As the show season kicks off we know a lot of you will be expecting more from your horses, or even progressing them towards advanced classes – meaning that you are looking at double bridle bits. We thought it was time to write our guide to bits – with advice from us but also from many leading dressage riders. If all you read is our Classic Tips – then you walk away with a some of our knowledge.
FIRST THINGS FIRST - there has been a lot of talk of disqualifications at competitions. With the snaffles, they are designed so the arrow sits on the left hand side of the mouth, facing forwards.
Our knowledge is only with Sprenger bits. We chose this brand to work with because they have committed nearly 150 years to researching and manufacturing bits. Hand made in Germany – they have a lifetime guarantee. Why would you want to put anything less in your horse’s mouth?
Our training has been through regular visits by our Equine Dentist Grant Chanter who has spent hours with us demonstrating the way the bits work in the mouth. Showing us the normal wear and tear in the mouth and also the damage that can be caused by an ill-chosen bit. We work closely with Sprenger and discuss all new bits with them, helping them through regular feedback
Grant Chanter – Equine Dentist
Working with Classic Dressage for 20 years
“Choose Sprenger if you want the best for your horse”
Carl Hester MBE
“All my young horses are backed and ridden away in the KK Ultra.” Rebecca Hughes
“I want all my young horses to be happy so I choose Sprenger”. Gareth Hughes
Classic Tip Did you know that we offer a hire service for these bits? Buy one and if you return it within 3 weeks, we will refund you less £20. If you have hired two bits, you will be refunded less £30. An opportunity not to be missed.
Since 2019 the Sprenger ‘Max Control’ has been BD LEGAL.
Does what it says – looks and acts like a comfortable loose-ring snaffle with lozenge when your horse is being considerate and well mannered – but when things go wrong this bit turns into a straight bar. This is not BD legal when used as part of a double bridle.
One testimonial we have received from a good customer, Kate, is that it has helped her when taking her two young stallions out and about to competitions – she feels safe, secure and therefore her horses feel the same! £75 buys you yours – click on the image to take you direct to our website
Snaffle Bits. Virtually every horse happily accepts a snaffle – and we recommend beginning work with your 3 or 4yo with the bit that can take you right through till you put on a double bridle. Sensogan is an excellent metal that gives optimal taste and salivation from the horse. The inclusion of Manganese has been proven that it may help with muscle tension and stress reduction. The regular KK Ultra with lozenge is a fabulous bit that we would love to see all horses wear. The angled lozenge gives a true contact on the tongue, the shape puts no pressure on the palate and you can choose the thickness of the mouth piece. The angle of the lozenge is the key – it’s patented because it is proven to be the optimum for the horse – and can’t be copied by other bit makers.
As a rough guide, for horses that can be strong and confident in the hand, we recommend the loose ring snaffle so that the horse has less to grab on to. If your horse would rather duck behind the contact and is very light in the hand, try the fixed side bit which encourages some gentle leaning!
Our ‘start and finish’ bit
Loose ring with lozenge
Help to take the contact
Flat rings with lozenge
Maybe your horse has no room for a lozenge?
Turnado without nutcracker action
Variations – choose the dynamic – with the entire bit curved for even pressure across the whole tongue – if you want a more direct contact.
Choose the RS revolving roller in the middle of the lozenge – designed by Lisa Wilcox to help keep the young stallions focused. Also useful when you need a bit more life in the mouth! The roller helped to slide the tongue forward and if you have a problem with tooth grinding take a look at the rubber covered lozenge – called the WH Soft.
Classic Tip Some horses are so narrow in the jowl that they get irritated and nervous with a lozenge – too much going on in the mouth – choose one of the single jointed bits from Sprenger that won’t give you a nutcracker action – instead a forward action. That might be stiller in the horses mouth
Classic Tip When you move up to a double, choose a bradoon that is as close as possible to the snaffle you have been successful with. And choose the same size. Your weymouth should be 1cm smaller.
Classic Tip Sizing your snaffle. Here's another big subject. As a broad rule, allow a loose ring bit to be more generous in size. If the bit has a fixed eggbut side, make sure it is snug against the corner of the horse's mouth. That's because the fixed side would be way more uncomfortable if too big - it would have a tipping action.
Weymouth Bits. Now here’s a big subject. We all know the theory that you continue to ride on the bradoon (snaffle). But you can’t ride with a huge loop in your weymouth rein because the rules of dressage are all about submission and the acceptance of the contact so you have to show some of that! We (and Sprenger) share a favourite Weymouth which is the HO. The whole mouthpiece is slanted upwards and slightly forwards. There is a very slight port. We particularly like the bit curving upwards from the shank. If your weymouth has a 90 degree angle at the mouth then you could be hard on the bars if your horse moves his tongue around and exposes them. We’ve seen squashed bars – but don’t worry unduly as the mouth heals itself quickly – just change the bit. In a perfect world, your horse would be ridden through his GP career in a KK Ultra bradoon and HO Weymouth. We also all know that it’s not that easy and we can’t all be Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin or Gareth Hughes.
Try the Bemelmans weymouth for another beautiful feeling shape which has had great success when a horse wants to put his tongue over the bit.
Gareth Hughes chooses the 12mm HO Weymouth
“Some of my advanced horses have quite small mouths so when I found that Sprenger made my favourite weymouth in a slimmer version I was thrilled.
I like my horses extremely sensitive so bitting is hugely important. The gentle slope upwards and forwards of the HO Weymouth is the kindest bit I have used.
For the bradoon, I like to play around with different styles. Again I prefer the slimmer bits and luckily Sprenger make bradoons in 12mm, 14mm and 16mm thickness so there is an answer for all my requirements!”
Carl Hester chooses the Bemelmans Weymouth
”Of paramount importance to me is the material the bit is made from. Sprenger use Sensogan which has been specifically developed in terms of taste and salivation to give the most delicate and sophisticated connection to the horse.
I love the inclusion of Manganese in the metal as tests have shown it can offer a calming influence on the horses.
The Bemelmans Weymouth has a super sloping mouthpiece which gives maximum room over the bars and is really well adapted for a sensitive palate”
On a budget? Introducing the stainless steel collection. Simple, Sprenger design, easy on the wallet.
With all Sprenger products please don't hesitate to get in touch to talk about your requirements. Ask for Julia or Marsha on 0800 246 1994