Photo credit: Sebastian Oakley
Sprenger is a world leader in bit design and production. Its commitment to product development and standards in quality makes it the bit of choice for leading riders, including Charlotte Dujardin OBE, Carl Hester MBE, Laura Tomlinson and the Eilbergs.
Sprenger’s UK bitting expert, Lindsay Middleton, discusses some common bitting problems…
Choosing the right bit
Choosing the right bit is critical to the performance of your horse, but with so many options and brands available, choosing the right one isn’t always easy. However, making the right choice is crucial. Your horse’s mouth is one of the most sensitive parts of his body, so needs to be treated very carefully.
What’s the root of the problem?
First things first, check your horse is fit and healthy. When people come to me with a problem that they think is bit-related, we quite often find it’s something else, such as a sore back, badly fitting saddle or teeth that need attention. It’s worth getting some professional advice if you’re unsure, so speak to your vet or a qualified saddle fitter to make sure your horse is comfortable before you think about changing your bit.
Where to start?
I always recommend that people try Sprenger’s KK Ultra bit first – its sympathetic shape and unique middle link, which is angled forward by 45°, means that it gives a sensitive connection between the rider and the horse. I suggest that everyone has one of these bits in their tack room.
If you try this bit and your horse is still too strong, you might want to consider one of the Dynamic RS bits. These bits use the same design as the KK, but with a slightly different curve that means the rider gives a more direct action.
For horses with sensitive mouths or who don’t take the contact confidently, I’d recommend the Novocontact. This bit has a unique oval-shaped design, which widens the contact area of the mouthpiece on your horse’s tongue, without putting pressure on his palate.
For young horses or those who back off from a bit, the Duo has a mouthpiece made in soft, flexible plastic that’s food-safe and solvent free, and adapts to your horse’s mouth. It’s shape allows more room for his tongue while encouraging he’s chewing and the mouthpiece is reinforced with a steel cable to make it secure.
Need more control?
For horses who are a little numb to the bit, I’d suggest using the WH Ultra. These double-jointed bits were originally designed for stallions, as the unique roller action helps keep a horse’s attention.
If you’re thinking about trying a double bridle, try starting with the HO Weymouth – it has a slanting mouthpiece and a smooth, rounded port that’s angled forward to evenly distribute pressure on the tongue, making it ideal for horses that dislike tongue pressure.
For more information visit zebraproducts.co.uk/Brands/sprenger