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BIT SELECTION

BITS - Bit selection is an art and a science. See the list below for many of the style possibilities and how they might be used.

Terminology: Mouth or mouthpiece - The part of the bit that fits inside the horse's mouth. Sweet iron and copper on the mouthpiece increase salivation. The mouthpiece can have a low, medium, or high port. It can be snaffle, rolled, saw mouth, twisted wire, three piece, rubber, mint flavored, etc. The thinner the mouthpiece, the more sever the action created on the horse's mouth.

Argentine Bit - As the name implies, this bit was originally developed in Argentina. Four reins can be attached. A strap can be attached to the ring located midway down the cheek to prevent the horse from biting the bit. It is normally a short shank bit. A very popular training bit.

Correction Bit - A correction bit is used on a trained or broken horse that has developed bad habits. It applies severe pressure and should only be used by experienced riders or trainers. The longer the shank, the more leverage, the more corrective pressure.

Four Rein Bit - As the name indicates, four reins can be used. The second pair of reins is attached at the center dee or ring to apply considerable pressure. This bit should be used by experienced riders.

Gag Bit - The gag bit has a sliding mouthpiece. Horses tend to pull away from a bit and thus raise their head. The gag bit allows the rider to lower the horse's head position and direct the horse's attention to high speed turns. A popular barrel racing bit.

Grazing Bit - A grazing bit has shanks that sweep back allowing the horse to graze. These are considered good bits for a broken horse or a novice rider. T his bit is designed to be used by a rider using one hand to hold the reins.

Hackamore Bit - This bit, sometimes called a mechanical hackamore, is designed to create a pinching action on the lower part of the horse's head to control speed and forward or reverse direction. The narrower and rougher the noseband, the more severe the bit.

Ring and Dee Bit - This may be the original bit designed centuries ago. It is used everywhere and on all types of horses. It is especially used on young horses to train them to carry a bit in their mouth.

Roller Bit - A roller bit, sometimes called a Cricket, is designed to apply pressure to the horse's tongue. The larger the diameter and the shorter the roller, the more pressure is applied to the middle of the tongue. This bit can be used on nervous horses.

Show Bit - A show bit is used in the show ring. It could have brass engraved overlays. It may have contrasting color combinations. It may have silver, silver conchos, or engraved silver.

Snaffle Bit - The snaffle features a flexible joint in the center of the mouthpiece. This allows the bit to be soft and supple in the horse's mouth with little or no severity. It allows side to side action using two hands to help teach a young horse to respond correctly to a bit.

Swivel Bit - A swivel bit is a training bit, which allows the rider to use two hands working independently to control the horse. The loose cheek helps keep the horse's jaw relaxed and promotes salivation.

Tom Thumb - One of the most basic intermediate snaffle training and riding bits.

Training Bit - A training bit is designed for a horse that needs training or retraining. It is not a general riding bit but serves a temporary, specific purpose.

Wonder Bit - the original manufacturer of this unique bit coined the name. It can be used as a four-rein bit. Reins can be attached at different places on the shank to create different leverage action. It has gaging action for horse head control. A multipurpose riding and training bit and more immediate leverage and pressure. Short shanks delay the signal from rider to horse.