Eggbutt Snaffle Bit
The eggbutt is a common multi-discipline style of cheek piece for snaffle bits.
The eggbutt snaffle minimizes two problems that can arise with its cousin, the loose ring snaffle, whose rings can pinch the edges of the horse’s mouth, and which doesn’t provide much lateral stabilization. By flaring out the ends of the mouthpiece and joining the rings with flush swivel joints above and below where the lips contact the edge of the bit, the eggbutt can be a more comfortable alternative for many horses. The edges of the mouthpiece are less likely to pinch the horse’s lips, and because the cheek is fixed in relation to the mouthpiece, the bit offers moderate lateral control.
When the bit is pulled laterally through the mouth, there is some resistance on the opposite side, which can help encourage the horse to turn with less danger of pulling the bit through the mouth than exists with a loose ring snaffle, though more than with a dee-ring or full cheek snaffle.
By having rings fixed to the mouthpiece, the eggbutt does give up some mobility, in that the position of the mouthpiece is more influenced by the movement and position of the cheek pieces than by the movement of the horse’s mouth, unlike the case with a loose ring snaffle. While this in generally somewhat of a disadvantage in disciplines that require sensitive control with consistent rein contact, such as dressage, the fixed position can be advantageous with horses that tend to play with the bit too much.
The lateral movement of the cheek piece is slightly more restricted than in a loose ring, since the metal can bind where it joins the mouthpiece. A relatively new innovative style of eggbutt-loose ring hybrid minimizes these problems by having sleeves in the mouthpiece through which the rings can pass, thus protecting the lips while having more range of movement. In either case, the bit is generally bulkier around the lips, which while more comfortable for some horses, can cause others to draw their lips back. However, in general, the eggbutt is a good, safe choice for an all-purpose bit.
Information from thebitguide.com