Last Updated on September 1, 2020
Best for Overall Comfort – Myler SS French Link Snaffle
This stainless steel ring comes in a number of sizes so you can make sure that you have the perfect fit for your horse. This bit, manufactured from stainless steel, has a copper inlay and is best suited for inexperienced horses or ones that are young. This makes it a great choice for use by new riders or people who do not have a lot of experience with horses in general.
One of the most important aspects of this bit is its ergonomic design. It has been specially made with the comfort of the horse in mind, as well as the communication between the horse and the rider. If you are looking for a bit that will allow you to communicate freely with your horse without worrying about them getting distracted and not wanting to pay attention to you, then this is the bit that you need to buy.
This bit is so popular partly because of the way that it is shaped and how this makes the horse so comfortable. There is a very low chance of the lip of your horse accidentally being pinched in the bit because the connection of the ring and the mouthpiece is kept far away from the lips. Although there is still a chance that your horse will pinch its lips, the likelihood of this happening is lessened.
Loose ring snaffles are very difficult for a horse to grab onto with their mouth because the mouthpiece is attached to sliding rings. This means that they won’t be able to hang onto the bit and ignore what the rider wants them to do.
Encourages a mobile tongue and relaxed jaw
Allows the rider plenty of control over the horse
Allows sensitive contact between the rider and the horse
Great for pleasure riding
Has very little risk of injury or pain to the horse
Horses with loose lips are at risk for being pinched
The rings provide very little resistance when you pull the bit laterally
The bit can go completely through the mouth when pulled very hard
Great for Starting a Horse on Bits – Combination Bit
This kind of bit is a mixture of a number of different bits, offering the best of the shank bit, ring bit, and Hackamore bit. With a large ring in the middle and two additional rings attached, this bit sits firmly on a horse without impeding their ability to breathe or to move. They are incredibly effective partly because they put pressure on various pressure points of the horse to ensure that the animal does what the rider wants it to do.
This is a great starter bit for a horse who has never used a bit before, and it’s also beneficial to use with horses who tend to try to do their own thing and need to be reminded that the rider is in charge, but in a gentle way that does not cause them any harm. This is a great bit to start out using on any horse as it allows them to get the feel of a bit, understand the communication from the rider, and learn how to respond.
It’s imperative that you give your horse time to get used to this bit, as it will likely be unlike anything that they have ever experienced in the past and you want to make sure that it is a good transition for them. Make sure that you tighten the bit very gradually and allow your horse to get used to it before tightening it completely. You will likely have to readjust your new bit a number of times to make sure that it is tight enough, even after you think that it is perfectly adjusted, as it will continue to stretch due to the leather.
These bits are perfect for a number of uses and can even be used in different competitions, including cross country jumping and Western timed events, making them useful to have on hand and to know how to use with your horse. They are not as gentle as a regular snaffle, but they can easily be used in a number of ways and are just fine for daily horse riding.
Very comfortable for the horse and provides gentle guidance from the rider
Pressure is dispersed in the horse’s mouth so there is no pain
Allows some “free play” for the horse
You consistently have to make sure that the bit is tight enough, which can be frustrating for new riders
When the bit is too tight it can be very uncomfortable for the horse
Versatile Bit with Lots of Uses – Kimberwick
This bit works a lot like a double bit without making it very difficult for the rider by requiring two separate bits. They combine the action of both the curb and snaffle into one bit and one rein, making them very easy to use, especially for beginners. The ported mouthpiece is very similar to a curb, and there are D-shaped cheeks where you can easily attach the cheek piece of the bridle.
Due to the combination of the leverage you get from the D-ring, the ported mouth, and the curb chain, this bit is the perfect hybrid of a curb bit. The D-rings on the side of the mouth have a few slots so you can choose where you want to attach the rein. Being able to attach the rein lower or higher on the D-ring ensures that you can get as much leverage as you need.
When attaching the reins to the D-ring, it’s important to note that the lower you attach your reins, the more leverage you will have. This is important for beginners or when you are working with a particularly strong-willed horse, as you will want to have as much leverage as possible without the risk of injury to the animal.
The curved bars of this bit ensure that your horse is not accidentally pinched when you are using this bit. The curve also ensures that there is enough room under the bit for your horse to easily and comfortably rest their tongue. While the bar does apply some pressure to the tongue, it is much more evenly dispersed than with other bits and ensures that your horse will not be uncomfortable.
Your horse is allowed some independent side movement when using this bit
It is one of the most comfortable bits for horses to use
It’s easy for beginners to learn how to use this bit
The optional copper roller on the bar will calm a nervous horse
Not a great choice when you need to train your horse to be very responsive to your movements
Best for Correction Help and Advanced Riding – Ported Snaffle
There may come a time when you need a bit that will help you correct some bad habits or behaviors that your horse has picked up somewhere. If this occurs, you will still want to make sure that you choose a bit that will be gentle yet firm so that you do not accidentally injure your animal. In this case, a ported snaffle may be the perfect bit for your horse, due to the pressure it can put on a horse’s mouth and how it will not allow your animal to get its tongue over the snaffle.
Some ported snaffle bits have very low ports, while others have much higher ones. Lower ports allow a lot of room for the horse’s tongue, so if you are having issues with your horse getting their tongue over the bit, then you will want to opt for a higher port. There is another reason why you may want to invest in a ported snaffle bit for your horse, especially if they are particularly spirited and you have a lot of problems controlling them and getting them to follow your commands.
High ports will press into the roof of the horse’s mouth, which is just uncomfortable enough to make them stop what they are doing. It’s important that you are always gentle enough when using a ported bit that you do not accidentally cause harm or damage to your horse, as they have sensitive mouths and you do not want to injure them. The port will rotate up slightly when you on pull the reins, and this should be enough to gently remind them to pay attention to you.
Offers a great way to get a horse to pay attention to what you want them to do and to stop goofing off
These bits are great for advanced riding when the horse needs to be very responsive to the rider
Being too hard-handed with the reins can result in injury to your horse; however, this particular port isn’t so high that it should cause a lot of damage
Make sure you use it in combination with a curb chain so you do not accidentally seriously injure your horse
Not for use in pleasure riding
Fred is the editor of Equine Ridge. He grew up raising horses and has been riding, training, and competing for almost four decades. Fred started out performing on the AQHA and PHBA circuits. Fred trained other competitors in English and Western riding disciplines and today offers free riding lessons to youth who would otherwise not be able to afford lessons. When not working with horses he can be found backpacking or trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Email Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org