6 Best Gentle Horse Bits for Maximum Control: Reviewed

Horse bits are more than just a tool to control your horse’s movement. It is the decisive factor of the level of safety the rider gets, the temperament of the horse, and, of course, the stability of the rider on the saddle, and so, selecting the best horse bit is of utmost importance.

You must choose a bit for your horse very carefully. Only the best product can reap the best results. However, the tricky part is figuring out which bit is the best for your horse. But, don’t you worry because we’ve got you covered with our horse bit recommendations for different purposes.

Quick Picks
In our opinion, the following two horse bits work the best:

Best Horse Bits For Beginners

Let’s start with the top 3 beginner-friendly bits. These horse bits are for beginners and so, they are easy to use, comfortable, and safe.

1. Coronet Kimberwick Uxeter Bit

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This horse bit is made of stainless steel. Its size ranges from 4.5 inches to 7 inches so you can choose the appropriate size according to the size of your horse’s mouth. This product uses a curb chain to put pressure on the bars.

It is a strong horse-bit ideal for horses with a strong pull. The perfect fit allows maximum control for the rider and comfort for the horse. Use it with a chin chain for extra control.

You need to ensure that you order the perfect size. Otherwise, the bit will be uncomfortable for the horse and affect your riding experience adversely.

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A full check horse bit is designed in a way that keeps it from moving around in the horse’s mouth. This mechanism is paired with the French Link Snaffle to command left or right steers.

This particular full cheek product is forceful enough to make a stubborn horse move efficiently. The long cheek bars exert pressure towards the outside on the horse’s mouth. However, it is also gentle enough for beginner riders who could unknowingly harm their horse with extra pressure.

If you can learn how to manage this horse bit, it will prove to be one of the best bits for beginner riders.

3. Myler HBT Shank with Sweet Iron Mullen Barrel Low Port

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The Myler HBT Shank horse bit is 5 inches, made of stainless steel with a curved mouthpiece that fits perfectly around the horse’s mouth. The port is a quarter-inch high which is just enough to allow the horse’s tongue to rest comfortably.

If you’re concerned about the horse’s comfort more than any other factor, this bit will be your favorite. The swivel on this horse bit isn’t attached to the shank or mouthpiece. This independent movement prevents the bit from hurting the horse’s mouth.

The shanks should be no longer than 6 inches. Also, beginners should use this bit with angle shanks only.

Best Horse Bits For Control

Now, it’s time to talk about the three best horse bits for control. Once you’ve learned the basics of using a horse bit, you can move to these bits to feel more in control of your ride.

1. Shank Signature Mouthpiece Bit

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This horse bit comes with thick bars on the mouthpiece. It is a medium leverage shank. This strong product is ideal for tough horses.

For maximum control, this mouthpiece bit applies pressure on both, the jaw and the roof of the mouth of the horse. The copper inlay in the port is designed to allow the horse to salivate for additional comfort.

You’ll need some time to get the hang of this product. Also, the mouthpiece must be the perfect size for your horse.

2. Shires Full Cheek Snaffle

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If your horse refuses to turn on your commands, this full cheek horse bit is the solution. The Shires Full Cheek Snaffle is a durable product with a copper peanut that allows salivation to keep the horse comfortable. It doesn’t pinch the mouth of the horse.

Moreover, you can easily clean this horse bit after every use to maintain hygiene. This product can be used with any snaffle mouthpiece.

3. Shires Double Jointed Pelham

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A Pelham bit has short shanks with two rings. You can attach two reigns in these rings. The upper reign applies pressure to the mouth whereas the lower reign applies pressure on the polls. It comes in sizes from 4.5 inches to 6 inches with half-inch variations in between.

This product can be used with any mouthpiece. It is the best bit for a horse that throws his head to avoid the pressure of the bits. The dual reign will keep the horse in control. We also have a separate article on the top 3 bits for horses that throw their head.

How To Select The Perfect Horse Bit For Your Horse?

While choosing the perfect bit for your horse, it isn’t just your riding expertise that is important. Your horse’s nature and level of training also play a role in this decision. This is why a lot of people tend to opt for ‘what bit is right for my horse’ quizzes and horse-bit severity charts to figure out the right product for their needs.

The truth is that you don’t need to do any of this. Just follow these tips to identify the perfect bit for your horse!

Opt For Gentler Bits

Always go for the gentler option. You may use harsher bits every now and then to train a horse. But, for long-term usage, opt for the more comfortable choice so that your horse is always safe.

Try It Out

Test out the new bit you got before you get on the playing field. Make sure you’ve attached it properly, the horse is familiar with it, and you’ve learned how to operate it before heading into a race.

Ask The Previous Owner

Whatever you’re going through, the previous horse owner has already experienced. It is best to ask them what the horse preferred and what worked best. In case your purpose of using a bit coincides with the previous owner’s, you’ll save a lot of time and hassle!

What Should Be The Correct Bit Size For Your Horse?

A perfect horse bit is the one that sits comfortably on your horse’s mouth without pinching it. At the same time, the metal part shouldn’t be extended on either side of the lips. The rings shouldn’t be pressing hard against the cheeks. In all these cases, the bit is either too big or too small, neither of which should be the case.

To get a measurement of the required bit, you’ll need a string and a pen. Put the string inside the horse’s mouth in such a way that the string extends from either side of the horse’s lips. Mark each end of the string exactly where it extends out of the mouth. The measurement between these two marks is the size of the bit that will be perfect for your horse.

If you still haven’t found the perfect bit for your horse, the answers to these FAQs will help you make up your mind.

Why are Tom Thumb bits bad?

Tom Thumb Bits have a jointed structure that causes a nutcracker action in the horse’s mouth. This makes the horse toss its head upward which can be very unsafe. These bits have a broken mouthpiece with medium shanks that provide a leverage action. This mechanism applies pressure to the top of the horse’s head as well as on the chin.
In case the reigns are pulled harder, the mouthpiece moves upwards and hurts the roof of the horse’s mouth. This is where it becomes bad for both, the horse and the rider. However, riders who have learned the art of managing a Tom Thumb Bit will disagree. If used correctly with the right precautions, these bits are not as bad as they have been labeled.

What is the gentlest horse bit?

The gentlest horse bits are the snaffle bits. In this category, the Eggbutt snaffle is undoubtedly the most comfortable option. This bit has an egg-like design that connects the mouthpiece with the rings. The overall design leaves no margin for the horse’s mouth to get pinched.
Rubber bits are also among the gentlest bits because they too, do not pinch the horse’s mouth. D-ring snaffle bit is another option you can consider.

What is the best bit to start a horse with?

It is best to start out horse riding with a gentle bit. Whether you’re a novice rider or the horse is untrained, a gentle bit will keep the experience safe and comfortable. A snaffle bit is ideal in such a case.
Snaffle bits offer enough control and safety but ensure that even if the rider gets harsh unknowingly or if the horse tosses its head unexpectedly, no harm is done. Go for something lightweight with small rings to allow the horse to get used to a bit gradually.

What is the best bit for trail riding?

Trail riding requires a strong horse bit that works well with loose reigns. The best options include Pelham Bit, Mullen Training Bit, Curb Bit, Single Jointed Snaffle, and Full-Cheek French Link Snaffle.
All these bits will last you a long time with minimal wear and tear. What’s more important is that all your commands will be communicated efficiently so that you have a smooth trail riding experience.

Are Hackamores better than bits?

Hackamores are better than bits if you are looking for an instant response from your horse. Since hackamores apply direct pressure on the horse’s nose, chin, and side of the face, the reaction isn’t delayed at all. They are also heavier in weight, so the applied pressure is more than what comes from a bit.

Why are snaffle bits bad?

A group of people considers bits to be cruel. They believe that even the gentlest bit which is the snaffle bit is bad for horses. If used inappropriately, horse bits can pinch the horse’s mouth. It can lead to rashes, cuts, bruises, and soreness inside the mouth. Sometimes, the bones of the face are also damaged. The horse’s tongue is pressed uncomfortably.
However, all of these adverse results are caused by harsh usage. If the rider is experienced, they will make sure that the bit is not inflicting any pain. More than bits, it is the incorrect usage by inexperienced riders that causes harm to horses.

Is it cruel to use a bit on a horse?

Some people believe that bits are equivalent to whips. They argue that the use of bits is a cruel way to control the horse. The truth is that bits can be cruel and painful but only if they aren’t used correctly. Wrong positioning, inappropriate size, and misuse can lead to inevitable harm.
Therefore, it is highly important to learn to use a horse bit. Start off with a beginner-friendly bit and gradually move onto bits that offer more control for a smooth and harmless transition.

In conclusion, the available options for horse bits for beginners as well as horse bits for control are endless. Which one ends up being perfect for your use all depends on the purpose you want the bit to fulfill. As long as you’ve followed our tips and sized the bit perfectly, you’ll end up with a great product.

However, our recommendation, keeping in mind all the aspects, is a full cheek snaffle bit. It is great for beginners and also provides a lot of control. Now, the ball is in your court. Go ahead and order the horse bit that you think is perfect for your horse!