Crown & Bit Attributes & Poll Pressure Guidance
The purpose of a properly padded and well fitting crown is to further the well being and comfort of the horse by protecting the nuchal ligament. By providing a highly comfortable fit, the horse can focus on the rider's training instead of pressure points generated by the bridle, and this should in turn eliminate distraction and discomfort. Additionally, understanding the action of your bit is also important to understanding pressure applied to the poll, and the two (bridle crown and bit) combined generate a combination of effects.
Why is this important?
Bridle2Fit crown options look to protect and provide a comfortable distribution of pressure across the poll in order to protect the nuchal ligament.
Bits and Poll Pressure
Neue Schule has conducted research relative to the poll pressure exerted by bits. Poll pressure was calculated as a percent of the total forces applied through the reins that were transferred to the poll. Here are some of their findings
Give Dressage Collections a call to discuss your horse and the problems you are trying to solve relative to bits and crowns. We can help advise you and give you options to try.
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
The S3 Noseband and Team Up Loose Ring Snaffle.
The S1 noseband, and the NS Trans Angled Eggbutt Snaffle
Determine the correct size based on anatomy:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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