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Bits & Bitting

 Essential points to note before choosing a mouthpiece 

The horse’s mouth

  • Get your horses mouth checked regularly. The dentist should visit once a year to ensure your horse's teeth and mouth are in tip top shape.
  • The shape of the mouth must also be taken into account. For example, if the horse has a shallow palate a bit with a high port may not be suitable

 The bit


  • The bit must fit comfortably in the horses mouth.
  • The bit is the correct width if you can fit your index fingers snugly between the horse's mouth and the rings of the bit. If the bit is too narrow it will pinch the horses mouth.
  • A correctly fitted snaffle bit should hang so the corners of the mouth are slightly wrinkled and the horse appears to be smiling.
  • Check the bit for sharp edges and signs of wear. Nickle plate bits may tarnish over time and should be checked for signs of bubbling.

 The Rider

  • The ability of the rider should be taken into account when chosing a bit. While any bit can cause pain if used incorrectly it makes sense to match inexperienced hands with milder bits.
  • Consult with your pony club/instructor about which bit is most suitable for you and your horse. It is nearly impossable to recommend the most suitable bit without seeing the horse and rider.