How to Select Your Horse's First Bit
Congratulations! You have been blessed with a young horse and are bubbling over with excitement. Next up, training your new partner and buying tack. As you consider the right bit for your young horse, you can quickly go from excitement to overwhelm. Well, we can't have that, so I checked in with the fine people at Bombers Bits to see what they recommend because they are SERIOUS bit experts - and amazing people!
PEARLS OF WISDOM FROM BOMBERS BITS
When selecting a bit for your young horse, it is essential to remember that the horse's mouth is still growing and developing. Therefore, it is critical to choose a bit that fits comfortably in the horse's mouth and allows for smooth communication between you and the horse.
What Mouth Piece is Best for My Young Horse?
The first bit is an integral part of a young horse's education. It is difficult to guess what kind of pressure the horse prefers. Our general recommendation is to start with a tongue relief bit. Another good idea is to choose a non-metal option as it is more familiar than a metal mouthpiece. We recommend the Bomber Blue as a first bit; this mouthpiece doesn't use any tongue pressure and is a nylon composite. Your youngster may only stay in it for a year or two, but it will give an excellent foundation.
Some other options for tongue relief bits are:
- Happy Tongue (this is available in sweet iron and titanium)
- Happy Tongue Straight (this is available in sweet iron and titanium)
- Ultra Comfy Lock Up (this works exceptionally well for horses that also have bar sensitivity)
- Ported Barrel (this works well for horses that do Dressage as it allows for independent lateral aids)
- Moulded Mullen (this works exceptionally well for horses that also have bar sensitivity, it is made of moulded material which is non-metal)
What should I consider when bitting for the first time?
Allow the horse to wear the bit in their stable, with no rider interference – this will allow the horse to familiarize themselves with the feel of the mouthpiece and cheekpiece without any pressure being applied.
A bit strap should be attached to minimize movement of the cheekpiece.
How do I encourage flexion and back up turning aids under saddle?
When the horse is under saddle, a cheekpiece such as the Fulmer can be considered as this cheekpiece will encourage flexion and back up turning aids. The pins will encourage the youngster to turn by applying pressure to the opposite side of the face, and the loose ring will allow for a quick release from pressure – this quick release of pressure is felt as a reward by the youngster. A loose ring allows pressure to be applied slowly as the loose ring slides and delays pressure – this will ensure the youngster is not frightened or overwhelmed by the pressure being applied.
You may need to try a few bits before you identify a bit he prefers and that is perfectly normal.
To get the best out of training your young horse, it's important to start with the basics such as introducing it to its first bit and forming an understanding of what you want from it. With patience and consistency, you will be able to create a strong bond between you and your young horse that will last for years.