonly used as a training tool throughout the lives of horses trained in the Western style because of the advantages of snaffle action when applying frequent reinforcements or when conducting riding activities that require constant, slight mouth pressure (such as trail riding).

Types of Bits: The Essential Buying Guide for Western Horse Bits

If you have ever wondered, “What sort of bit should I use on my horse?” we can assist you in determining the answer. Getting to know all of the many types of bits available on the market may be a time-consuming endeavor, especially if you are new to horse ownership. For any equestrian or cowboy, however, being familiar with the many varieties of horse bits and their applications is crucial information. Without a doubt, you have a limited amount of time, which should be focused on the most essential things in life, such as your horse.

In order to provide the ultimate reference to the numerous types of horse bits and how to pick the finest one for your horse, we pooled our collective expertise and experience.

Western Horse Bits 101: What They AreWhy They Matter

For those of you who have ever witnessed someone riding a horse, it should be rather evident what the bit’s function is. The bit is a device that allows a rider to manage his or her horse. For individuals who are inexperienced with horses and horse equipment, the mechanism by which a bit offers this control may be unclear.

Horse Bits Explained in Detail

For the most part, bits are made up of the following components: the mouthpiece, the cheeks, the purchase, the shank, and the rings.

  • The Mouthpiece – This is a piece of equipment that fits into the horse’s mouth between the front and rear teeth. There are many different types of mouthpieces, each with its own design and material (which is often metal, rubber, or plastic). It is the cheeks of the bit that lie on the outside of the horse’s mouth that are important. The purchase and the shank are both considered to be elements of the cheeks. The Purchase refers to the area of the cheeks above the mouthpiece where the mouthpiece is located. As soon as the brakes are applied, shorter purchases allow for quicker reflexes, but longer purchases result in slower reactions. The Shank is the section of the cheeks below the mouthpiece that is visible through the mouthpiece. The shank is used to exert pressure on the mouthpiece. This results in less leverage being delivered by a shorter shank and more leverage being delivered by a longer shank. In the mouth, higher leverage corresponds to a more strong sensation while less leverage corresponds to a more mild sensation. Strong bits with long shanks may be disastrous in the wrong hands, so start small and seek assistance from a trainer before progressing to parts with longer shanks. A set of rings is used to secure the reins to the bit on the horse. Rings are available in a variety of designs, each of which has a distinct impact on the function and severity of the bit. As an additional feature of cow horse bits, some include numerous rings on either side of the mouth, allowing for different types of rein placement and even multiple reins to be connected at the same time.
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The overall bit is attached to the bridle and the reins by a ring. In response to a horse’s tongue and sides of mouth being pressed against the bit’s different parts, the rider gains control of the animal while also establishing a line of communication between the horse and the rider. Of course, every horse and rider is unique in their own way. Certain varieties of Western bits are more effective than others depending on the discipline in which you compete. The truth is that most disciplines require certain bit types to compete and prohibit the use of any other kind.

Reining bits are frequently swapped between horses and riders based on the horse’s activity level and the activities they plan to conduct together.

Despite the fact that there are various and complex forms of bits for horses, there are two main bit types: snaffle bits and curb bits.

Classic Western Bits: Snaffle vs. Curb

The pressure applied by a snaffle and a curb bit is applied to distinct parts of the horse’s mouth. Snaffle bits, in general, provide equal pressure more directly to your horse’s mouth when the reins are pulled than other types of bits. The design of curb bits, on the other hand, doubles the pressure applied to the horse’s mouth, allowing for less rein pressure to create higher pressure than with a snaffle bit or other types of bits, for example.

Snaffle Bits

However, while some types of snaffle horse bits have cheeks, the majority of snaffle horse bit varieties are simply comprised of a jointed mouthpiece and rings.

As previously said, when the reins are pulled, this design applies an equal and direct pressure to the horse’s mouth, resulting in a more comfortable ride. A snaffle bit’s straightforward shape has made it a popular choice for riders in both English and Western disciplines.

Curb Bits

Curb bits are characterized by the presence of a port, curb chain, and cheeks.

  • The Portis mouthpiece has a curved or U-shaped form in the center of it. This relieves strain on the horse’s tongue while also emphasizing the pressure on the horse’s mouth
  • And With the purchase rings joined to the Curb Chain, you get a linked chain. There is a chain that goes below the horse’s chin and puts pressure on the chin groove. The Cheeks are the sides of the bit that are not in contact with the horse’s mouth. With differing lengths and forms, a person may exert variable degrees of leverage and control

The majority of curb horse bit designs are made up of these components. The improved design of the curb bit provides your horse with a greater variety of indirect pressure and control possibilities. It is as a result of this that the curb bit is most usually encountered in fast-paced Western disciplines, however it is not uncommon to see curb bits used in English riding as well.

Types of Horse Bits and Their Uses

There are a plethora of various sorts of horse bits that fall under the two basic categories of snaffle bits and curb bits. Walking into a tack shop and looking at the “bit wall” will quickly inform you that there are hundreds of different types of bits for horses, each with its own set of modifications meant to generate nuanced effects when riding. Given the enormous variety of horse bits/types available on the market, the following list of horse bit types and their applications is by no means exhaustive.

Mullen Mouth Bits

There are a plethora of various types of horse bits that fall under the two basic categories of snaffle and curb bit. There are hundreds of different sorts of bits for horses, each with its own distinct variant meant to generate nuanced effects when riding, and all you have to do is stroll into any tack shop and look at the “bit wall.” Given the enormous variety of horse bits/types available on the market, the following list of horse bit types and their applications is by no means exhaustive.

Single-Joint Bits

French Links are mild horse bits that are made up of a double-jointed mouthpiece with a little plate in the middle. They are designed to ease the bit’s pressure while still providing the rider with control and leverage over the horse’s mouth.

Ball Link Bits

Ball Link bits, which are similar to French Link bits, are made out of a double-jointed mouthpiece that is joined by a ball that rests on the horse’s tongue. Similarly to french link bits, ball link bits create a nutcracker action that is similar to that of french link bits, but is slightly more severe.

Roller Bits

Roller bits include little, revolving pieces of metal on the mouthpiece, which encourage the horse to interact with them and play with them. Using these “rollers” to play with the horse causes the horse’s tongue and jaw to relax, which in theory should assist the horse accept the bit.

Port Bits

As previously stated, Port bits have a curved or U-shaped mouthpiece in the center, which is referred to as a U-shape. This relieves strain on the horse’s tongue while also emphasizing the pressure on the horse’s mouth, which is beneficial. In addition, the U prevents the horse from utilizing its mouth to reduce the force of the bit. Ports are available for both Western and English sorts of bits.

Twisted Bits

Twisted horse bits are characterized from other horse bit kinds by the twist in the mouthpiece, which makes them one of the harsher horse bit options.

These twists in the mouthpiece increase the amount of pressure and pinching force applied to the rider, allowing him or her to have more leverage and control. Twisted mouthpieces might include straight, mullen, or jointed mouthpieces that are twisted in the same direction.

WireChain Bits

Finally, Wire and Chain bits are comprised of two rings and a connecting mouthpiece made of wire or chain that join the two rings together. They may be quite harsh, especially when used incorrectly, owing to the amount of concentrated pressure that can be applied to a horse’s mouth as a result of the thinness and twisting of the wire or chain used in these sorts of bits.

Shop Products Related to Western Bits

Ben Baldus has some useful information and advice to share with you if you’re searching for an overview of the several sorts of horse bits that we use here at NRS.

Horse Bit Severity Chart

It is impossible to arrange horse bits in descending order of severity because of the enormous variety of horse bits that are available. We’ll start by discussing the many aspects that will influence the severity or tenderness of any part in general, rather than in detail.

  • Ring Cheekpieces are a little too loose. If you are a horse bit maker, you may have made the instinctive observation that smoother mouthpieces always produce mild horse bits, as opposed to mouthpieces that are twisted or textured. To make your bit a little more harsh and responsive, you can choose a twisted or textured mouthpiece
  • However, this will increase the cost of the mouthpiece. Thickness of the mouthpiece Thinner mouthpieces, as opposed to thicker mouthpieces, have a tendency to produce harsh horse bits as a result of the sharp pressure they exert. The shape of your horse’s mouth must be taken into consideration if you are trying to make a horse bit harsher or kinder dependent on how thick the mouthpiece is made. Some horses’ mouths are simply not big enough to accommodate a thicker bit comfortably. Similar to this, some people have huge tongues and must use a mouthpiece that is a little narrower. If you want to feel more confident in your purchasing decisions, you might seek the assistance of a professional bit fitter. Dimensions of the port If you are using a bit that has a port, the bit will be more mild or severe depending on the size of the port you are using. A shallow port will generate a mild horse bit, but tall, narrow ports will produce a harsher horse bit due to the pressure they place on the horse’s palate. The Shank’s Overall Length If you are working with a curb bit, the severity of the bit is determined by the length of the shank of the bit. Horse bits with shorter shanks are more mild, whilst horse bits with longer shanks are more severe. This discrepancy is mostly related to the use of leverage. When compared to shorter shanks, which deliver less, longer shanks give the rider with more leverage and power. The straightness of the shank is important. Furthermore, as compared to straight shanks, curved or angled shanks are more friendly on the rider’s joints since they provide less leverage to the rider.

More might be written about the fundamental features of bit design that result in hard bits for horses as compared to soft bits, but we will focus on defining specific types of horse bits in descending order of severity instead.

Gentle Horse Bits

If you’ve ever wondered, “What is the gentlest bit for a horse?” this is the article for you. Because of its large mouthpiece and loose ring bits, you will find that the Eggbutt snaffle is recommended by the majority of publications. The Eggbutt Snaffle does not pinch the sides of the horse’s mouth and only applies a limited amount of lateral pressure on the horse’s jaw. D-ring snaffle bits are considered to be extremely mild bits for horses, despite the fact that they are significantly harsher.

The Mullen Mouth bit is also considered to be one of the more friendly bits for horses, especially when compared to other types of bits.

Mild Horse Bits

French Links, especially when used with moderate horse bits like as the D-ring snaffle, can result in more mild horse bits by providing greater control without exerting too much excessive force on your horse or causing possible harm to your horse. In the centre of the mouthpiece is a tiny, flat link that adds additional pressure to the horse’s tongue. The majority of horses respond well to this moderate horse bit design, and some even prefer it over a single joint snaffle bit in certain situations.

Harsh Horse Bits

Twisted bits, Port bits, and Spade bits are among the most severe horse bits that are commonly available for purchase at tack stores, as seen at the bottom of the horse bit severity table. Neither the rider nor the horse should be inexperienced with these bits. They are all designed to apply additional pressure to the horse’s mouth while also providing the rider with extra leverage in the reins. When riding, twisted bits tend to exert more pressure on the horse’s tongue and sides of the mouth, whereas port bits, particularly those with tall and narrow ports, tend to put more pressure on the horse’s palate.

When the reins are pulled, Spade bits apply direct pressure on the horse’s palate in the same way as Port bits do. The Spade bit can potentially cause injury to a horse’s mouth if it is used incorrectly.

How to Choose the Right Bit for Your Horse

After you have gained an understanding of the various horse bits and their applications, the next step is to select a bit for your horse. After you’ve gained information, you must put it into practice. When looking for the best horse bits, you should take the following factors into consideration before making a purchase:

1. Consider a Good-Quality Bit an Investment In Your Horse

Everyone wants to ensure that their horses are as comfortable as they possibly can. And the mouth of your horse is equally as vital as the back or legs of the animal. Purchasing high-quality equipment and accessories is an investment in your horse’s future health and well-being. The appropriate bit will be nicer to the horse, will provide a safer riding experience for the rider, and will last far longer than less expensive alternatives.

2. Understand Your Horse

When selecting a bit for a horse, the following factors should be taken into consideration: age, past training, comfort, and the discipline to be used.

  • Gentle bits can be used on horses who are young and inexperienced, while tougher bits may be required on horses that are older and more experienced since they have been accustomed to lesser pressures and prompting. Past Training – Depending on the horse’s previous training, certain types of bits are more useful or ineffectual than others. Horses who have been handled harshly their entire lives are unlikely to respond well to gentle horse bits, which are designed to be mild. A horse that reacts well to softer aids, on the other hand, will become uncomfortable and agitated when matched with a severe horse bit. While in doubt, comfort is likely the most crucial factor to consider when learning how to pick a bit for your horse, yet it is also the most difficult to determine. You want your horse’s neck and mouth to be relaxed, so make sure they are. Poor-fitting bits are frequently indicated by the horse’s constant tossing of the head, biting down on the bit, or restlessness of the mouth. It takes time and a lot of trying with different reining bits to figure out what your horse is most comfortable wearing. With more time spent getting to know your horse, as well as your preferred riding and handling style, the optimum horse bit will become more apparent. Certain sorts of bits function better in certain disciplines than others, and this is determined by the field in which you engage. The truth is that most disciplines require certain bit types to compete and prohibit the use of any other kind. Being disqualified for a simple tack mistake is the very last thing you want to happen to you
See also:  How To Understand Horse Racing Odds?

3. Consider Your Experience as a Rider

Whether you are looking into different sorts of horse bits for yourself or for someone else, the rider’s previous expertise might help you narrow down your options. Beginner riders, for example, often do not understand how to interact with their horses in the same way that an experienced rider with years of training does. They are frequently unsure about the proper technique to use the reins, such as how hard to pull or when to release. As a result, it is generally preferable for new riders to utilize moderate horse bits, such as the Snaffle bit, to ensure that they do not mistakenly cause the horse needless discomfort while learning how to ride properly.

Nonetheless, a highly educated horse is rarely required to use a severe bit in order to respond quickly and powerfully to its rider’s commands.

4. Different Horse Bits Can Only Do So Much

If, after reading all of this, you are still unclear about how to select a bit for your horse, don’t be concerned. Horsemanship is an art, and it is a lovely link formed between a person and an animal when practiced properly. It takes time, consideration, and a great deal of effort to form a relationship with your horse. In a nutshell, it is not something that happens overnight. Using different types of horse bits to swiftly solve the problems associated with horsemanship may seem like a good idea, but this is not always the case.

We are the ones who educate, not the tools.

Finally, when you have discovered the perfect bit for both you and your horse, you will undoubtedly conclude that your efforts were well worth your time and effort.

Horse Bits for Sale

Given a greater grasp of the many types of horse bits and their applications, you are now prepared to mount your horse and begin riding.

Prior to doing so, you’ll want to select a bit that is appropriate for both you and your horse. Alternatively, you can visit one of our lovely NRS brick and mortar shops to browse through our extensive selection of horse bit kinds. Western Bits for Sale

Learn How Your Horse’s Snaffle Bit Works

Whether you ride English or Western, it’s probable that you began by riding your own horse or by being mounted on a schoolmaster horse and using a snaffle bit as your first horse. These bits are designed to fit comfortably in the horse’s mouth in the rear opening between its top and bottom teeth, and they can be used in conjunction with rubber lip protectors to prevent the horse’s lips from being pinched.

What Is a Snaffle Bit?

A snaffle bit is a type of horse bit that is commonly used because it is soft on the horse’s mouth. Snaffle bits, which are made out of a single bar or two to three jointed pieces between huge rings on either side, make it simple for riders to communicate with their horses and are widely used to train young horses and inexperienced riders. The chances are excellent that you will use one at some point throughout your riding instruction, even if you don’t start off with a snaffle bit. Knowing how the snaffle bit works will assist you in generating effective rein aids and avoiding being either ineffective or overly forceful on your horse’s mouth when using it.

Even if you are selecting from a large number of snaffles, selecting the appropriate bit might take some time.

15 Horse Bit Mouthpieces Every Equestrian Should Know

Horse bits are available in a variety of mouthpiece types, just as they are available in a variety of bit materials. Choosing the appropriate bit for your horse may be a time-consuming process involving trial and error. Consider the size and form of your horse’s mouth, how your horse has been schooled, and your level of riding experience when making your decision on which horse to buy. Last but not least, you should choose the mildest bit possible while yet maintaining clear communication with the horse.

Mullen Mouth

  • K. Blocksdorf is a German author. It is a simple mouthpiece with a small bend over the horse’s tongue that is known as a mullen mouth. When compared to a straight-bar mouthpiece, this is more comfortable for the horse to carry about. The mouthpiece is also believed to be more kind than a jointed mouthpiece since there is no pinching impact when the reins are pulled.

Single Joint

  • K. Blocksdorf is a German author. It is possible to put focused pressure on either side of a horse’s mouth with the single joint, which results in improved control of the animal. Single joints, on the other hand, can produce a so-called nutcracker effect, which compresses the horse’s tongue and bars (the gap in the horse’s mouth between the incisors and molars), causing discomfort. Although this kind may be less comfortable for certain horses than a straight-bar mouthpiece, it may be more pleasant for others.

French Link

  • K. Blocksdorf is a German author. A French link is a double-jointed mouthpiece with a little plate in the centre that is used to blow through a tube. Even while the two joints assist in softening the nutcracker effect, they nevertheless provide the rider with control on both sides of the mouth. Some horses may prefer the lozenge or oval mouth variant of the French link, which is a rounder variation of the French link.

Dr. Bristol

  • PriceGrabber Doc Bristol is another name for this double-jointed mouthpiece that has a flat link in the centre that is similar to a French link in appearance. The distinction is that its link is longer and positioned at a small angle, resulting in additional pressure being applied to the tongue by the edge of the link. Dr. Bristol has a similar nutcracker action to the French link, although it is much more subtle. Please proceed to number 5 of 15 in the list below.

Ball Link

  • The ball link of this mouthpiece, which is identical to the French link in appearance, lies directly on the horse’s tongue and exerts pressure. It is slightly more severe than a French link, but it is a little kinder than a Dr. Bristol since there is no edge on the link that might push into the tongue.

Twisted Mouthpiece

  • PriceGrabber Straight, mullen, and jointed mouthpieces are all possible with twisted bits, which can be constructed from a variety of materials. It is intended to exert significant pressure on the horse’s mouth, putting the mouthpiece among the most severe available. Unsevere twists are less severe than severe twists with more turns, which are caused by a gradual twist with fewer turns. When horses refuse to respond to rounded bits, some equestrians employ the usage of twisted bits.


  • K. Blocksdorf is a German author. Rollers are often made of stainless steel, copper, or a combination of the two materials. The horse is encouraged to play a bit with the mouthpiece by the little, revolving pieces of metal, which should result in it relaxing its tongue and jaw. This may result in the horse being more accepting of the bit. The rollers, on the other hand, marginally enhance the harshness of the bit, and some designs may induce pinching as well.


  • Generally speaking, PriceGrabberKeys are little, elongated metal beads that are used on mouthpieces that are used for introducing young horses to the bit. The mouthpiece is often equipped with three keys that are connected to a central ring. This type of bit is frequently referred to as a mouthing bit, and many horse trainers no longer use it since it might encourage the horse to play with the bit excessively. Then read on to number 9 of 15 below.


  • K. Blocksdorf is a German author. Ports feature a raised region in the centre of the mouthpiece, which is often in the shape of an inverted “U,” which relieves pressure on the tongue and decreases irritation. Because of this, the horse will not be able to lessen the effect of the bit using his mouth. There are low ports that only cause a little rise in the horse’s blood pressure, as well as high ports that put some pressure on the horse’s palate, among other things. Some ports are additionally equipped with rollers or keys. Ports are available for both English and Western pieces

Quarter or Half Moon Link

  • K. Blocksdorf is a German author. A quarter or half moon is another form of link that may be used with a mouth piece. The moon gives space for the tongue, and the double joint, as compared to a single joint, softens the nutcracker action
  • Yet, the moon does not provide space for the tongue.

Thick or Thin Bit

  • K. Blocksdorf is a German author. In general, the thicker the bit, the milder the effect on the horse’s mouth will be when it is used properly. Thick bits, on the other hand, may be difficult for some horses, particularly those with a low mouth or a broad tongue. A thinner mouthpiece is often more severe because it concentrates all of the pressure on a smaller region of the horse’s mouth
  • However, a thicker mouthpiece is generally less harsh.

Hollow Mouthpiece

  • PriceGrabber A hollow mouthpiece is much lighter in weight than a solid mouthpiece of the same size and shape. Because of the weight of this bit, it is carried pleasantly by many horses. Go ahead and read number 13 of 15 in the section below.

Wire Bit

  • PriceGrabber Wire mouthpieces might be straight, jointed, or twisted, and they’re quite harsh in their design and function. Their thinness, along with any twists, results in a significant concentration of pressure in the horse’s mouth. So many people consider wire mouthpieces to be harsh as a result of this perception.

Chain Mouthpiece

  • A variety of PriceGrabberChain mouthpieces are available, including link and bicycle chain. Despite the fact that these bits are quite harsh, their usage is often discouraged

Spade Bit

  • PriceGrabber The spade bit has its origins in the vaquero heritage, and horses are only permitted to use this highly precise mouthpiece after lengthy training. When the reins are pulled, the spade comes into touch with the horse’s palate, where the pressure can be rather intense. In the wrong hands, this can do serious harm to a horse’s mouth. In no way does it function as a bit for teaching horses or correcting bad habits, such as pulling or head-tossing.

The Purpose of the Bit and Common Misconceptions

Horse By Horse AdministrationNews The bit’s primary function is to facilitate communication and control. In order to accomplish communication with the horse, we must first establish a comfortable and confident acceptance of the bit on his part. Recent research done under the auspices of regulated scientific procedures has significantly improved our awareness and knowledge of oral anatomy, as well as the many pressure sites that are essential to provide comfort. We can more effectively rectify improper methods of going or evasions if we use this information to the design and construction of horse bits.

  • We have combined this emphasis on scientifically informed design with the unique realization that a high heat conductivity of the mouthpiece must also be a key factor in bitting when developing our line of bits.
  • van Weeren, who stated a: “We are fulfilling a fundamental requirement.” “.The answer should be founded on solid scientific research, since only this would provide a solid foundation for debate.
  • As a result, we’ve had to re-evaluate and reevaluate our goals, as well as the ways by which we intend to attain them.
  • Let’s have a look at one of the most fundamental assumptions: Tradition has it that a thick mouthpiece is gentle and a small one is stern, and that this is still the case.
  • There is a happy medium to be reached, and if there is inadequate capacity in the horse’s mouth, fat is not a friendly creature to be around.
  • Alternatively, various mouthpiece materials can impact and increase salivation by their scent and taste, according to this viewpoint.
  • However, it is vital to note that we are unable to properly define flavor and link it exclusively to excessive salivation.
  • It was really discovered by Ivan Pavlov (1927) that salivation in dogs may be induced by ways other than the presence of food in certain well-publicized research studies.
  • If we look at it from the standpoint of bitting, we simply require enough saliva to lubricate the bit and prevent any friction that may create rubs.
  • This was proven incorrect.

Modern ergonomic designs of mouthpieces, according to scientifically controlled research, may actually improve the horse’s ability to breathe and swallow by stabilizing the pharynx, depressing and steadying the tongue towards the back of the mouth, and thereby creating a larger respiratory channel for the horse.

It was customary to utilize Key Bits or ‘Players’ (for example, loosely connected thin plates in the middle of the mouthpiece) when initially bitting since it was believed that mouthing and increased salivation were good.

When a horse is originally educated to be over-active in the mouth, fixating on the existence of the mouthpiece and attempting to toy with it, this will not be possible.

If we want to achieve perfection in bit design, we will utilize materials and designs that are meant to inhibit mouthing rather than to encourage it.

Rider and horse experience will demonstrate how effectively we have achieved our aims as a result of this radical re-think, which challenges everything most people have taken for granted.

Lower oxidation and higher heat conductivity are characteristics that may be measured scientifically. As a result, scientifically informed design, which is “honest and unbiased,” as van Weeren describes it, is the foundation of our approach.

a”Equine ergonomics: a new era?”, Equine vet. J. (2005) 37 (1) 4-6

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