Making sure your horses bit fits correctly is an important part of caring for your horse’s wellbeing. In order for the bit to work correctly, firstly it must sit in the horse’s mouth properly.
Often bits are either too small or too big. If your horse’s bit is too big, you will find that the bit will move back and forth in your horse’s mouth which may hit your horse’s teeth. If this occurs, your rein aids will be unclear and will not be transmitted effectively to your horse. However, a bit that Is too small can cause pinching, rubbing and your horse may be unable to close their mouth properly.
If you’re worried that your bit doesn’t fit correctly or the bit just isn’t right for your horse look out for some obvious signs:
- Opening of the mouth and bit chewing
- Tongue hangs out whilst riding
- Staying behind the bit
- Head tossing
- Sores or rubbed patches where the bit was.
- Bit rings should not press hard against your horse’s face
A BIT OF ADVICE
Checking that the bit fits correctly could possibly be the solution for your horse that is misbehaving. Whether or not this be the case, as a part of the SHS team we suggest you try this cheap and easy method.
All you need is:
A piece of bailing twine
A ruler/ measuring tape
STEP 1: Put a halter on your horse and have someone to assist you.
STEP 2: Grab the piece of twine and guide it into your horse’s mouth, also position the twine so that it sits in the corner of the lips approximately where the bit would lie.
STEP 3: Pull the twine tight and use your fingers to hold where it’s been positioned at each corner of the lips.
STEP 4: Remove the twine from your horse’s mouth while still holding the string. Then get your assistant to measure the length between your fingers with the ruler or tape measure.
This will give you a quick and easy guide on what size bit you should use for your horse. The general rule is; a well-fitting bit will create one or two wrinkles at the corner of the mouth once the bridle is on. If you are still concerned with how your bit fits, you could always ask your equine dentist, veterinarian or your horse trainer for their advice.
MEASURING YOUR BIT
All horse’s mouths have different conformations, which means that you should consider both the length of the mouth piece and the width. If your current bit fits well, you can use that size as a guide when shopping for a new bit.
To correctly measure your bit, lie it on a flat even surface. Then use a ruler or measuring tape and measure along the mouthpiece of the bit. Make sure that you measure from the inside of one ring to the inside of the other ring.
If you are second guessing your current bit size and your horses seems happy and responsive, don’t worry, chances are that the bit fits just fine.