Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bit post....some of my opinion on bits

There is a lot to know about bits, but it isnt as difficult as you might think, what is more difficult is figuring out what works for your horse.
I thought it might be fun to show you some of what I have in my tack room, instead of pulling stock photos from the Internet. This is most of my tack room wall, last summer I had Hubby bend all the old horseshoes I could find and make me all these hangers, and finally get it all organized.
In my opinion, there are only three basic kinds of bits. A curb, which is a bit with shanks. A snaffle, which is a direct pull bit, no shanks. The Gag bit, which I dont own so I may have to pull a pic, or have you do your own research on that one. There is a myriad of half breed and variations on these three bits, all I can say is if it has a shank it is a curb, direct pull as in an eggbutt snaffle, then it is a snaffle. The original Gag bit slides on a rope and can be pulled way up into the horses mouth, not something I have ever chosen to use.

This is my favorite snaffle to use, green goo and all LOL, it is a loose ring snaffle, the rings are thick and what is called weighted. The mouthpiece is sweet iron, in the classic snaffle shape, tapered and not to thin, this bit has a Les Vogt stamp on it. I have seen some snaffles that to me defy the logic as to why anyone would put that kind of torture device in a horses mouth! (((shakes head)))
Emma has never had any bitting problems and has taken whatever I have put in her mouth, so I try to stay soft with her.

This is Emmas curb bit, mullen mouth, made of sweet iron, tongue relief, she seems to like this bit.

Easys curb bit, a little higher port, as she likes more tongue and pallet pressure, same shank as Emmas bit, about 6 inches.

This is Easys correction bit, she has been a pain to bit, as she forever is behind or in front of the bit, and snaffle bits she runs through, or your arms get so tired fighting with her, she is 24 and probably wont change now! anyway she keeps a leveler head and doesnt throw it as much and is a lot smoother in this bit. Easy likes the fast events more than she likes the Equatation slow work, always has LOL

This is Mickeys Eggbutt mullen mouth snaffle, it arches but does not break in the middle, she does not like the pressure that a regular snaffle puts on the bars of her mouth, and she hates dropping a metal bit, these nylon bits have made things a lot easier for her.

This bit is one of those half breed bits. It is used primarily for fast events, although it is a pretty mild bit. This bit would also be considered to have a little gag action as the mouthpiece slides up. This is Mickeys again, used when she did gaming events. This bit has a couple of names, wonder bit is one. The shanks allow you to have more, lower, or less, top hole, leverage as you may want. Again the nylon mouth piece to spare Mickeys teeth. She started throwing her head up and running backwards, and getting a metal bit stuck on her lower teeth(((sigh))) but with careful slow work and using these bits and using a pressure signal by squeezing her pole before dropping the bit, we have gotten her over the worst of it.

And for Katherine, yes I have english bits to LOL, the dreaded Kimberwick, although I dont see why so many people have a problem with them, especially at the 4-H level, it you are showing dressage and working your way up through those levels, no way! But 4-Hers who are learning and have bad hands to begin with, they are a good learning bit for beginning Huntseat riders.
I have ran across Kimberwick snobbishness from some people. I think it is a decent transition bit from wester shank to snaffle eventually, and the kid can work on equationtion instead of fighting the horses head all the time. Just my opinion again.

And the classic eggbutt snaffle, used by both English and Western riders alike. I do have quite and extensive collection.
These are just the ones that I have on bridles, I still have some Billy Allen and copper mullen and .....etc. in my box.
I taught my girls to ride Western and Huntseat and bareback. They have done Equatation and have done Gaming, and it seems we have all the differnt tack to go with those disciplines!

I do have a bitless, Parelli type halter bridle, that I tied up myself too, next to it on the left a Parelli round ring snaffle bridle and on the right, one of our Parelli halters and our carrot sticks. I would never push Parelli on people, but it really has helped me find some answers with my mares and really has given my more patience with them.
I hope you enjoyed my little tour, what bit you use is dependant on what discipline you ride and what your horse will tolerate. Also, there are no magic bits, harsher doesnt replace patience and training. As for the mecate on the halter bridle or snaffle, its ok, but I tend to fight with it more than I like and for a beginner, again in my opinion, they are not very safe, to much rope to get hung up in. I said before my preference is split reins. If there is any questions you have just let me know. I didnt want to do a post telling you what each bit is, you can find a lot of that on the Internet, but this is more personal and tells you what bits I chose for our horses and some of why.


  1. Loved your tour! Always interesting to see what others have in their bit tack room. I love the loose ring snaffle with sweet iron mouth. Certainly a fave with my boys. Actually any bit with sweet iron is what I like.
    I enjoy the natural horsemanship training as well and its "common sense" training. Doing ground work with my young gelding has made him a joy to be around.
    Great blog post!

  2. Interesting post on bits, thank you. Please drop by my blog to pick up your Honest Scrap Award. http://rockymountainyankee.blogspot.com/2009/06/honest-scrap-award.html

  3. great post , funny how we gather so many bits over time , My all time favorite is my copper mouth egg butt snaffle ,perfect size and weight ,so far all the greenies like it!

  4. Ha ha -- I was going to ask you what is English and what is not, because I really don't know. :o) I'm not hardcore English -- I chose it more for my comfort (I like the saddle better and the two reins) and for his, since he's got too short a back for a big Western saddle and pad.

    I have just two questions -- what is "eggbutt," and what is that that goes underneath the horse's chin in your favorite bit, the loose ring snaffle?

    I use a snaffle myself, but I'm concerned Panama has taken a dislike to it, and he's been fussing with it a lot lately. I'm worried it might be too wide for him. How can you tell if a snaffle is too wide???

    You are my new favorite bit expert -- LOL!

  5. Katharine, to answer your questions backwards,all three of them LOL, the thing that goes under the chin is an all leather chin strap, its purpose is to keep the bit from being pulled through the horses mouth, which isnt fun. You see it more in western application.
    And the Eggbutt, the very last picture is the eggbutt, see how the mouthpiece metal extends up and down about 2 1/2 inches on the rings. It helps make it a pinchless bit. A D ring looks just like the letter D and swivels at the top and bottom of the D. Sounds like you know what a loose ring is, sometimes they can pinch in a poorer quality bit.
    I will address the bit size question for you when I get back out to the barn with my camera, it is easier to show you.

  6. Blogger woulnt let me put the words next to the pictures like I wanted, because of that last pic turned sideways, hope it didnt make it to confusing.

  7. Thanks for the education. Bits are just so mysterious to me. I agree though that if they work - that's the main thing. But I've seen some really severe stuff on hunters and dressage and I would never want to use those ... I just want the horsie to listen to me without all those devices. :) God bless!

  8. Oh, I see now (with the leather strap). I couldn't tell at first that it was leather, it looked like a funky shaped metal thing, so I was really confused.

    I'm not sure what Panama's deal is, if he's just playing with the bit, or perhaps it's pinching him. The thing is, he reaches for it when I bridle him, almost before I've even got it straight enough to go into his mouth. I would think if it was hurting him, he'd be trying to dodge it, or at least not seeming so freaking eager to get it in his mouth, wouldn't you think? But it seems to fold up a little in his mouth, so I'm a little concerned that it's too wide for him. It's not bad, but I don't know how much is normal.

  9. Nice post! I'm with you on the Kimberwick. I use it to transition some horses from the snaffle to a curb. Both Toby and Coyote use that bit all the time.


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