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Horse bits are available in a variety of designs and different materials: titanium, stainless steel, copper, rubber, Aurigan or leather. Whether you choose a single or double-jointed bit, a snaffle, an eggbutt bit, a pelham, a full cheek snaffle, a hackamore, etc., would depend entirely on your horse, your skill level and your riding style.
Loose Ring Snaffles help the horse to position the bit where they like it unlike fixed bits such as the eggbutt or hanging cheek snaffle. This helps the horse be more comfortable in the mouth and since the mouthpiece is moveable on the cheek it also helps with horses that are heavy or take hold of the bit
One of the most used English snaffle bits is the eggbutt snaffle. It is useful in training a young horse, general riding, and the beginning stages of dressage.
The primary benefit of the full cheek snaffles is that it makes it easier to steer the horse and helps to ensure the rider can't pull the bit through the horse's mouth. For this reason, the full-cheek snaffle is ideal for young horses that are just learning to steer.
D-Ring Snaffles are bits that demonstrate cheek pieces resembling a "D" like shape. The D-Ring cheek piece is a fixed ring that keeps the mouthpiece more stable in the horse's mouth. The sides of the "D" also prevent the bit from being pulled through the horse's mouth and keep the bit from pinching.
Hackamores can be a great option for horses with physical issues in their mouth, such as tongue damage or a fractured jaw, which means they are not accepting of a bit. Behavioural problems like head shaking, excessive salivation and rearing may also be improved by using a hackamore.
A pelham bit is a type of bit used when riding a horse. It has elements of both a curb bit and a snaffle bit. In this respect a pelham bit functions like a double bridle, and like a double bridle it normally has "double" reins: a set of curb reins and a set of snaffle reins.
The right bit size
Measuring the size of your horse’s oral cavity is paramount to ensuring the Horze bit fits properly. To do this, you can use the 2-finger test developed by Sprenger. Hold your index and middle fingers together and insert them in the horse’s mouth, where the horse bit would be inserted. If the distance between the upper and lower jawbone is small, i.e. if you feel pressure on both fingers, then the recommended thickness is 14-16 mm. If the distance between the upper and lower jawbone is greater, you will hardly feel any pressure on your fingers and the recommended thickness is 16-18 mm. (Guide to bit selection, step 3, Herm. Sprenger GmbH Metallwaren)
When you know your horse's bit size and how you two work together, nothing can stand in the way of good cooperation between you.
The choice is huge - there are snaffle bits made of a wide variety of materials and in different shapes. Which snaffle is best for you depends on your horse's anatomy, temperament and habits. An anatomically shaped, double-jointed water snaffle usually encourages horses to chew more, so if your horse doesn't chew enough, this snaffle may be optimal. On the other hand, if your horse already chews a lot, it might just play with this snaffle and not accept the aids. In that case, a single bridle would probably make more sense. However, this type of snaffle is not suitable if your horse likes to lean on the bit.
Most horses accept a single bit, anatomically shaped eggbutt snaffle very well. It lies very comfortably in the horse's mouth. But even this snaffle is not well suited for horses that tend to push against the hand. In this case, a double jointed version would be better.
Snaffles made of metal have a long tradition. Today, copper, iron or stainless steel are often used to make snaffle bits. Copper and iron have the advantage that they react with the horse's saliva. This gives the bit a pleasant taste for the animal. However, copper in its pure form is too soft. It is therefore usually used together with other metals. This addition of copper also causes the bit to warm up faster to the horse's body temperature in winter. Stainless steel snaffles are very smooth, durable and easy to clean.
Plastic snaffles consist of a wire core and a coating of Nathe. This synthetic material is very soft. On the one hand this is pleasant for the horse, but on the other hand it shortens the life of the bridle. This is why you have to check plastic snaffles regularly. If the Nathe gets bitten through, the wire core is exposed, which can lead to serious injuries in the horse's mouth.