Tel: +31 13 5334505

How a bit works

Bits vary in size, shape and function and so each horse reacts differently to a particular bit. This is related to the shape of the oral cavity of the horse, and the sensitivity of the horse to the mechanism of the bit. Also the material of the bit plays a major part in the effect it has on a horse. A bit consists of a jaw piece and mouth piece. There are many combinations between jaw and mouth pieces which each exert a different effect on the horse.

The bit lies in the sensitive oral cavity of the horse. An incorrect choice, size, or use of a bit can lead to pain for the horse and can even cause damage to the horse's mouth. To avoid the pressure of a bit the horse might try and bring his tongue over the mouthpiece. Some horses put their entire tongue over the bit, but a large amount of horses only put a small part of the tongue over the bit. Research has shown that a remarkable number of horses suffer from tongue problems. This proves why it is important to find a well fitting bit. The effect of the bit often coincides with the effect of the noseband; therefore it is important not only to look at the bit, but also to look in the combination with the noseband.

If you are looking for a bit in order to solve a problem, it is important to first identify the problem. If the problem is clear, it is often easier to offer advice in finding the right bit. Some problems you may encounter:

  • The horse is too strong
  • The horse is too light
  • There is no contact
  • The horse grabs the bit
  • The horse pulls up his tongue
  • The horse carries his tongue outside the mouth
  • The horse puts his tongue over the bit
  • The horse moves on the forehand
  • The horse drops out over the shoulder
  • The horse is difficult to steer

A bit might help to solve these problems, however, in order to provide you  with good advice, more background information is needed. If you fill out the assessment form, the result  will provide us with the relevant  information we need to help you.

Pressure points at mouth and side pieces
A bit creates pressure points so the rider can exert influence (communicate). Each bit has different pressure points. When choosing a bit it is possible to look at which pressure points are needed for a perfect communication. Among other things, a bit works on the tongue and bars ( the toothless part of the horse’s mouth) and on the poll. Different types of bits create pressure points on different places. In the pressure point overview you can see which pressure points arise from different jaw and mouthpieces.


Image: the different pressure points