Types of Horse Racing Bits

Updated November 21, 2016

Horse racing is a fast paced event with powerful young racehorses ripping around a track. A lightweight jockey sits perched upon a tiny saddle guiding these thousand pound athletes with only thin leather or nylon reins connected to a metal or rubber covered mouthpiece called a bit. Bits come in different lengths, widths and shapes along with different cheek pieces. Each type of bit achieves a different way to communicate commands to a racehorse.

The Chifney

The Chifney bit was created by a jockey named Samuel Chifney to be used with a halter and lead rope. This bit is also known as the anti-rearing bit and is available with a straight or ported mouthpiece. It has three outside rings of which two are attached to a halter and the bottom ring to a lead rope.It is used for leading racehorses in hand and is very popular at thoroughbred sales. Use this bit to safely control stallions, young stock at sales or fresh, high strung horses. The Chifney should never be used while riding.

The Racing Dee

The racing dee bit has a jointed or broken mouthpiece attached to a movable D-shaped ring. The racing dee bit is commonly made of stainless steel and aluminium and averages 5 inches in length. This bit may be covered in rubber for sensitive mouthed horses. This bit is commonly used for both training and racing and considered to be a mild bit.

The Regulator

The regulator or sidelining bit has a leather covered mouthpiece. It is designed to keep a horse travelling in a straight line. Racehorse trainers use this bit on horses that bolt or drift out in the turns which causes the horse to cover more ground. The mouthpiece extends 6 inches outside of the mouth on one side, which increases the rider's leverage through the turns.

The Dexter Ring

The Dexter ring bit has two mouthpieces. The first bit is jointed or broken and can be coated with metal, rubber or plastic. The cheek piece or portion of the bit on either side of the mouth can be of varying shapes and sizes. The half spoon bottom coming off the cheek piece improves steering and prevents the bit from being pulled through the horse's mouth. The second mouthpiece is a metal ring that encircles the horse's lower jaw.

Slide Pipe Run-Out

Use the slide pipe run-out bit on racehorses that habitually lug in or out. There is a sliding bar for additional leverage. When the horse begins to lug out, pull on one rein which allows the bar to slide to the same side as the pull. This bit action keeps the horse running straight.

The Springsteen

The Springsteen bit is quite severe. Applied pressure caused by pulling the opposite rein results in a spoon shaped prong jabbing into the corner of the mouth. It is used by trainers on racehorses that are arduous to control.

The Belmont Run-Out

The Belmont run-out bit is the most severe mouthpiece utilised to correct a horse from lugging in or out. When the opposite rein is pulled, metal prongs on the bit poke the corner of the horse's mouth. This encourages the horse to move over. When the tension is released, the prongs retract. A noseband can be used in conjunction with this bit to prevent the bit from being pulled though the horse's mouth.

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