Unless you are using a hackamore or bitless bridle, you’ll have to select a bit for your horse. The many types of horse bits available can make this choice a tough one. The correct bit for each horse is different and depends on a variety of factors. The experience of the rider, temperament and training level of the horse, discipline being ridden and training goals all factor into bit selection. Some riders even use various bits on the same horse to address a range of challenges in the horse’s development.
All types of horse bits are comprised of two main pieces: the mouthpiece and the cheek pieces.
Each of these components comes in a variety of designs and materials that range in strength and purpose. Different combinations of mouthpieces and cheek pieces will have different effects. Talk with your trainer to determine which bits are right for your horse. To get you started, here are the basics on common types of mouthpieces available:
- Jointed – A single joint in the middle of the mouthpiece. When rein aids are applied, the bit creates a “V” shape and puts pressure to the top and front of the horse’s mouth as well as on the bars of the mouth. An example is the Hunter Dee Ring Snaffle Bit.
- Double-Jointed –A separate piece in the middle of the mouthpiece is connected by a joint on either side. When the reins are used, the bit creates a “U” shape, which is gentler than a single joint, and puts pressure on the bars of the mouth, lips and tongue. An example is the HS Dynamic RS Sensogan® D-Ring Snaffle.
- French Link – A separate flat piece in the middle of the mouthpiece is connected by a joint on either side and lays flat across the tongue. This type of horse bit has close contact with the horse’s tongue and may help horses go lighter and lean less on the bit. An example is the HS Aurigan® French Mouth Bradoon. A similar mouthpiece is the Dr. Bristol, which is a French Link where the middle piece is set at an angle to allow the edge to put more pressure on the tongue.
- Mullen Mouth – A smooth mouthpiece with no joints. When the reins are used, this bit applies even pressure across the tongue, lips and bars of the mouth. The tongue is allowed more room to move with this type of bit, but not as much as with a ported bit. An example is the Happy Mouth Shaped Mullen Mouth Loose Ring Snaffle Bit.
- Ported – A smooth mouthpiece with a low, medium or high narrow or wide arch in the middle, sometimes featuring a roller at the top. When rein aids are applied, the bit puts pressure on the roof and bars of the mouth, lips and tongue. A low port will be very similar to a mullen mouth, with higher ports putting more pressure on the roof of the mouth, and all types giving relief to the tongue. An example is the Myler Ported Barrel Dee Bit.
- Roller – A series of rollers makes up the mouthpiece with a joint in the middle, or a single roller in the middle of the bit is connected by a joint on either side. Frequently rollers made of copper are used to encourage salivation. This type of mouthpiece helps to prevent the horse from leaning on the bit and becoming heavy and is slightly stronger than a bit without rollers. An example is the HS Stainless Copper Roller D-Ring Bit.
- Twisted – The metal appears to be twisted across the length of the mouthpiece. A slow twist has large, spiral-like turns, while a corkscrew has small, tight turns. Twists can feature a joint, but do not always. These bits are more severe than non-twisted varieties of similar styles, which can help the horse be lighter if he leans on the bit. An example is the Slow Twist Hunter Dee Ring Bit.
- Waterford – A multi-jointed mouthpiece made up of many rounded segments.
Due to the flexibility of the mouthpiece, it encourages salivation and softness as the horse mouths the bit. This bit also discourages the horse from leaning or becoming heavy in the rider’s hands. When the reins are used evenly, pressure is applied gently across the bit as a solid unit. When the reins are used independently, the bit becomes stronger as the rolling action of the bit is engaged. An example is the Waterford Loose Ring Snaffle Bit.
In addition to these mouthpiece elements of different types of horse bits, there are also different types of cheek pieces that will impact how the overall bit functions. Check back, as we will cover bit cheek pieces in another blog post soon! Until then, browse our selection of bits and talk with your trainer about what types of horse bits might be beneficial for you to try.
Equestrian tack and supplies are made from a variety of materials, with each having its own merits. Synthetic fleece, made to appear as sheepskin, is often seen in saddle pads, horse boot linings, halter fleeces, girths, saddle seat savers, grooming mitts and more. Here are some of the reasons why synthetic fleece is a great option when you are purchasing new tack. Continue reading
The Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event is just around the corner! The eventing tack and equipment used by the professional riders at Rolex is always a point of interest, especially to those aspiring to compete in the event one day. As you follow the competition this year, keep an eye on the products competitors are using so you can work to create your own “Rolex Ready” setup of eventing tack and equipment to help get you to the top. Continue reading
Similar to people, horses have different body types and therefore various styles, types and brands of blankets may fit different horses in different ways. Horse blanket sizing can be tricky, and having a horse blanket that fits properly is important for a variety of reasons. A blanket that is too small can restrict movement, cause rubs and be generally uncomfortable for the horse. A blanket that is too loose can increase the risk of getting caught up in straps, allow rain and snow in around the neck area and not stay in place very well causing rubs and chafing. Here are the key areas to inspect closely when fitting a blanket and what to look for to spot an incorrect fit. Continue reading
Finding the perfect pair of winter riding boots can be a tall order. In addition to finding boots with the right fit and support, you also have to consider insulation, whether or not they are waterproof, traction and thickness. With cold weather dropping into the teens in many areas of the country, having winter riding boots that are able to keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable while allowing correct contact with the horse is essential. Mountain Horse’s line of winter boots is known for being extremely warm and is one of our favorite brands for the ideal winter wear. If you’re considering new boots this winter, here are our favorite options from Mountain Horse that will make your feet happy: Continue reading
With just a little over a week until the holidays arrive, you may still be looking for that perfect gift for the special equestrian in your life. Stocking stuffers and smaller horse gifts can be quick to think of and pick up, but that one, bigger, special gift can sometimes be tricky to get just right. Not to worry! We have compiled a list of some of our favorite, high-end items that are commonly on wish-lists and make great horse gifts for the equestrian in your life. Choose the one you think is perfect for your loved one and make the holiday something to remember this year! Continue reading
The holidays are upon us! Amid all the excitement of spending time with family and horses, eating great food and admiring the holiday decorations, make sure you set aside time to get your holiday shopping done. The holidays are all about giving, so we want to offer you a collection of gift ideas in various price ranges to help you pick the perfect equestrian gifts this season for the rider or horse in your life. Use this gift guide to help you select equestrian gifts for the other horse lovers in your life, or share it with your family and friends to help them pick something for you! Continue reading
Freezing feet and fingers are a common struggle around the barn in the cold winter months. While layering up your core for the cold is easy with the many available options in thermal shirts, vests and fleeces, keeping hands and feet warm can be more challenging. Start layering gloves and it quickly becomes cumbersome and impossible to unhook a halter or latch a paddock gate. Too many socks and you’ve accidentally hindered circulation or caused your feet to sweat and then freeze. Layering doesn’t work so well for the extremities, so keep them warm with the right pairs of winter gloves, winter riding boots and winter socks. Continue reading
Guest Post by Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore, Marketing Communications Manager, Weatherbeeta USA
We’ve all been there: standing in front of racks of winter horse blankets in a sea of colors and styles wondering which winter turnout is going to meet your horse’s needs as well as yours. WeatherBeeta has taken the pain out of blanket shopping by suggesting turnouts based on your horse’s personality. Continue reading
With winter coming up, it’s important to ensure you have all the types of horse blankets you will need to get your horse comfortably through the cold and wet weather. First you should be careful to evaluate your horse’s living situation, as well as how she specifically reacts to temperature- does your horse run hot? Is she clipped? Is she older or does she have any health conditions that may alter how she is able to regulate her own heat? Then make sure your stock of horse blankets has the right layers to cover all the scenarios your horse may encounter this winter. Here are the six types of horse blankets you may find yourself needing: