The horse snaffle bits are one of the most widely used horse bits due to the many different varieties that are available for the productions in our company. A horse snaffle bit always contains a mouthpiece and bit rings as a bit shanks.
Snaffle bits apply pressure upon the bars, corners, tongue and in some cases the sides of the face.
Egg Butt Snaffle
The rings of an egg but are fixed directly to the mouthpiece and cause the mouthpiece to sit relatively still in the horse’s mouth, which often suits horses who are light in their contact or those with sensitive mouths.
Loose Ring Snaffle
The rings are attached to the mouthpiece section through holes which allow the bit rings and mouthpiece to be able to move around in the horse’s mouth, loose rings are great for horses prone to leaning or taking hold of the bit.
Bit cheeks form a sidebar that sits at the side of the horse’s mouth, assisting with steering and preventing the bit from being pulled through the horse’s mouth. There are several different cheek variations:
Fulmer Cheek – The mouthpiece has both upper and lower sidebars which are subsequently also attached to loose rings at either side, this allows the mouthpiece to remain mobile in the horse’s mouth as well as aiding turning control.
Hanging Cheek – The hanging cheek comprises of an egg butt ring which is attached to the mouthpiece and forms the rein attachment and also a further ring that sits above it to which the cheek pieces of the bridle attach to. The hanging cheek remains fairly still in the horse’s mouth and the bit’s action applies more pressure to the bars of the mouth than other snaffles would as well as some poll pressure to help with lowering the head.
Full Cheek – The mouthpiece attaches directly to both the upper and lower cheek bars and from here there is a ring for the horse reins and cheekpieces to be attached.
Half Cheek bits – The half cheek horse bits have either an upper or lower section to the side cheek bar of the horse.
Snaffle Bits can be made of a number of different materials and in some cases a combination of two, such as:
Copper – copper bits can help encourage salivation.
Sweet Iron – sweet iron also encourages salivation due to its sweet taste.
Rubber – Rubber bits although soft on the horse’s mouth, some bits especially vulcanite can be a little bit on the chunky side and so may not suit every horse. Rubber bits are often used on youngsters due to their softer nature
Stainless Steel – stainless steel bits are very durable and the majority of horses go very well in.
Bits are measured from between the mouthpiece rings and are usually available in sizes ranging from 3, 3.5, 4, 4 1/4, 4.5, 4 3/4, 5, 5 1/4, 5.5, 5 3/4 and 6 inches.
There are a number of mouthpieces available that vary in both thickness and design:
Single Jointed Snaffle
Single jointed bits have one central link going across the mouthpiece giving one point of pressure on the surface of the tongue so that as the horse reins are used the bit begins to close causing a nutcracker action to take place upon the surface of the tongue.
Double Jointed Snaffle
Double-jointed bits are made up of two links going across the mouthpiece when pressure from the horse reins is applied the nutcracker action occurs upon the tongue over where the two links are positioned. The severity of the double joint will depend on the middle section of the mouthpiece:
The French Link, for example, is a gently curved middle portion that when the rein is applied and the nutcracker action comes into play over the central link and will apply mild pressure across the tongue.
Dr. Bristol, on the other hand, has a straight and more angled edge to it which when rein pressure is applied will cause a more severe point of pressure upon the horse tongue increasing the severity of the horse bits action.
A bit made up of multiple links will apply a variety of pressure points upon the tongue.
Low Port or Mullen Mouth Snaffle
A snaffle bit that is ported will curve upwards allowing plenty of room for the horse’s tongue when the rein is applied the pressure will be applied across the surface the tongue and on the bars of the mouth. This type of bit is particularly useful for horses who have very fleshy tongues.
Straight Bar Snaffle
The mouthpiece of a straight bar is as it sounds a single bar that contains no links and attaches directly to the rings.
The mouthpiece contains either one or more twists and is considered to be a more severe bit due to the pressure that the twists will apply on the tongue when the rein is applied. The pressure of the twisted mouthpiece increases if there is a single joint in the middle and if the twists themselves are very thin.
Roller snaffles bits contain moveable sections that literarily roll across the horse’s tongue and help the horse to relax their mouths and play with a horse bit helping to prevent them from leaning or taking hold of the horse bit. Examples include the Cherry roller horse bit and the Magennis snaffle bits both of which have moveable rollers positioned within them.
Snaffle Rings And Cheeks
The mouthpiece attaches to rings at either side and it is from these rings that the bridle horse reins and cheekpieces are attached to. There are several types of rings available:
Fitting A Snaffle
Horse snaffle bits should sit within the corners of the horse mouth and depending on the horse’s lips with either one to two wrinkles. The snaffle mouthpiece should extend about 1/4 of an inch beyond the lips so that it will not cause pinching. Fulmer snaffles should also be secured to the cheek pieces by Fulmer keepers which will prevent the bit sides form moving.