A horses’ first bit

The first bit is an important part of a young horse’s education. It is difficult to guess what kind of pressure they will be happy with. Our general recommendation is to start with a tongue relief bit. Another good idea is to choose a non-metal option as it is more familiar than a metal mouthpiece. We generally recommend the Bomber Blue as a first bit, this mouth piece doesn’t use any tongue pressure and it is a nylon composite.  Your youngster may not stay in it for more than a year or two, but it will give a very good foundation.

Some other options of tongue relief bits are:

  • Happy Tongue (this is available in sweet iron and titanium)
  • Happy Tongue Straight (this is available in sweet iron and titanium)
  • Ultra Comfy Lock Up (this works especially well for horses that also have bar sensitivity)
  • Ported Barrel (this works well for horses that do Dressage as it allows for independent lateral aids)
  • Moulded Mullen (this works especially well for horses that also have bar sensitivity, it is made of moulded material which is non-metal)

When bitting for the first time:


Allow the horse to wear the bit in their stable, with no rider interference – this will allow the horse to familiarize themselves to the feel of the mouthpiece and cheekpiece, without any pressure being applied.
 A bit strap should be attached to minimize movement of the cheekpiece.


Under Saddle:

When the horse is under saddle, a cheekpiece such as the Fulmer can be considered as this cheekpiece will encourage flexion and back-up turning aids. The pins will encourage the youngster to turn by applying pressure to the opposite side of the face,  the loose ring will allow for a quick release from pressure – this quick release of pressure is felt as a reward by the youngster. A loose ring allows pressure be applied slowly as the loose ring slides and delays pressure – this will ensure the youngster is not frightened or overwhelmed by pressure being applied.

A horses’ first bit