| Miniature Horse Bits: Types of Bits With Photos
First of all, the event you choose to focus on can really influence your bit choice. Some bits
aren't allowed in certain types of events. If you're a trail rider, your options are wide open. If
you compete, you might be a little more limited.
Second, be sure that you have a good training foundation on your miniature horse -- meaning
your horse responds well to a snaffle or hackamore and you have a good feel for his strengths
and weaknesses. Developing that foundation will teach you so much about your miniature horse,
so you have a better idea of what he needs from a bit. Is his mouth sensitive or dull? Is he
heavy or light on his forehand? The answers to these questions will influence your bit choice.
Conformation-wise, does your miniature horse have a long, swan-like neck or a short, straight
neck? A big cheek or a small cheek? Is he thick-tongued? Shallow-mouthed? Again, these are
factors that will affect which mouthpiece you choose.
The more time you spend working with your miniature horse, the more familiar you'll become
with his way of going and his conformation. Pair that knowledge with your chosen event, and
you'll be armed with as much information as possible about what he needs, which will make bit
selection easier, though still not a simple task.
When you go to buy a bit, make an educated guess about what will fit your miniature horse's
needs. Buy from a reputable source, who can answer questions with some authority.
At home, give your horse some time to become accustomed to the new mouthpiece. Allow time
to see if it works for you and your miniature horse. When first training a young miniature
horse to use a bridle it might take some time for him to understand how the bit works in his
mouth and for you to understand how to properly handle the bit.
If one bit doesn't work for you, don't write it off as a complete loss. Instead, think of
yourself as building a collection of bits that might be useful later in your miniature horse's life
or when working with a different mini horse. You're building a useful arsenal of tools to best
train your miniature horse. No bit will offer a magical solution for your problems, but the right
bit will work for you both.
Finally, seek help from a professional trainer. If you're unsure of where to look for a trainer,
check with breed associations; many of them offer professionals' lists. There are many people
out there willing to help. It's up to you to use the resources available to further your own
Whatever the kind of bit you select fits his mouth properly, does not cause pain, merely
pressure, and check his mouth affect training sessions to look for any sores.
Make sure that the miniature horse's mouth is not pulled back too harshly, butnot so gently
that he will not feel the pressure. Learn to sense when he is responding to your command so
you can stop applying the pressure.
Basic Types of Bits
A. Bits that apply pressure without leverage:
Snaffle bits use a bit ring at the mouthpiece to apply direct pressure on the tongue and
corners of the miniature horse’s mouth. When the reins apply pressure, a snaffle bit does not
amplify this pressure as does other bits. The snaffle bit is very comfortable if iit’s ring is on
the side of the moutht does not contain twisted elements and has a smooth surface.
1. O-ring snaffle bit: the bit has a circular ring on each side of the bit which may rotate
around the on the mouthpiece. It slides to make it more difficult for the miniature
horse to tighten against it which gives the rider more control. Both the reins and each
cheek piece of the bridle is attach to the same ring.
2. Egg-butt snaffle bit: the mouthpiece is fixed and doesn’t rotate in the miniature
horses mouth. It does not pinch the mini’s lips and is considered a more gentle bit than all
3. Dee-ring snafflebit: it has the shape of the letter “D” which prevents it from
rotating. The sides of this bit provides the rider with lateral guiding using the reins.
4. Full cheek snaffle bit: it has long arm-like pieces on each side of the lips of the
miniature horse with a ring attached to it. It is used to keep the bit in the correct
position within the mouth.
5. Half-cheek snaffle bit: it has arms for the lower part of the cheek as opposed to the
full check bit. This lower the chance of the bit being caught on a fence, reins or harness.
Great for driving a miniature horse.
B. Bits that apply pressure and leverage:
These are considered more harsh and are seldom used on miniature horse except those that
have little feeling in their mouth parts, or are considered more difficult to train.
1. Curb bit: it uses a lever (shank) that puts pressure on the mouth, poll and chin groove.
2. Pelham bit: it is a single curb with 2 sets of reins hooked to the rings on each side of
the mouthpiece and shank. The Pelham applies curb pressure and snaffle pressure at the
3. Kimblewick bit: it uses mild curb leverage pressure on the bit ring using rein