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OTHER ITA SITES:
An Education on the Horse Bit
The "Bit" is a vital piece of equipment in the equine industry. The rider depends on the bit to keep control over his horse in whatever his job is, be it real cowboy work or in the show ring. The horse has to LIKE his bit. Lets go over all the equipment that goes with the bit and the different choices to make on bits.
* Purchase - The purchase is a part of the bit located above the mouthpiece. A shorter purchase will make the bit act quicker in a horse's mouth when pulling the reins by the rider. A long purchase will make the bit react with a slower action giving you a bit of play like in a car with more play in the steering wheel.
* Shank - The Shank is located below the mouthpiece and gives you leverage controlling the mouthpiece. In this case, the shorter the shank, the less control you will have, and the longer the shank the MORE control you have.
* Cheeks - The cheeks are the sides of the bit and includes both the "purchase" and the "shank".
* Mouthpiece - The mouthpiece is part of the bit that goes in the horse's mouth. There are several to choose from: Bars are the part of the mouthpiece that rests on the horse's bars, which is the gums behind a horses teeth. The Port is the piece that rests on the tongue. They come in high, medium and low. The closer together the bars, the more severe and the wider apart they are the less severe. A Mullen Relief is a forward curve to the mouthpiece and gives even pressure across the mouth which produces a smoother reaction from the horse.
The Snaffle is one of the most common mouthpieces. It is broken in the middle and is very comfortable to the horse. There is also a Three-piece Snaffle that is broken in two places which allows it to work on different places on the bars than the regular snaffle. The Double Twisted Wire Snaffle is made up of two small snaffles that are broken "off-center" from each other. The Chain Mouthpiece works on the corners of the mouth but do now work on the bars as a snaffle would. Any mouthpiece that is not broken is called a Solid Mouthpiece. A Swivel Mouthpiece is one that swivels on the shank. The swivel action gives the mouthpiece a different action than a solid constructed bit.
* Curb Bit - A curb mouthpiece is more severe than a snaffle. It places a rotation in the mouth pulling downward and then pulling up on the curb chain. It usually gives a great amount of pressure on the horses mouth and is meant to be used sparingly. There are different kinds of curb bit, some more harsh than others.
* Metal Used In Mouthpieces - Many riders like to use copper on their mouthpieces as it makes the horses mouth salivate which allows their mouths to stay soft and useable. Sweet Iron is a material that is intended to rust and gives off a somewhat sweet taste to the horse. Stainless Steel gives a clean neat look to any mouthpiece.
Hopefully the above information will give you some idea as to which Mouthpiece would be best for your use and will help when you go to a tack store looking for that perfect fit of horse and rider.
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