Bit by Bit: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Horse Bits

What is a Horse Bit?

Are you a horse rider? Have you ever questioned which are the best horse bits and how they work? If that’s the case, you’ve come to the correct spot.

This article will examine horse bits and their importance to equestrian activities. So let’s begin by understanding the fundamentals of horse bits so you can decide which is ideal for your horse.

Horse with a bit

What are the Uses of Equine Bits?

Equestrian bits are essential equipment for horse owners since they are used to guide and manage a horse when riding. The bit is inserted in the horse’s mouth and fastened to the harness, worn over the horse’s head. 

Equine bits may also teach horses to obey instructions like stop and go and react to the rider’s nonverbal cues. Equine bits, in addition to their practical purposes, can aid in increasing a horse’s balance when riding. Along with these classic applications, you can use certain contemporary bits to improve horse relaxation and well-being.

The Different Types of Horse Bits

Horses require adequate training and communication to ensure the safety of both the horse and the rider. It is critical to use the proper type of bit to do this. Bits are one of the most critical tools a rider has for communicating successfully with their horse.

There are different types of horse bits, each serving a specific purpose. Horse bits commonly used include snaffle, curb, pelham, and gag bits.

The most popular form of bit is a snaffle bit, which consists of stainless steel, copper, rubber, or synthetic materials. They typically feature a single-jointed mouthpiece with a moderate and gentle motion. Snaffles are the gentlest bit and the most pleasant for the horse, making them a favorite choice for starters.

Curb bits apply pressure to the horse’s mouth, chin, and poll, with the curb chain and shank applying pressure when you pull the reins.

Pelham bits are similar to curb bits, allowing riders to apply different pressure with a single rein. Gag bits aid in horse control because they have a leverage action that delivers pressure to the poll and mouth when you pull the reins.

How to Select an Equine Bit

Selecting a bit for your horse may be difficult. There are so many alternatives, making it hard to start. Here are some suggestions for choosing the finest bit for your horse.

While selecting the best training bits for your horse, keep your horse’s particular requirements and goals in mind. If you intend to utilize your horse in a show, it is preferable to use a high-quality bit such as a pelham or full cheek harness designed to help them compete better in the ring. 

On the other hand, those wishing to utilize their horse as a therapy animal should choose bits that are more suitable for this sort of work, such as a snaffle bit or a loose ring bit.

It is critical to consider the type of leather and the thickness of the leather when creating a headstall for your horse. Full-grain leather is the most resilient and resistant to stretching, cracking, and tearing, making it perfect for headstall construction. Buffalo skin is another excellent option since it is durable and softens with wear.

When choosing the leather’s thickness, choosing a thickness suitable for its intended usage is advisable. Also, it is crucial to examine the suppleness of the leather since a headstall should feel pleasant and not unduly rigid on the horse’s skin.

Apart from the headstall, choose a bit that is comfortable for your horse’s mouth. Look for smooth bits with rounded edges that are not too tiny or huge for your horse’s mouth. Examine the thickness and width of the bit and its manufacture to ensure your horse is comfortable while wearing it. 

Additionally, the cheeks should fit securely on the horse’s head, allowing for some movement in the jaw while maintaining control. Moreover, ensure the bit has adequate area to accommodate the horse’s tongue and lips. 

The bit in the horse mouth

A Quick Look at Our Preferred Picks

Product nameBest forFeatures
Equisential by Professionals Choice Equine Wonder Smooth Snaffle Bit Best overall horse bit-It comes with various mouthpieces.
-It is possible to use two sets of reins simultaneously.
-Offers leverage when you connect the reins with the rings.
The Bob Avila Collection by Professionals Choice Equine Signature Shank Signature Mouthpiece Bit Best professional choice horse bit-It features a roller made of stainless steel.
-The mouthpiece metal alloy is soft and gentle.
-It’s a one-of-a-kind combination of control and refinement.
Shires Full Cheek Snaffle with Copper Peanut Best full cheek horse bit-It works with any snaffle mouthpiece.
-The design is whole cheek.
-It features a peanut core made of copper.
Shires Equestrian Double Jointed Copper Lozenge Pelham Best double jointed horse bit-The reins are attached to the bottom ring.
-Reins are linked to the upper rings.
-It is suitable for use with one or two sets of reins.
Coronet Kimberwick Uxeter Bit Best beginner choice horse bit-Compatible with two rein sets.
-It is compatible with any mouthpiece.
-Connect the reins to the lower slots.
Shires Equestrian Double Jointed Copper Lozenge Pelham (5")
Equisential by Professionals Choice Equine Wonder Smooth Snaffle Bit
Shires Full Cheek Snaffle with Copper Peanut (5")
Product name
Shires Equestrian Double Jointed Copper Lozenge Pelham (5″)
Equisential by Professionals Choice Equine Wonder Smooth Snaffle Bit
Shires Full Cheek Snaffle with Copper Peanut (5″)
Price
$54.38
$37.99
$29.80
Shires Equestrian Double Jointed Copper Lozenge Pelham (5")
Product name
Shires Equestrian Double Jointed Copper Lozenge Pelham (5″)
Price
$54.38
Buy Now
Equisential by Professionals Choice Equine Wonder Smooth Snaffle Bit
Product name
Equisential by Professionals Choice Equine Wonder Smooth Snaffle Bit
Price
$37.99
Buy Now
Shires Full Cheek Snaffle with Copper Peanut (5")
Product name
Shires Full Cheek Snaffle with Copper Peanut (5″)
Price
$29.80
Buy Now

The Best Horse Bits Unpacked

Equisential by Professionals Choice Equine Wonder Smooth Snaffle Bit (Best Overall Horse Bit)

The amazingly smooth snaffle bit is a game changer for horseback riders. The wonder snaffle bit adds poll pressure to the regular motion of a loose ring snaffle, making it perfect for use with more experienced horses. This bit is of high-quality stainless steel intended for comfort and performance. 

The wonder bit’s smooth, ergonomic form helps to eliminate irritation and discomfort in the horse’s mouth. Because of its lightweight construction, the bit does not weigh down the horse’s head, allowing for a more responsive ride. The bit is appropriate for all riders, whether professional or beginner.

Brand: ‎Equisential by Professionals Choice

Highlights

  • Expert choice.
  • Wonder snaffle bit.
  • Sweet iron.
  • 7.5 in (19.05 cm) cheek.
  • 5.25 in (13.34cm) mouthpiece.

Considerations

  • Attaches the reins to the lowest rings for the most leverage.
  • It is possible to utilize two sets of reins simultaneously.
  • It is available with a variety of mouthpieces.
  • Connect the reins to the largest rings for the least leverage.

Best Suited For

  • Giving a small starting rider a greater connection to the bit.
  • Adding greater control temporarily in unfamiliar, high-energy settings.
  • Horses that must keep their heads up.

The Bob Avila Collection by Professionals Choice Equine Signature Shank Signature Mouthpiece Bit (Best Professional Choice Horse Bit)

The Bob Avila collection is ideal for expert riders with light hands and western horses already well-trained to curb bits. This mouthpiece bit provides horses with a one-of-a-kind blend of control and refinement. 

The distinctive shank structure reduces nutcracker action, and the mouthpiece consists of a soft and gentle metal alloy on the horse’s mouth. This bit also has a stainless steel roller to help your horse to make contact and maintain a consistent pace. With the help of the Bob Avila collection bits, you may exercise extreme control and finesse.

Brand: The Bob Avila Collection by Professionals Choice

Color: Stainless steel

Available size: 5 in (12.7 cm)

Considerations

  • It can become quite harsh in the wrong hands.
  • Pressure is applied mostly on the jaw and the roof of the mouth.
  • It helps horses learn to lift through the shoulders while keeping the poll flexible.

Best Suited For

  • Horses with a curb bit training background.
  • Western equines.
  • Riders with advanced skills and light hands.

Shires Full Cheek Snaffle with Copper Peanut (Best Full Cheek Horse Bit)

The shires full cheek snaffle with copper peanut suits horses who want more reinforcement when stopping and turning. The full cheek design keeps the bit secure in the horse’s mouth, and the copper peanut core applies mild pressure to encourage the horse to respond favorably to the rider’s signals. 

This snaffle is additionally bent to fit the shape of the horse’s mouth and give more comfort. The shires full cheek snaffle is a wonderful alternative for individuals looking for dependable and responsive performance in horses requiring additional guiding.

Brand: ‎Shires

Color: ‎Steel

Available size: ‎‎4.5 in (11.3 cm)

Considerations

  • It is compatible with any snaffle mouthpiece.
  • Cheekpieces provide control by applying pressure to the horse’s side of the face.
  • To keep the cheekpieces in place, insert the tops into the leather “keepers” on the harness.

Best Suited For

  • Starters.
  • Best bit for a horse that throws his head.

Shires Equestrian Double Jointed Copper Lozenge Pelham (Best Double Jointed Horse Bit)

The shires equestrian double-jointed copper lozenge pelham bit is ideal for experienced horses that require a tune-up and prefer to elevate their heads to avoid the bit. 

The bit’s distinctive double-jointed design applies gentle and steady pressure to the horse’s mouth, resulting in a more consistent reaction. 

Its copper lozenge provides acceptability for the horse, and its adjustable reins enable usage by both starters and expert riders. The shires equestrian double-jointed copper lozenge pelham bit is ideal for developing a dependable and steady horse.

Brand: ‎Shires

Available size: ‎4.5 in (11.3 cm)

Considerations

  • When the reins link to the lowest ring, use a curb chain.
  • It is compatible with a wide range of mouthpieces.
  • Reins connected to top rings provide direct pressure on the mouth.
  • Reins linked to the bottom rings will exert pressure on the poll.
  • It is suitable for use with one or two sets of reins.

Best Suited For

  • Horses who elevate their heads to avoid the bit.
  • Riders of all levels, with reins adjusted accordingly.
  • Advanced horses that require a tune-up.

Coronet Kimberwick Uxeter Bit (Best Beginner Choice Horse Bit)

The Coronet Kimberwick Uxeter bit is ideal for beginning riders who want a greater connection to their horse. Its adaptable shape delivers pressure to the poll, sides of the mouth, and chin, making it perfect for the best bit for a horse that won’t stop elevating their heads to avoid the bit. 

With its exceptional craftsmanship and sturdy construction, this bit is the ideal option for a dependable, comfortable ride.

Brand: ‎Coronet

Color: ‎Silver

Available size: 4.5 in (11.3 cm)

Considerations

  • For extra leverage, attach reins to lower slots.
  • Used in conjunction with a curb chain.
  • It is compatible with any mouthpiece.
  • It is compatible with two sets of reins.

Best Suited For

  • Beginner riders who require a more secure connection to the bit.
  • Strong horses.
  • Horses elevate their heads to avoid the bit.

Some Reader Questions Answered

Which Bit Is Best for a Horse That Pulls a Lot?

Try moderate bits, such as a pee wee or mullen bits, or even a bitless bridle, and practice holding on to the front of the saddle to let the horse “self-correct” if the bit bothers it.

My Horse Tends to Lean. Which Bit Should I Get?

A waterford bit with loose rings is tricky for horses to lean on since they can’t easily catch hold of it. It is not suitable for beginners.

I Have a Bolter. Is There a Bit That Will Help?

Practicing a one-rein stop and emergency dismount is crucial since you cannot rein in a fleeing horse by pulling back on the reins. You can use this method anywhere with great speed and power when the going gets tough.

Which Bit Is Best for Equine Buckers?

A horse cannot buck until their head is down. Therefore, maintain your hands firm and high. A leverage bit can provide more lifting strength if the horse tries to tear the reins from your hands and buck. 

It is the ideal remedy for horses who buck in an attempt to frighten their rider and get out of labor. If your horse is bucking because of pain or confusion, the leverage bit will keep you safe but won’t cure the problem. Continue to seek answers from your veterinarian and trainer.

My Horse Rears. Which Bit Should I Buy?

Use extreme caution when bitting horses who rear since they may rear in reaction to pain or bewilderment. Training them to soften and submit to any type of pressure, whether in their mouth, on their poll, or anywhere else on their body, is critical. Rearing is risky, so work with a reputable trainer to address this issue.

What Is the Best Bit for a Horse That Crosses Its Jaw?

A figure-8 noseband is easier to grasp than a loose-ring snaffle. If western show disciplines do not allow the use of this noseband, you could choose to train your horse to react to a hackamore.

Horse bit in mouth

Final Verdict

Ultimately, the ideal bit for you will be determined by your horse’s personality, training, and discipline, but each option has advantages and disadvantages. 

The best horse bit is the wonder smooth snaffle bit. It provides horses with optimal control and comfort. It’s composed of high-quality stainless steel and has a smooth, curved mouthpiece for added comfort and less pinching. It is perfect for bits for strong horses with sensitive mouths, and you can use it in various sports. It is a vital tool for both expert and inexperienced equestrians.

Select with attention and intention. The gentle horse bits may assist your horse in being comfortable and happy while working. It can save you money in the long term by reducing the cost of equipment and training. It can make your horse’s life easier and more pleasurable. When used inappropriately or use harsh horse bits, it can cause discomfort to your horse and significant difficulty to you.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Weaver Leather All Purpose Ring Snaffle Bit
Weaver Leather All Purpose Ring Snaffle Bit
Nickel Plated/Malleable Iron; Ring Snaffle Bit; 5″ Mouth Piece; 2-1/2″ Ring
$4.72
Bestseller No. 3
Horse Amour Bit Wipes (Peppermint)
Horse Amour Bit Wipes (Peppermint)
40 disposable wipes per canister; No added sugar for sweetness; combining peppermint with sweet Vermont mountain water
$22.49
Bestseller No. 4
Weaver Leather All Purpose Bit , 5'
Weaver Leather All Purpose Bit , 5″
Nickel Plated; 5″ Low Port Mouth; 7″ Cheek pieces; Country of Origin:China
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BIT Sizer
BIT Sizer
$9.69