Finished the paper!! Yay!!
Here you are! Oh, and like I said, not an english paper so there is some plagiarism lol. But there are sources listed to see where I got everything from.
Communication of the Bit
Unfortunately many horse riders and owners today do not know the science behind the communication tools they use on their horse, for example, the bit. Many riders do not know that bits are classified by non-leverage bits, leverage bits, and non-curb leverage bits. So what is the difference? There are many differences in pressure points and severity all depending on design. People also often tend to take an out-of-control horse and throw a highly-severe bit in their mouth. Most times, if not all, this worsens the problem. Bits are designed for a reason and all riders should know what kind of tools they are using and how they work.
Snaffles are the main direct pressure bit with no shank. They are also the most common bit used. Many riders, owners, and even tack shops mistake many bits to be snaffles when they are not at all. The definition of a snaffle is a direct pressure bit. Meaning that every ounce of pressure you apply to your horse’s mouth is the same that the horse will feel. It has a one in one ratio. Most people believe that any bit with a broken mouthpiece is a snaffle. This is not the case; a Mullen mouth bit is a single bar with no break and is a snaffle bit. A snaffle applies pressure to the tongue, bars, lips, sides of the mouth, and sometimes even the jaw. Snaffles with broken mouthpieces have a “nutcracker” effect. Although snaffles are known to be mild bits, they do have very severe styles that can be extremely harsh on the horse.
Unlike the snaffle, a curb bit is made up of a mouthpiece, curb chain, and shank. The cheek, or shank, consists of the purchase, the upper half, and the actual shank itself, as the lower half. The shank is what distinguishes this bit a leverage bit. Unlike the snaffle, curb bits are leverage bits, meaning the pressure you apply to the horses mouth is amplified by the bit. Depending on the size and shape the horse will feel more pressure then you are directly applying. This is where they came up with the pressure ratio. The longer the shank, and the shorter the purchase, the more severe the bit will be. For example, if the purchase is two inches and the shank is six inches, it will have a 1::3 ratio, meaning for every one ounce of pressure the horse will feel three. If the purchase is one inch and the shank is eight, you have a 1::8 pressure ratio which is very severe. The purchase and shank is not the only thing that amplifies the strength of the bit. Shanks that curve toward the horse's nose are the milder. The sharper the curve the less severe it is. Shanks that curve back toward the rider are the most severe. Similarly, the backward curve shape of the ring on D-ring snaffles and kimberwicks increases their severity. Rings are located on the top and bottom of the cheek. The curb bit applies pressure to the bars, tongue, poll, chin, mouth, jaw, and roof of the mouth. All these pressures are from the bit itself along with the bridle and curb chain. Curb bits are commonly found in western riding or with advanced dressage riders using a double reign.
Gag bits, often mistaken as snaffles, have a broken mouthpiece and no curb. But they are attached to two separate reigns. The gag bit creates pressure on the lips and poll. This bit is used to lift the horses head, keep pullers from pulling, and to stop horses who tend to run off with their riders. Gag bits are not allowed in any level of dressage because dressage riders focus on keeping the horse’s head down on the bit. It is also not permitted in a hunter ring. A common place to see a gag bit would be polo eventing, show jumping, and hacking.
Bits also come in an array of metals. Stainless steel is a shiny silver metal that does not rust and gives off a nice flavor. Sweet iron is a dark color and is designed to rust. When sweet iron rusts it gives off a flavor horses enjoy. Copper metal is just that, a copper color. The copper encourages the horse to salivate and give into the bit. Rubber mouthpieces are fairly new and uncommon. They can come in standard rubber or with an apple flavor. Bits may have metal inlay, or sections of a different type of metal. For example, there are sweet iron bits with copper inlay, and stainless steel bits with copper inlay. Bits may also have metal rollers, which are like beads that the horse can play with and also encourage the horse to salivate.
Many people think that horses who throw their heads and act up need a more severe bit. This is usually not the case. Riders and owners need to be sure to always try to see what alternative problems there could be. The bit already may be too severe and a harsher bit could just worsen the problem. The horse may also need its teeth floated. This is where a vet will come a shave the sharp points of the teeth down that may be pinching or poking the horses mouth and tongue making the horse uncomfortable in the bit. Be sure to read carefully and study a bit before making a purchase. Irritating, unfitted tack, often times, is the problem before the horse itself.
Sources: http://www.ultimatehorsesite.com/inf...etaltypes.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gag_bit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curb_bit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snaffle http://www.gaitedhorses.net/Articles/bits.shtml http://horses.about.com/od/bitsexpla..._Explained.htm http://www.horses-and-horse-informat...98advice.shtml http://www.wiwfarm.com/rightbit.htm http://www.horseforum.com/viewtopic....er=asc&start=0