Bit Fitting

Fitting a bit to your horse for the best possible performance requires consideration of the anatomy of your horse’s mouth, thinking through the cheek pieces and their intended function, and the opportunity to ride in the bit multiple times.

Examples of Well-fitted Bits

dressage collections bit fitting

Here we have a S3 noseband and a properly fitted bit that isn't pulling on the horse's mouth.

dressage collections good bit fitting

Again, and from a different angle, here you can see a bridle with an S1 noseband, properly fitted broadband, comfort for the TMJ, and a bit that isn't pulling on the mouth.

Determine the correct size based on anatomy: 

  1. First consider the thickness of the bit.  You can ask your equine dentist, or you can do the 2-finger test.  Hold your index and middle finger together and insert into the mouth from the side in the location where the bit will sit.  Measure the pressure when the incisors are closed.   If there is pressure on both fingers, a thinner mouthpiece is in order (14-16 mm).  If there is little or no pressure on the fingers a thicker mouthpiece can be used (16-18 mm).    Avoid using a bit that is too thick as it can cause pain and bruising to the palate.  Horses might be seen as head tossers, or irritable by snatching away the reins, if the bit is too thick. 
  2. Second consider the size (length) of the mouthpiece and style of the mouthpiece
    • Loose ring snaffles should not have more than 5 mm space between the corners of the mouth and the bit-ring on each side.  The ring should be able to move freely and not pinch the corners of the mouth
    • Eggbutts, Bauchers, and Weymouth bits should fit closely to the corners of the mouth and therefore are typically smaller for a given horse than the loose ring note: the mouth piece of a Weymouth bit is the focus, if you feel the top ring is too close it is quite easy to bend the ring out slightly to provide a better fit.  Going for a bigger size will only make it possible for the bit to slide through the mouth, which is not desirable.
    • Bradoons should be the same as the standard snaffle size and shape because they will lie in the same position with the Weymouth positioned lower.  The Weymouth should be about 0.5cm smaller than the Bradoon. 
    • Single jointed bits exert pressure from the reins to the edges of the tongue and lower jaw bones.  For horses with a flat palate or small oral cavity the joint could cause pressure and bruise the palate
    • Double jointed bits distribute pressure from the reins over a wider surface area onto the tongue and are more anatomically shaped for the horses mouth often making it more comfortable for the horse and more effective for the rider.
3. Determine cheek pieces by their intended function
      • Loose Ring Snaffles transmit pressure from the reins to the tongue and lower jaw without pressure on the poll.
      • Eggbutt snaffles transmit 90% of the pressure from the reins to the tongue and lower jaw with 10% pressure on the poll.  These bits provide more directional guidance to the horse than a Loose Ring.
      • Baucher bits allow more control over horses that evade upwards and help encourage a rounder outline.

    4. Ride in the bit for multiple rides

    Curious about which bit might be best for your horse? Check out our bitting guidance below for information about all our bits' suitability or contact us for advice!