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Neue Schule Salox - Ideal metal bits

What properties would the perfect metal for a horse bit possess? The Neue Schule answer to this question is based on a simple philosophy - that which is good for the horse is all that matters, the rest will follow.

The mouth is warm and soft and needs to remain as calm and still as possible to listen for the rider’s aids. So, after ensuring that basic engineering strength and toughness is satisfied, the metal should then also be :

Warm
Soft
Of low bioa=ctivity (low in biological odour and taste triggers that could distract the horse from the rider’s aids)
1. Warm
The unique Salox Gold possesses the highest thermal conductivity of any metal used in horse bits, this means that the bit will warm to mouth temperature quickly and become ‘neutral’ to the horse meaning that they are less likely to inwardly fixate on the presence of the bit and communication will not be compromised.Neue Schule Salox Bits

2. Soft
There is a possibility that many horses will make variable degrees of contact between the teeth and the bit. When this happens we would like to ensure that the impact forces are safely and comfortably absorbed into the material of the bit rather than the teeth. Not only is this a better experience for the horse but it will reduce tooth wear that can occur with prolonged contact with a hard bit. The material has to be softer than enamel for this and in fact all modern bits use materials with hardness values lower than that of tooth enamel. Polymer bits lie at the most yielding end of this spectrum and absorb the impact by either elastic deformation or varying degrees of permanent ‘damage’ usually by forming small cuts in the surface (exceeding the so-called “tearing” force for the polymer). This property is comfortable for the horse and safe, provided there is not too much removal of material, which needs to be monitored carefully when using these products.
At the top end of the hardness spectrum, stainless steel is quite unyielding and will provide a significant elastic reaction force against the tooth, perhaps best described as ‘jarring’.
So, in Salox we make sure that there is a way for the force to dissipate into permanent deformations (depressions or ‘dents’) in the surface. Unlike polymer bits, repeated contact with the teeth removes little or no material and in fact leads to a slightly more resistant surface over time due to strain hardening. We therefore make Salox strong and extremely tough, but to take advantage of the favourable features of polymer, somewhat softer than all current bit metals.

3. Low Bio-activity
Provided the bit is comfortable there should now be nothing that interests the horse about the bit that can become a distraction to the rider’s aids. This includes tastes and smells which are the remaining sensory functions relevant in an object intended for the mouth.
Stainless steel is the perfect example to illustrate how such stimulants can be suppressed. The insoluble protective layer of chromium dioxide on the surface of stainless steel locks in alloy metals such as iron and nickel whose oxides would otherwise become bio-available. This also explains why no nickel allergy is expected from stainless steel.
Following this idea, Neue Schule adds aluminium to the mouthpiece metal composition. It is known that aluminium does not produce the volatile compounds but it produces a protective oxide (alumina, Al2O3) that in part prevents the bit surface from becoming rich in oxides of copper and zinc. This will reduce the production of the organic compounds responsible for taste and smell.

To take a look at these Salox bits, have a look through Neue Schule's bits.

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