Question about leverage bits! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 9 Old 06-23-2013, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
Nya
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Question about leverage bits!

Hi everyone :)

I'm quite confused about some differences between leverage bits.
Out of curiosity, let's say we have a bit with high port and short shanks like this http://www.diamondsaddlery.it/public...48_MO00772.jpg and a bit with lower port but longer shanks like this http://www.horseandsilver-shop.de/We...EAAB/SB015.jpg

Which is softer between those? What does actually change about the action in the horse's mouth? Is a long shank more severe than a high port? Did I understand well, that a high port is more severe than a low port?

(Always considering a rider with a light, careful hand)

Thank you :)
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-23-2013, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nya View Post
Hi everyone :)

I'm quite confused about some differences between leverage bits.
Out of curiosity, let's say we have a bit with high port and short shanks like this http://www.diamondsaddlery.it/public...48_MO00772.jpg and a bit with lower port but longer shanks like this http://www.horseandsilver-shop.de/We...EAAB/SB015.jpg

Which is softer between those? What does actually change about the action in the horse's mouth? Is a long shank more severe than a high port? Did I understand well, that a high port is more severe than a low port?

(Always considering a rider with a light, careful hand)

Thank you :)
IMO, the last bit is more "severe" than the first one because of the length of the shank. The longer the shank the more exaggerated the communication. Both bits are not what I'd choose for a horse who is not used to a ported/shanked bit. And if the rider has never used such before, I wouldn't recommend them based on the rider alone. Soft/light hands in a snaffle aren't necessarily soft/light hands in a more demanding bit.

My question would be WHY are you considering either of this bits? What are you trying to accomplish?

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post #3 of 9 Old 06-23-2013, 01:20 PM
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In a true ported bit, the port acts on the soft palate in the roof of the horse's mouth, the idea being to encourage the horse to open its mouth which helps relax the lower jaw.

A 'low port' is often just a groove to help with tongue relief (2nd bit)

Long shanks do give greater leverage but what's often more important is the length of the upper cheek (between the ring and the mouthpiece). The longer this is, the stronger the action of the curb chain, which tends to ride up onto the jawbones as the bit rotates.

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post #4 of 9 Old 06-23-2013, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
IMO, the last bit is more "severe" than the first one because of the length of the shank. The longer the shank the more exaggerated the communication. Both bits are not what I'd choose for a horse who is not used to a ported/shanked bit. And if the rider has never used such before, I wouldn't recommend them based on the rider alone. Soft/light hands in a snaffle aren't necessarily soft/light hands in a more demanding bit.

My question would be WHY are you considering either of this bits? What are you trying to accomplish?
Thank you! My horse has been ridden in the first kind of bit for the last seven years, and I was just wondering what the difference was with other bits. I sometimes guess whether a lower port would be a better choice for him, maybe it would be less severe..! But I've been looking for a low port with the same shank length, and didn't find it! So if the second kind of bit was less severe, I would have considered it.. I hope I explained it clearly!
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-23-2013, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Nya View Post
Thank you! My horse has been ridden in the first kind of bit for the last seven years, and I was just wondering what the difference was with other bits. I sometimes guess whether a lower port would be a better choice for him, maybe it would be less severe..! But I've been looking for a low port with the same shank length, and didn't find it! So if the second kind of bit was less severe, I would have considered it.. I hope I explained it clearly!
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As long as he's responsive to the bit you're using and you aren't banging on his mouth all the time, I wouldn't mess with it. I'm a firm believer in, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.".
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-23-2013, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
As long as he's responsive to the bit you're using and you aren't banging on his mouth all the time, I wouldn't mess with it. I'm a firm believer in, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.".
I definitely agree! The horse seems perfectly fine with it, and I have a light hand.. I think we can stick with his long date bit! Thank you for the infos :)
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-23-2013, 07:02 PM
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There is always more/another verison to the story......
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-24-2013, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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There is always more/another verison to the story......
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You mean what version? I said it was out of curiosity, and I meant it. Curiosity is motivated by the fact I sometimes think a milder bit wouldn't be bad to try, but I'm far from actually doing it as I am fine with this. Anything wrong?
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-24-2013, 12:46 AM
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The difference in port height really only applies to tongue relief until you get into the really big ports like cathedral bits which are designed to use the soft palate as another pressure point for even more subtle cues. Most average ported bits (low or high) won't affect the soft palate if the curb strap is adjusted correctly.


Some horses with really fat tongues need a higher ported bit like the first one you posted. Others with really low or thin tongues can use a mullen mouth and still have plenty of tongue room.

Because of the way that I ride and the way I expect my horses to carry the bit, I generally really like low/medium/sweetwater ports in my bits because there is just enough tongue pressure for the horse to pick the bit up and carry it themselves instead of just letting it sit there on the bars of his mouth.

Just for example, these are the types of bits I normally use. But, I'm not sure if something like one of those would be suitable for the style of riding you do...and I'm not sure how easy/hard they would be to find over there.
Http://www.amazon.com/Breed-Sweetwater-Mullen-Trainning-Horse/dp/B0053EQS0Y/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=OX4DECX9Z5R0&coliid=I22KFSZLAEYKNI

Http://www.amazon.com/Francois-Gauthier-Antique-Hinged-Futurity/dp/B003ABB6TA/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC_pads?ie=UTF8&colid=OX4DECX9Z5R0&coliid=I24WKBG58Z94UP

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