Here are some things to remember when you’re selecting a bit:

  • The thicker the mouthpiece, the gentler the bit. Therefore, the thinner the mouthpiece, the harsher the bit.
  • The smoother the mouthpiece, the gentler it is. Twist bits are considered more severe.
  • Size matters. Make sure the bit is neither too narrow nor too wide for your horse’s mouth. The average bit is 5 inches wide, but that won’t work for every horse. There should be about an index finger width of space between your horse’s lip and the cheekpiece of the bit, on both sides.
  • The different cheeks or shanks can make a big difference. If they’re loose (or unattached), they have less pressure. If they’re attached, they provide more pressure.
  • Longer shanks will provide more pressure than shorter shanks. However, shorter shanks give less pressure quicker.

The world of bits is enormous, and you should research more information to make the best decision for you and your horse. Here is a good book that explains bits, the options, and how they work in detail. Also, feel free to email me and I’d be happy to discuss some bit options for your situation.

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