What types of bits are there ? PDF Print E-mail

There are several types of bits and each does something different.

It is important to realize that all horses are different.  What works on one horse may not work on another.

Snaffle Bits - A snaffle is designed so that the reins have direct contact with the horses mouth.  The bit is broken into two pieces in the horse's mouth which can flex back and forth.

  • O-ring Snaffle - The O-ring snaffle concentrates more pressure in a smaller area.  It is used by English riders, trainers, etc.
  • D-ring Snaffle - The mouthpiece doesn't rotate around the ring and the loose-ring where the mouthpiece slides around the ring. The D-ring style of snaffle applies pressure over a wider area on the opposite side of the face and is generally considered a milder snaffle then the O-ring bit.
  • Tom Thumb Snaffle - A snaffle which is connected by Shanks to the bit.  It will apply more pressure to the horse's mouth.
  • 3 Piece Snaffle - The three piece mouth in this bit breaks over the bars at a different angle to contact new nerves. The copper center rings quiet the anxious colt. The shanks feature dees for multiple reins in various training applications.

Curb Bits - A bit that uses a type of lever called a shank that puts pressure not only on the mouth, but also on the poll and chin groove.


  • Polo Mouth - The least effective of curb bits.  It allows the horse to 'graze' in the pasture while still having a bit in it's mouth.  Recommended for highly trained horses.
  • Low Port Curb - Has a slight arc to the bit mouthpiece.  Allow a better control of the horse through better leverage.
  • Medium Port Curb - Has a medium arc to the bit mouthpiece.  Has a stronger control on the horse through pressure through leverage.
  • High Port Curb - Large arc to apply strong leverage on the horse's mouth.  Recommended for advanced riders.  This will put a lot of pressure on the horse.
  • Copper Covered Covered (with or without cricket) - These bits have a copper cover on top of the middle of the curb arc.  This encourages a softer mouth and more relaxed jaw.  A cricket is a roller in the middle of the arc.  Most every horse enjoys playing with the cricket and relaxes most horses.

Hackamores (mechanical) - It has a special type of noseband that works on pressure points on the face, nose, and chin. It is most commonly associated with certain styles of riding horses.  It is a myth that a bit is cruel and a hackamore is gentler.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 September 2009 20:39