There are therefore important criteria for the choice of bit, to which one should pay attention for the welfare of his horse:
Basically, a bit should be long enough, and if you are unsure, it is better to choose too long than too short. You can measure the width of the horse's mouth and add a little to each side. Ideally, you can check the length when you separate the horse and the bit lies evenly in the mouth. If there is a little space between the corners of the mouth and the fold, the length is correct. If the bit is pressed to one or both sides of the mouth, although it is pulled long, it is too short. This can lead to painful injuries when loaded.
With the help of a horse dentist or the so-called "2-finger test", it is possible to find out how much space there is in the horse's mouth and which bit strength should be selected. To do this, simply place your index and middle fingers together at the (toothless) spot in the horse's mouth where the bit will be inserted, push your tongue to the side, and wait for the horse to start chewing or for the incisors to come together in between. If the distance between the upper and lower arches is small, you will feel pressure on both fingers. The recommended thickness is then 14 - 16 mm. If the distance between the upper and lower tray is greater, you will hardly feel any pressure on your fingers. The recommended strength is then 16 - 18 mm.
Horse bit strength 2 finger test picture 1
If a bit that is too thick is chosen, there is a risk that pressure will be exerted on the sensitive palate. This can cause pressure points and injuries, but in any case it is unpleasant for the horse and can lead to head banging, opening of the mouth or "lying down on the hand".
However, a bit that is too thin is also not ideal for many horses and riders, as here there is a more punctual distribution of pressure, which makes sensitive aiding necessary.
Despite the sheer number of bit models and shapes available on the market, with a little basic knowledge of how the most common bit shapes work, it is no longer that difficult to make a selection.
Single broken bits Sprenger horse mouth anatomy bit single broken picture 2
Single-break bits transmit the rider's reins to the horse's mouth via the tongue edges and the lower jaw bones. When the reins are tightened, the joint in the middle of the mouthpiece sets up slightly and the pressure on the tongue edges increases.
The described "setting up" of the bit is often referred to as the so-called nutcracker effect, where the lower charges are pinched and/or the eye of the joint presses into the horse's palate. This is especially the case when the bit used is significantly too large or too thick for the horse's mouth in question. Especially for horses with a flat palatal arch, there is then indeed a risk of pressure points or even injuries in the palatal area.
Since the bit shanks of conventional single-break bits are always of different lengths due to manufacturing technology, there is also always a little more pressure on one side. It is therefore recommended to regularly turn over single-broken bits. This is not necessary with Turnado or single-broken Dynamic RS bits from Sprenger, because here the joint has been turned 45° to the front. This special angulation allows an even action on both edges of the tongue.
Double jointed bits Sprenger horse's mouth anatomy double jointed bits picture 3
Double jointed bits have shorter shanks which are joined together by a middle piece. The pressure created by rein pull is distributed over a larger area of the tongue and directed to the lower jaw than in single jointed bits.
In the case of double-broken Sprenger bits made of Sensogan, no palatal pressure is created when the bit is the right size, due to the specially adapted and forward-inclined center piece.
The variety of double and single bits available on the market as well as the price range are huge. Especially those who have a sensitive horse should make a point of choosing a bit that has been anatomically adapted to the horse's mouth. The Sprenger company, for example, is a pioneer in the development of bit shapes that, based on scientific research and practical tests by professionals, are specially adapted to the anatomical conditions in the horse's mouth.
Checking the horse's mouth Photo 4 (Photo source - cavallo)
the height of the palate
the width of the tongue
the distance between the upper and lower jaws including the gums
possible stallion teeth
choose the shape of the bit considering the horse's mouth
As a rider or driver who knows his horse, you will choose the best possible bit and you will quickly realize what works and what does not.