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Bit Function Gurus

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Last activity 2018-09-11 7:22 AM
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   General Discussion -> Barrel Talk
Reg. Feb 2008
Posted 2018-09-10 8:47 AM
Subject: Bit Function Gurus

Miss Laundry Misshap

Posts: 4944
 This has been bothering me for awhile.

Snaffles.   1 piece broken snaffles.  Interested in severity and why choose one over the other. 

There are so many types.  Break them down for me.  
1. Smooth 
2. Twisted
3. Square

I know more about dogbone and chain.   I've been steering away from regular snaffles because of my fear of Tom Thumb bits, but I also realize those have a shank which makes them that much worse.  But isn't any single broken bit somewhat severe?

I have a horse with a hole in his palate from a Tom Thumb.  So I'm a bit cautious when it comes to snaffles at all, but I know that thousands use them and I'd like to learn some more. 
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Reg. Feb 2013
Posted 2018-09-10 10:06 AM
Subject: RE: Bit Function Gurus

Married to a Louie Lover

Posts: 3159
So my thoughts...

I run my open horse in a 2 piece smooth CM44 style bit and I work my colt currently in a 2 piece twist wire snaffle.

A two piece snaffle is going to work primarily on the bars of the mouth. The nutcracker action happens when you pull severely with both hands at once - as good riders we should always be trying to avoid that with any bit. A 3 piece bit has less bar and more tongue action, since the tongue is fleshy and the bars aren’t folks seem to feel better about tongue pressure over bar pressure.

My open horse is broke, rides one handed, and needs more leg than hand on the pattern. I’ve run him in everything from hacks to chain snaffles to 3 piece bits. He gets pushy and front endy with tongue pressure - the video of Dena Kirkpatrick on Jim Edwards bits explains why this happens - basically horses go to pressure naturally, we have to teach them to move away from it, in a nutshell. He’s happiest running in this bit and we’ve been working well in it.

The colt I’m riding in a 2 piece twisted wire snaffle has an old, healed tongue injury, almost severed actually. He has no feeling across his tongue - making a bit that relies on tongue pressure pointless. He gets along in a smooth snaffle ok, but the twist he is much more responsive to. Making a horse soft to hand cues is a balancing act between not making them afraid of the bit, but using a bit they respect. I have to use too much hand on him in a smooth snaffle to get my point across, that does nothing to soften him.

I’m a bigger fan of a twisted snaffle over a square mouthpiece. I feel the square edge is too harsh on a the bars and lips. But I can see it’s place in the tack room - personally it would be reserved for older horses who have been made hard mouthed with hard hands over the years.
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Reg. Jan 2014
Posted 2018-09-10 3:36 PM
Subject: RE: Bit Function Gurus


Posts: 1835
It's not all about the mouth piece. Are you asking about a snaffle mouth piece on an O-ring, D-ring, shanked, etc.? Heavy weight or light? Large diameter or small? Sooo.... many factors go into a bit.

Just talking about the mouth piece and using your three choices, all weighted the same, and relative in size:

Smooth would be the least severe. It is softer on the bars & cheeks of their mouth because it doesn't have an edge on it like the square or twisted wire would have. It also distributes pressure evenly.

The twisted wire would be more severe than the smooth and the square the most severe of the three.

Both the twisted and square place pressure over a smaller area. It would be like taking a rubber band and pulling it down over the top of your arm compared to a piece of floss. The less surface area the more it hurts. The square has the sharp edges that make it bite into the horses bars. You usually will get a quicker response for a dull mouth but it can also destroy a mouth if in the wrong hands.

I think people need to think more of how the snaffle comes in contact with the horses cheeks and bars than their palate. I know it has a break in it but unless you're using draw reins or something that pulls the bit in a downward direction, you are mainly working off their cheeks and bars. But... that's just my opinion.
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cheryl makofka
Reg. Jan 2011
Posted 2018-09-11 12:28 AM
Subject: RE: Bit Function Gurus

The Advice Guru

Posts: 6418
If you google myler bitting anatomy they explain it very good.
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Reg. Feb 2008
Posted 2018-09-11 7:22 AM
Subject: RE: Bit Function Gurus

Miss Laundry Misshap

Posts: 4944
Great info!  Thank you!   Anyone else?  
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