Choosing the right bit for your Horse

Are you looking for a bit for your hose? With so many different choices, how to choose the right one? We have to warn you that you will have to spend some time until you find the one that suits your horse the best. Luckily, there are a few questions that will help you find the right type:

  • Will you be riding English or western?
  • If competing, which discipline will it be?
  • What is your horse riding skill?
  • How was your horse trained?
  • What is the shape and size of your horse’s mouth?

The best way to find the suitable bit for your horse it to choose the mildest one possible but the one that also allows you to communicate easily with your horse. Anything besides that can cause discomfort or even pain to your horse. That’s why it’s really important to check various types of bits until you find the one that will be comfortable for your horse. Invest a little bit of your time in this because your decision will impact every aspect of your riding.

Types of bits

As we said, it’s best to ride in the mildest bit so you and your horse can really enjoy your rides. Many horses will go very well in some sort of simple snaffle but sometimes, you will have to try out more bits to find the best one. Most horses are trained from the start in a snaffle and have also been ridden in snaffles all the time. But, be careful because the snaffle bit can be quite harsh if you’re heavy-handed.  

“If you have a bit with 3:1 leverage, your horse feels 4,5 kg (10 pounds) of pressure three times faster than he would if you applied 4,5 kg of pressure with a non-leverage bit like a snaffle.”

Some riders will decide to get a curb bit, or a long shanked mechanical hackamore instead of the milder bit. If you notice your horse is hard mouthed, it’s because you have been riding with inconsiderate hands. Of course, we’re not saying there is something wrong with curb bit but you will have to understand how it works and how to use it properly.

Horse’s mouth

The thing we can’t forget to mention when talking about choosing the right bit for your horse is horse’s mouth and dental condition. If you notice your horse is troubling with holding the bit, tossing his head, stiffening his jaw and poll, or lolling his tongue, it’s probably due to the uncomfortable bit. Also, overgrown teeth can impact the way bit sits in his mouth, so you should pay attention to that. For hard fit horses, you will maybe have to consider buying a bitless bridle.

Steps to choosing a bit for your horse:

  1. Check the requirements for horse shows.
  2. Start with a snaffle.
  3. Measure the horse’s mouth.
  4. Choose the ring shape.
  5. Choose mouthpiece.
  6. Check the mouthpiece comfort.






Always try to keep in mind what type of bit has your horse previously used. This doesn’t mean that a horse can’t start using curb bit after milder, you just have to be sure it’s the right choice for him. Check out different bites before you decide to buy. The biggest myth is assuming that because a horse is a big animal, the pressure to control him is big and strong when, actually, horses just need tiny bits of information to get with the program.


Remember to check out Oakford Stockfeeds for all your equestrian needs!

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