Bit musings

Last week, I listened in on a bit lecture given by my boss. While there weren’t any major revelations, there were a couple of things that made me give some additional thought to the bit I have in Gina’s mouth.

Gina goes in a loose ring three-piece snaffle. It isn’t a true French link; the link is a fat little oval, not the flat peanut shape of a real French link. It’s made of stainless steel and is just a hair too big for Gina’s mouth. She likes the bit just fine and doesn’t fuss or resist the contact. She also tends to salivate well with this bit.

Bridle model
Bridle model

So why change? Well, with a loose ring, I’m communicating a lot of things to Gina through my hands. I don’t think I have bad hands, necessarily. But would I communicate to her more effectively with a fixed cheek bit like an eggbutt or full cheek snaffle?

I’m also curious about if a different metal would make a difference. Stainless steel stays pretty cool in a horse’s mouth; would Gina be more comfortable in Neue Schule’s Salox or Herm Sprenger’s Aurigan?

I’m curious to know what your horses prefer, if anything, and if you’ve noticed a difference in how your horse goes in a plain old stainless steel bit versus a fancy copper blend thing. I’m also totally open to suggestions on bit acquisition! While the tack store where I work has lots of bits, my discount isn’t that good. Help me, tack hos!


Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

14 thoughts on “Bit musings”

  1. When I got Roger, we had him in a true French link D ring with a copper link in the middle. He went okay in that for the most part, but I always felt like I was constantly half-halting and nagging him. Then trainer suggested we try him in a full cheek slow twist snaffle, and that seems to be the trick! The full cheek sides help a bit with steering, and I think having just the one joint on the bit makes my half halts more effective; in other words, with the slow twist, I don’t feel like I’m nagging with the half halt. I ask, he slows down, end of story. Roger doesn’t need anything with brakes because he definitely has wonderful brakes, and I’m hoping I never have to put him in anything more severe than the slow twist. As time goes on and our steering gets better, we may switch out the full cheek to a D ring or eggbutt, but for now the full cheek works!

    1. Interesting! I think a lot of people disregard two piece bits because they assume their horse will be more comfortable in a three piece bit. In reality, it seems like different horses prefer different things. Moe has always gone better in a two-piece D-ring than anything else! I also think it’s great that you’ve switched to a bit that lets you communicate without nagging- so important!

  2. my mare goes in a loose ring 3pc Herm Sprenger KK Ultra. the loose ring part was at the recommendation of my first dressage trainer, and the 3pc part bc she has a tiny mouth and i thought 2pcs might be too much.

    she wears the same type bit for jumping and dressage – tho our jumping bit is aurigan and the dressage bit is something different. not sure if it’s another special Sprenger alloy or what but it is silver (ebay listing claimed it was aurigan…). i just doubled up to make switching tack between phases easier.

    anyway i’ve been really happy with these bits and the horse seems to go well in them. tho honestly i’m also maybe not interested in exploring other options after spending the $$s on what i have now haha (even tho i bought both used)

    1. Sprengers, especially the KK Ultra line, seem to be SUPER popular! I wish they weren’t so pricey, but you totally get what you pay for.

      The silver Sprenger bit might be their other alloy, Sensogan- it’s more of a silvery color than the Aurigan metal.

  3. Bobby was happiest in a Happy Mouth french link dee forever, and then he decided he hated it and loved a two piece racing dee instead. Only now he’s thinking maybe he likes the Happy Mouth again because he likes to make me dig for bits I’ve buried.

    1. I’ve never tried a Happy Mouth on any horse, but it seems like horses that like Happy Mouths REALLY like Happy Mouths.

    1. I always like trying new things but end up asking myself “Why am I doing this when what I have is working??”

  4. I’ve tried Tucker in the same bit you have Gina in, only a D ring. He hated it. It was very plain to see he wasn’t comfortable in it. I’m pretty sure that it has to do with his palate.
    He goes best in the Myler bits ( When I first started riding him we were using the one with the twist (MB01T). But I felt he didn’t need the twist so I switch to the same style without the twist (MB01). He seems to like it and goes really well in it.
    With my old horse I used to love trying out new bits. You can sometimes luck out with finding used bits on the cheap.

    1. Interesting! I like it when horses are clear communicators about what they do and don’t like. I hate having to guess!

  5. I rode Dino in a single-joint racing Dee foreverrrr, and he went fine in it. Then one day I put him in a copper-mouth low-port short-shanked curb for western riding and he went GREAT in that. So that lead me to want to try a Myler, but unfortunately they don’t come in a 5″ mouth with normal-sized rings for a pony head, so I bought a French-Link SS eggbutt. Dino seems to really like this bit, and is generally a bit softer and salivates MUCH better in the french link than he did in the Dee.

    1. It seems like the single joint racing Dee is a popular option! (That’s what Moe has gone in for the better part of a decade.)

  6. I’ve found most horses really like the KK Ultra a lot. I also really like the baucher for a horse that can be a little heavier in your hand or stronger. A little more leverage but, still with a snaffle mouth. It works well on a lot of my drafties. Although, I’d be surprised if Gina was heavy! Fiona is a total fussbucket in the eggbutt snaffle but, seems to like the baucher better even though it should be a stronger bit. Although, she really prefers the hackamore…
    The KK Ultra is worth the investment.

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