Bit Terms: Definitions of some of the most common terms referring to bits!
 
Purchase -
Portion of cheek above the mouthpiece. A shorter purchase means a quicker reaction.
Shank -
Portion of cheek below the mouthpiece. The shorter the shank, the less control Ñ the longer the shank, the more control.
Cheeks -
Sides of the bit. Includes both purchase and shank.
Poll -
Top of the head behind the ears where the neck and head join. The "feel of the bit" - Not only what the horse feels when the rider pulls on the reins, but, also what the rider feels. Suppleness or stiffness.
Bars -
Portion of each side of the mouthpiece that rests on the horse's bars (gum area between front and back teeth).
Port -
Center portion of mouthpiece. Both height and width are important in creating the amount of tongue pressure or tongue relief.
Curb Bit -
Rotation in mouth-down on mouth, up on curb chain, pressure on poll.
Timing -
The amount of time required from the moment the reins are pulled till the horse reacts.
Curb Chain Pressure -
Timing of the bit. Loose curb chain - slower. Tight curb chain - faster.
Curb Action -
Includes pressure on poll.
Mullen Relief -
A forward curve in the mouthpiece that creates even pressure across the bars and tongue.
Snaffle -
Broken in the middle. Most common.
Double Twisted Wire Snaffle -
Two small snaffles which are broken off-center from each other.
Chain -
Works lightly on the bars and corners of lips while adding some tongue pressure.
Solid -
Any mouthpiece that is not broken.
Copper - Causes mouth to salivate keeping it soft and usable to the rider.
Sweet Iron -
Intended to rust, it actually has a sweet taste to it as rusting occurs.
Stainless Steel -
Very little taste. Gives a clean, neat look.

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