How to Measure for a Bridle How to Adjust a Snaffle Bridle An eggbutt snaffle resting comfortably at the corners of the horse’s mouth. For more assistance or to request a catalog, call 1-800-989-1500 to speak with a Dover Saddlery product advisor, or stop by any of our retail stores.
Visit DoverSaddlery.com for a complete store listing and full product offering. Dover Equestrian Library © Dover Saddlery 2011 Rubber bit guards can be used with loose ring bits to prevent pinching, but if you plan to compete with them, check with the governing body of your competition to be sure that their use is allowed.
For example, bit guards are strictly forbidden in recognized dressage competitions and in dressage tests that are part of sanctioned and unsanctioned three-phase events.
On the other hand, bit guards are allowed in show jumping classes.
You can measure your horse’s mouth to determine the length of bit required in two ways.
The easiest way is to use a Bit Sizer, which is a simple and inexpensive plastic measuring device that slides into the horse’s mouth.
Inch increments correspond directly to bit sizes, and you take the reading just as you would using a ruler.
As described previously, depending on the type of bit you’re selecting you may want to add ¼ to ½ inch to the bit sizer measurement. How to Measure for a Bit Width of the Mouthpiece The width of a bit refers to its circumference at the widest part of the mouthpiece.
This measurement may be in either inches or in millimeters.
For most horses, the thinner the bit, the more severe its action on the horse’s mouth.
This is because the pressure from the bit is exerted on a narrower surface.
Similarly, in general, the thicker the bit, the more gentle its action on the horse’s mouth because the pressure is distributed over a wider surface.
However, a qualification to this guideline is that the bit cannot be too thick in relation to the space in the horse’s mouth to accommodate it.
The height of the palate (roof of the mouth) in combination with the thickness of the tongue determines the amount of space available for the bit.
If the bit is too thick, it will put constant pressure on the horse’s mouth, and could even make swallowing difficult.
Always consider the conformation of a horse’s mouth when choosing bit width.
Your equine dentist, veterinarian or a knowledgeable trainer can help you determine whether your horse’s palate is normal or high, which could allow for a thicker bit to be used, or very low, which could reduce the thickness of the bit that may be used.
You can usually identify the conformation of the horse’s tongue by prying open the side of the lips.
A small or average sized tongue lies below or level with the bars of the mouth.
A thick tongue rises above the bars or spills over the bars and between the teeth. Eggbutt Bit Double Jointed Loose Ring Bit Hunter Dee Bit Full Cheek Bit Using a bit sizer.
Alternatively, you can use a piece of string in place of a commercial bit sizer if your horse will cooperate.
Mark the spots on the string that meet the corners of the horse’s mouth, then lay the string against a ruler to obtain your bit length measurement.
Again consider the type of bit you’re selecting and whether you should add a bit of length to the measurement.
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