Many riders know about the importance of a fitting bit that matches the needs of horse and rider, how ever many riders are also confused and overwhelmed by the amount of bits that can be bought. The most common types are snaffle bits and eggbut bits, often recommended by trainers or fellow stable friends or simply given by the previous owner of a newly bought horse. But what is the difference and how do they work?
We took a closer look at the bits that can be found at every barn.
The snaffle bit is characterised by its loose rings that move easily and freely through the mouthpiece. Also, the loose rings ensure free movement of the bit within the mouth which results in a good acceptance by the horse. The connection is lightly broken because of the loose rings, which means that the aids are more indirect and can be softer.
Attention: The free movement of the loose rings can lead to some pinching of lips and mouth which can lead to injuries. In order to avoid these we advice to use rubber or gel bit rings.
When is a snaffle a good idea?
The snaffle bit is a good choice when no specific problems need to be solved and when you are looking for a friendly bit.
Next to that, a snaffle bit is ideal for horses that tend to lean onto the hand, as the small broken connection gives you short moments to relax your arms and you won't end up with bigger arms than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also for riders that do not have such still and stable hands we would recommend a snaffle bit.
The eggbut bit has fixed rings which lead your aims more directly towards the mouth. And the fixed rings have the big benefit that the bit lays more still and more stable in the mouth. Therefore, if you put pressure to the reins, your horse will feel it directly and it puts some more pressure to the cheeks. That way the horse has more guidance. Also, an eggbutt has a low injury risk and rubber rings are not necessary.
When is an eggbutt a good idea?
The eggbutt is a good choice when horses need more stability to gain trust towards the bit. Also, it is a good solution for insecure horses that do not accept the bit right away and are a bit sceptical. Horses that are sensitive and tend to get injuries in the mouth area are often more happy with an eggbutt, as well as horses that play a lot with their bits.
There are many factors that need to be considered when choosing a bit. Every horse has different wants and needs and reacts differently to a bit. Therefore, listen to your horse and choose what works best for you together.
- Lays freely in the mouth
- Aids are indirectly
- Less pressure to the cheeks
- Can pinch lips and mouth
- Rubber rings are recommended
- Lays stable in the mouth
- Aids are more direct
- More pressure to the cheeks
- Lips and mouth cannot be pinched
- No need for rubber rings
In the next part of our bit series, we will take a closer look on the different materials and give you some insight in the usage of some special bits, as well as some reviews on tested bits. Stay tuned for more!