What type of bit should I use?
Gag snaffles are a popular choice in equestrian sports such as jumping. A gag is technically a snaffle mouthpiece and can be strong or severe and should only be used with knowledgeable, sympathetic hands.
Martingales should not be used with a gag as this will prevent the horse from raising his head which is what the gag is initially asking, thus giving out a confusing message.
Lower strap nosebands should also be avoided with a gag, again giving mixed signals.
The Continental gag or Belgium gag is an equine bit made up of three rein positions.
This bit can be found in different mouthpieces.
If the reins are attached to the large ring, it simply acts as a snaffle.
The smaller rings below will exert pressure on the poll with the lower ring exerting the most.
When using this bit with two reins, it can be used as a snaffle and exerting poll pressure with the other rein when required.
American gag – elevator bit image
A severe type of gag that applies poll pressure. This bit is designed to lower the head.
It can be fitted with a curb chain, which makes it very severe.
If used with a snaffle rein then poll pressure need only be applied when necessary.
Once pressure is applied to the reins, this gag is very severe.
This bit exerts poll pressure with rolled leather cheek pieces running through the centre of the bit rings where the rein is attached.
This bit should be used with two reins.
The top working as a snaffle and lower rein coming into play when needed.
If used only with one rein there is no let up from its effect.
Rodzianko’s gag – Cherry rollers
It has the same effect as the Cheltenham gag but used with a different mouthpiece to encourage the horse to salivate.
This gag is designed for use with a curb.
The mouthpiece incorporates the holes through which the cheek pieces slide.
This bit can be used in various ways.
When connecting the reins to the large ring it can be used as a snaffle or the rein can be used on the lower ring.
Pelham rounding’s can be attached to the large and lower ring or two reins can be used.
It is an ideal bit to experience the use of two reins and is a popular jumping bit.
This bit comes with a specially designed headpiece with rolled cheek pieces that extend up the side of the face and pass through the headpiece and then to the reins.
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