A bit consists of a mouthpiece and a cheekpiece. The mouthpiece will rest inside of the horses mouth in the interdental space. The cheekpiece will be outside the horses mouth, against the face.
The interdental space refers to the space that is not occupied with teeth, this is between the cheek teeth (towards the back of the mouth) and the incisors or canine teeth (towards the front of the mouth).
This unoccupied space allows the mouthpiece of the bit to rest in the mouth without having the jaw open or interfering with the horse’s teeth.
Getting the fit of the bit correct is vitally important to the horse’s comfort. A bit that is far too small can cause pinching of the lips, but a bit that is too large can cause even more problems.
We have only been taught to look at how the bit fits the outside of the lips, without any consideration of how the bit functions inside of the mouth. When the mouthpiece is too large, the joints move, and the curves can sit incorrectly in the mouth. This leads to the mouthpiece applying pressure to areas it should not be.
An oversized bit will also create too much movement in the mouth. Allowing the bit to slide from side to side through the mouth. This movement causes discomfort as well as a background noise to the rider’s aids. When it comes to selecting the correct size, we need to take into account the horse’s actual mouth measurement but also consider how fleshy the lips are, how wide the lower jaw is and where the horses teeth are in relation to where the bit will sit.
To further learn about sizing:
A mouth piece is the part of the bit that goes inside the horses mouth.
The mouthpiece is where majority of the pressure application comes from, the pressure is determined by the shape, width and functionality of the mouthpieces’ design.
At Bombers we have 6 categories of Mouthpieces:
What are the branches of a mouthpiece?
The branches of the mouth piece is the piece of the mouth piece that rests on the bars.
A cheek piece is the part outside of mouth to which the bridle and reins are attached to.
A Cheekpiece can assist to increase or decrease pressure applied. Cheekpieces are also sometimes determined by discipline.
At Bombers we have 3 categories of Cheekpieces:
A loose cheek piece slides through a hole in the mouthpiece. A loose ring allows pressure to be applied slowly as the ring to which the bridle and reins attach slide through the hole in the mouth piece when contact is taken up. Pressure is also released quickly as once the reins relax, the bit will return to a neutral position in the mouth.