what is a gag bit?

       The Horse Forum > Horse Tack > Horse Tack and Equipment

what is a gag bit?

This is a discussion on what is a gag bit? within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

LinkBack Thread Tools
    10-08-2010, 09:23 PM
what is a gag bit?

I was wondering what exactly is a gag bit. It sounds horrible.
Sponsored Links
    10-08-2010, 10:24 PM
Gags are defined by the movement of the shank/rope through the bit ring. They are sometimes known as elevator bits, and cause pressure to the mouth and poll in a vice-like way - the tighter you pull, the tighter the circle of strap/bit through the mouth and over the head. As to being "horrible," that will always vary greatly as to the mouthpiece and the rider's hands. Gags can be anything from a fat hollow snaffle (nice) to twisted wire scissors (severely nasty). But some horses who may be a little stronger in a snaffle with the same mouth can benefit from a gag, and they can be quite popular for eventers.

Unlike other bits, gags are never used in conjunction with a curb chain, unlike other fixed-ring/elevator bits like the Kimberwick.

Gags come in three main styles, a running gag with a length of rope through the bit ring, an American style with a long shank, part of which moves through the bit to create the desired elevator effect, and the Dutch/Pessoa gag, in which the entire main bit ring rotates to lift the bit. Running gags are extremely popular for Polo, and are ridden with two reins. In other sports, gags are most often ridden with roundings or with only one rein.






    10-08-2010, 11:02 PM
Green Broke
Haha i've always wanted to know this to. Basically those all look like snaffles to me. Besides from the outside part that doesn't go in the mouth. And the 3 piece one looks similar to a dogbone snaffle.. hmm when I first got my horse I just bought a pretty bit and used it and it works well for us... now I wonder what her bit REALLY is.... maybe I need to get some pictures
    10-09-2010, 10:44 PM
Thanks for the thorough answer.
    10-10-2010, 08:20 PM
Yeah I use an american gag for eventing. Pretty much gags are used in upper level jumping or eventing to keep a horse off the forehand and for leverage to slow them down. My gag is actually a waterford to so its prety severe but I tend to have soft giving hands and I only use it when I need it I.e. My 17hh warmblood x tb tank goes into a 25mph flat out gallop out of no where, then I used it lol.
    10-10-2010, 08:27 PM
The mouth pace isn't the part that applies the leverage, it's the parts that go outside the mouth that make the leverage, that's why they can look like snaffles which people commonly get confused about
    10-10-2010, 08:56 PM
Do they apply pressure to the poll as well as the mouth if you only attach the reins to the circle at the bottom of the shank? I always thought these bits were called Tom Thumb bits.
    10-10-2010, 09:01 PM
Tom thumbs are a leverage bit not a snaffle. Even though a lot of places call them "tom thumb snaffle" or something similar.

The shorter the shank, the less severe the leverage so I think the only way to make it act without leverage (Though I've never tried it) is to attach to the largest circle.
    10-11-2010, 12:07 AM
Hmm, I am still a bit (no pun intended) confused. So the point of a gag bit is to put pressure on the poll and mouth, correct? Where as other bits are only working on the mouth? Does a curb bit not do that, because it has a shank as well? Is it because you run something through the circle at the sides of the bit that makes it function differently from other bits?
    10-11-2010, 03:59 AM
Curb bits put pressure on the jaw through a chain or strap, as well as on the poll and mouth. I'm not entirely sure, but I think curbs put more even pressure all over the head instead of a sharper pressure on the poll/mouth. Most bits called curbs don't have a snaffle ring though, only a leverage point.

Gags work on the bars through the snaffle point (or direct rein, which attaches to the main ring on, for example, the running gag), and on a "vice" around the poll and mouth through the gag which would attach to the strap running through the main ring on the running gag.

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0