The bit is used to communicate to the horse by applying pressure to different areas of the horse's head
Terminology for the different parts of the bit
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
                                     the shank.
                                               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.
Bits & Bridles Terminology
The bit, attached to the bridle, is used to communicate to the horse.  There are several areas on the horse's head where pressure is exerted, asking the horse for a response.  These areas include the bars of the mouth, lips, tongue, hard palate, chin, nose and poll. The tongue and hard palate being the most sensitive.
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