Composition of Bits and Bitting Materials

With a vast array of bits on the market choosing a bit for your horse or pony can be somewhat daunting. In our latest blog World Wide Tack takes a look at bit materials and how they can influence the bitting choice which is right for our horses. 

Many horse owners will have never considered the bit material but actually the bit metal or material matters to some horses in their acceptance of the bit and the contact.

Stainless steel is a good place to start when considering materials for any type of bit – it’s durable, moderate in price and neutral in taste. The most popular bit material on the market is also fairly light, but depending on where it has been manufactured it’s quality may vary. The best quality steel is made in Europe .

Rubber is a soft material similar to plastic but with more flexibility. It is great for making strong style bits softer or for young horses who have just started work. The young horses generally chew on the material because they are getting used to having something in their mouths.

Combination bits are cutting edge but Trust Equestrian have brought out the Trust range of bits which are composed of plastic which is FDA approved and non-toxic crafted with a Stainless Steel interior core making them reliable and safe. Click on the link here to view the range available currently via World Wide Tack!

Sweet iron is not actually an iron at all, but steel. The  soft metal  rusts somewhat through use and this creates a sweet taste in the horse’s mouth which acts to encourage gentle chewing of the bit and salivation. Made from blue sweet iron, Bombers bits available through World Wide Tack were originally designed for polocrosse, but are becoming increasingly popular among top show jumpers and dressage riders. The blue sweet iron oxidises easily, encouraging the horse to salivate and assisting acceptance of the bit.

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A Custom Fit…

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This month World Wide Tack’s Stephen Biddlecombe advised readers of Polo Times on horses and ponies with unusual mouth conformation, or with an especially smaller-sized mouth discussing whether a custom bit design could be the answer to tricky bitting issues! 

Stephen says… “As we have discussed in recent issues, while polo ponies do tend to have relatively compact heads and average-sized tongues, there are lots of players with horses that have crossed over from another discipline, perhaps a small Warmblood-type, a former racehorse or an Arab-cross; and they may face conformational challenges within the mouth. Warmbloods for example tend to have larger tongues, while Arab crosses often have a lower ‘upper palate’.

Whatever the breed or lineage, there are also conformational mouth issues that crop up with no obvious cause, in terms of dental issues or breed influences. They include particularly thick, thin, narrow or wide tongues, as well as wide or narrow jaws; high, low or fleshy palates (e.g. the roof of mouth), as well as long lips, and overshot or undershot jaws. And of course, it is not uncommon to see several of these issues occurring at once.

If your trainer and / or vet agrees that your horse or pony has unusual mouth conformation, then the revolutionary ‘design your own bit’ service on offer from Bombers Equestrian Equipment could be of interest to you, The service means that players can choose whatever mouth piece, cheek piece and bit size they require, and customise each bit with personal instruction.

It could be the size (width) of the mouthpiece; although the bits are available on special order in standard (non-bespoke) sizes not held in stock in the UK from 115mm, for ponies. What is perhaps more common is for the custom-made element to be required for the bit’s shape and function; for example, some players like a twist on one side, but not the other, perhaps if they have a strong pony that leans on one rein. To obtain a bespoke Bombers Bit, simply email info@equineman.com and upon receiving the email, I will respond with a quote and estimated turnaround time for production and delivery (usually up to two months). Our most popular polo bits are the Pelhams, 3-Rings and Big Ring Gags, and a multitude of mouthpiece designs is available to suit your needs.”

Bombers Bits also include hundreds of off the shelf bitting solutions. Bombers Bits are made from blue sweet iron – the metal oxidises easily, creating a warm, sweet taste in the horse’s mouth. This encourages the horse to salivate. Visit www.worldwidetack.com to purchase today!  

Bitting Query for Cementum Hyperplasia

The team at World Wide Tack were recently contacted by a customer who was looking for a bit for her horse who suffers from Cementum Hyperplasia. Luckily our resident bitting expert Stephen Biddlecombe was on hand to advice and here at HQ thought we would write a blog to share the advice! Cementum Hyperplasia describes excessive deposition of secondary cementum on the root of a tooth, which may be caused by localized trauma or inflammation, excessive tooth eruption or it may simply occur idiopathically.

Question

Our customer said…

“Can you recommend a bit for my horse who suffers from cementum hyperplasia on his lower first pre molars and often throws his head around for the first 15 minutess of ridden work, and then settles with just the occasional toss of his head. He has been ridden in a full cheek and now recently tried a Neue Schule loose ring which he seems to prefer, but there is no steering. I was wondering about the ported bits but not sure how these would affect his condition? ”

Answer

Stephen says

“I wonder if the feel of metal also disturbs him so I think that the Bombers Blue mouthpiece would be of help. This is a ported straight bar, which offers a little relief of tongue pressure, but above all does not have that cold, hard feeling that any metal has. The synthetic nature of the material and the diameter (18mm) might well be more comfortable for him. This mouthpiece comes in a variety of cheek pieces, full cheek, 2.5 ring (which offers some poll pressure as well), loose ring, eggbutt.

Or you could consider the Bombers Petros Williams. All the cheek pieces work slightly differently depending on what you want, but for steering issues the full cheek, 2.5 ring or Williams would be the better choice.”

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To view the selection of bits Stephen describes in the above query visit the website at www.worldwidetack.com

Measuring and Trying New Bits

bit-measure

Bits are measured from inside the cheek pieces, from ring to ring. There are several options available to horse owners when looking for or trying out a new bit.

1.A ‘bit measure’

Horse owners could buy or borrow a bit measure – these gadgets cost around £50 and are fitted inside the mouth – a gauge accurately tells you the size required, and they are available for the different brands of bit available – Bombers Bits does sell a bit measure within its product range. Once in the horse’s mouth, horse owners will need to lift the measure into the correct place; just before any wrinkles begin to form, note the sizing detailed on the measure, just outside the mouth’s lip creases.

2. A straight rod

Using any straight rod, like a wooden spoon handle, can achieve the same result as a proper bit measure. With assistance, lift the rod to the correct place in the mouth, and mark the rod on both sides with a pen, just outside the lip crease. Measuring between these marks gives you the measured mouth size.

3.Borrowing a bit

Whilst equestrian could also try a few other bits that friends or team-mates have for size, this can be problematic, as the type of mouthpiece and cheekpiece of the bit that you measured could affect the sizing; e.g. if the bit you need is a loose ring, which measures slightly longer, and the bit you are borrowing is a fixed cheek piece bit. If however you do have a bit to borrow that is similar to the one you want, and is the right size, you can simply lay it down on a flat surface and pull the rings apart so the bit is at its maximum length. Measure along the full length of the mouthpiece from the inside edge of the ring to the inside edge of the opposite ring with a ruler, choosing inches or centimetres. (You could also ask a reputable bitting retailer about their hire packages, having established the size that you believe you need…

Stephen Biddlecombe of World Wide Tack says…

“In my experience, most horses are fitted with bits that are too tight, and this just adds more pressure points to the ‘bitting mix’. With a fixed mouth piece, the size required is the measured size, and with single and double jointed bits, this should be the measured size, plus 10 mm to take into account the joints. In addition to these factors, add 5mm if the bit has a loose ring cheek piece. Nothing additional needs to be added for fixed cheek pieces!”

To see the range of bits from companies such as Bombers Bits, Trust, Neue Schule and more visit the website www.worldwidetack.com today!

 

World Wide Tack Creates Happy Customers!

Here at World Wide Tack we pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We like nothing more that to create happy customers so we were thrilled to receive this message from Erin Pullen. She said

“Thank you so so much for being so wonderful! I received my bit this afternoon. It’s absolutely perfect. I appreciate your time and patience with getting my order to me.”

At World Wide Tack we offer a range of different Bits including Neue Schule, Reinsman and the world renowned, innovative Bombers Bits . Our in-house bitting expert Stephen Biddlecombe is happy to inform and advise customers on bitting their horse and his wealth of experience is sure to help you find a bit for even the most challenging of horses.

Stephen is contactable on Tel: 01825 841 303 or email: info@worldwidetack.co.uk

 

 

Taking Part in Arena Polo

Arena polo is a fast-paced version of polo played outdoors on an enclosed all-weather surface, or in an indoor arena.

Unlike outdoor polo, which is played on a 10-acre field, arena polo is played in a smaller set up allowing more venues to host matches and adding to the excitement of the thrilling game.

The match is played as usual, consisting of four chukkas of seven and one-half minutes each but the ball used is slightly larger.

Arena polo is typically far more financially accessible than outdoor polo. Arena polo is also played year-round, which is attractive to many players because it makes progress in the sport easier and quicker!

So what equipment do you need for Arena Polo?

Rider Wear

Being safe and protected whilst playing Polo is essential, alongside a riding helmet Riding Boots, Elbow Pads and Knee Guards should be worn. World Wide Tack offer their own range of top quality products. Click here to view!

Bandages and Tendon Boots
Polo is a fast and furious game and so your pony’s legs must be protected. Polo players often apply both soft fleece bandages and supportive tendon boots in order to maximise protection. World Wide Tack offers 18 different coloured polo bandages designed specifically with polo in mind with extra length for support and protection.

Bits
World Wide Tack supplies Bomber Bits, a must-have for any polo player! Designed by polo player Peter Nel every Bomber bit is made from blue sweet iron which oxidises easily, encouraging salivation and acceptance. In addition World Wide Tack offer a bespoke service where you can choose your mouth and cheek piece size and order it to be hand made and delivered directly to you; perfect for polo!

Leather Work
World Wide Tack pride themself on their bridle work including bridles, martingales, breastplates and more being made exclusively in the UK from top quality leather. You need a firm holding when playing polo and the security that your tack is going to stay intact for the duration in all conditions so World Wide Tack has a range of high quality leather work, built to last and offering maximum quality!

For more information about the wide range of equipment for polo and other disciplines visit the website www.worldwidetack.com

 

A Rider Q & A with World Wide Tack Bitting Expert!

PT Nov15 Rider's Q&A

Recent edition of Polo Time Magazine saw bitting expert Stephen Biddlecombe, a retailer of widely acclaimed Bombers Bits and proprietor of World Wide Tack, answer a reader question on bitting.  To read the full article- pick up a copy of the magazine today!

Reader Question

K Long, Berkshire says…

“Which bit can be used to stop a horse from ‘bobbing’ its head up and down? My horse is not very strong and stops quite easily, however she bobs her head up and down continuously when playing, which is very annoying. I currently ride in an Elliptical Loose Ring Gag, although she is a little strong in that, and have also tried her in an American Gag, but that lifted her head. I hadn’t really considered that the head bobbing might be bit related, as I thought it was more about excitement and anticipation, so any advice would be appreciated!

Answer

Stephen says…

“You are probably correct to suspect that the head bobbing is bit related. Your horse is likely to be objecting to the tongue pressure applied by the bits you have tried. The loose ring would apply tongue pressure, while the American gag was possibly a single break snaffle, which has the effect of the horse lifting her head. In view of this, I would recommend a Happy Tongue Bombers Bit.

These have a medium port, creating space for the tongue, relieving pressure and allowing the horse to relax. The Bombers Happy Tongue Three Ring is a popular polo bit for horses with sensitive tongues. An alternative is the Happy Tongue T Bar Three Ring, which is designed to have the same effect as a traditional Fulmer, in that it will prevent pinching on the sides of the mouth, however the shortened and extended pins above and below the bit prevent the bit firstly being pulled through the mouth, and secondly have the effect of guiding the horse’s head into the direction the bit is facing, which is great for schooling and training purposes. The T-Bar has a loose ring fitting which allows for immediate release, whilst the shortened pin extensions prevent it from being hooked up. A Ring cheek piece introduces poll pressure as well creating leverage on the mouthpiece – the blue sweet iron seen in Bombers bits oxidises easily and encourages salivation. Naturally, we also advise getting the horse checked physically in case other factors are present.”

Bombers Bits include hundreds of off the shelf bitting solutions, and customers can even design their own bespoke bit from a selection of mouth pieces, cheek pieces and widths, using a ‘design your own bit’ service. Bombers Bits are available through World Wide Tack. Contact the team on Tel: 01825 840 002 or visit www.bombersbits.co.uk.