How to find the right bit for your horse

Measuring dentures correctly

Bits serve for fine communication between rider and horse. The help should be transferred directly and specifically to the horse's mouth. For this it is necessary that the bit has the right shape and size and is correctly buckled. Since the horse's mouth is very sensitive, this topic should be treated conscientiously and adapted to the individual needs of your horse.

Here you can find out how to determine the correct bit size.

Close-up of bit width gauge from SPrenger on the horse's mouth

Measuring made easy

So you determine the bit width

When measuring the width, you must take into account that there is a distance of 5 mm between the tray and the bit ring. Furthermore, the bit must not protrude more than 0,5 cm if it is currently in the mouth.

Either you download Sprenger the bit width gauge, or you take a leather strap (or straw strap) and put it in the mouth like a bit. Then mark the two sides on the horse's mouth. You can then measure the length with a tape measure.

Bits with fixed side parts

If you decide on a horse bit with fixed side parts (e.g. olive head and D-ring bits or full cheek snaffles), the bit can be chosen half to a whole size smaller than with so-called loose ring snaffles.

Bits with movable side parts

With snaffles, i.e. bits with freely movable rings, it is important that the corners of the mouth are not clamped and that the rings always remain freely movable. When positioned straight in the horse's mouth, the bit must not protrude more than 0,5 cm (§ 70 of the current LPO).

Double bridles & bridles

If you ride with a curb bit, you should choose one half to one size smaller than the corresponding snaffle bit. The snaffle bit should be a similar size to the working bit you are using.

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2 finger test

Determine the bit strength very easily

An important criterion when selecting the bits is their strength. There are also different variants here. The bit strength must always be individually adapted to the horse. The decisive factor here is how much space is available in the horse's mouth. There is a widespread fallacy that horses with large heads need stronger teeth than petite horses. The mouth is actually often smaller and flatter than usual.

The 2-finger test

A somewhat imprecise but very helpful method of measuring the required strength is the 2-finger test. To do this, you put your index and middle fingers in the place in the horse's mouth where the bit will be inserted. If you feel pressure on both fingers, the recommended thickness is 14-16 mm. If, on the other hand, you hardly feel any pressure, you can also use a bit with a thickness of 16 - 18 mm.

If you want to know exactly, you can ask your veterinarian for help with the next dental exam.

If you choose a bit that is too thick, it can press very uncomfortably on the sensitive palate and lead to painful pressure points. Unfortunately, this problem is fairly common and can lead to head banging, opening the mouth or "laying on the hand". If your horse shows these symptoms, you should also check the bit strength once.

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