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Bridle Bits Types
The horse bridle can be used and ridden with a range of different bits for your horse. Different types of bits suits different horses depending on their personality, rider and discipline used for. We have listed the most common bridle bits types below and explained their use. Click on each image to see more information about that certain bit.
1) Snaffle Bits (french links and jointed)
The snaffle bit is one of the most common amongst horse bridle bits. It is commonly used for most english riding disciplines and comes with either a single jointed or french linked mouth. A snaffle bit is usually made of stainless steel and is seen as a relatively soft bit. In theory a snaffle bit is actually all bits that don't have a shank. However generally when people refer to snaffle bits they refer to the single jointed loose ring snaffle.
2) Eggbutt Bits
An eggbutt bit refers to the rings on the side being rounded (like an egg) and fixed to the actual bit with no ability of turning. Eggbutt bits are also seen as a softer bit, and can be more comfortable and suitable for sensitive horses as it won't pinch the horse's mouth (as loose rings sometimes can do).
3) Full cheek Bits
Full cheek bits are usually used when training young horses as it assists when turning (the longer stainless steel sticks on the end stops the bit from going into the horse's mouth).
4) Dutch Gag Bit
Gag bits are a stronger bit usually used on stronger horses, or for certain disciplines such as crosscountry when extra control is required. It is also regularly used for showjumping and polo. The when the reins are pulled, the cheekpieces creates an upward action of the bit in the horse's mouth - making the horse respond quicker and being more sensitive. Gag bits should therefore only be used for riders with soft hands and not for beginners.
5) D Bits
D Bits are bits with rings on the end of the bit shaped like a "D". The D Ring has got slighlty larger rings than a normal snaffle loose ring bit. Because of this it is a great bit again to use on younger horses where turning still needs some fine tuning. The larger rings with the straight stick on the end of the bit makes sure that the bit always stays in the horse's mouth when turning.
6) Pelham Bit
A Pelham bit is also a stronger bit in the english horse riding world and is regurarly used in showjumping and crosscountry (not allowed in dressage). It is made up of a curb bit and a snaffle bit. It should not be confused with a double bit as a weymouth bit has got double reins with it.
7) Kimblewick Bits
A kimblewick bit is a stronger type bit generally used for trail riding on stronger horses, in showjumping classes and crosscountry. It is not allowed in the dressage ring. It has a curb action on the horse, and encourages the horse to lower its head when pressure is put on the reins. It comes in a range of different models such a mullen mouth, single jointed mouth etc.
8) Weymouth Bits
Weymouth bits are used in high level dressage classes, and looks similar to a pelham bit. They are used with double reins, and should only be used by experienced riders as they can be quite strong on the horse if used by a rider with heavy hands.
9) Western Bits
There are a range of western bits available in the market. We won't link them all here but the most common one is the western grazing bit. It is quite simple in its design but is usually used with decorative shanks. The lower rings were originally angled to allow the horse to graze (hence its name).
10) Speciality Bits
New more innovative bits are released every year. Horse riders are becoming more aware of what they put in the horse's mouth and more focus is put on using softer tools and training the horse to become more sensitive. The above bit has just been released by the brand Acavallo. It is made of a durable innovative material that is soft on the horse, with a thin mullen mouth.
11) Mullen Mouth Bit
Mullen mouth bits have a very simple design of a straight stainless steel bit. It avoids the 'nutcracker' effect of standard bits. It is therefore a milder bit. it is not overly popular amongst riders as horses can become a bit heavy in the hand if the horse is usually ridden in a standard snaffle.