Fussy mouth issues? Try a softer bit.
While some horses will take any type of bit, others are pickier. Sometimes, it’s a matter of taste. Other times, you may have chosen a bit that’s too harsh for your horse’s mouth. Good news: there are softer bit options out there.
A soft bit can be the perfect choice for a bit-anxious horse, a youngster just starting out under saddle, or one recovering from injury. Soft bits can enhance communication, ease a horse’s contact-related nerves, and eliminate pinching. Many soft bits are made from materials like rubber, but metal bits with the right design can be soft too.
Soft Bit Basics
There are two elements to a soft bit. The first is the material. Anything made from synthetic materials, like rubber or even leather, will be softer than metal. Regardless, the design of certain metal bits, like double-jointed Eggbutt snaffles, give you an equally soft effect on your horse’s mouth.
Why might you want a soft bit for your horse
There are many reasons why you may be considering a soft bit for your horse.
- Your horse has a sensitive mouth
- You want to avoid the bit pinching your horse
- You want something with minimal tongue pressure
- Your horse is fussy with the bit
Best Soft Bits for Horses:
Best Non-Metal Soft Bit
Best Metal Soft Bit
Best Leather Bit
Best Soft Bit for Beginners
Best D-ring Soft Bit
Our Top Choices
Happy Mouth Shaped Mullen Loose Ring
This is the perfect go-to for your soft bit needs. The freely-moving rein ring encourages relaxation and is great for young or nervous horses.
- Apple taste
- Not too thick
- Great for tongue issues
- Some horses will learn to chew on this type of bit
- If chewed on, can create sharp edges/cracks
Myler Eggbutt No Hook Low Port Snaffle
Choose this bit if a metal-free bit makes you nervous yet you still want something that will be soft to your horse’s mouth. Bonus: this bit is competition legal.
- Eggbutt design = no pinching
- No hooks, so the reins can move freely on the rein ring
- Encourages a light, responsive horse
- Not all horses like the taste of stainless steel
Metalab Leather Loose Ring Snaffle
Thanks to its inherently supple nature, a leather bit is a solid choice if your horse is resistant to metal bits. The best part? Certain leather snaffles are dressage-competition legal.
- Curved leather mouthpiece
- No tongue pinching
- Ideal for metal-sensitive horses
- Difficult to find
- Requires regular maintenance
Sanft Curve Mouth Loose Ring Snaffle Bit
This bit is curved to fit in the horse’s mouth more comfortably and to reduce pressure on the bars. A simple bit made of high-quality materials, it gives the horse plenty of room for its tonuge, making it ideal for sensitive or nervous horses.
- German silver and stainless steel
- Curved for more comfortable fit
- Lies smooth against the tongue
- This narrower bit will be harsher on the horse than a wider one
- A copper bit encourages the horse to salivate more
Weaver CP Rubber Covered Mouth D-Ring Bit
Covered in thick rubber, this D-ring bit is gentle on the horse’s mouth, while the D-rings prevent the rider from pulling the bit through the horse’s mouth. As it sits comfortably in the horse’s mouth, it’s ideal for inexperienced horses and more forgiving for new riders.
- Soft rubber protects the horse’s mouth
- D-rings prevent the bit slipping through the mouth
- Rubber more forgiving than metal in challenging situations
- Rubber is so thick, some horses may struggle to close their mouths
- Some horses may chew through the rubber, exposing the metal below
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the mildest bit for a horse?
The mildest bit is no bit. If your horse is having serious bit issues, a bitless bridle may be your best choice. Otherwise, any non-metal or rubber bit is a solid choice.
Q: How do I get my horse to soften on the bit?
One way is to practice flexing. Gently ask your horse to flex left, holding only the left rein until he softens, then release the pressure. Repeat to the right.
Q: Are rubber bits softer?
Rubber bits are softer than metal bits. They come in different levels of toughness, so some may be flexible and others may feel as unbendable as a metal bit.
Q: What are the most gentle bits for horses?
Rubber snaffles are among the softest and gentlest bits for horses. The rubber creates a smoother fit on the bars of the horse’s mouth, while the snaffle’s rings reduce pinching and reduce leverage.
Q: What bits are good for horses with sensitive mouths?
A Mullen bit has a straight bar with no joint, which means it reduces pressure on the roof of the horse’s mouth. It’s also curved so it lies more comfortably on the horse’s tongue. Either a Mullen bit or a straight bar is recommended for horses with sensitive mouths.
Q: What is the most commonly used horse bit?
Whether you’re starting a young horse, re-training an older horse to a new discipline, or dealing with a horse who has a sensitive tongue, soft bits can be the perfect solution. Like with all bits, make sure it fits correctly and give your horse a few days to get used to it.
Remember, just because a bit is soft doesn’t mean you can pull harder. A soft bit, used poorly, can be just as harsh as any other bit.
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