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Kianne 01-27-2009 01:56 AM

Bit question
I was wondering why one of the bits had a smooth middle piece and the other have a turns into a point. Does the one with the middle piece not poke the horses mouth, or give you less control? If it doesn't poke the horses mouth then wouldn't it be a better choice? Also since its a lot thicker would the horse not like it? I'm really sorry for all the questions, but I don't know very much about bits yet and i'm really curious...thanks in advance. :)

I'm not buying a bit yet, just curious. :-)

Eolith 01-27-2009 02:35 AM

You've got it in a nutshell essentially. The middle piece allows the bit to better follow the natural contour of the mouth rather than to bend into an angular "A" shape and risk poking the roof of the horse's mouth or pinching his tongue (ouch).

Actually, the fact that it is thicker is also more beneficial to the horse's comfort. A narrow bit like the one you pictured applies more pressure over a very small part of the horse's gum, "cutting" into it and likely causing more discomfort.

Additionally, the link in the center of the lower bit pictured is often said to encourage a horse to chew on the bit and play with it in their mouth to some extent. The bit looks as though it is made of copper or another metal alloy which are sometimes termed sweet metal bits and are meant to stimulate salivation. All of this salivating, chewing, and tongue action acts to futher relax a horse and keep him soft on the bit rather than to become rigid, stiff, and resistant.

As you may be able to tell, I am a strong proponent for the linked bit. ^_^ I use one with my pony and it has definitely helped with her trainining. She has become much more responsive and light. Not all of this can be credited solely to the bit (it took a lot of work on my part) but it certainly helped. Bits made by HS Sprenger are my absolute favorite... though a bit on the pricey side. Below is a link to the bit I use with my pony:

Herm Sprenger KK Ultra Loose Ring Horse Bit - Dover Saddlery

happygoose123 01-27-2009 03:38 AM

I dont know that much about bits but from what i know the first bit is narrow so it will put more pressure over a smaller area of the horses mouth. this is handy if your horse is difficult to stop. the middle peice in the second bit puts pressure on the horses tounge when you pull on the reins which can also make it a bit easier to stop in some horses. the second bit is more friendly on the horses mouth than the first bit. if your horse is really easy to stop you can get a bit similar to the second one pictured only without the middle peice that puts pressure on the tounge. if you know what your doing then the first bit shouldnt pinch or poke the horses mouth. thats about all i really know about those two bits. hope it helped!

Kianne 01-27-2009 05:42 AM

Thank you so much Eolith and happygoose123!! :D I'm defiantly going to get a bit with a middle piece when i get a horse.

Also, thank you for the link, I'm gonna go look at those bits now. :-)

Eolith 01-27-2009 09:31 AM

Just as a note, it is my personal opinion that the bit should never be relied upon as your only stopping device. Asking a horse to stop is not as simple as pulling back on the reins. It also involves your body position.

I have also never heard of the middle piece putting more pressure on the tongue and therefore being better... but I cannot claim that it is entirely incorrect. I think that the contouring of the linked bit is meant to evenly distribute the pressure, though... not create a pressure point.

Finally, just because a bit is gentler does not mean that you are giving up the ability to control your horse in emergency situations. In fact, a horse that is not uncomfortable and tense is therefore light and responsive is more likely to stop or turn sharply.

Sometimes, if your horse has been trained poorly they may have learned to "lean" into the reins or keep their neck and jaw rigid, both making it difficult to direct or stop them. Because they feel restrained or are made uncomfortable by their bits and methods of being ridden, they may become stubborn or flighty. In these situations it is sometimes appropriate to use a harsher bit in order to get your message across that you ride with light hands and an easy seat. Ultimately it is my personal opinion that the rider should always progress toward a softer rein and gentler bit. In other circumstances it is better to immediately switch the horse to a gentler bit or even a hackamore rather than a harsher bit. The most important thing is to find an instructor you feel that you can trust to guide you through these processes.

I will admit that much of this is my very personal opinion and some people will not agree with my views. Every rider is different, and justifiably so -- every horse is different. Nothing can be said with absolute certainty.

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