If you asked 10 riders what their favorite bit is, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. There are so many factors to consider that there really is no right or wrong, just personal opinion. This can making choosing the right bit for your horse a long and frustrating process with lots of trial and error. There’s always the old standbys (single jointed snaffles) but it sometimes helps to think outside the (tack) box to find something that really helps your horse excel.
These are a few of my favorite “alternative” bits that I’ve had success with over the years:
German Silver French Link Loose Ring
This is my go-to bit and I’ve used it exclusively for many horses. The french link mouthpiece lays comfortably across the tongue and is ideal for a horse with a low palate. It’s perfect for those who tend to lean on the bit and the extra movement keeps youngsters (especially mouthy geldings) quite happy. The German Silver encourages salivation, and I personally prefer it over stainless steel. These bits are also reasonably priced, which is a great excuse to keep a few extras on hand!
Myler 04 English D-Ring
This bit is useful for horses in all levels of training and is my favorite of the Mylers (although I haven’t tried them all…yet). The port allows for more tongue room, and the D-Ring is helpful for pinch-less steering. I like this bit for starting horses in basic dressage and lateral work. It’s a tad pricey, but worth the investment.
Happy Mouth Shaped Mullen Loose Ring
If you’re re-starting a horse or dealing with the aftermath of a bad bit experience, I’d highly recommend this. It stays quiet in the mouth and is extremely gentle. I also use this bit for lunging with side reins since there’s no distracting movement and encourages a soft mouth. Horses love this one (they don’t call it Happy Mouth for nothing!).
Fulmer Cheek French Link
This combines features of many other popular bits and is surprisingly under utilized. You get the rotation of the loose ring with the added steering of the full cheek, plus the mouth-friendly french link. Like with all full cheek snaffles, always use bit keepers for safety.
What’s your favorite bit?