What is a curb bit?
A bit has been used for centuries to allow the rider to steer the horse. Over the years, its look and materials of which it is made, have been changing. In the classical horse riding, there are many types of bits, which are used in combined driving or during equestrian competitions.
A curb bit is one of the types of a bit mouthpiece. The classic curb bit contains a metal ring that goes into the horse’s mouth. Placed perpendicularly to the bar, there are attached to it shanks. To the upper shanks, you attach the bridle straps, to the lower shanks you attach the reins. Another element of a curb bit is another bit, which usually is an eggbutt snaffle. An additional element of this type of bit mouthpiece is a strap or a chain that you fasten under the horse’s muzzle.
Types and most popular brands of curb bits
A curb bit combined with a bit is used in classic horseback riding. Such a curb bit is called a harness one. A curb bit without a bit is most often used in dressage. In such a case we call it a western curb bit.
One of the most popular brands producing curb bits is Nathe. This brand’s products are made of anti-allergic materials. They would be perfect for sensitive horses, who could initially not take this type of bit mouthpiece very well. They also provide excellent contact with the muzzle.
Another brand that stands out on the market is Waldhausen. They produce mostly stainless steel curb bits. Their bits have anatomical shape that allows for even distribution of pressure and perfectly fits the horse’s mouth. Most models have relatively short shanks, which is why they would be good for horses who have never worked with a curb bit before.
We would also recommend paying attention to STUBBEN Golden. They produce curb bits with e.g. copper links. The copper alloy additionally encourages the horse to chew. Curb bits of this brand have 5 centimeters long shanks, perfect for horses that have never seen curb bits before.
When to use a curb bit?
Bit serves mainly to steer the horse and be in control of him. It has to be chosen with attention to two factors: the rider’s experience and the horse’s experience. In the case of a wrongly picked bit, you can seriously harm the pet.
The bit cannot stick outside the horse’s mouth’s edges and its length should match the width of the horse’s muzzle. A bit that is too short will squeeze your horse and a bit that is too long will constantly move.
A curb bit is a very strong type of bit mouthpiece, which is why it cannot be used by an inexperienced rider and cannot be used with an inexperienced horse. Using a curb bit is required during dressage competitions from class C, which strongly suggests that it is a piece of equipment for an experienced couple of rider and steed.
In order to be able to shift to a curb bit, the rider should try the N class exercises with a normal bit. Introducing a curb bit should be performed gradually. In the beginning, it is good to use a bit with shorter shanks than in standard models. In standards, they have 7 centimeters, but the recommended beginners have 5 centimeters. Short shanks would be good for horses that have a hard time accepting a bit. Long shanks are way rougher, which might initially cause frustration at the horse. The horse should effortlessly accept a bit mouthpiece when you put the first curb bit on him. It is also good that the curb bit is made of similar material to the ones the horse already knows. It might help him accept the new type of bit mouthpiece more easily, and the rider could benefit.