Is it Time to Retire My Horse's Bit? Some Tips on What to Look For.
In order to keep your horse happy and comfortable, it's important to regularly inspect your tack and equipment for fit, wear and tear, and safety of use. (These are also good guidelines as to what to look for when purchasing a used bit as well.)
- Check the cheekpieces. They on loose ring bits, they should be smooth, flat, and even. Any cheekpieces with sharp points or thin spots in the metal indicate that the bit should be replaced.
- Check the joints on the mouthpiece. Are they even? Are there any sharp spots? If so, its probably time to replace your bit. I also like to check the metal thickness on the joints in the mouthpiece as well. If the thickness is uneven, it can result in pinching your horses' tongue when in use.
- Check the bars on the mouthpiece. Any uneven spots will lead to irritation in your horses' mouth.
- On fixed cheekpiece bits, be sure to check where the hinge action happens on the bit. Is it loose or sloppy? This could pinch your horse's mouth.
- Bits with players or keys in the centre of the mouthpiece should be checked regularly for sharp edges.
And of course when in doubt, retire and replace your bit. Your horse will thank you!
Bonus tip: A quick bit wipe down with a soft cloth and water after each ride will give you a chance to inspect any bit abnormalities.
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