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Different Types of Bit Mouth Pieces

Learn About the Different Types of Bit Mouth Pieces

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Just like the various materials bits are made of, horse bits come in many different types of bit mouthpiece styles. Here are descriptions of the most common types you may see when choosing a bit for your horse.

1. Mullen Mouthed Bits

Image: 2005 K. Blocksdorf

A bit with a mullen mouth is a plain mouthpiece, with a slight curvature so that it sits comfortably over the horse's tongue. This type of mouthpiece will be slightly more comfortable for a horse to carry than a straight bar mouthpiece. The mullen mouth is thought to be a gentler bit than one with a jointed mouthpiece, as there is no nutcracker effect when the reins are pulled. Mullen mouths are seen on both snaffle and curb bits such as mullen mouth grazing bits, or English and western-style pelhams. Compare Prices

Examples of Mullen Mouth Bits:

2. Rollers

Image: 2005 K. Blocksdorf

Rollers can be made of stainless steel or copper, or are often seen in an alternating pattern as on this full check snaffle. The function of the cooper rollers is to encourage salivation, while the rollers themselves are felt to prevent the horse from leaning on the bit. The rollers increase the severity of the bit slightly. Rollers are also seen on bits with ports and spades. Compare Prices

Bits With Rollers

3. Ports

A Western correction bit
Image: 2005 K. Blocksdorf

Ports can be quite low or very high. Some port will have rollers or keys. Both English and western bits may have ports. Learn why bits have ports. Compare Prices

Examples of Bits with Ports

4. Jointed Mouthpiece

Eggbutt snaffle
Image: 2005 K. Blocksdorf

Single joints create a nutcracker effect that acts on the bars of the mouth, over the tongue and on the lips. For some horses, this bit may actually be easier to carry than a straight bar snaffle. Compare Prices

Examples of Bits with Single Joints

5. French Link Mouthpiece

Image: 2005 K. Blocksdorf

French link mouthpieces have a flat peanut shaped link in the middle to make two links. The French link mouthpiece is thought to be milder than a single joint or mullen mouth and easier for the horse to carry. A lozenge bit looks very similar to a French link, but the straighter link puts more pressure on the tongue. Compare Prices

6. Dr. Bristol Mouthpiece

Dr. Bristol Full Cheek Snaffle
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Also called a Doc Bristol, this bit has a flat link in the middle, and looks slightly like a French link. The difference is that the link is longer and set at a slight angle, so the edge of the link has more bearing on the tongue when the reins are pulled. Like the French link, the Dr. Bristol has a slight nutcracker action. A Dr. Bristol mouthpiece is more severe than a French mouth or mullen mouth. Compare Prices

7. Ball Link Mouthpieces

Ball Joint Full Cheek Snaffle
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The ball link of this bit sits directly on the horse's tongue. While the nutcracker effect is lessened, there is more pressure on the horse's tongue. This bit is slightly more severe than a French link, but less than a Dr. Bristol as there is no edge on the link to press into the tongue. Compare Prices

8. Wire Bit Mouthpieces

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Wire mouthpieces are very severe. They are thin, which concentrates the pressure on a small area of the tongue, bars of the mouth and lips. Wire mouthpieces can be straight, jointed or made with double offset twists. The wires can be made of one or a combination of metals. Many people feel wire mouthpieces are cruel. Compare Prices

9. Twisted Mouthpieces

Slow Twist Eggbutt Snaffle
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Twisted mouthpieces can be made from a combination of materials and may have a straight, mullen or jointed mouthpiece. They are similar to simple jointed snaffles, but a twist is formed into the mouthpiece. While not quite as severe as a wire mouthed bit, these are still very severe bits. The twists on these mouthpieces may be quite large, called a slow twist, or the twist might be quite tight. Compare Prices

10. Chain Mouthpieces

Bicycle Chain Snaffle Bit
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Chain mouthed bits use either a regular chain, bicycle or chainsaw link chain. These bits are very severe, and their use is frowned upon by most horsemen. Compare Prices

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