Snaffles work with direct pressure with a straight line along the reins.
The connection between the reins and the mouthpiece are rings of different
shapes which are also attached to the bridle. Rein action is applied
to either one side of the bit or the other. Snaffle mouthpieces vary
from solid to broken, from smooth to twisted, from rubber to copper,
from narrow to thick. Snaffles acts on the mule=s tongue and lips. The
snaffle allows great influence of the mule=s lateral flexion. If a leather
curb is used with the snaffle it is attached above the reins on the
snaffle ring and has no leverage action when the reins are used.
A leather curb simply keeps a snaffle from being pulled through the
All snaffle bits have the same action: asking the horse's head to come
up and in towards the rider's hands along the line of the reins. THAT
IS ALL THAT THEY DO.
They do this by resting on the bars (but not acting on them if correctly
fitted), applying a small amount of pinpoint pressure on the tongue,
and predominantly acting on the corners of the mouth. Various modifications
introduce small nuances of difference, but basically ALL snaffle-type
bits have the same action.
LOOSE RING SNAFFLES
Hollow Mouth French Training Snaffle Bit
Loose Ring Hollow Mouth Bit
Solid Rubber Dog Bone Bit
Oval Mouth Loose
DEE RING SNAFFLES
D-Bit. Unless the shanks of the D-bit are very long (the straight part
of the cheek piece that the mouthpiece is attached to), they behave
exactly as an eggbutt.
Dee Ring Bit
Solid Mouth Dr. Bristol Bit
Solid Mouth Copper & Stainless Steel Roller Bit
Solid Mouth Barrel Bit
Jointed Rubber Covered Mouth Bit
Hunter Dee with French Link Bit
This bit was invented for economic reasons. It used to be very expensive
to smooth out the holes the rings passed through in a loose ring snaffle
(and if they weren't smoothed out, the horse developed irritated/pinched
lips), so someone had the great idea of fixing the joint away from the
lips to avoid the pinching. They
carry no advantage over a correctly fitted loose-ring snaffle IN GOOD
HANDS. With a loose-ring, a small rein aid results in movement of the
bit, so that the horse
can respond to a lighter, more invisible aid. However, with a novice
rider, this means that EVERY wobble on the rein is transmitted to the
horse. With a fixed cheek piece, only the "hard" wobbles go
to the horse's mouth.
Eggbutt Bit Correctional Port Barrel Bit
Curved Mouth French Link Eggbutt Bit
Slow Twist Bit
FULL CHEEK SNAFFLES
Full Cheek. The bit action itself is the same, but now there are cheek
pieces to give some advantages: keepers prevent the horse from turning
the bit over in his mouth (useful in young horses), and the cheek pieces
themselves supply some direct rein aid and can prevent a horse from
evading by crossing his jaw.
Ported Barrel Bit - Copper Inlay
Solid Mouth Dr. Bristol Full Cheek Bit
Solid Mouth Slow Twist Bit
Single Twisted Wire Full Cheek Bit
Copper Mouth Full Cheek Bit
HOLLOW MOUTH FULMER
Curb bits are any shanked bit using leverage. The leverage is established
by the extensions called shanks and the addition of a curb chain that
lies along the chin groove of the mule. The shanks which extend below
the mouth piece and attached to the reins define the severity by their
shape and length. The curb chain is attached to the bit at or above
the mouthpiece and squeezes the chin groove as the reins engage the
mouth piece. Curb chains can be made of single or double chain, rawhide
or leather. Curb bits may have mouthpieces that are straight, ported,
arched or jointed. The rein action of the curb bit affects the mule=s
tongue, bars, chin and poll. With a very high port it also affects the
hard pallet of the mule=s mouth. A curb is a bit with shanks and a chain
or strap under the jaw that acts as a fulcrum for the lever action of
the bit in the horse's mouth. It puts pressure on the bars, tongue and
jaw, the amount depending on the design of the
bit (longer shank -- more pressure on jaw, higher port -- more pressure
on roof of mouth) and the amount of contact you keep with the reins.
It raises a horse's head and neck and can make him tuck his nose. Used
poorly on a horse that has not learned how to give to a bit, it will
cause "stargazing" or a high head and stretched out nose.
A curb bit can be very painful to a horse; a light pull on the reins
with a long shanked curb is much more severe than a heavy pull on the
reins with a snaffle.
Kimberwicke bits are essential a D ring modified with a curb chain.
It combines functions of both the curb and snaffle. They are an adaptation
of the pelham with either straight, straight with port, mullen or jointed
mouth pieces. Ring cheek pieces are usually about 2 1/2" across
and may have slots in the rings (called Uxeter kimberwickes) to allow
for two different rein positions rather than the regular sliding rein
action. Shown here, the Uxeter Kimberwickes are versatile bits with
upper and lower reins slots for English riding disciplines. Reins in
the upper rein slots will increase pressure on the tongue, while reins
in the lower slots will increase leverage and apply curb chain pressure.
Kimberwick Ported Barrel Bit - Copper Inlay
Standard Rings Bit
Weymouth. This is a ported curb bit with a sliding cheek. The problem
with the port is that it is too narrow for the vast majority of horses'
tongues to fit, and therefore pinches the tongue. This may cause tongue
problems in some horses.
Another problem with this bit is that the sliding cheeks introduce a
sloppiness/looseness that is counter to the precision desired from the
Pelham bits have shanks and are most effective when used with two sets
of reins attached to give the effect of both snaffle and curb.
Pelham Ported Barrel Bit with Copper Inlay
Jointed Eggbutt Pelham Bit
Rubber Tom Thumb Pelham Bit
Fixed Cheek Polo Pelham Bit