FAQ Gear Tips

Cricket Bits & Why (Many) Horses Love Them

cricket horse bit
Written by Natalie Gasper

Relaxed Jaw, Relaxed Horse

A cricket can make a world of difference in your ride, and we don’t mean the bug. Dealing with a tense, easily stressed horse? Or maybe your horse has a tight jaw and refuses to give on the bit? A cricket mouthpiece may be the answer.

A cricket isn’t a type of bit, like a snaffle or a shank, but an important component of one. Similar in design and function to a roller, a cricket mouthpiece is a small, round, ridged piece of copper in the center of the bit. This piece encourages a horse to roll it with his tongue, aiding in salivation and a more relaxed jaw.

Any type of bit can have a cricket, but they’re more common in Western bits.

Crickets make a clicking sound that lets you “hear” your horse’s mood.

not a bug, a bit

Source: Canva

Cricket Mouthpiece Defined

It’s easy to confuse a cricket with a roller. They look alike and have a similar purpose. A cricket is distinguished by its unique sound (like crickets). Usually made from copper, it’s a round copper piece with ridges found in the middle of a bit.

What’s the Purpose?

Cricket mouthpieces are designed to help your horse relax. It also lets the rider “hear” her horse (some horses will roll the cricket when relaxed; others when stressed).

Most horses love the taste of copper, and riders love that it encourages horses to salivate. Plus, crickets encourage a horse to move their tongue (rolling the cricket and creating the sound), which relaxes their jaw.

horse bits hanging on a wall

Source: Canva

What types of bits might have a cricket?

While cricket bits are more common in Western bits, English-style bits can have them, too.

1. Weaver Leather Professional “S” Shank Bit
2. Weaver Leather Professional Shank Bit
3. Missing Link Snaffle Bit

How do you know if your horse needs a cricket?

If your horse is tense or easily stressed, a cricket can be a great way to encourage them to relax. The cricket essentially encourages them to “play” with the bit, which relaxes their jaw and makes communication easier.

western horse bit

This bit has a copper wire roller. This is NOT a cricket! Source: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best bit for a horse that tosses its head?

A soft bit with a double joint to help disperse rein pressure is ideal (like the JP Stainless Steel Copper Mouth Oval Link Loose Ring Snaffle Bit from Korsteel).

Q: Why do bits have rollers?

Rollers are designed to encourage a horse to relax. The more he moves his tongue, the looser his jaw.

Q: What bits are good with horses with soft mouths?

If your horse has a soft mouth, snaffle bits are the best. Choose one with double joints (to avoid jabbing the roof of his mouth) and that is thicker (thinner bits can be “sharp” to a soft mouth).

Q: What is the metal piece that goes in a horse’s mouth?

That piece of metal is called a bit.

Q: Is a roller the same thing as a cricket?

No, while they are similar they are not the same. Rollers are common on both snaffle and curb bits, while crickets are more common on curb bits. Rollers do that—roll. Crickets are mounted on an uneven center hole which creates a cricket-like noise when the horse moves it. Want to read more about rollers? Check out this article.

Parting Thought

Cricket rollers may be just what you’ve been looking for to help your horse relax and enjoy the bit.

P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:


The Difference Between a Cricket and a Roller

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About the author


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