Gear Riding

3 Soft Bits for Horses With a Sensitive Side

Soft Horse Bit
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Written by Nancy G.

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 several reasons, from a bit-anxious horse to starting a youngster to letting your horse recover from an injury. Soft bits can enhance communication, ease a horse’s contact-related nerves, and eliminate pinching at the corner of the mouth. Many soft bits are made from materials like rubber, but metal bits with the right design can be considered 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:

Category Bit Price Point Key Feature(s)
Best Non-Metal Soft Bit Happy Mouth Shaped Mullen Loose Ring $30-$50
  • stainless steel rings
  • covered mouthpiece
  • encourages contact
Best Metal Soft Bit Myler Eggbutt No Hook Low Port Comfort Snaffle $125-$150
  • stainless steel
  • low port
  • sleek design
Best Leather Bit Metalab Leather Loose Ring Snaffle $80-$100
  • loose ring
  • single joint
  • rich leather

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.

happy mouth bit

Click to see this bit at Amazon

PROS:

  • Apple taste
  • Not too thick
  • Great for tongue issues

CONS:

  • Some horses will learn to chew on this type of bit
  • If chewed on, can create sharp edges/cracks

See it at Amazon

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.

metal free horse bit

Click to see it at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Eggbutt design = no pinching
  • No hooks, so the reins can move freely on the rein ring
  • Encourages a light, responsive horse

CONS:

  • Not all horses like the taste of stainless steel

See it at State Line Tack

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.

leather snaffle bit

Click to see it at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Curved leather mouthpiece
  • No tongue pinching
  • Ideal for metal-sensitive horses

CONS:

  • Difficult to find
  • Require regular maintenance

See it at State Line Tack

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.

Parting Thoughts

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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About the author

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Nancy G.

Nancy loves retraining off the track Thoroughbreds and working with her dogs!