1. Purchase: The part of the bit above the mouthpiece. With
a short purchase, the bit will act quicker in a horse
mouth when the rider pulls on the reins. With a long
purchase, the bit is slower to react.
2. Shank: The part of the bit below the mouthpiece. Will give
the rider leverage on the mouthpiece. The shorter
the shank, the less control - the larger the shank,
the more control.
3. Cheeks: Sides of the bit. Includes both purchase and shank.
4. Mouthpiece: The part of the bit that goes in the horse's mouth.
Types of Mouthpieces:
A. Snaffle: broken in the middle and one of the
most common mouthpieces.
B. Three-piece Snaffle: Broken in two places so
as to work on different places on the bars than
a regular snaffle.
C. Double twisted wire snaffle: Made up of 2 small
snaffles which are broken off-center from each
D. Chain mouthpiece: does not work on the bars
as a snaffle, but on the corners of the mouth.
E. Solid mouthpiece: any mouthpiece that is not
i. Bars - rest on the horse's bars (gums behind teeth).
ii. Port - rest of the tongue
There are high, medium and low
port bits. The closer the bars
are together the more severe. The
wider apart, the less severe.
iii. Mullen Relief - a forward curve to the
mouthpiece gives even pressure across
the mouth. This causes a smoother
reaction from the horse.
F. Swivel mouthpiece: the mouthpiece swivels on
i. Allows independent shank action
ii. Gives the mouthpiece a different action
than a solid constructed bit.
5. Curb Bit: Rotation in mouth down on mouth, up on curb chain,
pressure on poll.
6. Curb Chain Pressure: Varies from one bit to another.
Sets timing of the bit.
Loose Curb Chain = slower timing
Tight Curb Chain = faster timing
7. Metals Used in Mouthpieces
A. Copper - causes a horse's mouth to salivate which
allows the mouth to stay soft and usable to the rider.
B. Sweet Iron - It is intended to rust. It actually does
have a sweet taste to it as rusting occurs.
C. Stainless Steel - gives a clean, neat look to any
8. The "feel of the bit": Not only what the horse feels when the rider
puts pressure on the reins, but also what the
rider feels, for example - suppleness or stiffness.
9. Timing: The amount of time required from the point when
the reins are pulled until the bit has done as
much as it can do.