01386 833050

10 best bits for horse’s with fussy mouths

Why do we get a saddler for saddles, but hardly anyone gets a bit person to check their horse’s bit? It’s a pretty essential bit of tack!

It’s fascinating to observe the significant investment of time and resources dedicated to ensuring a properly fitted saddle, contrasting with the relatively little attention paid to finding the right bit for your horse, especially if your horse has a “fussy mouth”!

Master saddlers undergo extensive training to provide expert advice on saddle fit, engaging in lively debates over various saddle types and trends and whilst saddle fit remains paramount, the importance of selecting the correct bit for a successful riding experience cannot be overstated.

Beyond the rider’s legs and seat, the horse’s bit serves as the primary means of communication, steering, and control. As manufacturers of custom horse bridles, we are deeply invested in the selection of horse bits that compliment our products, especially where the horse has sensitivity issues around the mouth area. After all, a bridle’s efficacy is closely tied to the quality of the bit it employs. In our quest to provide optimal solutions, we want to share with you our recommendations on the top ten bits for horses with fussy mouths, ensuring both safety and comfort in your equestrian endeavors.

1. Neue Schule Turtle Tactio Eggbutt

Neue Schule Turtle Tactio Eggbutt

The Turtle Top Eggbutt is made for fussy mouths! The bit offers remarkable stability and stillness within the mouth. Its innovative locking action ensures that when the horse nudges it with the tongue, the bit remains secure, discouraging playful movements.

This design eliminates downward tongue pressure, promoting unrestricted tongue movement for a relaxed mouth and jaw. Tailored to accommodate larger or sensitive tongues, it often eliminates the need to clamp the mouth shut.

Additionally, its stability instills confidence and encourages consistent contact, making it ideal for young horses learning to establish bend and for novice riders mastering rein support. With the Eggbutt, sliding across the mouth is a thing of the past, ensuring precise aids and steady control.

2. Neue Schule Turtle Tactio Baucher

Neue Schule Turtle Tactio Baucher

The Turtle Tactio Bacuher was specifically engineered to accommodate the larger or sensitive tongue and is one of the kinder bits available. Often negates the need to shut the mouth.

This combination of Baucher cheek and Turtle Tactio mouthpiece usually helps the rider to achieve and maintain a rounder and more correct outline. If your horse is constantly resisting, strung out, or coming above the bit the usual response to the Turtle Tactio Baucher is a head-lowering action and a softer feel through the rein. This design often proves beneficial for the over-sensitive mouth.

3. The Sprenger KK Correction bit

KK Correction bit by Sprenger

The KK correction bit from Sprenger is perfect for horses with a thick and fleshy tongue as the bit relieves the middle section of the tongue and only exerts pressure when pulling the reins. Can be used for the correction of tongue vices over a period of 2 – 3 weeks.

4. Bombers Drop Cheek Lock Up

Bomber drop cheek lock up

The mouthpiece on this bit by Bomber does not slide on its ring resulting in light poll pressure. The cheekpieces lie flat against the horse’s face, and the mouthpiece is quite fixed in the mouth and concentrates pressure on the bars. The Lock Up snaffle removes the nut cracker action of the conventional snaffle, meaning no pinch and less pressure on the bars.

5. Sprenger Novocontact

Spregner Novo Contact Bit

The oval shape of the Sprenger bit enlarges the contact surface on the tongue for a soft influence. Designed for horses that occasionally pull against the hand but are too sensitive for stronger bits and for optimal utilization of the limited space in the horse’s mouth.

6. Bomber Ultra-Comfy Lock-Up Loose Ring Bit

Bomber Ultra Comfy Lock Up Bit

The Loose Ring Bit allows for immediate release and relief from tongue and bar pressure. The bit is immediately reset to a neutral position in the horse’s mouth. The Ultra-Comfy shape is such that it follows the contour of the horse’s tongue. The centre elliptical joints have been double-locked to ensure that the angle over the tongue remains correct, even when the reins are taken up, it retains the individual lateral aids.

7. Beris Filet Baucher Mullen Mouth Thin Comfort Bar Hanging Cheek Snaffle

Beris Filet Baucher Mullen Mouth Thin Comfort Bar Hanging Cheek Snaffle

This bit places itself perfectly in the mouth, with rein contact the mouthpiece changes its angle and puts pressure on palate and tongue. When a contact is taken the upper arm is angled forwards causing the mouthpiece to lift – thereby suspending it in the mouth and reducing the pressure across the tongue and the bars – this is often beneficial for cases of over sensitivity. Any extension above the mouthpiece causes poll pressure – this in itself has a head-lowering action.

However, if the horse is going forward into a contact and active behind this will encourage a rounding action and help tremendously with the outline. The form of the mouthpiece, as well as the soft transition to the rings prevent any pinching and make it also very stable in the horses mouth. This bit can be fitted to almost any horse.

8. Neue Schule Turtle Tactio Snaffle

Neue Schule Turtle Tactio Snaffle

Specifically engineered to accommodate the larger or sensitive tongue. Often negates the need to shut the mouth.
The design focuses rein pressure on the central part of the tongue whilst diverting pressure away from the sensitive regions near the bars. The unique central ‘Turtle’ link brings the proximal ends of the cannons to their closest separation possible. The Flex ™ concept of widening the surfaces that lie parallel to the plane of the tongue reduces the pressure further.

9. Bomber Eggbutt Moulded Mullen Mouth

Bomber Moulded Mullen Eggbutt

The Eggbutt cheekpiece prevents pinching of the lips and gives a solid feel against the side of the face. It also prevents the bit from being pulled through the mouth. The release is slower than the loose ring and also introduces light poll pressure. The moulded mouthpiece has been uniquely shaped and flattened. It is angled at 45 degrees to offer an exceptionally soft and evenly distributed pressure over and around the tongue.

10. Nathe Mullen Mouth Loose Ring Snaffle

Nathe Mullen Mouth Loose Ring Snaffle

Bits with a flexible mouthpiece can be used for all horses but are especially suitable for young horses and horses with sensitive mouths. The Nathe Mullen Mouth is particularly mouth friendly as it takes the pressure off the sensitive center of the horse’s tongue. The large rings remain steadfast, preventing outward swinging during rides.

This framing mechanism facilitates smoother turns, gently guiding the horse’s movement. Simultaneously, the small ring secures the large one, preventing any slipping of the mouthpiece. The immediate and precise impact on the tongue is remarkable.

The Mullen mouth bit offers a level of comfort that will satisfy even the most sensitive horses. Made from high quality thermoplastic, they are not only anti-allergenic, but also temperature resistant and dimensionally stable.

We are happy to share our knowledge and provide some options, which you hopefully you have found helpful, especially if you have a horse with a fussy mouth or who is sensitive to the bit. Finding the right bit for your horse is just as important as a correctly fitting saddle and we recommend that you test several bits until you find one that suits both you and your horse. If in doubt speak to a bit-fitting expert.

Pink Equine were founded in 2007 and are a manufacturer of custom horse tack, from bridles and browbands to headcollars, girths and martingales. What makes our range of horse tack unique is the wide range of choices available from the colours and patterns of Swarovski crystals to the coloured piping and stitching.

In fact all our horse bridles are customisable and we take pride in the fact that riders are able to mix and match bridle parts with different sizes. This ensures that every horse can have a bridle tailored to its unique needs and dimensions, promoting comfort, performance, and overall well-being. We hope you will take a bit of time to explore our site and view some of our unique horse tack designs, as well as the beautiful and technically proficient range of saddle pads and girths by E A Mattes.

We have also been working hard on our Pink Equine Blog, to bring you informative and interesting articles such as this one and are dedicated to building a vibrant and helpful community. So if you want to be notified of new articles with valuable tips and knowledge, then we recommend joining the Pink Equine club – it’s completely free! As a member, you’ll gain access to exclusive competitions, stay informed with our newsletter, be the first to explore new ranges, and benefit from special discounts. Don’t wait any longer – join our community today and be part of the excitement!

What does the bit do?

The simple definition of a bit is a;

“Composition of metal or synthetic parts made up of the shanks, rings, cheek pads and a solid bar called a Mullen. The bit makes contact with the horse’s mouth and the bar (Mullen) sits in the horse’s mouth and aids communication between horse and rider.”

To provide a clearer explanation of how this works in practice, the mouthpiece or bar does not just sit anywhere in the horse’s mouth or on the teeth. It fits nicely in the mandibular interdental space, also known as the “bars” of the horse’s mouth, where there are no teeth, behind the front incisors and in front of the back molars, resting on the gums. If you place your finger carefully into a horse’s mouth you can feel the gap where the bit should rest.

The bit is connected to the cheekpieces and the reins via the rings on either side. The reins are held by the rider allowing them to communicate commands to the horse through the bit.

No one can say for sure when the first bit was invented, but they were likely to have been used thousands of years ago and made of rope, wood, and bone. Like a lot of historic inventions, the use of modern technology has meant that a bit is no longer just a bar. In fact, there are now hundreds of variations in various materials, to suit a plethora of riding styles and varying degrees of control.

Depending on the style, pressure can be applied in numerous ways, through the bit, on the tongue, the bars, the palate, or, the roof of the mouth, including the lips, and poll (the top of the horse’s head). Horse bits provide varying degrees of control and transmission from the rider to the horse.

What is a horse with a fussy mouth?

I am not sure who coined the phrase “fussy mouth”, only that I have seen it used for years to describe a horse who exhibits a range of habits, from excessive bit chewing, not taking the bit contact, putting the tongue over the bit, learning to move the bit with their molars, pulling the tongue back or putting it out, to retracting the lips and excessive opening of the mouth. These are all signs that your horse is not happy with the bit and if you notice this happening first of all you need to determine the cause.

What are the causes of horses with fussy mouths?

Unfortunately, there are a myriad of reasons a horse may be described as having a “fussy mouth” Here are a few of the common ones.

Mouth Confirmation

Although skeletal dimensions of a horse’s head are pretty consistent throughout the various horse and pony breeds, it is the fleshy parts of the face and the mouth confirmation that differ the most. For example, it is widely accepted that thoroughbreds have “easy” mouth confirmation, flatter tongues that lie neatly at the bottom of the mouth allowing plenty of room between the tongue and the horse’s palate.

Other breeds will have a smaller mouth but a thicker larger tongue and a lower palate and the bit may be consuming too much space with the tongue bulging through the bars. A horse with a thinner tongue will allow more pressure from the bar. Even if your horse doesn’t have issues with the bit, mouth confirmation will certainly dictate whether you use a thicker or thinner, larger or smaller mouthpiece.

Dental issues

Dental issues can be a very common issue, and happily, one that can be remedied by your equine vet or a specialist horse dentist. Dental issues can be anything from premolars, troublesome caps, and hidden wolf teeth that interfere with the bit, sharp edges caused by uneven teeth wear to inflammation of the mouth, or disease of the gums.

It is important to have your horse or ponies teeth checked on a regular basis so that you can rule out dental problems as the cause of “Fussy Issues”

Trauma

Does your horse have any visible signs of lacerations or bruising in or around the mouth or bar area? If cuts or bruising are visible this could be caused by something your horse has eaten or picked up in his mouth, or even by the bit itself. If your horse has just started being fussy, this could be the cause. If this is the case the only cure is time, allowing the bruised area to rest and recover.

It may also be a totally unrelated problem. For instance, it is quite common for horses with back problems to have issues with the bit. If a horse has pain in the back, they are often unwilling to take contact with the bit and will do whatever is necessary to get out of a painful situation.

A Sensitive Mouth or Tongue

Just like a human may have a more sensitive part of the body, so each horse is unique and some horses have sensitive mouths or tongues. This could be caused by a previous injury or trauma with a previous bit. (thick fleshy tongues are prone to being more sensitive so if your horse has a thick tongue it may be something to watch out for).

Horses with sensitive tongues can develop tongue evasions, by sticking their tongues out, and putting their tongues over the bit or behind the bit.

Unfortunately, having a sensitive mouth or tongue is just one of those things, but the solution should match the underlying reason for the bit sensitivity for example a bit that does not put pressure on the tongue.

Behavioral Issues

The problems causing your horse to be fussy may not be pain issues or problems with a particular bit, it may be a behavioral issue. What we mean by that, is your horse has learned behavior where it just associates the bridle and bit with a stressful situation.

In this case, the bit is not the problem and only time and patience will remedy the situation.

A poorly fitting bit

As we have learned, horses and ponies have different sizes and shaped mouths, and bits come in different widths and thickness sizes to accommodate this fact.

A poorly fitting bit can cause a horse to quickly become “fussy in the mouth”.

It is important to check that your bit is sitting high enough in the mouth. Too low and the bit will be touching a more sensitive bit of the tongue.

Check the length of your bit. A bit that is too short will press against the corners of the mouth and rub the skin. A bit that is too long will stick out of the sides of the mouth allowing the bit to slide from side to side causing friction on the bars (especially if you pull hard on one rein).,/p>

A poorly fitting bridle

With all the talk about bits and horses’ mouths, as unlikely as it seems a poorly fitting bridle can also be the cause of “fussy issues”. Check to make sure that your bridle fits properly. Is the browband too tight pinching the ears? Are there any underlying areas of soreness where the bridle makes contact with the head or is the bridle pressing against pressure points, causing irritation or pain?

Back to Blog