One common mistake that riders make when choosing horse bits is assuming that a bit’s sole purpose is to slow down or stop a horse. In reality, a bit is designed to provide a way to communicate with your horse effectively. It works in conjunction with the reins and headstall by applying pressure to different parts of the horse’s head.
Five Tips for Finding the Right Horse Bit
Finding the right horse bit can be a painstaking process, but there are a few general best practices you can follow to find the right one for your horse.
Understand Your Horse’s Needs
You must first understand your needs before you can buy the right bit for your horse. Think about the mouthpiece before the cheekpieces. Think about the behaviour that your horse is displaying and what you can do to counteract it.
If you are able to identify what’s making your horse uncomfortable in the mouth, it will be much easier to give him what he needs. You can ask an expert such as your horse riding instructor if you are not sure about which bit to buy.
Keep It Simple
It is very easy to be swayed by advertising when it comes to choosing the material of your horse’s bit. However, it is important to remember that the horse’s mouth provides a warm environment for any bit and that any good quality metal will warm up quickly.
Using stainless steel for horse bits might not be the trendiest of metals, but it works just as well as any other metal when it comes to promoting acceptance and salvation. You are likely to find that your horse’s mouth is wetter when he is more relaxed in a properly shaped bit.
Look for the gentlest bit possible that lets you communicate with your horse at the level you desire. It is due to this reason that riders often prefer starting with a snaffle bit before moving to a curb bit as they get more riding experience or if needed. If you are an experienced rider, you can opt for more severe horse bits than a snaffle, but you should always be as gentle as possible.
Try Before You Buy
Whenever possible, it is always advisable to try the horse bit before you buy it. It is almost always impossible to know which bit will work best for your horse before you start to use it. Often times, you will find yourself going through many bits before your find the right one.
Ask the Previous Owner
If you are still in touch with the previous owner of your horse or have a way to get in touch with them, you should enquire about the type of bit they were using, for which type of riding, and how the horse actually responded. If you bought your horse with a bit in its mouth, you can buy a similar type for a start.
Finding the right horse bit is never easy, but you should always remember that the ultimate goal is communicating what you want from the horse as clearly as possible. You expect your horse to translate your cues and do it as quickly as possible. Follow the tips provided here to find the right bit for your horse, but never forget that how you use it is as important as the kind you choose.