The Bit I Ride My Horse in Is a…

You tell which type of bit you use when you ride your horse, and why.

Plain, loose-ring snaffle. I try to train my horse with the least amount of hardware possible. My mare, Lily, is learning to carry herself through patient training with rewards for good performance.

Joni Patten, Georgia

Plain snaffle. My horse doesn’t need a harsher bit than that. I also like my hackamore, but I use the bit when I work on Clinton Anderson exercises.

Kim Alley, Maine

Brenda Imus comfort bit. It’s a shanked curb with no port, and with a copper roller in the middle of the mouthpiece. It doesn’t irritate my gelding, Bandit, the way a Tom Thumb and broken snaffle did, yet he still can’t brace against it as he could with a traditional Western curb bit. It’s gentle, yet gives me great control.

Marcella Williams, Kansas

Not just one—a variety, from full-cheek snaffles to basic Western curbs, each for a different purpose. I regularly ride in different disciplines (trail riding, Western dressage), and I prefer to use a different bit for each to help my horse make the mental change between those disciplines.

Hannah Timonen, Michigan

Sherry Cervi short gag bit. I compete in barrel racing with my Appendix Quarter Horse gelding, and this bit suits him well. He has a sensitive mouth, and the bit gives me enough “rate” and “body lift” for turns without hurting him.

Jody Harrison, Texas

Bob Avila training shank correction bit. My gelding respects it and responds to it well on a light rein.

Jennifer Langston, Colorado

Tom Balding shanked snaffle. My mare responds the best to it and stays nice and soft. Also, it’s the bit of choice of many reiners, and you can’t go wrong with Tom Balding!

Megan D’Andrea, Ohio

Short-shanked curb. It’s made of cold-rolled steel called “sweet iron” because it rusts just a little. My mare seems really to like the taste of it, and it helps keep her mouth moist.

Rhonda Cartman, California

Myler jointed curb. I love all the Myler bits, but this level-one model is perfect for my Appaloosa gelding. We mostly trail ride, and this bit gives me plenty of control, yet my horse is happy in it.

Anthony Marotto, New Jersey

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