Herm Sprenger KK Double Bridle Set: Ported Weymouth (5.25ins) Oval Mouth Double Jointed Bradoon (5.5ins) Ref: 4266-4

$249.99 $199.99

Size: 5.25 ins
Diameter: 25 mm

Size: 5.5 ins
Diameter: 18 mm

Ported Bit – Weymouth

With no joint, the ported snaffle bears some similarity to the mullen mouth. However, the port acts to reduce pressure over the middle of the tongue and hence increase pressure over the bars. This bit is not as mild as a mullen mouth, and is often used as a corrective bit for horses that have learned to get their tongue over a snaffle, since the port makes this more difficult.

Most curb bits have some degree of port, which is to say an elevated curve in the middle of the mouthpiece. The port makes room for the horse’s tongue to rise up when the bit is engaged, thus putting less pressure over the middle of the tongue and more pressure over the bars. Ports vary in shape by how high they are – a low port puts more pressure over the tongue, but has more clearance for the palate, while a high port gives more room to the tongue, but has a greater danger of interfering with the palate.

Most ports seek a compromise between these two effects, although one alternative is the forward angled port, or Conrad curb. Ports also vary in width, with the main consideration being the width of the tongue groove. On average, 34mm (1 1/2 inches) gives maximum tongue clearance, while still allowing the sides of the mouthpiece to lay comfortably on the bars (which are on either side of the tongue groove). Wide port curbs are made for horses that have particularly wide tongue grooves.

Oval Mouth Double Jointed Snaffle – Bradoon

The oval mouth double jointed snaffle is basically a variant of the French link, with a rounded lozenge instead of a flat spatula joining the two halves of the bit. The benefits are largely the same, with reduced nutcracker effect, more even pressure over the bars, and independent control over the two sides of the mouth. Some horses prefer the rounded lozenge as it perhaps encourages them to mouth the bit and obviates any thin edges that could be uncomfortable.

The lozenges are typically designed so that the eye hole of the jointed arms is open when looking at the bit straight on. This is different from the French link, in which the eyes on the spatula are in that position and the eyes of the arms are at a 90 degree angle. The former type of jointing would seem to be preferable, in that it would be less bulging against the tongue, but in practice, it probably comes down to individual preference.

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Weymouth Bit

In a double bridle arrangement, the curb or Weymouth serves to assist in achieving maximum flexion from the horse while preserving a light contact. The curb acts on several parts of the horse at once to achieve this result. In the mouth, the curb puts pressure over the tongue and bars, which can be more or less severe depending on how tight the curb chain is kept, how much of a port the mouthpiece has, and how long the shanks are (a too tight or too loose curb chain, a higher port, and longer shanks are all more severe).

The curb uses a leverage action, since it attaches to the cheek and headpieces of the bridle at a point above the mouthpiece, and the reins attach to the end of a shank (essentially a lever) a few inches below the mouthpiece. When the rein is engaged, this lever action puts some pressure on the poll of the horse through the cheek and headpiece, and on the mouth and jaw through essentially squeezing the lower jaw between the mouthpiece and the curb chain running under the jaw.

A tighter curb chain limits the amount of angle that the curb shanks can travel, thus causing less pressure to be put on the poll and jaw. However, this does mean that the action comes into play more immediately upon contacting the rein. The ideal point at which the curb chain should engage is when the cheeks are approximately at a 45 degree angle to the mouth of the horse.

In any case, it should be clear that the curb is a very sharp instrument and should be used only in the hands of those that have a very sensitive touch.

Loose Ring Snaffle Bit

The loose ring snaffle is one of the most common types of snaffle cheeks, and generally considered to be the best style of cheek for disciplines requiring sensitive contact through the reins, such as dressage.  Because the ring-shaped cheek pieces are attached to the bit by running through holes bored into the ends of the mouthpiece, the mouthpiece to move freely in relation to the rings.  This allows the mouthpiece to move more independently with the tongue and jaw movements of the horse, even when the reins are maintaining pressure on the bit.  This is generally considered an advantage in disciplines like dressage in that it encourages a relaxed jaw and mobile tongue, but some horses can find this freedom overly stimulating and get too playful with the bit, especially when there is no rein contact helping to stabilize the bit.  The rings are also able to swivel freely in a lateral direction, allowing for clear transmission of direct rein aids, which is particularly useful with young horses.  Most cheeks used in snaffle bits are able to swivel laterally, but as the name suggests, the loose ring has the least resistance in this respect.

There are two possible downsides to the loose ring snaffle that may be relevant in certain cases.  Firstly, the gap between the rings and the holes in the mouthpiece can pinch horses with sensitive loose-skinned lips.  This can be a particular problem if the bit is sized too small for the width of the mouth, or if the holes in the mouthpiece are poorly bored such that they have sharp edges or are significantly larger than the rings going through them.  Secondly, the rings provide only limited resistance when the bit is pulled laterally through the mouth, and when pulled hard, the bit can go right through the mouth, rings and all.  The larger the rings, the less of a problem this is, which is why special training bits are made with extra large rings.  With more advanced horses who do not need significant help from the bit when turning, smaller rings are generally fine.

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