Horse bits, and snaffle bit photos
Most horses start their training in a snaffle bit, usually a single jointed and some never need anything else in their mouth.
When you think of a snaffle bit, what usually springs to mind is a “nice kind bit” to put in your horse’s mouth.
This is not always the case as there are many variations and some snaffle bits can be quite harsh that I personally wouldn’t use.
How will I know if the bit is suitable for my horse?
If he’s not happy he will let you know. His behaviour will change in some way, when you are riding, for example, he might try to rear, refuse to go forward, toss his head around or try to evade the new bit.
When you find the right bit for your horse, don’t go messing around tying other bits. There’s an old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
Single jointed snaffle
This bit has more movement in the mouth, often known as a “nut cracker action”.
The bit works on the corners of the lips and bars of the mouth.
Straight bar snaffle
A straight bar or Mullen mouth has no joints and works best on the bars of the mouth and lips.
If the horse has a large tongue this increases the tongue pressure and can be uncomfortable for some horses.
If the horse has a small tongue this type of bit would exert more pressure on the bars.
These have no “nutcracker” action and two joints with two arms and a link in the middle.
Bit pic of a Dr Bristol snaffle
This bit can be severe.
It has two arms and a plate with square edges fixed in the middle.
This snaffle bit has no “nutcracker” action.
French link snaffle
A double-jointed mouthpiece designed to remove the “nut cracker” action.
Bit photos Magenis snaffle
This bit has lateral rollers, which allow sideways play in the mouth.
It is single jointed with loose rings or fixed.
The sideways play from the rollers can encourage a horse to salivate and can prevent him from crossing his jaw.
A single jointed bit that has four rings.
The inside rings are attached to the cheek pieces and outer rings to the reins.
This bit should only be used in knowledgeable hands as it can exert considerable pressure on the horse’s jaw and cheeks applying a pinching action, which is severe.
Bit photos Wilson snaffle
A single jointed snaffle like the Scorrier only the inner rings that attach to the headpiece are not fixed allowing them to move along the arms, giving an even greater pinching action.
This bit is harsher than the Scorrier.
W or Y mouth snaffle
This bit is made up of two thin single jointed snaffles with the joints off centred to the right and left of the mouthpiece.
It has loose rings and when pressure is applied, it exerts great pressure over a wider area of the tongue.
I am not a fan of this bit, as it can cause great pain as the bit pinches the tongue.
Bit pic Ported fillis snaffle
This bit allows more room for tongue relief.
It can prevent a horse from putting its tongue over the bit if placed slightly higher in the mouth.
This bit is specifically designed to prevent a horse from getting its tongue over the bit.
Hanging cheek snaffle
A good bit to give tongue relief and used on horses that put their tongue over the bit.
This bit will prevent rubbing at the corners of the lips. Notice how thick it is at the outer edges.
German loose ring hollow mouth
This bit is a hollow mouth, which makes it a very lightweight bit.
The rings are cylindrical and loose to reduce pinching.
German D ring hollow mouth
This snaffle helps to prevent the bit from being pulled through the mouth.
Large ring snaffle
This is also known as a race snaffle and designed with large rings so it is less likely to be pulled through the mouth when steering.
Full cheek snaffle
Also known as a Fulmer or Australian snaffle.
The horse or pony bit is designed to reinforce the turning aids and is an ideal bit for starting a young horse off, as the bit will not pull through the horse’s mouth when turning left or right.
Keepers are used with this bit to prevent the cheeks from falling forwards.
Twisted wire snaffle
This has a ridged surface and is a severe snaffle bit to use on any horse.
Spoon bit pic
This snaffle bit can be found in full or half cheeks. A half cheek spoon can be either above or below the mouthpiece.
Do you have a great bit story? Share it!
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