Bit Evaluation

Bits can range from 0 being least severe up. The most severe bit on my page is a 25, designed for rodeo events on fast, strong horses. Please take these ratings with a dose of common sense and a grain of salt. If a rider has rough hands, it will make any bit more severe. And no formula is going to give a complete picture of how a bit works for a particular horse. This is just a starting point for comparison. The cannon measurement gives the width of the mouthpiece (how fat it is). The link measurement tells how long the middle link of a French Link bit is. I list the bit
weight because I have noticed there's a lot of difference, D's and full cheeks usually weigh more. See the diagram of bit parts (the link is above) for info on measurements of cheek, shank, and purchase.

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This is a Robart french link snaffle that I sometimes use on my Foxtrotter in CTR rides. It's light, but is thin enough that I can control him if he wants to act like a bronco. The link rotates on this bit, so it can sit at a comfy angle for the horse. The bit is made of cyprium, a type of metal that keeps the horse's mouth moist.
12 mm cannons
48 mm link
link rings on cannon rotate, but will tend to lie perpendicular to the tongue (they dig, but they are smalller and so likely will dig less than those on the Happy Mouth full cheek french link below)
~1/2 lb.
severity = 1 - very mild

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This is a Herm Sprenger Hunter Liene Dee, a new trail bit for Rhythm and Luna. I
prefer non-O ring bits for trail as they are less likely to pull into the horse's mouth for a one rein emergency stop, plus I often ride on trail with a bit hanger which also allows more side to side movement. The rings on the cannons that attach the link lie nicely on the horse's tongue. Note how the KK Ultra shown below has the
link set at a slight angle as compared to this bit. The middle link is a hair longer than the Ultra's, too. This bit is German Silver, it has copper content.
16 mm cannons
40 mm link
link rings on cannon lie parallel to the tongue (they do not dig)
3/4 lb.
severity = negative 2 - extremely mild

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This is a Herm Sprenger KK Ultra Bradoon, Luna's dressage bit. The rings on the cannons that attach the link lie nicely on the horse's tongue. This bit is made of
Aurigan, a metal with copper content and no nickle.
14 mm cannons
38 mm link
link rings on cannon lie parallel to the tongue (does not dig)
1/2 lb.
severity = 0 - very mild

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This is a Herm Sprenger KK Ultra snaffle, Rhythm's dressage bit. The rings on the cannons that attach the link lie nicely on the horse's tongue. This bit is made of
Aurigan, a metal with copper content and no nickle.
18 mm cannons
38 mm link
link rings on cannon lie parallel to the tongue (they do not dig)
3/4 lb.
severity = 0 - very mild

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This is a Happy Mouth full cheek french link, it's a 4 3/4" mouth. I got this for Luna, but the link rings end up right over her bars. Compare the link measurement of this bit with the KK Ultra. It rates as more mild since it's a full cheek and is more stable than a loose ring bit. This bit is made of an "apple scented" plastic. I can't smell apple, but my horse's mouth does stay moist.
14 mm cannons
50 mm link
link rings on cannon lie perpendicular to the tongue (they can dig)
3/4 lb.
severity = -2 (negative 2) - very mild

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This is a bit made by Montana Silversmiths, it's one in the John Lyon's series. It has copper strips inset in the sweet iron mouthpiece, which is curved to lie nicely in the horse's mouth. Jeff uses it as an alternate bit for Vaengur.
11 mm cannons
~1/2 lb.
severity = 2

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This is a uxeter kimberwicke by Partrade. It has a western correction mouthpiece.
This is a bit Jeff uses on our Icelandic, who is well trained, but likes to go sprinting now and then on a joy tolt (or sometimes gallop). It has a copper middle link and is otherwise stainless steel.
4" cheek
1 3/4" purchase
1 3/4" shank OR 0" shank if reins are attached to higher slot
14 mm cannons
~1 1/4 lb.
severity = 11 - moderate - with reins on low slot (curb)
severity = 1 - very mild (? really) - with reins in higher slot (snaffle)

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This is a Shrake full cheek snaffle. I use it on the Foxtrotter when I pony or when I think he will incessantly try to graze. It is like a boucher in that there are headstall rings. The cannons are 14 mm at the lips, but are narrower at the bars. At the bars they are 11 or 12 mm so severity is calculated as such. I like this bit, but it's kind of heavy. This bit is made of sweet iron inset with copper strips.
14-12 mm cannons
1 lb.
severity = 2 - mild

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This is another Shrake full cheek snaffle. Jeff used it on the Icelandic for a while, but Vaengur really lugs on this bit. Again, this is like a boucher as it has the headstall rings. I like this bit, but prefer a jointed snaffle to a mullen type mouth. This bit is made of sweet iron inset with copper strips.
11 mm cannons
3/4 lb.
severity = 2 - mild

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This is a Happy Mouth D ring mullen, it's plastic. I used this on my Foxtrotter to start him out with dressage work when I first got him. He did not understand jointed snaffle bits. While this bit didn't have a lot of control, it did help him relax and learn that bit contact was not going to hurt him. He eventually progressed into a jointed snaffle, which allows more subtle cues. This is more of the apple scented
plastic. My horse seemed to like this stuff.
20 mm cannons
~1/2 lb.
severity = 0 - very mild

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This is a Myler forward tilt ported barrel bit with copper inlays. It has a rein slot on the rings, so it can be a curb or a snaffle. I tried it as a trail bit on my Foxtrotter, but never really liked it too much. It encourages a horse to flex at the poll. Since the mouthpiece is tilted forward, when the horse raises his head the bit automatically gives tongue pressure. Hence the horse learns to flex his head at the poll so the bit stays in the most comfy position. This bit is made of stainless steel and has copper strips inset.
6" cheek
1" purchase
1" shank OR 0" shank if reins are not attached to slot
11 mm cannons
~3/4 lb.
severity = 13 - moderate - with reins on low slot (curb), note 10 severity points
are for the forward tilted mouthpiece
severity = 2 - very mild - with reins not in the slot (snaffle)

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This is a Korsteel uxeter kimberwicke with a medium port and solid mouth. We don't use this bit, I got it for a horse I no longer have. I prefer jointed snaffles on trained horses, otherwise this is a fine bit. I believe this bit has copper content to keep the mouth moist.
4" cheek
1 3/4" purchase
1 3/4" shank OR 0" shank if reins are attached to upper slot
14 mm cannons
~3/4 lb.
severity = 3 - mild - with reins on lower slot (curb)
severity = -2 (that's negative 2) - very mild - with reins in upper slot (snaffle)

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This is a Reinsman ring snaffle with a copper mouth. I got it as a temp bit for Luna
while I was waiting for another bit to come in. It's too narrow for me to like it much.
9 mm cannons
~1/2 lb.
severity = 8 - moderate - 10 points are due to the thinness of the bit

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This is a Myler ported barrel short shank bit. We used to use it on the Icelandic.
It's made of stainless steel with copper strips inset.
5 3/4" cheek
2 1/2" purchase
3 3/4" shank
11 mm cannons
~3/4 lb. (with biothane curb strap)
severity = 15 - moderate

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This is a Happy Mouth mullen pessoa bit. I used this on my Foxtrotter when I first
got him and he required a stronger bit out on trail. It's made of the apple scented plastic. I think it's worth noting that this is the first bit I used on my Foxtrotter and he got easier to bridle with this bit, so I think he liked the material for whatever reason.
7 1/4" cheek
2" purchase (with gag slid as far up as possible)
5 1/4" shank OR 3 1/4" shank on middle ring OR 0" shank if used as a boucher snaffle
20 mm cannons
~1/2 lb.
severity = 27 - severe - if used with longest shanks
severity = 23 - severe - if used with shorter shanks
severity = -1 (negative 1) - moderate - if used as a snaffle

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This is a calvary shank bit, it's a Reinsman Mike Beers Collection Header bit (for a roping horse). We don't own this one. It has copper cannons.
9" cheek
3" purchase
6" shank
15 mm cannons
~1 lb.
severity = 25 - very severe

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This is a wonder gag bit with an iron mouthpiece. We don't own this one.
7 3/4" cheek
1 3/4" purchase
6" shank
12 mm cannons
~3/4 lb.
severity = 23 - severe


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