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Types of bits. Which bit would be right for your horse?

Published: 2019-08-29 11:20:49 Categories: Guides Rss feed , Products Rss feed

bit is one of the basic elements necessary for horse riding. Until we're learning horse back riding in a manege, under the careful eye of an instructor, we don't really pay attention to details. However, when we can finally pick our own equestrian equipment, it turns out that each element comes in so many variations. The bit is no different in this regard. In this article, we will tell you how to choose the proper bit for your horse and how particular variations work.

Wędzidło do skoków

Every horse and rider have their individual preferences that stem from various reasons - for horses they are based on the type of jaw, sensitivity, and whether they tend to chew on the thing that's currently in their mouth or not. Riders pay attention to comfortable and precise contact with the steed and how a particular horse reacts to a particular bit. Usually, the choice is tightly knitted with the equestrian discipline.

From this article you will learn the following:

  • What a bit is and how does it fit the horse's muzzle?
  • What are the red flags telling you that the bit is wrong for you and your horse?
  • What to pay attention to while choosing a bit?
  • What are the types of bits?
  • Additionally you will get to know the innovation on the market - an excellent bit called Limo made of thermoplastic elastomers.

Horse Supplies

Bit — what is it and how does it work?

A bit is an element of a bridle. It is placed inside the horse's muzzle during riding and it is used for precise contact with the horse and to maintain control. It affects the whole muzzle: tongue, jaw, the roof of the mouth, and mouth edges. To the bit rings (elements that are placed outside the horse's mouth) are attached reins and cheek straps, which help to keep the bridle in its place.

There is some free space in the horse's mouth between the front and back teeth. That's where the bit comes. Formerly, it was made of a piece of leather; currently, it most often is made of metal or synthetic materials. This piece of a bridle allows you to show the horse the direction and to maintain control.

Beginners usually wrongly recognize the bit as a basic element of communication with the horse. Keep in mind that bit is supposed to provide safety and more precise contact. The basics of communication are proper seat and your calves.


Red flags

You should pay close attention to red flags that might show you that your horse feels uncomfortable while using a particular bit. These are nervous head movements, trying to bite the bit, putting the tongue over the bit, opening the muzzle, moving the tail, stiffening of the body. Then you should try using other types of bits because with these symptoms it will be difficult to have a good training session - it's as if a runner would try to run a dozen miles in uncomfortable shoes.

What to pay attention to while choosing a bit?

Bits can be made of different materials, they can also be of different ring shapes and different shape of elements coming inside the horse's mouth. Bits also have different sizes, which you have to fit your horse's jaw size.

Standard bit sizes are as follows: 11,5cm (ponies), 12,5cm (Hucul ponies, Polish ponies, Arabian bloodhorses, some Malopolski horses), 13,5cm (bigger riding horses, e.g. noble half-breeds, German breeds, Wielkopolski horses), 14,5cm (Coldblood horses, and very big steeds). The bit should stick out about half a centimeter on each side of the horse's mouth.

Choosing the bit's size is quite a simple task because it has particular dimensions. A bit more difficult is to choose the bit's type. You should take into consideration the following factors:

  • Is your hand stable, or not entirely?
  • Is your horse sensitive in the mouth?
  • Is it a young horse, or are you looking for a bit for a sport horse?
  • Do you have experience with a particular type of bit and how was the bit before?
  • Jaki materiał preferujemy lub preferuje nasz koń (metal czy tworzywo sztuczne, a może wędzidło smakowe)?
  • What is the bit's purpose (another is appropriate for a manege, and another for recreation on a private horse)?
  • Does your horse tend to chew, bite, or pull the bit?
  • Are you looking for delicate, or rough bit?

Answering these questions will help you realize what you are expecting from the bit. It's really worth thinking this purchase through because a bit should serve you for years. It also has enormous influence over your communication with the horse - take extra care to make it a positive influence.


Types of bits - what are the uses of particular types?

Bits have various structure of rings (elements that stay outside the horse's mouth, to which you mount reins) and mouthpiece, namely the element that comes inside the horse's mouth. It's good to know that the mouthpiece thickness is crucial - the thinner the mouthpiece, the rougher the bit is. On the other side, a bit that's too thick will take too much space and can be uncomfortable for the horse, which is why we recommend balance. Below, we present the most popular types of bits. Types of bits differentiated by the ring structure

Bit with mobile rings (loose ring snaffle)

Wędzidło zwykłeAllows the bit to move freely in the horse's mouth. That encourages the horse to chew the bit, which is a positive occurrence.

Click here to buy Edelstahl-Ellipse French-Link snaffle bit 

Eggbutt snuffle (barrel head)

Wędzidło oliwkowe
It's a good choice for riders with unsteady hands. Due to the fact that the rings are immobile, they do not pinch the horse's mouth edges. It's one of the most delicate bits.

Click here to buy Edelstahl eggbutt snaffle

Bit with rings in the shape of the letter "D" (dee-ring)

Wędzidło z pierścieniem
This type of rings causes a bit stronger pressure on the horse's cheeks, which makes it easier to make turns. It's a good choice for inexperienced horses, but also horses that are trying to pull the bit inside their mouths - the shape of the rings makes it impossible.

Click here to buy Dee ring bit 65 shore

Fulmer snaffle (full cheek)

Wędzidło z wąsamiRecommended for young or exceptionally strong horses, but also steeds that try to pull the ring inside the mouth or bite it. Due to the pressure on the horse's cheeks, this type of bit makes it easy to make turns, even the short and sharp, which is why it is often used in show jumping.

Click here to buy Edelstahl full-check snaffle (French-Link)

Continental bit

Wędzidło wielokrążekIt's valued for its versatility and possibility of being attached to the reins in many ways. You can also tie the bit with a strap under the horse's chin, which will cause more direct pressure on the bit, or attach two pairs of reins. The rings allow the bit to act as a lever. This type of bit is usually used in cross and for horses that are "to the front."

Click here to buy Edelstahl 3-rings-snaffle

Western curb

Wędzidło z czankami
This type of bit acts as a lever. The longer the shank, the more severe the bit's influence. Only experienced riders with a steady hand should use this type of bit.

Click here to buy Billy Allen bit

Curb bit

Curb bit should be used along with a bridoon. Then the horse has two mouthpieces in the mouth, and the rider has two pair of reins, which he/she has to be able to use simultaneously. Reins attached to the bottom part of the curb bit affect the jaw. We never ride on the curb bit only, because a simple mouthpiece and a lever make a strong cannon bit, which is not meant to steer the horse, but only to give him very strong signals. A curb bit is only an additional cannon bit. It is usually used in dressage.

Click here to buy Double Bridle Kaugan (thin)


It looks like a combination of a curb bit with a bit. Because it puts pressure on the occiput and jaw, it allows the rider to position the horse's neck and head as the rider wishes. Sometimes you can use two pairs of reins (especially with horses that thrash their heads). The bottom pair of reins puts stronger pressure that causes the horse to lower his head.

Click here to buy Edelstahl pelham (French-Linky)

Note! The last three bits - shank, curb bit, and pelham - should be used only by experienced riders or under the careful eye of a professional. Under no circumstances can they be used to "tame" unruly horses. Strong pressure of such cannon bit causes frustration, pain, and sometimes a jerk of the reins might even break the horse's jaw. Remember that the basics are proper seat and work from the ground. Rough cannon bits are only meant to highlight already achieved goals, they do not work as shortcuts!

Types of bits according to the structure of the element coming inside the mouth (mouthpiece)

Mullen mouth

Wędzidło proste
Considered as a quite delicate one, especially if profiled like in the picture above (comfort version) - provides proper space for the tongue and evenly distributes pressure. Then it can be a proper bit for young horses and they are usually willing to take it. However, you should be careful not to act too strongly with one rein, as this kind of a bit, especially in its basic form, can shift in the horse's mouth.

Click here to buy Mullen Mouth snaffle

Tongue control

This one is a good choice for horses that tend to put their tongues over the mouthpiece or do not accept the pressure of a regular bit. Tongue bits are bent in such a way that they leave some space in the horse's mouth due to which horses accept it and are more willing to chew on it.

Single jointed bit

Wędzidło pojedynczo łamaneIt is a very popular type of bit, so it might be surprising for some to hear that wrongly fitted or used is a pretty severe bit. It puts pressure on the tongue and the bottom edge of the jaw. It is good for horses that are active in the muzzle and for young steeds, as it provides proper control. However, sometimes it might act as nutcracker - break in the middle part, which is painful for the horse and forces him to open his mouth.

Click here to buy Kaugan snaffle bit (solid)

Double jointed bit

Wędzidło podwójnie łamane
This type of bit is delicate and is appropriate for more horses. It easily fits the horse's mouth and can be used with young and sensitive horses. The shorter the joint in the middle of the mouthpiece, the rougher the action of the bit.

Click here to buy Edelstahl-Ellipse French-Link snaffle bit (thin)

Bit with toy

A bit with a mobile element attached to the mouthpiece encourages the horse to chew and prevents putting the horse's tongue over it. Sometimes you can see bits with rolls that spin around the mouthpiece axis, boosting saliva production and encouraging the horse to work better on the bit.

Anatomical bits

Wędzidła anatomiczne
It's an innovative type of a bit that excellently fits the horse's mouth. A slight bend provides the horse with high comfort, which in turn causes the horse to relax while riding. This type of bit might be single- or double jointed, eggbutt, or D-ring.
Innovative Limo bits - comfort and high quality

Click here to buy Kaugan eggbbutt snaffle

In our equestrian store Equishop, you can now find innovative Limo bits. This brand stands out with its philosophy that highlights harmony and understanding the horse's needs. Mouthpieces from Limo are made of synthetic material: thermoplastic elastomer. They are hexagonal in girth. Their elements come in two levels of hardness (you can choose either one) and they can have various structure of the rings. All that so the bit would be safe and comfortable for the horse, exceptionally esthetic, and practical in use.

Limo Bits

Limo bits are offered with a wide variety of rings, they are precisely made, and are of exceptional quality. They allow you for a precise and at the same time subtle contact with the horse, which in turn will let you achieve equestrian goals in a safe and comfortable way for both you and the horse. The Limo brand on their site writes that "if you focus more on the comfort than the result, you cannot be wrong." It's good to always have these words in mind while choosing a bit for your horse.

Click here to see all products from Limo Bits