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HorseChannel's Online Bit Guide: Bits with Rollers

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Roller BitPrimarily found in western bits, rollers occasionally make an appearance in some English bit designs. They’re generally considered a pacifier for nervous or mouthy horses, the idea being that the horse will be placated as it plays with the roller by manipulating it with its tongue. When incorporated into a mouthpiece with a multi-jointed design, the roller also acts as an additional link, allowing the bit to lie across the horse’s tongue. That alleviates some of the pressure from the bars of the mouth.

  • Up until the mid-1980s, western curb bits with rollers were popular in the show pen. In those days, rollers made a distinctive clicking or ratcheting sound. Hence, they were often referred to as “cricket bits.”
  • Modern tack manufacturers use silent rollers and include them in both snaffle and leverage bits.
  • Rollers, especially those made with copper, encourage a horse to salivate. Because of this effect, rollers may help develop a moist, supple mouth.

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