!-- End BounceX Tag--> HorseChannel's Online Bit Guide
Horse Breeds at HorseChannel.com

HorseChannel's Online Bit Guide

Snaffles and curbs, mouthpieces and attachements, and everything else you've always wanted to know about different bits.

By Cindy Hale | June 24, 2009

Printer Friendly

Selecting the right bit for your horse can be overwhelming, especially when you consider all the varieties that are dazzlingly displayed in catalogs and at tack stores. To help you differentiate between D-rings and eggbutts, Waterfords and Weymouths, we’ve prepared an online bit guide that reveals information about the most common styles of bits as well as some of the more creative ones. Before you begin browsing, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Hunter headshot
A snaffle bit is recognizable by the rings attached to either side of the mouthpiece. The reins attach to the rings and guide the horse through direct contact.

Within the vast world of bits there are two categories that the majority of bits fall into: snaffles and curbs, and both can be used for English or western riding. A snaffle is recognizable by the rings attached to either side of the mouthpiece. The reins attach to the rings and guide the horse through direct contact. For example, when you pull on the right rein the horse turns right in response to pressure on the corners of its mouth. This teaches the horse to bend laterally. When working on downward transitions and halts, snaffles exert pressure on the bars of the horse’s mouth, causing the horse to flex at the poll and bend vertically.

Western curb bit
Curb bits work on leverage. Reins are attached to shanks, the vertical bars attached to the bit rings. When you pull back on the reins, the shanks create a lever action.

In contrast, curb bits work on leverage. Reins are attached to shanks, the vertical bars attached to the bit rings. When you pull back on the reins, the shanks create a lever action and pressure is exerted on the horse’s lower jaw, the bars of the mouth and the poll via the crownpiece of the bridle. In general, a longer shank translates into more leverage and hence a more severe bit. Pressure is also felt on the horse’s chin, thanks to the curb strap or curb chain. Curb bits encourage the horse to lower their head and flex at the poll. Though curb bits can be ridden with two hands, in western riding the curb permits the rider to guide their horse through neck reining.

 

Snaffles and curbs are available in a wide range of mouthpieces, and each style—from smooth to twisted and low or high ports—provides a certain degree of severity. That’s why it’s important to choose a bit wisely, because once a horse’s mouth has become dull or sore due to a strong bit in rough hands, it’s difficult to re-school the horse to become light and responsive once again.

Snaffle Bits

Dr. Bristol bit

French Link

bit

Mullen Mouth

bit

Eggbutt Snaffle

bit

D-Ring Snaffle

bit

Rubber Mouth

bit

Loose Ring

bit

Full-Cheek

bit

Key Bit

bit

Waterford

bit

Twisted Wire

bit

Wire-Wrapped

bit

Non-Pinch Bit

bit

Chain Mouthpiece Bit

bit


Gag Bit

 

Leverage Bits

bit

High Port Curb

bit

Weymouth

bit

Tom Thumb

bit

Pelham

bit

Kimberwick

bit

Correction Bit

bit

Grazing Bit

bit

Hinged Port

bit

Western Gag

bit

Spade Bit

   

 

Other Bits

bit

Chifney

   
Printer Friendly

 Give us your opinion on
HorseChannel's Online Bit Guide

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments

Awadh    International

1/28/2016 10:59:52 PM

How does the horse feel with such a foreign object in its mouth? Is it a natural thing? How many of us humans would like to be 'ridden' like a horse with bith bits and snaffles and what not to control us? Horses were not born to be used like this. Free them.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

3/14/2011 10:30:06 PM

The art of bitting is fascinating!

Claire    Winnipeg, MB

1/15/2011 12:11:21 PM

Hi,
What's the difference between a racing D-ring snaffle and a hunter D-ring snaffle?I know the Ds are shaped differently, does that make a difference?

Don't need to know.    Don't need to know!, NL

10/4/2009 6:21:24 AM

Something else they could've mentioned is bitless bridles as they are much more humane and some horses (not all!) like them better. Good article though.

View Current Comments


Top Products
Close X