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Selecting the Right Bit

  We have received emails that have asked us what bit we recommend for their situation. I would like to put some of the factors here that I consider before I recommend any bit. The one thing every one should remember, the bit is one of the most important tools for the communicating from rider to horse. This is why you should purchase a “Quality” product that is balanced, so your horse does not resist his bit or give him the wrong single. If not, your horse is not relaxed in the bridle. Therefore, your communication is ineffective. This is why we recommend Reinsman Bits check out there selection out at: http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/reinsman_bits.htm

  First factor is what category you are riding in Training, Western, English, Barrel Racing or any other category. In most cases this will eliminate some of you choices. You need to check with your sport's governing body to confirm which bits are legal for your event. AQHA to your local 4-H clubs will have “approved” bit lists for the events that you are participating in. If you are training a horse or just need a little tune up on your horse you could possibly add to that list using the other factors of selecting the right bit.

  Second factor, know your horse’s mouth.  How is your horse's dental health? Bad dental health can make a great bit for that horse seem to be the one you are going to hang up on the tack room wall. Know the size the horse needs. A 5” mouth is standard, an Arab or a younger horse could take something smaller, a larger breed, something bigger.  How thick and wide is that sensitive muscle (the tongue) where pressure and relief give the bit its main means of control. Does your horse have a dry mouth? If so, Copper or Sweet Iron causes the mouth to salivate, keeping it soft and usable to the rider.

  Third factor, your horse's level of training. Your horse has just begun training or has had little training. I personally like to start out with a snaffle. The term “snaffle” is in reality a term meaning the bit is in a direct line from the hands to the horse's mouth. To be a true snaffle there can be no shanks or curb chains. The snaffle bit may be jointed or not. Ring Snaffle, Offset Dees, Full Cheeks and Eggbutt Dees all fall in this category. The Rockin "S" Snaffle Bit is one of my favorites in this category. This bit was designed to decrease the discomfort at corners of the horse's mouth. This bit will not pinch. Take a look at this bit here http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/ringsnaffles/bb523.htm at this level your horse is learning basic gaits, transitions and obedience. The next level of training with more complex skills such as bending, collection, side passes and lead changes. At this point sometimes I like to go with a short shank bit with a curb chain. The Easy Five bit is a good choice for horses with good mouths that don't need excessive amount of control. Take a look at this bit here http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/shortshankcurb/bb126.htm Another bit I like at this point is the Tender Touch: http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/camarillo/camarillobb409.htm the gag action is giving time for the horse to think before curb chain and mouthpiece tighten. The Junior Cow Horse http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/gagbits/bb520.htm works a lot like the Tender Touch and helps to get your horse's legs underneath him and his rear end down.

  You can see we are trying to stay as mild as we can sometimes we have to take it up a step or two. Remember the bit is as severe as rider’s hands. The next level is the horse that is considered broke or finished; willing to obey commands. At this point you select the bit from the category you are riding in Reining, English, Barrel Racing or whatever kind of event you do. If you are riding English, and you need a little more bite but don’t want to go to a Kimberwick with a curb you might want to try King Dee slow twist http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/english/englishbb687.htm If you are a  barrel racer that has a strong running horse but needs help on rate and turns and you have good hands I like the Brown Futurity: http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/combination/combination_hackbb359.htm  Then there are Hackamores. Great for Speed Events, Trail Riding and just riding when a horse does not except the bit. A hackamore is essentially a halter equipped with some means of directing the horse without the use of a bit. The main differences between a hackamore and a bit and bridle are that a hackamore has something that goes over the nose and doesn't have anything that goes in the mouth. There are levels in hackamores (like bits) if your horse doesn’t need much, this Hackamore does the job. The Little S: http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/combination/combination_hackbb365.htm If you need more, the Jim Warner “Works Great”: http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/combination/combination_hackbb397.htm When your horse is dropping a shoulder, select a bit which offers independent side movement this bit works http://mcdiamond.com/bits/reinsman/camarillo/camarillobb363.htm there are some of samples of what bits can help you do but remember Every horse and rider combination has specific needs and therefore require the proper bit. There are many things to take into account when selecting a bit, probably the most important is the experience, balance and sensitivity of the rider. Horses are also as individualistic as people and sometimes a bit that we think of as being mild is not one the horse is happy with. As the horse and rider change over time it may become necessary to upgrade to a different bit.


        We hope this information has helped,

        M.C. Diamond Ranch


Order Through Storefront is up.  Call 574-229-9973 or email Mark Allen mark@mcdiamond.com

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