The bit forms the mouthpiece of the bridle and is one of the means by which a rider, via the reins, communicates with and directs the horse. There are many different types of bit, which can be classified into five types according to their mode of action (bit-less bridles form a further group). Snaffle bits are the mildest and should be the most commonly used. Other types of bit are generally more severe.
The bit must be of the correct size and fit to ensure it works correctly and is comfortable for the horse. Bits are available (in increments of 0.5 cm) in sizes ranging from 9 cm (3 inches) to 15 cm (6 inches). Bit sizes are measured along the length of the bar between the inner edges of each bit ring, when the bit is laid flat.
The size and shape of the mouth varies from horse to horse and, together with other factors (such as the individual’s age and level of schooling), need to be taken into consideration when selecting a suitable bit for an individual horse.
The action and strength of a bit may be altered or increased by the application of a different style of noseband, the type and fit of which will influence the degree of pressure on the nose.
Loose Ring Snaffle