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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read on many threads about people being worried about how high a port should be on a curb bit. Let me explain a little about tongue relief and how a horse carries a bit.

Given the opportunity a horse will contact the bit with their tongue and use the tongue to distribute the pressure off the bars of the mouth. This is true regardless of the horse or the bit. They will find a place where it's not hitting any teeth and feels comfortable. Now the problem with bits that have alot of tongue relief is that it prevents a horse from using thier tongue on the bit. The wider the curve the more pressure your horse will feel on the bars. If you have a horse that tends to take the bit in it's mouth and run off this can be a good solution untill you can get the problem solved through training. If you have a horse that is very sensitive to the bit then a bit with less tongue relief will be more comfortable and keep the bars soft. One horse I ride in a half breed spade that has no tongue relief at all and he is perfectly happy in it. He packs it where it feels best and at no time has it ever damaged his mouth. My sons horse being a kid horse is a little less sensitive and he goes well in a bit with a broad tongue relief so that he can't brace as effectively against it.

Mostly the point of this post is to encourage everyone to make bit decisions based on bio mechanics and horsemanship rather than emotion and prejudices.
 

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Great post.

Makes sense, the less tongue contact, the more bar contact...

I have never really worried about tongue relief, the bits I use (when I use a bit) are just plain ole medium port curbs and french link snaffles and my horses never have had a problem with them... Never had a problem with bracing or sensitivity, they carry their bits quietly and obediently. But I also train them to be light in the mouth so I rarely contact the bit anyway...
 

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Kevin,
Maybe you could share your opinion about the "comfort" of packing a solid bit compared to a broken bit for a horse.
 

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So the More relief, in effect, the Less relief? Interesting!

Ditto Marecare's question, plus:

Can you explain why Western trainers often start their colts with their hands held very high in the air? Does this have to do with getting the bit off the bars? I actually played around with it, and my horse began doing better at the canter! But she has a French link, which would mean she should be able to hold the bit off with her tongue?:?:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Kevin,
Maybe you could share your opinion about the "comfort" of packing a solid bit compared to a broken bit for a horse.
I don't want to make myself out to be some kind of bit expert because I'm certainly not but i think that an appropriate solid bit made with balance out of good materials is just as comfortable as any other bit. A solid bit doesn't move and the horse can get it comfortable and it will stay that way. If a horse can't get comfortable with it because of the way it's adjusted or the way it's built then it's going to give him more problems than a broken mouthed bit. There are also alot more options in mouthpeices with solid mouth bits so if you know what you're doing you can get a bit that may help your horse figure out what you need him to do.

as a rule I ride every horse in the same saddle. I don't custom fit each saddle to the horse because I ride too many different horses. However I have dozens of different bits and headstalls that I use on different horses according to thier level of training and purpose. I think good quality, properly adjusted head gear is essential to getting the most out of your horse.
 

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I don't want to make myself out to be some kind of bit expert because I'm certainly not but i think that an appropriate solid bit made with balance out of good materials is just as comfortable as any other bit. A solid bit doesn't move and the horse can get it comfortable and it will stay that way. If a horse can't get comfortable with it because of the way it's adjusted or the way it's built then it's going to give him more problems than a broken mouthed bit. There are also alot more options in mouthpeices with solid mouth bits so if you know what you're doing you can get a bit that may help your horse figure out what you need him to do.

as a rule I ride every horse in the same saddle. I don't custom fit each saddle to the horse because I ride too many different horses. However I have dozens of different bits and headstalls that I use on different horses according to thier level of training and purpose. I think good quality, properly adjusted head gear is essential to getting the most out of your horse.

I also agree Kevin and have found that a well fitting solid bit that really fits the horses mouth (not talking about the shanks or curb) is preferred by most horses for plan comfort.

In other words,if a person took 10 bits and had the horse "pack" the bit without the reins,then the act of packing the solid bit is more comfortable after time in the snaffle.

I find that the horses enjoy the lack of looseness and rattle.
All the metal on metal just vibrates through their skull.

The majority of the horses head is hollow and this helps them pick up the vibrations around them.

Put a ring snaffle with metal clips(quick connects)on the end of the reins and wiggle your hands and all you get is "rattle".
This can bother a horse after a while and distract the training.
 
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