Bits-Severity-Rate 1-10 - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Question Bits-Severity-Rate 1-10

How would you rate these bits on a scale from 1-10? And what about them? What is each bit suppose to do? how does the full cheek snaffle differ from the loose ring snaffle or the eggbut? Thanks a ton!

1) IMG_8595.jpg

2) IMG_8597.jpg

3) IMG_8598.jpg

4) IMG_8599.jpg
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post #2 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 01:40 AM
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I am by no means an expert but, I would say that 1 and 4 are pretty mild bits wheras 2 is pretty harsh. I am not sure about numper 3 though. I am only basing this off of what I have read though so I may be wrong.

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post #3 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 01:57 AM
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On a scale of 1-10 IMHO,

1) this bit is about a 2-- It is a very mild bit. The pressure ratio is 1:1 (for each pound you exert on the reins, the horse feels 1) and the french link in the middle prevents the "nutcracker" action of single jointed snaffles. The eggbutt won't pinch the horse's mouth and offers some lateral pressure to the sides of the lips when direct reining.

2) this bit is about a 6.5--I thoroughly dislike twisted bits. They are sharp and designed to inflict pain in order to gain compliance from a horse. They toughen the bars on a horse and make them hard-mouthed. In some instances, if used too roughly, they can actually cut the horse's mouth. The full cheeks provide lateral pressure and prevent the bit from being pulled throught the mouth in even an emergency.

3) this bit is about a 5--I would call this a very mild ported curb. This is a leverage bit designed to refine the cues by putting more pressure on the mouth with less pressure on the reins. I would guess maybe a 1:2 ratio (for every pound you exert on the reins, the horse feels 2). The solid mouth doesn't allow for the nutcracker action on the outside of the bars but does put some pressure on the tongue. This bit works on the top of the bars, the chin, and the poll to create a frame.

4) this bit is about a 4--Standard snaffle. The single joint does allow for the nutcracker action but in the right hands, it is fairly mild. If sized too small for the horse, it will pinch their lips and create sores in the corners of their mouth. This bit can be pulled through the mouth if the horse is resisting so a bit hobble is suggested anytime this bit is used.
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post #4 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 02:03 AM
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post #5 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 02:48 AM
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1) 1.5. I can't say that it is the mildest bit ever since I have not seen every bit in the world, but it is the most mild that I know of. No pinching points and the joint is not a nut cracker.

2) 6. The twist combined with the joint are a very strong combination, however it does not have scary shanks or a tight twist so it is not the worst I have seen. Definitely a bit I would never use on any horse.

3)4, if the horse is used to a curb. This is a pretty basic curb, but certainly not as mild as the first bit.

4)3, if the horse is used to a standard snaffle. I personally dislike the feel of this type of snaffle, but some horses do fine in this type of bit. Stronger than the first snaffle because of the joint.

To add on, I would not ride any horse in any bit that I would rate a 5 or higher. Any higher just seems like an instrument of discomfort rather than an instrument of communication. For my own horse, I would not use anything harsher than a 1-2.

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Last edited by roro; 01-27-2010 at 02:54 AM.
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post #6 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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I only use #1 or ride in a halter. I used the twisted one for a bit. But I dislike thinking that it hurts my horse =(
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post #7 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 12:31 PM
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I consider all of them except the twisted mouth mild to very mild. And the twisted one as possibly moderate at worst, if you are not hanging on it. It's a slow twist, not a double twisted wire or anything truly severe. That Kimberwicke (with the chain) usually used almost like a snaffle, anyway. Few people thread their rein through those slots. A twisted mouth bit is usually only used for a very short term, in my experience.

Today, everyone seems to think that a hollow mouth ring snaffle should be adequate for any horse. Not that many years ago, a Mullen mouth Pelham with double reins and a 5" to 6" shank was the standard hacking bit used for general hacking, pleasure riding, polo, and hunter show classes. A shorter shank Pelham was used for jumping. Just having a "severe" bit in a horse's mouth is not necessarily a bad thing. The is such a thing as "light hands" to go with it, lol.

Saddle seat still uses the formal double bit Weymouth bridle for show and some variety of snaffle bit + running martingale for training.

Last edited by Tack Collector; 01-27-2010 at 12:36 PM.
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post #8 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 12:49 PM
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A lot of it depends on the horse - his preference & how his mouth is shaped - and the rider's hands.

I know my horse would throw a hissy fit if I put #4 in his mouth. He hates most single-jointed snaffles and fights them all the way. His ears are pinned and just shows he is uncomfortable through the whole thing. On the other hand #3 - a low-port kimberwicke, I get a very happy horse willing to go forward. So for my horse the #3 is milder than the #4.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #9 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 01:20 PM
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Just curious, which bit can be 1 on scale? I can't think of anything more mild then eggbutt french link (besides the halter).

P.S. Yes, I understand the severity = hands etc. and so on, but if you put a total beginner on horse....



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post #10 of 38 Old 01-27-2010, 02:52 PM
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Milder than a French Link? - how about a straight thick vulcanite rubber bar with a big ring at each end. These can be used with a complete novice in a confined arena.
But the novice still has to learn soft hands.
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