Western D Snaffles

Hi All! H/J rider here. I recently picked up a bit on short notice for my mare, and it had an odd shank shape that I had never seen before. Turns out after some research, it’s a “Western D”.

I love learning new things all the time and I feel a little odd that I’ve made it 35 years riding horses and didn’t know that they existed.

I was hoping someone could explain why the Western D evolved differently than the English D, and how (if at all) they are different? It looks like a Western D is a cross between an Eggbutt and an O ring?

Thanks in advance!


Ok here’s a wild guess, based on my speculation entirely.

Western reins are typically draped much more than English reins. When the end-loop of the rein hangs towards the ground it can snag on the square lower edge of the (English) D. Western riders prefer a subtle change in the contact when they lift the rein, so even a brief “snag” would be undesirable.

The “offset D” to which I think you are referring keeps the rein end on a smooth bend of the bit ring at all times. Sound plausible?

I’d love to hear from a knowledgeable person (Bluey?) on this topic too.