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Snaffle Bits

General Horse Articles - Making Sense of Snaffles
Sharpen up your knowledge about snaffle bits.

The snaffle is the mildest bit you can use on a horse. Both western and English riders use snaffles.

They have two rings, which attach to the bridle, and a mouthpiece that is hinged to the rings.

The mouthpiece may be unjointed (one piece) or jointed (two pieces joined in the middle). The thinner the mouthpiece, the more severe the bit. If a snaffle has a thick mouthpiece it is probably quite mild.

Snaffles are good bits to use on young horses. Youngsters have soft mouths, and you don’t want to harden them up by using strong bits like Kimberwicks or Pelhams.

If you’ve just bought a new horse, ride him in a snaffle before you try a stronger bit. If he goes    nicely in a snaffle, stick with it.

If you plan on doing dressage on your horse, remember that most of the lower-level tests require you to ride your horse in a simple snaffle bit. You’ll be disqualified if you show up using a stronger bit like a Pelham.

Here are the most common snaffle bits.

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A D-ring snaffle is a single-jointed bit with a rubber or metal mouthpiece. D-shaped rings at each end prevent the bit from being pulled through the horse's mouth. This is a super bit for a quiet or young horse.
This bit has 4- to 5-inch-long cheekpieces that put pressure on the sides of a horse's mouth and cheek, giving the rider more steering power. If your horse is hard to turn, this is the bit for him.
Loose Ring
Sometimes called an O-ring by western riders. The round rings on the sides of this mild bit are not fixed to the mouthpiece. A loose ring snaffle is often used on youngsters and dressage horses.
An unjointed snaffle is made of rubber and is very mild. It is often used on young or green horses. Some people call them "dog bone bits."
The rings on the side of an eggbutt bit are fixed to the mouthpiece. This is a mild bit, often seen at shows on horses competing in hunter classes.
This is a severe snaffle with a twisted mouthpiece. When you pull on the reins, it feels rough against the horse's mouth. This bit is often used on strong horses or horses that pull a lot.
This bit is "double-jointed." The two sections of the mouthpiece are joined together by a shaped, rounded plate that lies on a horse's tongue. It's a mild bit and can relax a horse with a stiff jaw. The full cheeks on the bit give the rider more steering power by putting pressure on the side of a pony's face and mouth.



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