June 2, 2022

Horse Bits Guide: How Do They Work

Horse bits are held in the horse’s mouth by the bar, which is a natural gap in the horse’s teeth. The bit is manoeuvred by the rider by shifting the reins. Rein movement applies pressure to the horse’s bottom jaw, sides of the mouth, tongue, or mouth roof depending on the bit type. Some bits also pull on the bridle, putting pressure on the top of the horse’s head. Others are used in conjunction with chin straps, which are tightened under the horse’s chin. The main purpose of a bit is to enable the rider to control the movement of a horse. 

Which Bit is Right For My Horse?

There is no such thing as the “perfect” bit for every horse. Choosing the best bit for your horse will most likely involve some trial and error. Consider the following:

  • The Type of Discipline You Ride: Although you do get all-purpose bits, what works for a Reining probably won’t work for Dressage because they don’t have the same movements. 
  • The Issues You Want to Adress: Certain bits can be the perfect solution when your horse is having a problem. There are specific bits that help with specific problems. The more research you do the less trial and error you will go through. 
  • What Your Horse is Used to: When using a different bit, pressure is suddenly applied to other parts of a horse’s mouth or head than what they are used to, a horse will become confused. This will also influence the type of bit you opt for. 

 What Size Bit to Choose For My Horse

It could take some time and effort to properly fit your horse’s bit. A too large bit will move back and forth in the horse’s mouth, potentially damaging their teeth. A bit that is too small can cause nicking and scratching, making it difficult for the horse to shut its mouth properly.

A bit should extend about half a centimetre beyond the horse’s lips along both sides and fit comfortably across the horse’s jaw bar. If your horse is constantly chewing the bit, tossing its head, or acting uneasy, the bit is probably not properly positioned. Lift the horse’s lips to check the fit and make any necessary adjustments.

Visit the Trident Saddlery website for an array of different bits, available at just a press of a button.