When reins are attached to the rings on a mouthpiece, (as in a nonleverage bit) pressure is applied directly , because the rider’s pull on the reins creates a direct pressure on the corners of the mouth, tongue and sometimes the bars, but does not affect the poll or chin groove of the horse.
Snaffles fall under the category of non-leverage bits.
When shanks are added to a mouthpiece, “leverage” is created which allows the bit to apply pressure to parts other than the mouth.
For example, on the poll through the crownpiece, under the chin through the curb strap and up against the palate when the bit is rocked forward (if it has a port of 2 inches or more). 145 B 3 .Fu l lC h e c kS n a f f l e 4 – H H o r s e P r o j e c t M a n u a l – Equipment The Snaffle Bit Snaffles vary widely in design and material, but do have common features which include a mouthpiece that can be either jointed or solid, with a ring at each end to which the reins are attached.
A snaffle bit is used with two hands on the reins.
The different basic rings available include the – loose or O-ring – D-ring – egg butt In general, snaffles are quite mild with severity determined by the smoothness and thickness of mouthpiece.
The thicker the mouthpiece the milder the bit.
Some common mouthpieces are ported, jointed and mullen mouth (solid mouthpiece with slight upward curve to relieve tongue pressure).
A western snaffle’s rings may be larger than is acceptable in English but not usually.
Some western riders use a leather chin/curb strap with a snaffle to prevent it from pulling through the horse’s mouth.
English riders never use chin/curb straps.
Western riders should use a leather chin strap with a snaffle.
In case of a runaway horse, an open rein is used to regain control.
If there is no chin strap the opposite side bit ring can easily be pulled into the horse’s mouth causing it to panic.
English riders do not use a chin strap on a snaffle because they use either a cavesson so the horse can not open his mouth wide enought for the ring to go in or they use a full cheek snaffle which again could not be pulled through the mouth. Leverage Bits Often called the “curb” bit, the leverage bit is available in literally hundreds of shapes and numerous combinations of mouthpieces and shanks.
Generally speaking, the longer and straighter the shank the more leverage and more severe the bit. Pelham Just as the snaffle can have a variety of shapes of mouthpieces, so can the leverage (curb) bit.
They also can have either a jointed or solid mouthpiece.
They must have a “curb strap” that can be made of leather or chain that attaches to the bit and is placed under the horses chin.
It is usually attached to the same ring as the bottom of the crown piece on the headstall. 146 4 – H H o r s e P r o j e c t M a n u a l – Equipment A solid mouth piece often has a “bump” known as a port in the middle.
The port relieves pressure on the tongue but can apply pressure to the roof of the mouth if it is over 2 1/2” high.
The higher the port, the more pressure on the roof of the mouth.
Most Western riders try not to use a bit that puts pressure on the palate.
A straight shank gives less reaction time than ones which are swept back. Medium Ported Mullen The kimberwick is a leverage bit.
It has slots on the rings to attach the headstall and hooks to which a curb chain needs to be attached.
A pull on the reins creates a short lever action through the rings themselves to the curb chain, applying pressure in the chin groove.
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