Snaffle Bit -- Forward or Back Side??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Snaffle Bit -- Forward or Back Side???

Since learning that the bit I'm using for pony (she came with it) is not a true snaffle, but probably Tom Thumb or broken curb, since it has little short side shanks, and will not be good in untrained child's hands, I'm trying to get the pony used to a horse-size D-ring snaffle and beautiful fancy bridle which I had gotten from an old retired trainer and his grand-daughter who were selling a lot of horse tack. Originally planned to use these for the small mule, who has a large more horse-sized head, but not planning to ride her now since being bucked off, so hoping some of the purchased tack will work with pony.

Questions, since the pony has a much more narrow mouth (she's 12-2 hands, Welsh/Qtr), is this horse-size bit probably too big for her? Next, since we had to take a curb bit off of this bridle and re-fasten everything back on, I'm wondering if there was an up or down side to the snaffle bit and if I reattached things correctly. Can anyone looking at the picture attached tell me if it looks correct? I did notice that the reins were put on backwards (ugly side of screwside points out), so will get a screwdriver and do that correctly, but since the bit seems to hang so oddly, i.e. bent out in the middle towards front, could it need to be turned around or do they all act like that?

Thanks to anyone who can help!
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 02:08 AM
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Personally , I put the ugly side out Also means you can access the Chicago screws easier. The current bit has no bend to it so it has no up or down side. So it is fine as you put it. If the pony is hard if mouth, then be sure to put a chin strap on there.

I prefer a snaffle bit with a little curve to it.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 02:20 AM
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My general opinion is that a full size D-ring (5", 5 1/2") will probably be too big for a 12.2hh pony. Simple loose ring or D-ring snaffles also tend to be pretty cheap ($10-25 dollars), so it shouldn't be expensive to get something that fits correctly if you try out the current one and decide it's too big.

Plus, I agree with Tiny, I like a curve to my snaffle.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 02:23 AM
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You've got that bridle correct. For a pony you'd probably need something closer to a 4.5/4.75". Like was said, since this bit has no shape to the mouth its easy to put on.

Personally, I hate that bit, but ymmv...
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 02:51 AM
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Yes, I'd thinkthe average bit might be too big. You might have to measure, you ideally want to see 1/8th of the bit sticking out from the sides of the mouth.

Also chiming in to say I also don't like that bit's shape. I prefer dogbone (French link) or oval mouthpieces. Or Myler, but you don't need one of those. (Fun to have, especially if your pony likes them and you find them used for less money, but not necessary)
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 03:46 AM
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Another thing to consider if the pony is not used to a snaffle, the Dee ring might get pulled right through her mouth if she is being stubborn when given direction. We ended up using a full cheek snaffle for our pony and it seems to work a lot better than the Dee ring we had tried at first.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 01:19 PM
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It may not make a difference on this particular bit but...
When putting a single joint snaffle bit on a bridle, fold the bit together...
The bit will fold very close together or have a larger angle if folded the opposite direction...
The bit when folded together closest is the direction to place it in the bridle to fit the mouth.

Other wise if the bit has any "curved" look to it the curve is to the back of the jaw so it drapes the mouth and rounds when you pull back on the reins......
I hope that made sense....

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for all the thoughts! Thought this was such a nice fancy bit with all those rollers in it, who knew! So much to learn about and always to spend more time and money on. :(

Sounds like I will need to keep using the not-so-preferred bit that came with the pony for this first 4H meeting (as I think we'll probably be lead lining at 4H for first few times, maybe can keep reins attached to halter, at least that's my hope, given the poor balance this child has) and work on finding a better bit for the future. Again, thanks to all for the help.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-24-2016, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by LlamaPacker View Post
Thank you so much for all the thoughts! Thought this was such a nice fancy bit with all those rollers in it, who knew! So much to learn about and always to spend more time and money on. :(
Alas, this is pretty much horse ownership in a nutshell :) You're starting out at a place many people start out, but as long as you keep asking questions and getting help, you'll learn very quickly! A good thing to remember is that each and every bit is a tool created for a specific purpose behind it.

Here is a decent picture guide to the common types of bits that are out there.

And bits and bitting are a wide, wide world all their own. I'll no doubt be venturing down that path myself in a few months since I want to buy a draft or a mule again, and many of them have shallow palates, so snaffles can be very hit-or-miss.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-25-2016, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mulefeather, for that great link showing all kinds of bits. Think my bit may actually be called a full-mouth snaffle, either that or Pellham. I'll get pictures of it soon and post on a new thread so people can help me figure out whether it is actually an okay bit for a jerky young kids to have in her hands eventually. I'm hoping the 4H Leader will still have us lead-lining until this girl's balance is much better. I actually put the saddle on the pony for first time the other day, got everything adjusted and rode her around awhile myself (had only been on bareback before) and she actually did pretty well with two-handed reining and I felt a lot more balanced with the saddle. Can't bring myself to stick my feet way in those stirrups yet now. Probably leftover Post-Traumatic Fall Disorder. Didn't do anything more than a walk with her, but eventually I think I'll feel steady enough to work up to trot and canter, as I trust her more. One reason it's so amazing for me to read the Trials and Tribulations journal and imagine that young woman being willing to go fast on such a big horse. Here I am only 4' up from the ground and such anxiety. Course, she hasn't been bucked off yet, I guess, and I just got myself bucked off the little molly mule. Makes a difference in trust issues with the animals, I suppose.

Oh, had forgotten to say, the feed store at larger town closest to us did not have any pony-sized bits. I feel better about the bit she came with after looking at the pictures and, as said, will take pix when I get a chance and have you guys let me know what you think. Gorgeous day in our part of the country. Headed out to play golf. Again, thanks to all!!!

Last edited by LlamaPacker; 10-25-2016 at 03:52 PM.
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