Category: Western horse bits explained

Western horse bits explained

Using the right bit is the key to good communication with your horse. We carry a wide selection of Western horse bits in all styles and levels of pressure, from snaffles to high ports. We also offer incredibly affordable prices on all of these high-quality bits, so you can invest in a bit that you can count on without blowing your whole tack budget.

Correction Bits - Help with training your horse more effectively. These bits give you a bit of extra leverage while in the saddle, magnifying pressure on the chin groove and bars without releasing the tongue.

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Shanked Snaffle Bits - Require somewhat less pressure from your hands and are instrumental in classes where limited hand movement is preferred. Myler Bits - Some of the most efficient bits in terms of communication between you and your horse. Spoon Bits - Have higher ports that lay a bit flatter between the tongue and palate.

These bits are designed for more refined response in cues for western disciplines. Silver Arabian Show Bits - Beautifully etched shanks in sterling silver overlay or sterling plate, available in various mouthpieces, all with an attached slobber bar.

O-Ring Bits - Increases bit movement and puts pressure on the bars and the tongue. Loose ring bits are ideal for teaching lateral movement and improving body suppleness.

Hackamores rely on pressure at the cheeks and nose while the gags slide motion transfers pressure to the poll. The proper bit is essential to achieve the desired communication between you and your horse. We carry a wide selection of English horse bits in all styles, with something for every discipline. Loose Ring Bits - Helps develop lateral movement. Ideal for young horses. Top choice for Dressage riders. Eggbutt Bits - One of the best bits for new riders or young horses.

A good alternative to a loose ring snaffle. Full Cheek Bits - Offers better support and can help develop flexion and lateral movement.Kylee J.

Duberstein, Ph. Johnson, Ph. In order to select the right bit, it is important to first understand the principles of how a bit functions and the pressure points on the horse that are affected by different bit types and designs. The two basic types of bits are snaffle bits and leverage curb bits.

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These differ in the areas on the horse where each applies pressure. In addition to these two types of bits, there are hackamores, which generally do not have a mouthpiece.

western horse bits explained

Hackamores may either be true hackamores bosal or sidepullswhich are direct pull devices, or mechanical hackamores, which employ leverage. There are also many pieces of headgear that combine a mouthpiece with a mechanical hackamore as well as several options that combine a snaffle bit with a piece over the nose that does not incorporate leverage.

The points on the horse? Some pieces of headgear may be able to affect nearly all of these points while some may only affect two or three of these points. Snaffle bits are considered direct pull bits because when the rider pulls on the reins, that pressure is transmitted directly to the horse?

It is a common misconception in the industry that a snaffle bit is one that has a broken mouthpiece; that is, the mouthpiece is comprised of at least two pieces.

This is wrong, even though many catalogs, books and "experts" propagate it. A snaffle bit may have a solid mouthpiece, a two-piece mouthpiece, a three-piece mouthpiece or multiple links such as a chain. The mouthpiece may or may not have a port, rings, keys, dogbone, etc. The key to identifying a snaffle is that it is a bit that operates off of direct pull; there is no leverage involved.

The reins on a snaffle bit attach directly to the mouthpiece, not to a shank. A curb bit, on the other hand, involves leverage, which means the reins are attached to a shank of some design. A curb strap of some type is used under the horse? When the rider pulls back on the reins, pressure is applied not only to the horse?

western horse bits explained

It requires that the reins not attach directly to the mouthpiece, but instead to some type of shank on the bit. The reins attach to the bottom part of the shank and the cheek pieces of the bridle attach to the upper part of the shank. As the rider pulls back on the reins, the top part of the shank moves forward as far as the curb strap will allow.

This creates the leverage. The tighter the curb strap, the less pressure applied to the poll. The looser the curb strap, the more pressure can be applied to the poll as the top of the shank can move farther forward.

Even if a curb is not used, there is still leverage on the horse? Poll pressure can be a very effective tool in eliciting certain responses from the horse. Horses are naturally inclined to move away from poll pressure and therefore will often lower their heads and flex at the poll to escape this pressure. This is a desired response used to achieve greater performance in many disciplines.

Western horse bits explained

However, to perform correctly in a curb bit, the horse must have already learned how to be guided willingly and submit to bit pressure.

Too much poll pressure too early in a horse?Dover Saddlery has an extensive selection of horse bits for any discipline or training purpose. As the rider takes a feel of the reins, more leverage is exerted on the horse's mouth and also on the poll where the bridle goes over the head, behind the ears.

Bits and Accessories.

western horse bits explained

Gag bits are somewhat similar to snaffles except that the horse will "lean" into the gag. Level 2 bits apply less tongue pressure than Level 1 and introduce the concept of tongue relief with low-ported or flexible mouthpieces, appropriate for young or inexperienced horses with trustworthy dispositions or moderately experienced horses transitioning to the Myler bitting system.

Western riding is considered a style of horse riding which has evolved from the ranching and welfare traditions which were bought to the Americans by the Spanish Conquistadors, as well as both equipment and riding style which evolved to meet the working needs of the cowboy in the American West. Entering the Western Horse Showcase alone, without placing, will score you a bonus 10 points on your overall end of competition score.

This type of snaffle bit is also referred to as a barrel head snaffle bit. Cowboy tools. Oval Mouth Double Jointed Snaffle. Whatever your horse bitting problem we are able to help. Known for their comfortable gripping, durability andWestern saddles are typically made of leather, built for riding over long periods of time while herding cattle. Tack room with Western saddles, bridles and gear.

Snaffle bits are used primarily for lateral control of the horse. Bits popular with the western horse and rider are curb bits or shank bits, snaffle bits, and various types of corrections bits.

Take your time over this decision, and learn to use your new style of bit from an experienced mentor. Hanging Cheek Snaffle with Copper Lozenge. Plus he has a great stop in this bit. Horse Bit Categories on the Bit Guide Snaffle Bits The largest group of bits is the snaffle bitwhich acts directly on the corners of the mouth, tongue, and jaw without any leverage, and has the effect of drawing the head upwards and inwards. For the first time in his life he fell in love with a young and beautiful girl.

Save on Western Horse Bits. Snaffle bits can be found with a several different mouth pieces including single jointed, double jointed or mullen mouth. Has your horse got the gait?

English Curb Bits. To effectively communicate with a horse, the rider needs a bit which allows the horse to be relaxed. Please check your email to confirm.

Horse Bits

Hackamore bits, snaffle bits, and gag bits each have their own specific function and role, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs, along with the necessary curb straps and bit guards to make your next training session easy and fun. They are a relatively simple bit that is designed for the horse that neck reins well. Horse owners looking for ways to have more fun with their horses often pick the pleasure class as the first attempt in their new show career. As the rider takes contact on the rein, the horse feels an equal amount of contact on the bit in his mouth.

Since Western horses are ridden on a loose rein, the longer shank allows the rider to utilise the leverage by giving extremely light rein aids and attaining the same result as a rider using a snaffle on a firmer contact. A bit with long shanks and a high port sucha bit of an odd one.Subscribe Renew Give A Gift. Current Issue. Walking into a tack shop and looking at a wall covered with bits can send a neophyte bit buyer into a cold sweat. It is embarrassing to tell the sales person, who often looks as if he just won the national reining finals, that all you know about bits is that they are supposed to turn the horse left and right, and make him whoa.

We can simplify types of bits by putting them into two categories: snaffle bits and curb bits. The snaffle bit has no shanks or levers on the sides of the mouthpiece. Snaffle bits have a single ring on each side, which applies direct pressure to the sides of the mouth. Shown is an eggbutt single-jointed snaffle.

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A curb bit has a shank or lever on each side. A shanked bit is considered a curb bit regardless of whether it has a solid or jointed mouthpiece.

The reins are attached to the rings.

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Snaffles work on direct pressure to the sides of the mouth directly pulling the head around. Snaffle bits often have a jointed mouthpiece. The reins are attached to the ends of the levers and when pulled the levers swing back and pressure is applied to the tongue and bars of the mouth, while a chin strap or chain applies pressure underneath the jaw. The longer the shanks the more pressure is applied. With shanks of moderate length, when five pounds of pressure is applied to the reins, about fifteen pounds of pressure is applied to the mouth.

The amount of curve in the shanks also plays a role: the straighter the shanks, the more pressure is applied. The purpose of having the port drive up and touch the roof of the mouth is to cue the trained horse for the desired response. The first time our horses are bitted we often use a thicker bit, sometimes a rubber bit, until they are comfortable with the feel.

Trail riders may choose to spend their entire careers using a snaffle bit, but many prefer a medium shanked, medium port curb bit like this one simply because it offers extra control and safety under difficult circumstances. Do not progress to a curb bit until the horse is responding to indirect pressure neck reining and body cues. This means that the horse is calm and responds softly to cued stops, lateral flexion, riding straight between the reins, and backing up.

When choosing a bit for early training, you need to use a snaffle bit as you are applying direct pressure. Using a curb bit will not help train a green horse for the above requests; proper training will. All you should really need to direct your horse is a piece of string for reins, as well as body and leg pressure. Shown is a copper loose ring snaffle bit with a double-jointed ball mouthpiece.

Does this mean that you should use a longer shank and a mouthpiece with a high port, like a spade bit for example, to increase control on a difficult horse? The reason that many trail riders and trail riding operations use a curb bit is primarily for control and safety.

On the trail, situations can develop that require control in difficult and heated circumstances. Horses can become spooked, irrational, and defiant, and a curb bit simply offers more control and safety in these difficult moments.

Absolutely not. Extreme ports are for well trained horses ridden by riders who apply very subtle cues to get the desired response. If your trail horse is defying you, it has other issues such as a lack of respect or a high maintenance personality, and needs more training time in a controlled environment like in a round pen or on a lunge line. You need to go back to basic training for unruly and stiff horses, not a more extreme bit or a mechanical hackamore.The snaffle bit might be a simple tool, but it makes a world of difference when riding a horse.

The most popular type of horse bitwhich the rider puts into the equine's mouth to communicate with the animal through applying and releasing pressure, the snaffle bit comes in five varieties. The snaffle bit is different than a curb bit, another type of horse bit. It's a "non-leverage bit," while the curb bit is referred to as a "leverage bit. This means that the curb bit amplifies the pressure the rider applies on the reins, while the snaffle bit will only apply the same measure of pressure that the rider uses.

It's vital that the snaffle bit that's chosen fits the horse properly. The correct fit refers to the height that the bit is raised in the mouth, which can be adjusted by the cheekpieces, as well as the width of the bit from ring to ring, and the mouthpiece's thickness. Although snaffle bits generally serve the same purpose, it doesn't mean they are all alike. Certain horses will prefer certain bits, and you might need to try out a few before you figure out which one works best for your horse.

Snaffle bits come in five varieties: D-ring, eggbutt, loose ring, full cheek, and half-cheek. D-ring dee ring snaffle : A D-ring snaffle bit, also referred to as a dee ring gets its name from the D-shaped bit rings.

Although this snaffle bit is similar to the eggbutt snaffle, as the ends of the mouthpiece come together into a hinge, which is where the bit-ring attaches. The shape of the snaffle disallows the corner of the mouth being pinched. This type of snaffle doesn't pinch the corners of the horse's mouth. This type of snaffle bit is also referred to as a barrel head snaffle bit.

Loose ring snaffle : On a loose ring snaffle, the mouthpiece attaches to sliding rings, which rotate the bit when a horse tried to grab hold of it. This makes it difficult for the horse to gain control. However, because the rings are loose, the horse's lips can easily get caught and pinched. Full cheek snaffle : As the name suggests, the full cheek snaffle has cheekpieces that stop the bit from sliding through the mouth. This keeps the bit in the proper position in the horse's mouth and stops it from getting caught on the lips or another part of the mouth.

Half-cheek snaffle : There's also half-cheek and Baucher, or hanging cheek, snaffles. The first has just an upper or a lower cheek, which keeps the cheeks being caught on the starting gate in racing, while the hanging cheek, or Baucher, snaffle is fixed in the mouth and features a ring on the side of the mouthpiece with a smaller ring attached to the bride's cheekpiece. Read More.Which western pleasure bits should you use to train your horse? Understand the different types of snaffle bits and curb bits to their best advantage.

You know, one of the most frequent questions I get from my Horse Training Tips subscribers is about bits and bitting. It seems there is a lot of confusion about when to use a certain type of bit and when not to.

In this newsletter, I want to try to clarify some of the misconceptions about bits and how to use different types of snaffle bits and curb bits to their best advantage. Most colts should be started in a snaffle bit. And, many older horses that need fixing should also be schooled in a snaffle bit.

To my way of thinking, a horse should be ridden in the mildest bit that he will respond to for the job that he is intended to do. A two year old colt will have a much more sensitive mouth than a ten year old horse. That is why I want to use as mild a bit on the horse as I can get away with. Generally, the horse should stay in some form of o-ring snaffle bit until he is well along in his training.

Ideally, the horse should be taught to do everything that you want him to while being ridden in the snaffle bit.

So, if you want your horse to be a reining horseyou should teach him to stop, spin, change leads etc. Once he knows how to work, then you can step him up to a curb bit. Same goes for a cutting horse. He should be in a snaffle bit while he learns to stop, turn and rate the cow.

I believe the snaffle bit is the best tool for teaching a horse how to position himself and use his body correctly. Any performance horse needs to learn to give his head to the direct rein, move his shoulders off the indirect rein and position his ribcage and hindquarters from leg pressure.

Here is the sequence of the various types of snaffle bits that I use:. The horse will be taught the majority of what he needs to know wearing this bit. However, sometime during the training process, a horse will need to be lightened up even more.Like, a lot. Different types, styles and even designs inside a given type or style. These all have different functions, pros and cons, and ways they work.

Bits, Bridles and Physiology of the Horse's Head

Usually, a bit is a piece of either metal or synthetic material that rests in this teeth-less space and puts pressure on the back of the mouth and the tongue of the horse. This piece attaches to a bridle and the reins and helps the rider control the horse. Not all horses adapt to all sorts of bits, and some might require different types. For example, young horses may be trained with hackamores, and some might pull too much and require a gag bit.

Independent on the type of horse bits, mouthpieces themselves come in different types. Jointed mouthpieces may be single-jointed or double-jointed.

The latter is actually two pieces joined by a link, which itself may come in different styles, such as ported, French, Dr Bristol and ball double-jointed mouthpieces. Each operates differently, with double-jointed considered milder than single-jointed. They consist of a mouthpiece and rings, which attach directly to the reins. This means that pressure on the reins translates directly into pressure on the mouth, in equal proportion.

This is not necessarily the case, as straight-bar and even mullen mouthpieces may also be part of snaffle bits. While the pressure is more direct in the snaffle, a sharper or rougher made snaffle may be harmful, and a heavy hand on the reins will also make it harsher. Some mouthpiece designs also make the bit more severe. Rather, snaffle refers to the mechanic used direct pressure and the absence of shanks, rather than to mildness or any other characteristic. The snaffle bit is more popular in English riding but used in Western as well.

Find it here. Eggbutt snaffles are gentler, as they do not pinch the side of the mouth. In these, the mouthpiece does not rotate, and this may be more comfortable to some horses. The full cheek bit has long arms on either side and the ring attached to the arms.

This helps with lateral guidance and fixes the bit in the mouth. The mouthpiece may slide on the full, loose ring, so that it rests on the most comfortable position for the horse, rather than fixed. The horse may relax its mouth and chew the bit.

Curb horse bits work with indirect pressure. This means you use less pressure on the reins to reach the same pressure on the bit, that you would with a snaffle bit. This makes the curb bit usually more severe, though of course, it depends on how much the rider pulls on the reins. Other than shank sizes, there are different shapes as well.

western horse bits explained

The straighter the shank, the less warning the horse has before the pressure hits it. Some are loose-jawed, that is, they let the mouthpiece rotate more, while others are not. Weymouth curb bits are popular in English riding when using a double bridle.

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Usually has a solid mouthpiece, either straight or with a slight port. The Pelham bit is somewhere between a snaffle and a curb bit.


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