Please help me understand this type of bit

Hi guys,

I have tried researching online but I am probably not using the correct words:

Can someone please explain to me why some loose ring bits have ‘slots’ on the INSIDE of the loose ring?

Examples (not looking at the mouthpiece, but the loose rings themselves):
http://www.bahrsaddlery.com/shires-sweet-iron-beval-bit.html
http://www.bahrsaddlery.com/shires-bevel-loose-ring-gag-with-copper-link.html
http://www.bahrsaddlery.com/stubben-golden-wing-4-in-1-gag.html

I assume it causes a bit of leverage action, but is it truly a gag (meaning it lifts upwards in the horse’s mouth) without a gag rein used?

Any help in my learning would be great!

Those are gag bits, different than rope gag bits - the function for those is for the headstall to attach to the bit slot and the reins to attach to the second bit slot – when the rein is activated it will swivel the bit ring and will act as a leverage – where in rope gags, the rope attaches to the headstall, threads through the bit slots, and then attaches to the reins – when you pull with a rope gag, it pulls pressure from the poll and pulls the bit up thru the ropes.

Both are gag bits (gag simply meaning a leverage bit), but I’d say if the mouthpiece is the same, the rope gags are far more severe.

I have seen some people thread a rope cheek through the bits you linked, but I am not sure why you wouldn’t just get the right bit as it doesn’t release/engage as quickly or reliably.

I like the regular gag (ones you posted, also called ‘Wonderbit’) if you are trying a new horse XC for the first time… Put it on like a reg snaffle, no slots, and if you end up needing a gag, it’s there with some adjustment.

Thank you very much, Beowulf! That is exactly what I needed!

Much appreciated!

I wouldn’t call them leverage bits, since there is no curb action under the jaw. Yes the bit mouth gets a bit of twist when using the slots with reins in them, but you don’t have any chin strap, no lever action when you pull the reins to hit horse under his jaw.

I would compare the action of bits linked, to be more like a full-cheek with bit keepers on, where mouth piece is held in place in horse mouth. Not much or any sliding on the ring if reins are held snug all the time. True loose ring sides allow the mouth piece to slide to the bottom of the rings when there is no rein pressure. Then there is also “delay time” when reins are picked up, put into action, while mouthpiece slides on the rings back into place where horse feels and uses it. With the full cheek sides locked into place with bit keepers, the mouthpiece stays in the same place across horse tongue ALL the time, no sliding or delay time when reins are activated or dropped with no pressure on them. Horse feels the contract faster with bit already in place, can respond to reins faster when properly trained.]

The bits linked have some gag action, but not like the rope gag bit mentioned. Bit goes straight up with the running gag rope pull, not really twisting in mouth like the bits linked with their inside slots for bridle or reins. Those linked bits would have no twist or gag action if reins are put on the big ring instead of slots. They would be like any regular loose ring snaffle bit in action then.

Wilkie snaffle

[QUOTE=MontysGal;8802661]Hi guys,

I have tried researching online but I am probably not using the correct words:

Can someone please explain to me why some loose ring bits have ‘slots’ on the INSIDE of the loose ring?

Examples (not looking at the mouthpiece, but the loose rings themselves):
http://www.bahrsaddlery.com/shires-sweet-iron-beval-bit.html
http://www.bahrsaddlery.com/shires-bevel-loose-ring-gag-with-copper-link.html
http://www.bahrsaddlery.com/stubben-golden-wing-4-in-1-gag.html

I assume it causes a bit of leverage action, but is it truly a gag (meaning it lifts upwards in the horse’s mouth) without a gag rein used?

Any help in my learning would be great![/QUOTE]

From my understanding, the bits you have linked are “wilkie snaffles”. They’re quite commonly used on cheeky ponies to give kids a bit more control!

Not harsh - wouldn’t really be comparable to a rope Gag or even a three/four ring gag. Slight leverage (perhaps somewhat similar to a hanging cheek snaffle/baucher) but as pointed out above no curb action. In reality the rings tend to be very small on these bits - much smaller than a standard rope gag and smaller than say a standard loose ring for comparison - so the action of the “leverage” is limited accordingly.

What was pointing towards using one of these?

I use one of those on my horse for jumping. He flats in a novocontact snaffle but he is very bold to the fences and can just get a bit strong in a plain snaffle. It offers just a touch more control so I can get him back quickly. Nothing worse that having to haul on a horse for halfway around the field or ring to get it to stop.

It is not a strong bit. Not as strong as a two ring elevator, have several of those and find them to be unnecessary for this horse at this point.

I’ve only used this kind of bit a couple of times, and the horses really seemed to hate it, so my experience is very limited. I may very well have been using it wrong.

In terms of terminology, though, isn’t any bit with leverage technically a curb rather than a gag?

Those Tom Thumb things, for example, that have a jointed center, shanks, and no chain - is that a curb or a gag or what? I’d imagine this type falls into the same category, no?

You don’t need a curb to have leverage. The lever action in a gag puts pressure against the poll rather than the chin of the horse. It is still a lever.

You do not use a curb chain with this kind of bit typically. I am sure you could rig one up but it is meant to have extremely mild gag action.

I must be very old school or something.

The definition I’m using is pretty basic:
http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=B1379
This would make the gag a sub-category of the curb . . . right?

[QUOTE=triple;8803459]
What was pointing towards using one of these?[/QUOTE]

Honestly, I saw them in the tack shop, didn’t understand how they worked so I figured I’d ask. The only way to learn, right? :slight_smile:

It looks like there’s three types of action we’re discussing:

Curb: Not applicable on these bits, requires a curb chain.

Leverage: Which I always understood to mean poll pressure, which it seems these bits would give minor leverage as they twist in the mouth with the cheek piece stabilized.

Gag: Now this one I always thought meant raising in the mouth (like a literal gag), but it seems to be used in this thread as a synonym for leverage.
The bits are called gag bits in their links, so maybe it’s ROPE gags that raise in the mouth and otherwise gag = leverage?

Is that summary what you guys understand?

[QUOTE=Red Barn;8803507]I must be very old school or something.

The definition I’m using is pretty basic:
http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=B1379
This would make the gag a sub-category of the curb . . . right?[/QUOTE]

At the bottom of that article it specifically says that elevator/gag bits are not easily classified as they do not work the same as a simple snaffle or curb. It calls them a “combination bit.”

[QUOTE=MontysGal;8803508]Honestly, I saw them in the tack shop, didn’t understand how they worked so I figured I’d ask. The only way to learn, right? :slight_smile:

It looks like there’s three types of action we’re discussing:

Curb: Not applicable on these bits, requires a curb chain.

Leverage: Which I always understood to mean poll pressure, which it seems these bits would give minor leverage as they twist in the mouth with the cheek piece stabilized.

Gag: Now this one I always thought meant raising in the mouth (like a literal gag), but it seems to be used in this thread as a synonym for leverage.
The bits are called gag bits in their links, so maybe it’s ROPE gags that raise in the mouth and otherwise gag = leverage?

Is that summary what you guys understand?[/QUOTE]

This bit does in fact raise in the mouth as you tighten the reins. As it turns, the distance between the bit and the poll gets shorter and the mouthpieces lifts just a little.

You can see the action in this photo. I am riding my horse with quite a bit of contact here over this rather narrow fence because he had a bad go through the sunken road before this schooling, and I was riding him aggressively/between my hand and leg to make sure we got through straight. He’s green and I didn’t want him to say “no thanks, last time that stung.” You can see how the bit has lifted in his mouth because I have a fair degree of contact with his mouth. Not a George Morris moment but it had a purpose.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153894329812648&set=t.1293847780&type=3&theater

The gag effect is smaller but faster than with a rope or leather-cheeked gag.

Mechanically speaking, I would’ve classified “combinations” with curbs because of their indirect action, but I guess that’s six of one and half dozen of the other.

:wink:

Thank you.

Poop, says content unavailable!

But I understand what you mean, I guess I was thinking there was poll pressure when it rotated, rather than a lifting in the mouth action.

Very interesting! Thanks guys!

And I know a bit is only as strong or soft as the hands, but I like to understand the mechanics behind it. This is a great learning discussion for me who generally goes in full cheek snaffles.

Maybe this will work? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10209649658100276&set=a.1577732685258.79510.1293847780&type=3&theater

YES that worked perfectly! and it really does show the bit action as it rotates and lifts, thank you!

PS adorable photo with your big smile :slight_smile: