Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Washington State
I personally prefer the metal bits because I know they're going to last and there's no chance they'll break down and become uncomfortable for my horse. When we bought my pony, she came with a happy mouth bit. Here I will agree with iridehorses on the fact that hard hands make hard mouths because that's just what happened to my pony before we got her. She had a happy mouth bit, but she was not happy. Her rider practically "locked down" on her head, causing her to charge jumps and even rear a short time before they decided to sell her.
We used the happy mouth bit for a little while before I noticed that one way or another it was becoming gouged by her teeth and had developed a sharp edge that risked jabbing her in the gums. Needless to say, it went in the trash and she got herself a brand new KK Ultra bit which she absolutely loves. Also, concerning rubber bits, I was at a riding school where several horses had rubber bits but they were coming apart and were somewhat jagged in places. It's just not worth it in my opinion.
I'd suggest seeing if it's at all possible to have your horse go in a metal bit... but if he absolutely hates it, don't push the matter. If you do get a rubber bit or a happy mouth because he won't take a metal one, just be sure to take a good look at it fairly often to make sure that it's holding up well and be prepared to have to replace it a few times throughout his life.