Bit Question - Types of Metal - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-08-2009, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Bit Question - Types of Metal

Please no lectures on bits not solving problems. I'm not trying to solve one, just enhance its use. I ride my TB in a french link snaffle. He's finally starting to use himself well and coming onto the bit nicely, but he never gets that nice wet foamy mouth, so I'm always wondering if there's more I can do to make the contact more inviting for him. The big Equine Affair is coming up this week. Yey horse shopping! I'll have access to pretty much every bit on the market. I like the french link, but am wondering if the type of metal it is made from makes any significant difference. Are there any types of metal or brands that would do more to stimulate his mouth? I looked at those happy mouth bits, but they're so fat. He's got a big fat tongue, so there's barely enough space for the bit in there.
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-08-2009, 08:03 PM
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Copper stimulates saliva and mild steel will get a little rusty and also stimulate saliva.

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post #3 of 19 Old 11-08-2009, 08:09 PM
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Copper and "sweet-iron" are good for that although sweet-iron is more western based. I've also seen some very high priced gold-alloy bits around that are supposed to be good, but I'm sure it's really no different than copper.
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-08-2009, 09:12 PM
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I use copper/copper enhanced bits on my horses. They prefer it to stainless steel.
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-08-2009, 09:38 PM
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I love coppermouth bits, and in my experience, the horses like them much better.

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post #6 of 19 Old 11-08-2009, 10:46 PM
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Yep, as mentioned, copper and sweet iron are the best choices. I don't know about sweet iron being more of a western material, I am sure that you could find a snaffle or something in it, I have never looked. Probably the best would be a sweet iron with copper inlays, that's what my curb bit is and my horses seem to really enjoy it.

If you are looking for a snaffle and can't find anything at the EA, here is a site with sweet iron snaffles.

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Last edited by smrobs; 11-08-2009 at 10:48 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-08-2009, 10:56 PM
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Copper is my pick as well, I have a french link as well and the little peanut in the middle is copper. Billy can really get foaming with that sucker.
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-09-2009, 08:51 AM
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I use copper with my TB, he really loves contact as I've recently discovered and when I bridle him he literally sits there opening his mouth waiting for the bit. I'm a somewhat green rider and thought he was fighting the bit a little when we rode, but after shortening the reins some I now see that he was actually reaching forward and seeking contact. *BING* lightbulb. Now we get that nice foamy mouth and much better rides.
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-09-2009, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I'll try to find a copper peanut french link. That sounds like the way to go. Puck's already pretty good with contact. Like your TB Tealamut, he opens his mouth before I'm even ready to bridle him. I think he's just anxious to get out and play. I can't wait to go shopping! This Equine Affair is like Christmas and a candy store combined.
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-09-2009, 05:15 PM
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The advantages of "sweet iron" and copper are that they taste good (or have a neutral taste) to most horses. Stainless steel, nickle and chrome on the other hand, have a bitter taste to a horse but are used for bits because they are easy to take care of, remain bright and shiney, and do not rust. (The convenience of the rider trumps the needs of the horse.)

When iron (steel) and copper are combined in the same mouthpiece of a bit, a very slight electrostatic charge is produced between the different metals that stimulates the production of saliva.

The response of individual horses to different bit materials varies greatly in regards to the production of saliva and the acceptance of the bitter materials. Some horses run slobber off their chin no matter what you put in their mouth while others will hardly produce any saliva even with a high end sweet iron mouthpiece inlayed with copper. Most horses will tolerate or get used to stainless and nickle bits over time.

A horse doesn't have to look like it is coming down with rabies to have a moist mouth. After it has packed the bit for a while stick your finger into the horse's mouth next to the bit and check how wet the mouth is. If your finger is good and wet, your horse is probably OK. However, if your finger just has a smear of saliva you could probably consider looking for something different.

Sweet iron is a western term, but it really means any old steel that will rust. What is mostly used for sweet iron is mild (low carbon) steel.
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