Bit Talk


Last summer I figured out that Sky did NOT like the bit she had driven in most of her life. She started to get very light on her front end and would throw her head all the time. She was very easy to bridle and would take the bit herself, but once we were moving she was mad. So I did some reading and thought about what I already knew about bits and how they work and bought her the Butterfly Arch Mouth bit. She was better immediately. She does like to turn her head and look at me when we are driving (which I know is a big No No for some, but I don’t mind it. She has a cute face!) and I was worried that she would hook the bottom loop of the double loop butterfly so I put some electrical tape on it. LOL! I get asked what the tape is for all the time. It’s to make it harder for her to hook that loop on the end of the shaft. As for the mouth piece, it’s a German steel arch mouth. She seems to like the taste of it and she loves that it offers tongue relief. Clearly she did NOT like having pressure on her tongue.


Move onto Mikey. He is such an easy going guy (as far as not letting different bits, or harness parts or vehicles bother him) and he goes well in both the Mullen Mouth with roller and baucher cheeks and the new bit I just got from Chimacum Tack, the Bowman Arched Mouth Baucher Cheek. I did see that he mouths the arch mouth less than he did the mullen mouth with roller. Is that because he likes to roll the roller? Or does the roller irritate him? I don’t know, but he is quieter in the arch mouth. And I did notice that he seems more eager to take the arch mouth bit than he was to take the other style when I’m putting his bridle on.


Now for Zorro. WOW! That’s all I can say. I spent a lot of time putting the bit in Zorro’s mouth last summer. He wore a Stark Naked bit that was made of beta and then the mullen mouth roller with the baucher cheek, but no matter what I did or how long he wore it he always mouthed it. Always. So I was a little reluctant to put a bit in his mouth right now because it’s so cold and he is so busy with his mouth. But it was time, as far as his training goes, so yesterday he wore the Bowman Arch Mouth Baucher Cheek for the first time. Let me tell you what! He took the bit all by himself when I bridled him, then he didn’t mouth it once! His mouth was so quiet you would never have guessed he even had a bit in his mouth! I was so happy! Apparently my horses all prefer no tongue pressure.


I wonder what that means? LOL!


  1. Hi Mindy, Just wondering if you have ever tried bitless (I’m sure you have) and what your thoughts were. I know it’s a personal preference for most people, some like bitless and some do not so I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it. I ride bitless but drive with a bit but have recently been thinking of trying him bitless as well. I should mention I do not use the cross under the chin bitless bridle, it is a straight Thinline piece that resembles more of a halter. I am aware all horses are different and have different preferences. Thanks for your time

    1. Hi Tracy! I don’t believe it’s the bit that communicates what I want but my voice and my intention. I could achieve that with a bitless just as well, HOWEVER not one of my ponies likes the nose pressure of a side pull (which is what my halter basically is when I am driving them with that before the bit.) When driving there is often a bit more contact than when riding because we don’t have the option of using our seat and legs for communication. I’ve found my ponies prefer me to “hold their hand” with a bit and not a nose band. All three would shake their heads and stop to rub and rub at their noses while we were out ground driving. They would also rub their noses vigorously when we got home so I knew that the nose pressure was causing a problem. If driving bitless makes them want to argue and takes some of the pleasure from them then I will not drive them bitless 🙂 I do know lots of people that do so!

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