Basic Bit Types

For the traditional Hunter look, the Full Cheek Snaffle is available in a variety of mouthpieces. Each mouth piece determines the function of the bit. The full cheeks prevent the cheeks from pulling through the Horse’s mouth. And, when fitted with bit loops that attach to the bridle, the bit becomes more stable for increased lateral control.
Commonly seen today in the English events of breed association horse shows, the Kimberwick uses a curb chain for increased leverage. The Uxeter Kimberwick has two rein slots, each changing the desired result. The upper slot is used to increase the pressure on the tongue while the lower slot is used to increase leverage and curb chain pressure.
The Pelham bit, with its double set of reins, combines the function of a snaffle and the action of a curb bit. The top rein provides snaffle pressure to the tongue and corners of the moth, while the bottom rein increases leverage and curb chain pressure.
A very mild bit, the Eggbutt snaffle is designed wide enough to be gentle on the bars and will not pinch the horse’s mouth.
A functional bit for all types of training, the loose rings of a Ring Snaffle help increase the bit movement, promote salivation and keep the mouth soft and the body supple.
One of the most basic forms of bitting, the Dee Ring Snaffle is a relatively mild snaffle that comes in a variety of mouthpieces. Whether you are starting a horse, or just going back to the basics, this bit helps with lateral movement while achieving suppleness from jaw to tail.
One of the most basic shanked type snaffle bits, the Tom Thumb Snaffle serves as an excellent transition bit from a Ring Snaffle to a longer shanked snaffle or to a Curb Bit. This bit uses a small amount of curb pressure or leverage. The loose cheeks move independently allowing for more lateral flexibility.
The Double Rein Bit, as its name implies, can be used with four reins. This bit is also termed "Cowboy Pelham". For normal use, the reins are attached to the shanks. But with the dee rings located at the mouthpiece, the second set of rings help to activate more snaffle action similar to the English Pelham bit.
The Curb Bit, one of the major bit types, is considered a leverage bit because of the action of the curb chains. When the reins are pulled and the curb chain is engaged, it apples pressure to the chin groove. The term Grazing Bit is commonly referred to as a Curb Bit with the bit shanks bent back to allow the horse to graze.
The sliding action of the Gag Bit applies pressure to the lips and corner of the mouth. This action along with the give and take of the rider’s hands help elevate the horse’s front end. This bit is commonly use by barrel racers for the proper body position while turning the barrel. Some Gag Bits offer variable rein loops for greater lateral pull.
The hackamore is designed to create pressure just above the soft tissue of the nose. When the curb chain is engaged, it also applies pressure to the chin groove. Used by ropers and barrel racers, the Hackamore is designed for getting quick stops from forward motion. Hackamores are available with a variety of nose bands from moderate to severe. They include fleece lined leather, flat leather, braided leather, rubber, bicycle chain covered with rubber or plastic, laced leather, braided leather or rope. When combined with a mouthpiece, the Hackamore gains more lateral control.