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

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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!

 

Rider Q & A on Bitting; T Bar Bits.

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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

  1. I have seen a few people using T-bar Bits – can you explain what they are, how they function and what the benefits of the T-Bar are? 

Stephen’s Answer

The T-Bar was developed by Bomber Nel especially for Polo. The T-Bar Bits are designed to have a similar affect as a traditional Fulmer, preventing pinching on the sides of the mouth and averting the bit from being pulled through the mouth, however fast and furious the game becomes.

The pins of the T-Bars are shorter than the classic Fulmer design (also widely available and used with varying mouthpieces) and are often used with young, green horses.  The T-Bar helps direct and guide the horse in the direction the bit is facing via it’s shortened pins above and below the bit; it acts simply in a subtle way, which is great for schooling and training. The T-Bar Bits from Bombers have a loose ring fitting, which allows for immediate release when required.

Offered with a variety of different mouthpieces such as the Buster Roller, Colin Miles, Big Ring, 3 Ring Gag, Elliptical and many more, the T-Bar Cheekpiece is ideal for those horses that are sensitive to any pinching from the bit, or suffer rubs and sores from the bit. In addition, for equines which can be fussy in the mouth, the T-Bar can offer a solution, as it helps to keep the bit stiller in the mouth during ridden work.

The T-Bar design is also useful for those horses that are strong or inclined to nap, as it offers riders an additional directional tool, helping horses and ponies to focus on the game, as well as ensuring the bit doesn’t slip in the mouth at crucial moments when a strong rein aid is needed.

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 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.

To find out more about the wide range of Bombers Bits, including the T-Bar why not visit our website at www.worldwidetack.com.

 

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

 

 

Bitting Solutions; Headshaking.

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Head shaking is a complicated issue but in some instances it can be caused by bit pressure on a sensitive tongue. When pressure is applied to a horse with a sensitive tongue, its response will be one or more of the following:

  • Shaking its head
  • Sticking its tongue out
  • Sucking its tongue back and as a result making an intermittent coughing noise
  • Trying to put its tongue over the bit

Bombers Bits offers the solution to headshaking as a result of tongue sensitivity or for some horses with a large tongue, with the following bitting options.

Happy Tongue Bit: The Happy Tongue is a solid mouth piece which is curved and ported to give tongue relief. The Happy Tongue would be a good place to start!


Bomber Blue:
The Bombers Blue offers a lightweight rubber nylon compound mouthpiece with the same ported design which reduces tongue pressure.

Lock Up: A Lock Up style bit such as the range from Bombers Bits remove the nut cracker action of the conventional snaffle, meaning the bit will bear less pressure on each side of the horses jaw, known as the bars.

McHardy: The McHardy is a combination of a jointed Happy Tongue with the Buster Roller.  An excellent bit when more control is required, allowing at the same space for the tongue.


Segundo:
 Segundo Mouth is a Weymouth bit; it has leverage action and works on several points to control on the horse’s head, and also within the mouth. This bit is unusual in that it does not use tongue pressure, as it features a large port through which the tongue lies. The horse can’t lean on the bit or get his tongue over it but the bit is not for novice riders as it can be more severe than the other bitting options listed below.

To find out more about the range of Bombers Bits listed above visit Bomber’s UK Official Distributor World Wide Tack’s website at: www.worldwidetack.com or Tel: 01825 841 303 to speak to our bitting expert Stephen Biddlecombe.