How Snaffle Bits Work

If you’re riding English as well as Western It’s likely that you began with your personal animals or riding on a schoolmaster horse using the snaffle bit. These bits are positioned comfortably in the mouth of the horse between its bottom and top teeth. They can also be used in conjunction with lips guards made of rubber to avoid crushing the lips of your horse.

Although you may not start with a snaffle piece it is likely that in the course of your horse’s training, you’ll be riding with one. Understanding how the snaffle bits function is useful in determining efficient Rein aids and ensuring that they are not either too difficult or ineffective on the horse’s mouth.

Although the principle of snaffle bits, in general, is the same, it occasionally is necessary to try a few different bits until you find one that your horse can be at ease with. Sometimes selecting the correct bit regardless of whether you’re choosing between the snaffles, takes quite a while.

Snaffle Basics

A snaffle piece features a straight or joined mouthpiece that has rings at both ends of its mouthpiece. There are various kinds of snaffle bits. The fundamental structure is identical for all types, and the action inside the mouth of the horse is identical however there are some slight differences. The snaffle is considered a fairly gentle bit. Wire wrap or similar mouthpieces could make it more abrasive.

What Happens When You ‘Pull’ the Reins

As the reins come off, a force applies to a region of the gums with no teeth, referred to as the mouth bars. The gap lies located between the teeth on either side, which cultivates grass as well as the teeth behind, which grind food. A correctly fitted bit is able to fit comfortably in the space, which is just in front of the teeth grinding. Sometimes, a horse may struggle to carry the bit with ease and the small teeth, also known as the wolf’s teeth could require to be pulled as well as a bit sitting is created.

How the Horse Reacts to the Signals

Simple snaffles apply pressure on the bars in the mouth of the horse. There is no pressure in the head of the horse and there is no leverage to come into play like it would with the curb piece. If you pull back straight the horse will know that equal tension on each side of the mouth is a sign to stop. When you make a pull that is to your right which places pressure on the bar to the right will cause it to turn to the left and an opposite pull to the left means turning left.

As you refine the way you use your use of rein aids by combining them with the use of your leg and seat aids, you’ll be able to signal your horse for things such as knee yields and half-passes shifts in the lead, changes in gait, and more advanced riding techniques. Although at first, you might just be pulling the reins, you’ll soon be able to communicate gentle signals which will be perceived by your horse but are virtually invisible to the casual observer.

The Function of Bit Rings

The snaffle’s rings could be D shaped or have tiny pieces sticking either way, similar to an entire cheek snaffle as well as a Fulmer snaffle. The rings can slide, or they could be fixed on the mouthpiece. The shafts perpendicularly to the mouthpiece’s full cheek and driving bits stop the bit from sliding through the mouth of the horse. Large rubber or leather discs are able to prevent the bit from clogging the side of the mouth of the horse. Rings can alter the bit’s weight and stop the bit from pulling in a sideways direction through the mouth of the horse.

How Mouthpieces Differ

Bits with joined mouthpieces produce a nutcracker effect while straight mouthpieces spread pressure equally over the tongue and bars. A snaffle made of the egg will include oval rings and the mouthpiece gets bigger as it gets closer to the rings. These are among the most gentle because they distribute the stress on the rein assistance across a greater space of bars. The thicker the mouthpiece the less abrasive the bit. Horses with big tongue or a lower palate may be uncomfortable that has a large mouthpiece.

It is the French link that is thought to be the most gentle snaffle joined. It is also known as the Dr. Bristol link, though it appears similar however, is much more severe due to the way the plate between the piece is in continuous contact with the tongue, either flat or at an angle, based on how the rider connects it to his bridle.


Snaffles may be hollow to decrease weight they can be flexible, twisted, or joined by some or all links, with rollers or keys, be oval or square or come in any combination of joints and shapes. Mullen mouthpieces are of the same size from the end to the end. Wire bits are very thin, and wire-wrapped bits increase the sharpness of the pressure applied to the mouth’s bars.

Each of these variations is designed to improve the effectiveness of rein aids. Different metals and different materials are used to convince the horse to take in the rein aid for its taste or to encourage salivation. Sweet iron, copper as well as vulcanite, and synthetics are all suitable for this. Certain bits, which are often employed for training horses how to handle the bits can be flavored.

The Versatility of Snaffle Bits

Snaffles are usually the first piece of equipment horses wear. They are often ridden for their entire life with the small snaffle.

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