It is often difficult to find a bit suitable for your horse at the best of times; but with British Dressage’s rules and regulations as to what is allowed, it gets harder. So, here is a breakdown to hopefully make that decision more straightforward.
There are a few types of mouthpieces that are considered ‘dressage legal’. These are all considered mild, but each will suit a different horse depending on their way of going.
French link is the most popular type of mouthpiece. It consists of a flat peanut shaped link in the centre, which lays flat against the horse’s tongue. It helps reduce the nutcracker action on the tongue. It is considered the mildest mouthpiece.
Lozenge/Peanut link is very similar to the French link, but it distributes more pressure on the horse’s tongue.
Single jointed bits are also extremely popular. However, these create a nutcracker action, which may pinch the tongue or put pressure on the roof of the mouth for horses with large tongues or low palates.
Mullen mouth bits are basically just a straight bar without any links. This bit is considered mild because it puts more pressure on the tongue instead of the bars of the mouth. There is no nutcracker action. These mouthpieces come in various materials. It is only stainless steel versions that are dressage legal.
Ported mouthpieces act like the mullen mouth bits, but they give extra tongue room. Good for horses with large or sensitive tongues.
Most snaffles are considered ‘dressage legal’. However, sometimes it is easy to buy a snaffle without realising its action on your horse’s way of going.
Loose ring snaffles allow more movement than fixed cheeks. Helps to prevent fixing or leaning. It allows the mouthpiece more movement.
Eggbutt snaffles are the most popular type of snaffle. It remains still in the horse’s mouth and is suitable for horse’s lacking confidence.
Full cheek snaffles are useful for turning as they do not allow the bit to be dragged through the mouth. Useful for youngsters.
Hanging cheek/Baucher snaffles reduce the pressure across the tongue and bars when the contact is taken. They also cause poll pressure. These bits help with the horse’s outline.
There is a mixture of mouthpiece and cheeks for every type of horse to help them in their dressage career. However, bits should not be used to replace good schooling. Hopefully, this has helped you figure out a suitable bit for your horse. Good luck in the boards!