Wearing of Barrels

The Barrel center joint is used in the Barrel 20, Barrel 30 and Ported Barrel mouthpieces.

The Barrel joint was chosen to work with as it allows either side of the mouthpiece to function independently. The Barrel joint also allows for some movement of the mouthpiece, making it semi-broken. This proves effective with horses that require some movement in the mouth, but not as much as a broken mouthpiece.

The Barrel joint does wear faster than any other joint as quite a lot of movement can be created on a small surface area. The life expectancy of a barrel and a traditionally jointed mouthpiece is quite different due to their various functions.

The Barrel removes the excessive squeeze on the bars that a jointed mouthpiece can create, by limiting the mouthpiece’s movement.

When the mouthpiece is engaged and the alternate sides are used independently or together the constant movement of the steel pin which joins the barrel joint creates friction and pressure which results in wear.  The Barrel must be checked regularly for wear and the customer is encouraged to ask for advice if there is any concern at all.

How do bits wear?

Wearing of Barrels

Bombers has done thorough tests and analysis on all of our mouthpieces, including those that consist of a barrel joint. The mouthpiece life expectancy can greatly increase or decrease due to many factors:


The rate and duration of usage of the bit can have an impact on its life expectancy. When the bit is used for long periods and with multiple horses a day, excessive wear can occur as the mouthpiece is constantly active and under pressure.

Level / Type of work:

The type of work can have an impact on its life expectancy. When the mouthpiece is used for higher, more demanding work it can tend to wear quicker as more pressure is applied. For example, a Barrel mouthpiece will wear quicker with a horse that is doing Grand-Prix Dressage than a horse that only does hacking. The intensity of the work will not affect the functionality of the bit, but it can speed up the pressure of wearing as the bit will be active and engaged creating pressure and friction within the barrel joint.


Cleaning the mouthpiece is very important, especially when it comes to joints. When a bit is not cleaned regularly, saliva and food can get trapped in the joint and harden. This can hinder the function of the Barrel joint.

Contact us if your barrel looks like this: