A brief look at bitting!
Hi, and welcome to the Bit Boutique! My name is Belle Palmer
and I have created this store to help riders achieve harmony with their horses.
I am a practising Equine Dentist and Bit Fitter from Sussex, England, and
Have you ever stopped to think about the bit inside your horse’s
mouth? Your main form of communication with the animal you are riding is via a
piece of metal (or synthetic) that sits inside the mouth and puts pressure on
the delicate structures inside there. If you really have a think about this,
then it will blow your mind about how sensitive horses are to touch, and how
the smallest change in shape or size of the bit inside their mouth is going to
have an impact on the communication between horse and rider.
Lets have a look at what the bit actually does. The bit will
rest along the bars of the mouth; the bars are the interdental space between
the incisors (front teeth) and molars (back teeth). Some horses have cushioned
bars and some have pointy bars. Some have smooth bars and some have lumpy, sensitive
bars. Some have long bars and some have short bars. Usually, the space between
the bars is only around 1-2 inches. Then, on top of the bars, horses are either
fleshy, with folds of loose cheek tissue, or not. Most heavier types such as
cobs, draughts, heavy warmbloods etc, will have wider set bars, nicely
cushioned with a lot of loose flesh atop them. Finer breeds such a thoroughbreds,
arabs etc will usually have narrower, pointy bars with tighter flesh atop them.
Then we have the tongue. The tongue is a very sensitive muscle
which sits atop of the bars. The bit is used to put pressure on different points
of the tongue to communicate aids. The other pressure points are the cheeks,
lips, chin, nose and poll. If you think about how delicate and sensitive all of
these areas are, you can start to realise why bits have recently evolved to lighten
the pressure on these areas, and why ensuring that your bit is correctly fitted
is so important.
So many times when I examine horses I find cuts, sores and
bruises inside the mouth that the owner didn’t even realise were there. Horses
are stoic animals but it is not nice to think that you are putting your horse
in pain and didn’t know. Horses can only communicate to us via body
language, and we must make sure that we listen.
Please enjoy browsing through this site, and if you have any
questions please WhatsApp me on 07311070375!