Western bits with 6”+ mouthpiece

I want to show my horse in some of the western events at our local play days, and the rules require a shanked bit. The problem is my horse wears a 6”-6 1/4” mouthpiece. I can’t find ANY western bits in that size except nasty single jointed Tom thumbs or grazing bits (both of which he absolutely loathes). His normal bit is an ergonomic double jointed loose ring so I’d like someone with a similar mouthpiece.

Mylar and their subsidary, Toklat, have 6" bits. Mylar would custom make anything you want in their various combinations., run $150-200. I found a nice Toklat with the magic rotating center, making a nice med port curb bit, for my horse at about $60.

Have you considered a mechanical hackamore for speed events? You have the shanks, no mouthpiece, very suitable as a “western bit”. Can pad the nosepiece.

Doing Pleasure or Trail things, you do need a mouth piece with shanks. You might look at driving bits, they have the width you want, not a big selection in mouthpieces among less expensive bits under $50. Bowman bits in Ohio will make you anything you want in mouthpiece designs, widths and shanks. Again you have to pay for it, they are in $150-200 range.

There is a sale site, Bit Go Round, selling used horse things, mostly driving stuff. She might have something come thru her hands or you could ask her to look.

I feel for you, all our horses wear 6" bits. They can be hard find in the specialty types. Sorry none to sell!

Yeah I don’t do speed events, just western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, that kind of thing. So I’m very limited on the type of bit I can use. I normally don’t spend more than $40 on brand new bits so $100+ is quite a jump. Hopefully I can find something used cause I don’t think I could justify that expense.

You can also try getting ahold of Les Vogt . He might have some or he might be able to have Perfomax make you one .

Are there any requirements on acceptable shank shapes, or just that it has to have shanks? If it just has to have shanks, maybe use a Pelham (only the bottom ring)? (If you’re handy you could try grinding the snaffle ring off)

This one comes in a 6": https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/sh…-lozenge-21114

I know it can’t have any sort of gag action and I haven’t seen anyone using a Pelham, but I might have to email the organizers and see if thats legal.

Maybe just ask if you can use an Argentine bit/Argentine snaffle. They are similar (the Argentine has smaller rings does have some sweep to the shanks) and Argentine is usually considered a “western” bit. :lol:


I would choose the Argentine over the English Pelham, iF you can get it in the 6" width. Curve in shanks should let it pass as Western, especially if you can grind off the small ring holes between the D ring and loose rings at the bottom. Those little holes scream ENGLISH BIT. Western bits never use lip straps, do not need the holes for the lip strap. Take the bit to a good welding shop, ask if they can grind off the little holes without weakening the shanks? And have bit stay shiny when finished being worked on.

We tried using a little Pelham like that for Western but Judge pointed it out, said we needed a Western cheek to compete and place. This was a pretty low level show. We had husband make up a bit in the proper width, that had acceptable sides. Horse and kid did well using that bit, though we did get humorous comments about the “big horse with the pony bit” from 4H friends! Shank below the bit was only an inch long, plus the rein ring. Horse was a great guy, just did not need any more shank length. Did everything the kids asked for.

Greg Dutton makes very good bits. He’s in New Mexico.

I have found him to be both inexpensive compared to other options, and high quality. And very nice!
He makes a dog-bone snaffle (d ring, western style) that is really, really inoffensive to the horse. I think it was $40 when I bought mine, which is super inexpensive for a handmade, quality bit.
I think he’d be able to make you exactly the bit you want, at a good price.

Try Shipshewana Harness. Bob can find you anything you are looking for if you don’t see it on the website. I needed a 7 in bit and he special ordered and sent it to me. https://www.shipshewanaharness.com/e…cfm?&cat_id=67.

Drafttack.com. MyDraftHorse Superstore. Big Black Horse may be some other sites to check

1 Like