Know Your Bits

Trail Rider - - SADDLEBAG SAVVY -

The bit’s mouthpiece is what your horse will feel. The bit’s side­piece or cheek­piece has to do with the rider, not the horse.

Make sure that the mouthpiece you use matches your horse’s train­ing level. Horses with more train­ing need less con­stant pres­sure on their mouths. A tra­di­tional, jointed snaf­fle ap­plies max­i­mum pres­sure on the horse’s mouth. A bit that doesn’t col­lapse in the mid­dle, and is made with room for the horse’s tongue, al­lows the horse to swal­low and re­lax.

Choose a side­piece or cheek­piece ac­cord­ing to your style and ex­pe­ri­ence. If you tend to pull on the reins and main­tain con­tact, choose a snaf­fle bit (a bit with di­rect con­nec­tion to the reins) or a sidepull (a bri­dle with­out a bit).

If you’re ready to ride with one hand on a loose rein, a curb bit will al­low your horse to feel your slight­est cues with only the small­est change in rein pres­sure.

If you’re ready to ride with one hand on a loose rein, a curb bit will al­low your horse to feel your slight­est cues with only the small­est change in rein pres­sure. (Shown is a Myler West­ern show bit with a long shank but mild mouthpiece.)

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