At Pony Club Rallies, I sometimes work with young riders who come to their safety check not knowing what bit is in their horse’s mouth, or why their trainer has told them to use it. (Just like when flying in an airplane, Pony Club requires a courtesy safety check before any rider gets on the horse. Some of the kids tell me riding feels like flying, so I love that that we too offer a safety check!)
Why is it important for the child to know what bit they have in their horse’s mouth? For one thing, it gets them thinking about how the equipment they use affects the horse’s comfort and compliance.
If they have a simple loose ring snaffle in the horse’s mouth, it’s pretty forgiving of young hands that may tug against the bit even when they don’t mean to. That is considerate of the horse’s comfort and will help keep a gentle horse listening to their rider.
However, if they are going cross country and the horse has a tendency to run through the rider’s hands, then something with better braking power, such as a kimberwick, may be in order.
Below is a puzzle I put together for young horse-lovers to help them learn the names of different bits. Enjoy!