Learn More About Snaffle Bits
Horse people love to talk bits and bitting. One subject sure to come up is Snaffle bits, they are among the most commonly used type of horse bits on the market today.
In the past most folks referred to snaffle bits as having a only single-jointed mouthpiece. But today the double- jointed version is popular and with good reason. Double-jointed mouthpieces eliminate the undesirable, pinching and "nutcracker action" often associated with bit evasion and defensive behaviors. The connection between horse and rider is different with snaffle bits than other designs. They relay information from the riders hands to the horse's mouth without the use of leverage.
How Snaffle Bits Work
The snaffle bit works through direct pressure to the horses tongue, bars, lips and jaw areas. It offers a mouthpiece connected to two side cheeks. The cheeks may vary in shape, size and amount of pressure they give. The cheek designs are also often associated with different riding disciplines.
Types and Variations of Snaffles
D Ring, Loose Ring, Egg butt, with lozenge, link, twisted mouthpieces made of steel, copper, and sweet iron metals… The types of snaffle bits out there seem to go on and on! The Loose Ring, for example, allows both the bit and the reins to pivot freely, which many riders like. It encourages the horse to mouth and engage the bit which in turn enhances the horse’s willingness to listen to what the bit is telling them. The Egg butt snaffle offers a thick, softer connection at the mouthpiece making it gentler and easy for the horse to wear.
Another type of snaffle that is common is the Full Cheek snaffle bit, which has a straight bar on either cheek. This is great for keeping the bit centered in the horses mouth and gives a clear signal of direction.
Using a Full Cheek snaffle bit adds emphasis to your direct reining. When you pull on the right rein, for example, the signal transmits to the horse by pulling on the right side of their mouth and the left cheek bar puts pressure on their left cheek. It’s a wonderful communication aid. Be sure to use keepers with a Full cheek snaffle bit to help the bit stay in the correct position in the horse’s mouth.
Short Shank Snaffle Bit
Any bit with a shank on it is, by definitions not a snaffle bit because it employs leverage in its movement. But Mikmar has designed the Flexion Combination Bit, a short shank snaffle bit that offers both a snaffle style mouthpiece and mild leverage options in one bit. This double-jointed, slanted/low port version of the original Mikmar solid style affords the rider a softer more lateral connection when using a leverage bit. It also utilizes a nose rope that disperses pressure to four areas on the horses head. The nose, mouth, chin and poll. This short shank snaffle style bit is versatile with different options for feel and function for all disciplines.