Five simple steps to find the ideal bit for your horse

bit horse head

Eastern Hay 770x170

 

Five simple steps to find the ideal bit for your horse

The perfect bit: is it out there? Where is it hiding? No matter your level, you want to find an appropriate bit for your horse that both maximizes the quality of his performance and permits you to have enough control to train and compete safely.

Follow these steps in your bit search: 

1)    Know what your end goal is. An appropriate bit will encourage the horse to connect to both reins evenly. It will also provide the rider with enough influence to turn and slow down in a safe manner. If you have a particular problem that you want your bitting choice to help address (for instance, a lack of control while jumping), add that information to your criteria.

2)    Know your horse. Not all horses are created equal. A rubber snaffle on one thoroughbred might not work at all on another thoroughbred. Discuss with your trainer the issues your horse faces. If he evades the connection by sucking back, it will not be wise to use a bit with leverage. If he becomes strong and unresponsive on cross country, perhaps a twisted mouthpiece or different action will work.

3)    Try it out! See how your horse reacts to different bits you try. Does he connect better in this one? Does he respect the half-halt more in that one? Is he easier to turn in that one? It is also important to try the bit out in the environment in which you plan to use it. If your horse becomes especially excited on cross country at a show, you’ll probably have to try out the new bit in competition to procure information about its efficacy. Use a process of elimination to narrow down to the best fit. 

 

Boyd Martin Master Frisky

 

4)    Be open to new ideas when it stops working. As your horse changes, the once ideal bit may prove ineffective. It might be a couple of months before the bit stops working; it might be a couple of years. He might get fitter and stronger throughout the season, and by his fall three-day, the plain snaffle that was once sufficient will not be enough. Just as your horse changes, as your riding improves, you may be able to ride with a different setup. If you develop tactful and independent hands, you might be able to try a stronger bit that before you would have misused.           

5)    A bit won’t fix everything. Good training is good training, and good riding is good riding. A stronger bit might give you more reliable brakes across the country, but it won’t make you ride any better. The bit is only one piece of the larger training puzzle.

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

profchoice-770x170_girth

Rider Connect from Bit of Britain: Jane Thomas | Eventing Connect    Rider Connect sponsor: Bit of Britain has been a trusted source for quality horse tack and equestrian clothing since 1987. Ri…

Tackle the Carolina International CIC3* with Elisa Wallace – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   Tackle the Carolina International CIC3* with Elisa Wallace – VIDEO Break Ride around the challenging Carolina International CIC3*…

SWellness_EventingConnect1-770x170

Sunday’s SCOOP from Eastern Hay | Eventing Connect   Sunday’s SCOOP from Eastern Hay Today’s SCOOP sponsor: Eastern Hay is the premier source of hay bales in Eastern USA.   …

15 cheap products that will actually improve any equestrian’s life | Eventing Connect   15 cheap products that will actually improve any equestrian’s life A rider’s life can be a hard one, but we all know that horses …

offbeatsafaris-4-770x170

Horses that are severely allergic to wood | Eventing Connect   Horses that are severely allergic to wood Some horses are more careful jumpers than others. But there are overachieving mounts …

The beach is clearly more fun with horses – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   The beach is clearly more fun with horses – VIDEO Break Over the winter, you probably saw some clips of people ‘skijoring’, which i…

bitofbritain-Week1

Friday’s Five – Steps to help you find owners regardless of your level | Eventing Connect   Friday’s Five – Steps to help you find owners regardless of your level You do not need to have an Olympic appearance on your record…

Who did the voters choose? Check out the ‘five-star’ Preliminary jumpers from Exmoor | Eventing Connect   Who did the voters choose? Check out the ‘five-star’ Preliminary jumpers from Exmoor On Tuesday, we asked you to vote for the ‘f…

Friday’s Fashion – Classy light jackets to rule the spring season | Eventing Connect   This series features fashion “must have” items for riders and their horses. Tune in every Friday with your (or your parents’ …

This show jumper can’t be tamed – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   This show jumper can’t be tamed – VIDEO Break Once a horse knows how to jump it can be hard to keep contained. Paddock fences, stal…

Training horses isn’t math – Quit thinking like a human | Eventing Connect   Training horses – Essay questions, not math questions! It’s fairly easy to think of Eventing, and horse training in general, in t…

Every equestrian has a superpower… What’s yours? | Eventing Connect   Every equestrian has a superpower… What’s yours? You may not be able to shoot laser beams out of your eyes or fly but you are an …

Rider Connect from Bit of Britain: Emily Maner | Eventing Connect   Rider Connect sponsor: Bit of Britain has been a trusted source for quality horse tack and equestrian clothing since 1987. Ride…

“Woah Shamrock!” OTTB takes man on the ride of his life – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   “Woah Shamrock!” OTTB takes man on the ride of his life – VIDEO Break Inexperienced rider, Nick Bull got more than he bargained for…

Exmoor H.T. Training cross-country - Photo gallery | Eventing Connect   Exmoor H.T. Training cross-country – Photo gallery Over the weekend, hundreds of Florida-based eventers contested at the inaugural…

An improbable prospect becomes a dream horse – Zeba | Eventing Connect   Eventing Connect writer, Christa Dillon shared her story about an improbable horse that became her dream horse. This has inspired …

This dog is ready for its first Grand Prix – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   This dog is ready for its first Grand Prix – VIDEO Break This little dog has more scope than your average horse. Clearly it was a G…

Take a ride back in time with this 1993 Badminton CCI4* action – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   Take a ride back in time with this 1993 Badminton CCI4* action – VIDEO Break Yesterday, the 2017 Badminton Horse Trials (May 3rd-7t…

Check out the Badminton CCI4* entry list – 85 accepted and 36 on the waitlist | Eventing Connect   Check out the Badminton CCI4* entry list – 85 accepted and 36 on the waitlist Finally, the 2017 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse T…

The show jumping warm-up tactic that you need to know | Eventing Connect   The show jumping warm-up tactic that you need to know Do you ever wish that you could ride around your show jumping course once for…

12 GOOD habits that every rider should develop | Eventing Connect   12 GOOD habits that every rider should develop When equestrians think of ‘habits’ they usually think of bad ones such as lookin…

Win a custom halter if your horse has the coolest Irish-themed name | Eventing Connect   Win a custom halter if your horse has the coolest Irish-themed name We are thrilled to partner with Perri’s Leather and bring you…