Western-style riding focuses on activities such as cutting, racing, reining, and trail riding and uses equipment that differs from that used for English-style riding. While there are many different types of bits available, understanding the basics of western riding bits is essential, as choosing the right bit affects your horse’s comfort and your control over your mount. Anyway before going further, we recommend you to view all the Neue Schule products. Done? Now, check these 5 basic types of western bits:
Snaffle bits are primarily used for lateral control of the horse. They are direct curb devices accompanied by rings that are placed through the horse’s tongue to control the animal in the middle. No cane is used. Steak bits come in many styles; Bits with thicker nozzles are considered the softest, while those with thinner nozzles are harder, according to Horsepower magazine. Full cheek bits have long bars that protrude from the top and bottom of the rings, and these bars prevent the bit from pulling through the horse’s mouth. They offer very effective control of the horse. Eggbutt Bits have oval-shaped rings on either side and are set so they don’t rotate in the horse’s mouth. Those bits keep pressure off the corners of the horse’s mouth and don’t pinch or otherwise damage the lips.
Curb Bits (Leverage)
Curb bits have reeds and come in English and Western styles. The collet of these bits can be solid or hinged; however, it is the shank that controls the operation of the bit. Curb bits have a leverage effect, depending on horsepower, and all the pressure on the shank is transferred directly to the horse’s mouth. These bits require chin straps that put pressure on the chin, making the bit effective. Reeding on curb bits increases the amount of pressure felt in the mouth by as much as 10 times, depending on the length of the reed. Curb bits are therefore considered much more bits than fillet bits, according to Horsepower magazine.
Gag Bits (Transition)
Gag, or transition, bits are designed with a sliding mouthpiece that allows different levels of pressure to be applied to the mouth, and are recommended as training bits for breaking in horses. They are often used in racing. On reed and jointed mouthpiece styles there are gag bits.
Correction bits are used by professional trainers when a horse needs additional in or work. They are very serious not meant for everyday use. There are several types of patch bits, such as low port patch bits, but all patch bits share an arc in the center of the mouthpiece (the port) that makes room for the tongue, a hinged mouthpiece, and loose reed.
Little Tom Thumb
Tom’s Thumb Tip was named after a train on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with the same name. While sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Tom Thumb bit because it has a broken mouthpiece, this is actually a short-shanked leverage of bits. The leveraged rein and broken mouthpiece makes it a bit too severe, as it can “clench your jaw like a nutcracker.” It has been known to break a horse’s jaw if used by a heavy-handed rider unfamiliar with its severity.
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