Snaffle bits are among the most common bits found in the equestrian world. There are many types of snaffle bits, including loose ring, eggbutt and full cheek. The mouthpiece can have single or double joints, twists or french links among, others. You can even get flavoured bits to help teach the horse the bitting process. Full cheek bits offer a more direct signal than the loose ring and are used in both English and Driving disciplines. Having a correct fit is important with any bit and, for the most part, fitting a bit follows the same procedure regardless of what type it is.
- Skill level:
Things you need
Proceed only if your horse is already accustomed to the bitting process. If you have not already done so, attach the bit to the bridle. Using your usual bridling procedure, slip the bridle over the horse's head, making sure to gently guide the bit into his mouth and avoid hitting his teeth. If your horse is fussing, make sure you haven't inadvertently placed the bit under his tongue. If you have, take the bridle off and try again, making sure the bar of the bit lies across the top of the tongue.
When the bit is in the horse's mouth, there should be about one pinky finger space between the horse's mouth and the ring/shank of the bit.You want to make sure there is enough room to avoid pinching the corners of his mouth, but not so much room that the bit slides back and forth in his mouth when you give a direction with the rein.
Adjust the cheek straps on the bridle. They should be even on both sides and hold the bit so that it lies flat on each side. There should be one wrinkle visible where the bit pulls at the corner of the horse's mouth.
Tips and warnings
- You can add bit keepers to help hold the bit shanks in a more upright position. Depending on the training level of your horse, you can adjust the bit slightly tighter so that two wrinkles show, or slightly looser so there are no wrinkles. Whenever you are using a new piece of equipment, always pay attention to your horse's performance and note any odd behaviours. After your ride, check your horse thoroughly to ensure there are no new rubs marks where the bit may have pinched.
- Always be careful when working around your horse's mouth. Never stick your fingers between his teeth. If you are having trouble getting your horse to accept the bit, ask a professional for help.
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