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Snaffles are the most common groups of bits for every day riding. Snaffle bits are identified as having no leverage or pulley action and do not have a curb chain. There is a vast variety of snaffle bits on the market, allowing you to find the most suitable option for your horse. They vary in severity, depending on the type and thickness of the mouthpiece. Snaffles apply pressure to the lips, tongues and bars of the mouth and have a general upwards action, encouraging the horse to raise his head and neck.
Fixed cheek snaffles are designed so that the mouthpiece does not move independently of the bit rings – they are “fixed” together (the alternative to loose ring snaffles). This minimises the amount of movement the mouthpiece can have, stabilising it inside the horse’s mouth. A stable bit can have multiple benefits for the horse, including giving confidence to a young or green horse in accepting a contact and helping to improve steering.
When selecting the correct bit for your horse remember that conformation, age, stage of training, type of work, oral health and your ability as a rider are all contributing factors. If in doubt, it’s recommended that the rider seek advice from their instructor when choosing a bit.