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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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!

 

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

 

Summer hoof care

Hooflex-All-Natural-Dressinglarge

During the summer months hoof care is a vital part of summer management for horse owners. In hot, dry weather the feet of our equines can dry out causing problems such as cracks, heat and bruises within the feet. In addition the ground that our horses graze and exercise upon becomes hard, increasing the concussive forces that the body and hooves are exposed to.

Good summer hoof care involves a variety of factors. This includes equine diet as the horse’s hoof growth is linked to the levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the diet, the level of moisture in the foot and maintaining correct farriery or trimming.

Hooflex All Natural Dressing offered by World Wide Tack uses herbal ingredients to stimulate circulation and improve hoof growth. The natural alternative helps to promote shiny, healthy hooves. Hooflex is also available in a natural spray. The innovative design sprays from any angle, even upside down and non-aerosol spray eliminates the need for messy brushes while keeping the product free of dirt and debris. Herbal ingredients including tea tree oil, arnica, comfrey and avocado oil help promote healthy hoof growth and maintain the hoof’s moisture balance; perfect for the dry late summer months.

For more information about Hooflex Natural Dressing or Hooflex Natural Spray or the wide range of products promoting equine from World Wide Tack from visit the website www.worldwidetack.com

Help ease back pain

With the competition season in full swing many horses are working incredibly hard. In addition the recent warm weather has resulted in the ground becoming extremely solid and firm, increasing the impact on the equine’s hooves, limbs and their backs.

Back pain is a common complaint suffered by the competition horse and can cause problems such as unsoundness on a circle, bucking, discomfort when lifting the limbs and struggling with transitions, to name just a few. Success at competitions requires the horse to be a true athlete and to perform and train in a way which is both bold and brave. Only too often, the hidden factor holding competing equines back is their own back pain.

Effective and correct training goes a long way to ensuring your equine is working correctly and using his body in a way that will minimize harm. Training with a trusted professional can give you further insight and knowledge and is therefore always advisable.

Crucially when deliberating the cause of back pain it is vital to ensure that your tack fits your horse comfortably and correctly first. If the saddle provides a good fit a supportive saddle pad may be required.

Gel-Eze products offered by World Wide Tack offer the ideal product to help combat the stresses and strains caused to the equine back through their innovative gel accessories which uniquely act to absorb the impact. Their products include fetlock and tendons boots and saddle pads.

The Gel-Eze Saddle Pads offer the impact absorption qualities of liquid, yet in a gel form. The saddle pads, placed directly on to the horse’s back reduce the potential for the saddle to slip, reach an uncomfortable position and rub and wound the horse whilst offering a non toxic, reusable product which absorbs the impact subjected on the equine back from both the hard ground and the rider.

Gel-Eze Saddle Pads from World Wide Tack are available in a range of fittings and sizes, including saddle pads which cover the whole back or products which just raise the front or the back of the saddle; so you can choose which item suits your equine the best. In addition the Gel-Eze product is available incorporated into a Sheepskin Numnah, Dressage Square or Half pad so you can look good in the ring, whilst keeping your horse safe, comfortable and able to perform at his best.

For more information about the Gel-Eze range visit the website http://www.worldwide.tack or call 01825 841303 to speak to a member of the World Wide Tack Team.

stephens gel eze sheepskin half pad with comfort cushions

Overreach Injuries; Prevention is Better Than Cure

Whether taking part in racing, dressage, western riding or cross country or simply riding a big moving extravagant horse over reach boots are an essential piece of kit.

Over-reaching is a term that describes a horse self-inflicting trauma on the heel area of the front limb or foot by hitting it with the toe of the shoe of the hind hoof. When horses are working at speed, changing directions and decelerating quickly, it can be incredibly common for this type of injury to occur without the presence of a pair of protective, overreach boots.

An overreach trauma can cause the bruising of the tissue and in severe cases, particularly in shod horses, a sore wound above the hairline and around the bulbs of the heel. Though often temporary, this type of injury often results in extreme pain and sometimes lameness affecting our horses ability to work and negatively impacting upon their health.

In addition an overreach injury provides a prime site for infections to occur being low to the ground and susceptible to being coated and infected with dirt and bacteria which can result in a secondary infection.

As with most things, prevention is far more desirable than treating the problem after the injury. Overreach boots provide a simple and effective mechanism in preventing this injury from occurring. World Wide Tack offer a wide range of Overreach Boots including; Cashel, KM Elite, Pariani and Co and Overreach bands; with and without buckles.

To see the wide range of overreach boots available from World Wide Tack, to suit every discipline, visit www.worldwidetack.com or call us on 01825 841 303

Sheepskin Over Reach Boots White_lrg

How to deal with splints…

3or4wkslaterAs the warmer weather comes up and the ground dries out it is prime time for splints to develop. Not only are these unsightly, they can cause pain and discomfort when forming which may lead to frustrating time off. Not ideal in the midst of the competition season!

Splints manifest themselves as swellings and bony enlargements located on the splint bones on both forelegs and hindlegs of horses.

Tips to prevent splints…  

  • Avoid excessive concussion and strain especially with young horses.
  • Maintain hooves properly.
  • Feed nutritionally balances grains and forages especially to young horses. Alfalfa is a good feed. However, it is best to feed alfalfa only in grass mixtures to rapidly growing horses.

Treatment of splints… 
Fresh splints are best treated topically with Silver Splintex t.m. and gauze or cotton bandage. (Leg brush included.) Elimination of the fresh splint may occur as early as 3 five day cycles, although some cases require additional treatment. Horses with hot splints should receive lay-up or complete rest with exercise limited to hand walking.

Cold splints are best treated topically with Gold Splintex t.m., bandaging optional. At approximately 20 days the enlargements appear to flatten with dramatic reduction of the splint as early as 30 days. Treatment should be continued to achieve complete elimination. Horses with cold splints may follow their daily routines without interruption unless lameness is present.

To find out how to purchase Splintex by visiting http://www.worldwidetack.com