Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Bit Like This, A Bit Like That

I, Fenway Bartholomule, have had the pleasure of trying a variety of bits and other various signaling devices, and my reactions to them have ranged from quiet acceptance to frantic grimacing and hollow resistance.

Below, for your edification and enjoyment, is a summary of my feelings on them all. This is not a commentary on their general usefulness for horses or mules but rather on my own personal response to them. Every mouth is different!

French-link loose ring snaffle: Four hooves down. Hate, hate, hate this rattley contraption, even though it is FarmWife's standard bit of choice. It turns out that I like a solid, stable bit.
Mullen loose ring flexible rubber snaffle: Three hooves up. This was a cheap bit, though, and the rings are rusting.
Mechanical Hackamore: Three hooves up.
Rubber mullen pelham: Four hooves up. My favorite bit, but it looks like overkill if you ask FarmWife!
Dr. Cook's bitless bridle: Four hooves waaaaay down.
"Liberty ring," i.e. a stiff circle around my neck: Two hooves up.
A plain' ol' halter and leadrope: Two hooves up.
Nothing at all: Two hooves up in a confined setting.
Single jointed D-ring snaffle: Three and a half hooves up. I like this about as well as my pelham, though I clink it in my teeth when I'm learning something new. FarmWife hopes that by wrapping it in Sealtex she can create the Worlds Best Fenway Bit.

We will let you know!

What are your favorite bits? What do you want to try? I, for one, would like to try a latex-wrapped or vulcanite low-port or mullen liverpool on the snaffle rein slot (for driving in style) and a nathe snaffle (just for the softness of it). I would like to try a rubber baucher snaffle, to mimic the stability of a pelham without the redundancy of an unneeded curb rein. I would also like FarmWife to take me hilltopping with the Woodland Hunt, because then I am sure she would let me wear my lovely pelham again.

Your friend,


  1. Liberty ring? hmmm what is this made of and did you buy it or make it? I ride bridleless sometimes (in confined spaces) though I would like some sort of "handle". :)

  2. Golden, the liberty ring is now posted on along with details of its manufacture. Thanks for the question!

    FarmWife likes an old stirrup leather around my neck for bareback riding—she calls it her "oh $#!t handle."


  3. Hey Fenway-what size are you anyway? My own Farmwife person tried to get a Mylar snaffle in my size but alas they do not come in 6". I am a draftalicious cross and quite OK with my KK Ultra snaffle. I suspect, however, that a pelham would be in my future if we ever ventured forth into treacherous terrain again such as Acadia National Park with every sort of buckboard tourist hauler and zippy little cart materializing from every which way. Overcome by sheer terror at the contraptions chasing those poor beasts, I'm afraid that I lickety splitted in the other direction as fast as my legs would take me. I don't even remember feeling my bit signaling the stop as I'm sure it must have been as I don't believe that entertaining the tourists with my lightening fast get aways was part of the original plan. I can only hope Fenway, for a broken mouth and short shanks...
    Yours, of discretion is the better part of valor clique, Ginger Williams

  4. Ginger,

    I have a petite mouth of a mere 5 inches. You could have this kimberwicke for a mere $24.95 if your human wanted better brakes without the complexity of a second rein.

    FarmWife feels strongly that a mullen or low-port mouthpiece is the most humane shanked bit solution, as a broken pelham can collapse with a nutcracker-like effect. I think you should ask your human for one like this:

    Good luck with those scary sights! I, for one, say Freeze and Stare.

  5. Oh ha well the farmwife and I have something in common then.. I do the same thing and call it the OS handle as well. Swell!

  6. Round bean French, loose ring. tried egg butt of same. have tried flat plate but like the lozenge design better

    Have also used Mylar level 1 (with the roller over the link) loose ring.

    Surprisingly enough, Jay, at 15 hands and a penny, needs a 5 1/2 inch bit.

    THAT was the surprise.

  7. Fenway, With such a petite mouth, you might enjoy a baucher. Even if it weren't rubber. They are quite stable and don't poke up into the roof of your sensitive mouth because the arms are gently curved. They do not exert pressure on the poll, as some would have you believe.

  8. Hey, cool that you like the ol' rubber pelham. IMHO it's underappreciated because people don't know how to use that second rein. My horse friend likes the Myler loose-ring snaffle with the little link in the middle, but what does he know? Baucher sounds interesting.

  9. Dear Fenway,

    Although my horse and I value your opinion very much, we must disagree with you and side with farmwife this time. Our favorite bit is a French link egg butt snaffle.

    However, Chance definitely prefers a neck-ring to any other form of steering device. We either use reins detached from the bridle and looped around his neck or a 6 ft horsemans string (you can find one at I prefer to be able to hold my neckstrap like reins, and find the stiff ones a bit awkward. To each his own!

    I agree that a baucher might be a good bit for you It seems like a bit that you might enjoy.

    Gabrielle and Chance


Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!