Gag Bit

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Gag Bit

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    03-18-2010, 11:47 AM
Gag Bit

Can you explain the purpose of a gag bit to me? My sis-in-law recently sent me down a horse to use and she sent along with him a bridle with a Sweet Iron Gag Bit on it. I am an experienced rider, but I am just not that familiar with this bit. It is my understanding it can be a severe bit and should mostly be used on young horses. But this horse is 14 years old. What would be the purpose of having him in a gag? I think they bought it just because it looked cool. They ride, but are more of the "cowboy mentality".....not necessarily doing what is right for the horse. Here is a pic of the exact bit:

Stainless Steel Gag Bit -
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    03-18-2010, 12:02 PM
Welcome to the forum, Cheryl.

First I want to say that I hope you mean "Yahoo mentality" and not really "Cowboy mentality". The cowboys that I know, and I know a lot of them that make a living that way, are usually good, respectful, horseman who have an affinity to horses and a special code that they follow.

As for the gag bit, most riders (read, rider - not horseman) do not know how to use one properly and it can be a very severe bit. It works on the poll, pulls up the lips, and acts on the bars of your horse as well as having a tendency to elevate the horse's head and hollow his back.

I would try him in a simple snaffle or a mild curb to see how he reacts but I would first ask your sister why she used the bit. It may be that he came with it and she has no other reason why.
    03-18-2010, 12:09 PM
I stand is more of a "yahoo" mentality.

I will ask her, I just wanted to educate myself first because I know she will get defensive. Thanks for the help.
    03-18-2010, 12:11 PM
Originally Posted by rosebud64    
i stand is more of a "yahoo" mentality.
    03-18-2010, 01:40 PM
Is she by any chance a barrel racer? This is a popular bit used by the jerk and spur crowd. It might be a wonderful bit in the right hands but is often used incorrectly. I have occasionally used a gag bit but mine has small holes and a three peice mouth with a roller. It is usually called a junior cowhorse bit. Because the holes where the bit attaches are smaller there is less gag action and it works very softly and slowly. If the horse is too much in the snaffle then you might try a bit like that.

Thank you Iride for straightening the OP out.
    03-21-2010, 12:23 AM
Just posting for the record, I believe this is the kind of bit kevinshorses was talking about:

    03-21-2010, 04:23 AM
Horrible, please I hope no one uses it on young horses :'(
    03-21-2010, 09:17 AM
I have a friend in gaited horses, both show and trial ride and she says the gag bit is the bit of choice used by all the gaited horse crowd. She is not agressive , hard handed or anything else and yet she will not ride in anything else on her TW's
    03-21-2010, 09:34 AM
No bit is harsh in educated hands and on an educated horse. The problem always comes from the lack of that education. Look at the spade bits used by the Vaqueros on their "Bridle" horses - then try a bit like that on your horse - that is what typically happens. A rider sees how well a horse behaves or performs, looks at the bit that was used then goes out and buys that bit thinking they will get the same performance.

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