Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don't Throw Out Your Simple Snaffle Yet!

Well... almost!

If you've read my article on Tongue Relief vs. Tongue Pressure and my article on Bitting Levels, you would think that the best thing to do to your simple snaffle or single-jointed snaffle is to throw it out! 

Here, you see I've made a decorative lamp out of some antique snaffle bits. I think it looks cool.

SO... the fact that broken bits, ie. single-jointed and three piece bits are quite harsh since they restrict a horse's ability to swallow and therefore affects their ability to go forward...

What do we do with the tons of broken bits that we all have in our tack room?

Pinch & Restrict Bits
  Actually, the simple snaffle with it's single joint in the mouthpiece was designed to restrict the tongue on purpose to create pressure. This pressure was and is still used today to teach a colt how to give to bit pressure - easily. And consequently, the trainer's hands.
  We, as trainers, want to teach the horse the basic lesson of giving to bit pressure and learning the rudiments of steering.  The key is to release the rider's hands as a reward once the horse has given to the bit so there is not a continuous restriction on the horse's tongue (and their ability to swallow).
  So, it was used and is still used today as a basic training tool.
  So, it still has it's useful purpose.

 The only problem is that people continue to use the broken mouthpiece LONG after its intended use. It was for a very short duration.

There is a Better Way?
   I do believe, however, that using a snaffle bit WITHOUT the single-jointed or three-piece mouthpiece is better to use for teaching colts to give to bit pressure.
I agree with the Myler's that using a mouthpiece with a barrel in the centre and a slight (to large) port would be kinder than the broken bits.
There is still tongue pressure but the horse has some room to elevate it's tongue to swallow.  Also there is the ablity to work each side of the horse independently. Ellen @ The Horse Habit (a local tack shop) will start to carry the Myer's bits shortly for my customers & others.

I will spend sometime now with articles talking about the different mouthpieces and bitting levels  & my experience with it.

Putting my spin on Simple Snaffles & curved & barreled mouthpieces!
@Copyright KISS Reiners


  1. Love the lamp idea! I have quite a few pieces and parts of my gear laying around. This has inspired the artist in me. :)

  2. Great to hear Melody!
    Thanks for commenting.