Choosing the Right Bit for Your Horse: Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin A-273 (California Chronicles)

Choosing the Right Bit for Your Horse: Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin A-273 (California Chronicles)

Language: English

Pages: 35


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Jessica Jahiel explains everything you need to know about the different types of bits and how they work so that you can decide which one is best for your horse, your goals, and your budget. She also shows you how to position and adjust bits correctly and goes over the options for riders who prefer not to use a bit at all.

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factors to consider include the length of the shank and the purchase; the angle of the shank; whether the shank is fixed, hinged, or sliding; the type of mouthpiece; and the height, width, and angle of the port. All of these factors affect your horse’s comfort and the level of communication you can achieve. Determining a Bit’s Balance The balance of a ported curb (or leverage) bit determines how it hangs in the horse’s mouth and, thus, determines how much rein pressure will cause the port

touches the dowel. Then take a ruler and measure the distance between the two spots. This is the width of your horse’s mouth. Keep this measurement with you when you go bit shopping. Another option is to bring a bit from home to the tack shop, but if you do be sure that you know how that bit fits your horse’s mouth — snugly, loosely, or “just right”? Bit Width Width matters, regardless of the bit you are using, but there is a little more leeway in sizing if the bit has a straight-bar,

form of rubber that is extremely hard and not easily bitten or chewed. Vulcanite bits retain their shape and strength for a long time, and horses generally don’t object to its texture or taste. Copper is a soft metal that should never be used in its pure form in bits, though it is occasionally, as it is extremely soft and can be deformed easily by a horse’s teeth. Copper causes horses to salivate freely and is a popular bit metal for this reason. “Copper” bits are typically made from an alloy

Curb chains and straps should be adjusted correctly, not so tight that they cause constant pressure nor so loose that they provide no pressure when the reins and bit are gently applied. Interestingly, the short leather straps you may see on racehorse bridles, loosely connecting the D-rings of the bit under the horse’s jaw, are often misidentified as curb straps but are not actually curb straps. They provide no leverage and merely keep the bit from sliding through the horse’s mouth when there is

jaws or try to hold the bit in his teeth to avoid painful pressure on more sensitive tissues. Still another horse might carry his head to one side, put his tongue over the bit, or hang his tongue out one side of his mouth (“tongue-lolling”). Being sensitive to and aware of such signs of discomfort distinguish the true horseman from a mere rider. A horseman reacts by determining the cause of the problem and putting it right so that the horse can be comfortable. A rider, on the other hand,

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