Bitting The bits you need Bitting for comfort Sticking his tongue out Bit materials explained
QI’ve heard that it’s good to have multiple bits, so you can change them when your horse is behaving differently. What are the staple bits that I should have in my kit? Lizzy Knight, Oxfordshire
AA common question asked by riders is: “Why is my horse now evading his bit when initially he was so happy?” We refer to this as your comfortable working window, which differs with individual horses owing to varying degrees of sensitivity. I would recommend having two bits. If your horse is never strong, then two snaffles with different mouthpiece designs are recommended. If you apply the same pressure points within the mouth on a regular basis, these contact areas may become de-sensitised — changing between two bits in this way helps to eliminate this.
If you do need more control for faster work then another option is upgrading to a three-ring which, when the rein is attached to the bottom ring, places greater pressure on the poll when you ask your horse to stop. If you suspect your horse is poll sensitive, then simply use a wider-shaped headpiece, which will spread and reduce the pressure. Another method of limiting poll pressure is to use the curb strap on the top ring. When fitted correctly this will restrict the lever action, ensuring that no more than 1kg of poll pressure is exerted.
It’s a good idea to have a variety of bits to suit your horse’s different needs