Why are ported or mullen mouth snaffles so rare? - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By Wallaby
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-28-2012, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Why are ported or mullen mouth snaffles so rare?

My horse has a very soft mouth but I don't think he's ready for a bitless bridle and I definitely want to avoid hackamores as they're way too harsh. I have him in a low ported pelham for schooling so that I can pick up the curb rein when I need to (which is rare but it happens). Otherwise he goes very well with just the snaffle rein.

I'd like to find a mullen or low ported snaffle (preferably d-ring or eggbutt) for trail riding but they're so hard to find! There are those Mylar bits but they're WAY out of my price range. I'm looking for a cheap or even used bit in the $20 area.

Would a french link or similar multi-jointed mouthpiece be a good alternative? I've never used one before.

I bought a cheap low ported full cheek snaffle on ebay and I'm going to try it but he really doesn't need all that lateral enhancement at all.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-28-2012, 06:49 PM
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A snaffle bit is a shankless bit with a jointed center, be it an egg butt, loose ring or full cheek. With a pelham the top rein is often referred to as the snaffle rein because if you were in a double bridle, it would be. Have you checked out the various mouthpieces on the Kimberwick's?
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-28-2012, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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A snaffle bit is not defined as having a jointed mouthpiece. Snaffles are bits that use direct pressure on the bars of the mouth, rather than leverage using shanks which is a curb bit.

Curb bits can have jointed mouthpieces and snaffles can have solid mouthpieces.

Kimberwickes have a curb strap and use a leverage action.

I need a mild snaffle bit with no leverage action and no single joint. My horse doesn't like single jointed mouthpieces and I only need curb-like leverage when schooling.

Out on the trail I'd like a very simple snaffle bit with no leverage action. My horse does well with solid mouthpieces. I'm wondering how a french link compares to a solid mouthpiece since ported or mullen snaffles are so hard to find.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-28-2012, 11:41 PM
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I'm going to guess it's because of the very misconception posted- that 'snaffle' = jointed mouthpiece, when it doesn't.
Sorry I have no other advice to offer- good luck with your bit hunt in any case!
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-29-2012, 01:19 AM
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A mullen mouthed snaffle would not feel anything like a french link snaffle, so if the horse is not used to a jointed mouthpiece, you would have to find a non jointed one.

French links work more on the tongue, I think.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-29-2012, 01:22 AM
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Honestly OP I've reread your OP and I'm finding it very hard to follow..

But try Dover (online and in person) or Smartpak. They have some without any joints and they aren't that expensive.

Here are some Mullen Happy mouth bits


Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
French links work more on the tongue, I think.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 04-29-2012 at 01:30 AM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-29-2012, 01:45 PM
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Snaffles were designed to put pressure on tongue and bars - ports don't. A true port will put pressure on the roof of the mouth, a low one relieves pressure on the tongue.

Seemples! :)

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post #8 of 9 Old 04-29-2012, 01:55 PM
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I totally agree with you OP! My mare has medical issues that mean she can't have a jointed/moving bit in her mouth, ever, without causing her major discomfort, as well as having a low pallet and a big tongue!

In any case, I ended up just sticking her in a straight mullen mouth, half cheek, snaffle. She goes alright in it but the snaffle portion of her pelham (low ported!) gets such a softer reaction from her.

Someone needs to start making these bits for us!
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-29-2012, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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I agree, Wallaby!

unclearthur- Snaffles are designed to use direct pressure whether they act on the tongue, the bars, or the lips. A low port provides relief on the tongue but still works on the bars and lips which is still a very justifiable type of snaffle. So it's not as simple as you think.

I personally think that most people tend to prefer harsher bits because they rely on them, rather than training their horses to have softer mouths.
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bits , mullen , ported , snaffle

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