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Another bit thread - mare hates NS bits!

Yup…another bit thread! LOL
4yo mare…I really have to say she is one the best youngsters I’ve ridden. Very smart, a really good girl…definite mare opinion, but if you have things where she is happy, then she is a work horse and focused. So this is definitely a bit/mouth comfort thing…and not other issues manifesting.

Was started in an loose ring single joint…had some fussing with the trainer, so switched to eggbutt single joint. Definitely better, but still head tossing at times.

Came home. Teeth floated and checked recently, so okay there. Started with the single joint eggbutt…overall good, but head tossing that seemed to be related to pressure in certain ways on the bit. So I started to experiment with bits…did the consult with Neule Schule and they suggested the tranz. Tried that and better about the head tossing, but we had head tilting and a bit of fussing. Tried a KK loose ring double joint…some head tossing and fussing. Tried the NS single joint - not happy.

Tried the NS verbindend. She actually seemed good in that for a few weeks…no head tossing and good steering. But…she started sneezing and coughing when you first trot. Then started wanting to rub her nose on her leg…to the point she would trip and nearly go on her knees if you didn’t let her rub. She seemed very irritated and would have occasional angry head tosses. Also started to get very low and heavy in the bit.

So, I swapped back to the single joint. The sneezing/coughing and nose rubbing immediately stopped. No tripping (as she wasn’t fussing in the mouth)…but back to the occasional, non angry head toss.

Today tried her in the NS tranz again…not happy at all. Trying to rub her face and sneezing/coughing until she tripped. But, no head tossing.

So, I have figured out that she likes an eggbutt/D ring over a loose ring. She does not head toss with a normal shaped double joint (verbindend = angry head toss, like she is pinched). I feel like any of the NS bits, she is getting really mad about…and has the sneezing/coughing fit and trying to rub her nose on her leg (she does not do this at all with a plain stainless bit - you can swap bits on the same ride and instant change in how she goes).

My bit box options are a bit more limited with her as she is smaller (4 3/4 or 5) and most of my other horses are in 5 1/2. She also has a small mouth, short lips, looks to be low palate.

Thoughts on what might work given what I’ve narrowed it down to? I might just find a cheap stainless double joint eggbutt. There is definitely something about the NS metal making her really fussy - and the veribindend shape making her really mad.

I have never heard of this but my gelding does this sometimes and he is also quite obsessed in his need to rub the sides of his mouth/ nose on his leg. Is that what your horse does??? I thought it was maybe bug or sweat related.

I never thought about it possibly being bit related … I have another snaffle I will try. I find it really irritating when he does this. Thanks for posting and sorry I am of no help.


Yes, and she just started doing it…at first I just thought she has an itch, no big deal. But then it got to be more persistent and she got more fixated on rubbing the side of her mouth on her leg. At first I though it was just a baby horse evasion, but then realized she did really seem uncomfortable about something. She was also getting more annoyed if you didn’t let her rub and more resistant about going forward if you interrupted the rubbing. Since she was also starting to feel very heavy in the verbindend and getting way to low (where I couldn’t lift her up into the right spot)…I decided to go back to the original bit. The rubbing and stopping to rub was gone immediately…as in she stopped once, I said nope, go forward and that was 100% the end of it. Rode her in that single joint a few days and we had zero rubbing or coughing or tripping. Today went to the NS tranz and she was a mess again, trying to rub her nose, cough, etc.
So I’m 100% sure the rubbing/coughing is bit related.
(Adding that bugs were not an issue - we were in the indoor and no bugs…she wasn’t sweaty as we had just started and had only walked when all this happens).

Well my horse wasn’t sweaty or bothered by bugs either. Do you have any idea what it could be about the bit that causes this? I ride in a regular ,full cheek single joint snaffle that appears to fit fine and that he has done well in since I started riding him a year+ ago? Just curious and open to where to go from here to see what he may like.

I think that rubbing the leg can also just be a way of relieving stress, and is not always related to physical pain, itching, or physical discomfort.


I noticed that all of the bits you tried are jointed. Especially with a small mouth or low palate, this can be really uncomfortable.


Have you tried one of the softer plastic bits? Nathe, Duo, Trust, etc.? Sometimes they’re helpful for a horse that thinks a metal bit is a bit much.

If she doesn’t have much room in her mouth a narrow bit like a Myler might be worth a try as well.


A Myler bit was going to my suggestion, too. Something with a mullen mouth, perhaps?


Not sure how many times you changed the bit but this sounds like more than a bit issue. I had a horse come in that was a brood mare for 2 years. She was doing a lot of what you mention but I only changed the bit twice and then realized it was more of a balance and connection issue. She does the sneezing thing when she comes more over her back at first.
If your mare is still growing which most 4 yr olds are I would stick with a simple bit and work through some balance exercises. JMHO

edited to add that after 4 weeks of steady work in a single jointed NS Anky she is rarely fussy

I really found a bit fitter helpful to tell me my horse has sharp bars and would likely prefer a bit with bar relief and then have me try a few examples/brands. If you have a fitter in your area, it might be worth it.

I ended up with a single jointed KK with bar relief and a Bombers ultra comfy, which is what he prefers over everything.

He has a very itchy face and coughs/sneezes every ride. I’ve ridden without a cavesson a lot, which seems to help relieve some of his anxiety when his face is really itchy.


Expert Bits makes a bit very similar to the Myler that’s lighter in weight. It’s been a game changer for my gelding who exhibits similar behavior when he’s not comfortable in his mouth.

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It sounds like she’s either reacting to the sensogran / salox type bits, or to the double joint.
I’d try a single jointed snaffle with curved bars either stainless steel or satinox.
Possible option would be to try

I’d recommend the NS demi anky or the Sprenger Novocontact but both are sensogran / salox.

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Thanks everyone…I was looking at the duo or nathe and wondering if that might be worth a try. I have a happy mouth but I think that will be way to fat for her mouth. We don’t get the head tossing with the double joint (except the verbindend)…and the sneezing/coughing/rubbing is only with the NS brands. We tried the demi anky but that was a definite no to.

I was looking at the Fager Emil or the HS satinox. I am borrowing a thinner double joint rubber bit to try as well.
I put a few messages out to bit fitters to see if they are in the area…if anyone knows one that comes to southern NJ/Philly area, please DM me their name!

@Bogey2 She is still growing and learning balance…but this is distinctly bit related, as you can swap out the bit in the same ride and get an instantly different ride.

@candyappy no idea, just that the behavior only happens with a NS bit (any style mouthpiece). When I went to a stainless, we still had some other contact issues, but zero rubbing/coughing. Then back to NS and immediately the rubbing/coughing again. The bits look smooth/normal and fit correctly, so who knows!!


Have you measured her mouth recently? I find that my young horses grow drastically in bit size when their teeth are coming in. My five year old went up a half inch at age 4. My horses are started in a Duo and I really like it, but I need more finesse to the bit when they get more balanced. Sprenger makes some nice stainless steel bits.

Re: “the sneezing/coughing/rubbing is only with the NS brands”

You might consider that she has an allergic reaction to something in the alloy. I had a pony with a copper allergy - had to use stainless bits only.


Agree with the comment to try a mullen, and different material. I like the Fager bits, they are lighter weight and come in sweet iron and titanium.


In my experience rubbing their faces on their legs while riding is related to the bit and nose pressure.

It is a way to relieve stress, usually the above.

I have noticed my gelding won’t do it ever on hunter paces or hacks - but if we really school dressage and I really get after him for carrying himself correctly, during walk breaks he will rub against his leg. I think it is the increased pressure of the bit - which he has never enjoyed, period.

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That honestly sounds like an upper airway issue they may be exacerbated when she feels a certain type of tongue pressure. Friend’s horse had similar behavior and even went down a headshaking rabbit hole. Dynamic airway scope was very enlightening.

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My Morgan gelding would only do it when I added a dropped noseband to the single-jointed snaffle he kept opening his mouth with. Solved everything with a mullen mouth. Happy, well- balanced. It was a Linda Tellington-Jones bit and really lived up to its billing.

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Yes, I definitely think there is something with the metal she is sensitive to.

I went back to the stainless single joint to ride this morning. One sneeze and that was over…and zero stopping to rub the nose. She was also much happier to just go to work. We still had some fussing and head tosses with the single joint…but nothing like yesterday’s drama in the NS bit.

So I did order a HS duo to try…and am borrowing a HS stainless double joint…and a rubber double joint. @outerbanks77 I emailed Fager to see if they could make suggestions…at least I know what doesn’t work, so maybe they can help with what might work!

@Cowgirl yes, I’ve been checking fit carefully. She fits perfectly in a 5 inch eggbutt. I remeasured today again, because the HS duo is only in a 120 or 130 so I went with the 130, as the eggbutt today which is perfect sizing is like 127 (5").

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