There are many different types of bits that are used to train and guide horses. One of the most commonly used bits is the snaffle bit. It is essentially a bit bar with two rings, one on each side; this is usually attached to a bridle. This type of snaffle bridle is typically used in the English riding disciplines. The snaffle bit works merely by the pressure that is placed by the rider on the bars inside the mouth of the horse, and not by the leverage that a rider can exert by using a chin strap on the horse's chin and poll. The snaffle bit is one of the simplest bits that you can use on your horse; however, if used incorrectly, it can lead to the development of bad habits on the part of your horse.
Also, you have to consider the proper direction in which the snaffle bit is turned in your horse’s mouth, because if it is incorrectly turned, there is a serious possibility of inducing damage to the roof and the bars of the horse’s mouth. Another negative side effect of having the bit turned in the wrong direction is to cause your horse to either ignore your rein aids or toss its head. Due to the sensitivity of the horse with regard to the proper direction and placement of the bit, this can be considered as the most difficult part of installing a snaffle bit on the bridle of your horse.
Here are a few tips on how to attach a snaffle bit onto your bridle:
- Hang up bridle. Find a hook or some other object on which you can hang up your bridle at eye level, if possible. This will make it easier for you to ensure that the snaffle bit is correctly attached.
- Examine the bit. Study the bit that you have selected and find the proper curvature of the piece. This is a crucial step, because the comfort and effectiveness of the bit in your horse’s mouth depends largely upon ensuring that the snaffle bit is turned in the right direction. If your bit looks like a letter U when it is hanging naturally, then you have found the proper curvature of the bit.
- Attach the bit. Once you have found the proper curvature of the bit, it is time to attach it to your hanging bridle. Find the clasps on the bridle, and attach the snaffle bit, making sure that the inside part of the bit’s curvature will be facing the inside of your horse’s mouth once it has been attached. Again, to check if the bit has been attached properly, make sure that the bit hangs down naturally in a U-shape.
- Install the cheek pieces. Once the bit has been properly attached, you can now connect the cheek pieces around the bit rings.
- Attach the reins. Now that the cheek pieces are in place, you can attach the reins by making sure that you place them below, and not above, the cheek pieces, because placing them above the cheek pieces will essentially render them ineffective.
- Put bridle on your horse. If you are sure that the snaffle bit has been attached properly, you can now put the bridle on your horse. Check the cheek pieces, making sure that they are even in length. You know that you have put the bridle on properly if the bit is snug in your horse’s mouth.
Effectively attaching a snaffle bit can makes a big difference in your horse’s comfort level and general disposition.