Where to start with so many available bits? As overwhelming as choosing a bit can be, it is an important part of the tack that deserves more attention than it generally gets. When a bit does not fit right, the horse may show difficulties in using its body properly or show other signs of discomfort. Considering every horse has its own unique anatomy and preferences, it is impossible to offer a ‘quick-fix’ suitable for every horse. Since it might take some experimenting to find the right bit, consulting an expert on bits can make choosing easier.
Two of the basic things to consider when choosing a bit are the length and thickness. The easiest method to determine the needed length is to try different sizes of bits. A bit that is too small will pinch, if it is too large it will slide back and forth. If the bit fits correctly, you should be able to place a small finger between the mouth and rings on each side. Finding the right size is easier than deciding on the required thickness of the bit.
It is a common belief that a thicker bit is softer and friendlier. The theory supports the belief: more surface means more distribution of pressure and thus a milder effect on the mouth. In practice, modern horses are bred for elegance and as a result have less space available for a bit. In this case a thick bit is neither friendly nor soft: it does not fit. The choice for a certain thickness should be made based on the anatomy of the mouth. The bit should be comfortable and the horse should be able to properly close its mouth.
The mouthpiece is the part of the bit that rests in the mouth of the horse, it partly determines the effect a bit has on the mouth. There are roughly three common types of mouthpieces but in combination with the rings many variations of bits exist.
Want to feel what effect a bit has? Hold the rings of the bit and let someone else give rein aids.
This high-quality double jointed three ring gag is made of solid Cuprigan with stainless steel rings. Cuprigan is an alloy consisting of 89% copper, 7% aluminium, 3% iron and 1% zinc. The oxidation process of the material gives a pleasant smell and taste. The anatomical design of the bit follows the shape of the horse’s mouth, which allows for a gentle and even pressure distribution. The design, combined with the unique properties of Cuprigan, encourages the chewing process and saliva production, which allows for a pleasant connection with the sensitive horse’s mouth. The bit applies normal pressure on the mouth and is suitable for hardmouthed horses. Mouthpiece thickness 12 mm, centre ring size 70 mm.
The three ring gag has two extra rings: one on top and one at the bottom. The upper ring attaches to the cheek pieces of the bridle, the reins can be attached to any of the two lower two rings. The lower the rein is attached, the stronger the leverage on the poll. The bit can be used with one or two reins or with Pelham roundings attached to the middle and bottom ring.
The double jointed bit consists of three parts. The middle section of the mouthpiece lies flat on the tongue, this causes more pressure on the tongue than a single jointed bit. The thicker the middle section, the more pressure it will create on the tongue. The mouthpiece of this bit is curved.