After hopping from horse to horse over the last several months, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to try out various bits in my arsenal on my rides.
Like any other equestrian, I’ve got a fair share of bits in my arsenal, ranging from varying snaffles, to the Wonder bit I ran Foster in, and up to and including Waterfords and a slow twist full cheek snaffle.
Assuming the size is appropriate, the first bit I try on any new ride is my double jointed snaffle. If the horse is young or green, typically I pull out the full cheek version for a bit of stability.
Smitty and Riley both seemed rather mouthy with this bit, so the next move for me tends to be the single jointed snaffle. Normally this does the trick, and it did/has with both of those guys.
Foster was a bit trickier in the mouth, so we played around with several options before I found what worked for him. That ended up being a shaped Herm Sprenger bit that allowed him space for his fat tongue, but kept all the mechanics of your typical loose ring.
I definitely subscribe to the idea that all horses are individuals and not ever one is going to appreciate a simple snaffle. As a rider, it’s our job to learn what our mounts appreciate, and don’t appreciate, and pair smart bitting choices with tactful hands. In my opinion, sometimes a stronger bit is a good idea if it prevents unsafe runaways and allows the rider to use minimal tugging and pulling in order to maintain control.
What about you? What bits do you have in your arsenal? Do you have a go-to bit that you try on all horses? What is the strangest or most unique bitting solution you have used?
PS, if you want to learn about how bits work, this is a fairly good video showing varying bit mechanics:
Snaffles if at all possible, then single link, etc