Bit Strap, Backstrap and Curb Chains



  • The back strap is a nylon strap that is attached to the bit with a press stud. 
  • The buckle allows the fit to be adjusted
  • Fitted to a loose type cheek piece, the strap sits higher than a curb chain.
  • The material used for the backstraps is non-metal, therefore softer on the lower jaw than metal
  • Done up loosely the back strap acts as a stabilizer, it stops the bit from being pulled through the mouth.
  • The back strap also acts to regulate how fast the leverage on the mouthpiece comes into effect.
  • The back strap will create a squeeze of the lower jaw between the strap and the mouthpiece.

We recommend starting with the back strap loose, and slowly tightening it by one hole at a time during a ride. Experimenting in this way will allow you to find just the right pressure for your horse. One hole can make the difference between the horse being comfortable or resisting the pressure.

Bit Strap


  • Bit straps are leather with buckles to adjust the fit.
  • The bit strap is fitted below the reins on the cheekpiece
  • It balances the cheekpieces
  • It prevents the mouthpiece from sliding through the mouth
  • It can help create slight cheek pressure
Mainly fitted on:
  • Loose type cheekpieces
  • Dee’s
  • Bit that is slightly too large

Curb Chain


A curb chain is a flat linked chain that runs over the chin groove of the horse, between the bit’s purchase.  The purchase is the part of the shank above the mouth piece.

  • A curb chain is attached to curb bit such as a Pelham or Weymouth.
  • The curb chain applies pressure to the chin groove.
  • The curb chain limits how much the shank rotates, therefore limiting the leverage applied.

Effect of a tight Curb Chain:

  • A tighter curb applies pressure to the chin groove quicker
  • It restricts the extent of rotation of the shank.
  • This limited rotation results in restricted leverage on the mouthpiece.

Effect of a loose Curb Chain:

  • A loose curb applies pressure more slowly to the chin groove
  • How loose the curb chain is will determine how much rotation of the shanks is limited.
  • Increased rotation results in increased leverage on the mouthpiece.

The chin groove is a very sensitive area for a horse, therefore we recommend using a gel curb guard or leather curb chain to soften the pressure applied to the chin groove.

This video discusses the differences between a Backstrap and a Curb Chain