Tool Box: Bits

It seems like as with everything in the equestrian world there are about 500 options for everything you could need.

I personally always used to have a pretty limited bit collection. Then Houston came along and before I knew it I had a massive ever growing connection… that I naturally sold off when I stopped riding. With Annie and how fussy she gets I have done lots of experimenting with bits but usually nothing too complex. She was going in a Myler snaffle for all 3 phases at horse trials until I decided to give my friends copper roller full cheek a go at the last horse show. Annie went so well in it that I am contemplating buying one of my own in a fulmer version.Some other staples that I have in my tool box are below. Some bits I have just because (like the mikmar) and others I actually use on a fairly regular basis. Where possible I like to buy the “just to have” bits used. Sometimes that isn’t possible though.

Gags:Pelhams:Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.24.22 AMScreen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.19.37 AM Hackamores:Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.21.34 AMFor instance… the trainer that rides my BO’s stallion has this really cool “fake gage” bit that is a loose ring but has hooks similar to Myler bits. I was able to get Shelley to check out a shop local to her to see if they carried a bit like it and sure enough they do. Give the associated price of the “Bombers” name I am strongly considering seeing if I can get someone to make it for me with a slightly different mouthpiece.

Do you guys have bits that you consider your staples? Weird bits you like to have around? I would love to hear about bits that you guys might use that I haven’t considered. 

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  1. Bits are like jewelry. I just want all of it. But then never wear most of it!

    I am firmly attached to the HS bits as I have had great success with them for TBs and their narrow palettes. (I am only very slightly ashamed to say I have collected 5 at this point when probably one would suffice.) Other than that I have a few hunter-type dees of varying thickness and one fat loose ring. I had a greater variety of bits, but sold off many of them, including gags and slow twists that just wouldn’t work on Eli. The one bit I’d like but don’t have yet is a Nathe. I tend to stay away from any leverage bits with Eli.

    I prefer the salivation that HS metals promote and actually have had a hard time with Happy Mouths and rubber mouthpiece bits cutting or abrading the TBs mouths, so even when you think you’re getting a soft bit it could be problematic and a metal mouthpiece might actually be a better choice.

  2. Houston likes my Happy Mouth but Annie wasn’t a fan. I bought her the Nathe and it depended on the day how she liked it. If you want to try mine I’m happy to loan it to you 🙂

    1. Thanks! I think Amanda has one that might be a little easier to borrow, proximity-wise ;P … and honestly I don’t really need it, I’m just curious to see how Eli would react to a mullen mouth.

      1. Thanks! I’m looking into mullen mouth type things to try and I like the shape of that one.

  3. I have a ridiculous collection too, I always try to pick up bits at used tack sales and such. Alas the bit I actually need I only have in the wrong size so now, despite having what feels like is closing in on 100 bits, I’m scouring eBay! Such is life with horses I think haha

    I love the Nathe, I really want to put the young horse in it but have decided not to change anything just yet (except the size). I think they’re great bits though 🙂

  4. I had a trainer in high school who had a bit guy, and he would send the craziest bit requests in. I tend to try to keep things simple now, but I love there there is an option for any type of horse these days. I have a few different french link and oval link snaffles, and one plain dee ring and that’s about it, because Val has such a sensitive mouth. The craziest bit I’ve ever used though was a weird custom hackabit with a single twisted wire. It was super strong, but it was the first bit we found that my horse respected, and I never actually had to put more than a few ounces of pressure on it.

  5. Nilla hates all bits. I keep buying different ones and nope, she hates them all. Eugene really likes his Happy Mouth loose ring with copper roller though.

  6. I have a super limited collection of bits- a baucher, a 2 ring gag, a french link loose ring, a D-ring, a copper roller D-ring, and a french link eggbutt. I almost never try anything new because my horses are pretty clear about what works for them!

  7. I have an ever-growing bit collection that I love. Courage is pretty specific about what he likes, but I think big picture and buy everything used and affordable that I don’t already have. You never know, right?

  8. I used to have a big bit collection for my first horse, but I sold many as half were western and the other half were not USEF legal. Now, I am lucky enough to have friends with big bit boxes that I regularly borrow when I need to… although to be honest, I haven’t done many bit exchanges with Miles.

  9. We’re bit soul sisters, those are my faves too, especially the Myler, Nathe & kk. Any tips on but storage, my collection is jumbled horribly in a Rubbermaid bin and things are starting to oxidize!